CP Daily: Monday December 14, 2019

Published 00:23 on December 17, 2019  /  Last updated at 00:23 on December 17, 2019  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

**CP Daily will not be published between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1. Carbon Pulse will file stories and send out CP Alerts on merit during that period. Regular coverage will resume Jan. 2.**

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TOP STORY

Germany to raise non-ETS carbon price trajectory -media

Germany will raise its non-ETS carbon prices, more than doubling the €10/tonne starting rate for 2021 following criticism that the fixed price mechanism for transport and heating would have little effect in cutting emissions.

AMERICAS

WCI offset projects eye transfer to California’s LCFS scheme

Three California-registered offset projects are looking to transfer into the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) next year, with higher prices in the complimentary programme incentivising such a transition, participants said.

New Jersey Senate passes RGGI participation bill

The New Jersey Senate approved a bill Monday that would cement the state’s participation in the Northeast RGGI ETS ahead of the Garden State’s re-entrance next year.

TCI draft MOU will include multiple policy scenarios –sources

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will include several policy options as the jurisdictions seek feedback on the final structure of the regional transportation ETS.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs rally 6% on German price lift, end of 2019 auctions

EUAs rebounded on Monday, rallying more than 6% from a one-month low as the final auction of the year attracted strong demand and Germany signalled a step-up in climate ambition in its non-ETS sectors.

EU’s wood-fired power should face carbon price under tougher rules -report

The EU should toughen rules that exempt wood-burning power plants from the EU ETS, or else it will put at risk global climate targets due to emissions resulting from dozens of new facilities, a report found on Monday.

ASIA PACIFIC

Australia loosens CO2 caps for more Safeguard facilities

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator on Thursday issued new baselines for several facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism, allowing most of them to increase their CO2 emissions, including three of those that were forced to buy carbon credits to meet their targets last year.

NZ names Climate Change Commission members

New Zealand on Tuesday named the panel of experts that will make up the country’s newly-established Climate Change Commission.

ICYM

COP25: Testing Article 6 talks delayed for second year after marathon UN climate summit

Marathon UN climate talks in Madrid finished on Sunday afternoon without agreeing rules for international emissions trade under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6, as beleaguered hosts Chile pushed the record-long summit to try to broker a deal on a handful of sticking points.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Chill, says ChileChile defended itself on Monday against criticism it was too weak in presiding over the COP25 climate summit, saying it did all it could but that four big polluting countries got in the way.  Chilean President Sebastian Pinera described as “insufficient” the agreements reached on Sunday after marathon talks, but said it was not for the host’s lack of trying and criticism of its role was unfair. “You have to convince 195 countries, and so if just one opposes, there is no agreement,” Pinera said in comments to local media. When it came to rules governing carbon markets, he said: “The four big countries didn’t accept the proposals.” Pinera said he personally lobbied other presidents to reach a deal, but would not identify who he called and did not name the countries that he said blocked the deal. “The countries that pollute the most did not live up to the challenge and remain in debt,” he said in a subsequent tweet. Diplomats have listed the Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United States among those resisting bolder action. (Reuters)

All they want for Christmas – The Dutch Supreme Court will on Friday at 1100 CET (1000 GMT) deliver its ruling in a case that could once and for all order the country’s government to set a deeper emissions reduction target, which would also help establish a global precedent in forcing states to act to prevent climate change. Advisors to the court in September recommended upholding the 2018 judgement by The Hague Court of Appeal – a decision that itself supported a 2015 district court verdict – and legal experts expect the Netherlands’ highest court to follow that advice. The final verdict in the case brought by citizen campaign group Urgenda could force the Dutch government to cut the country’s GHG emissions by 25% under 1990 levels by 2020 – significantly more than 14-17% projected outcome that was based on existing measures.

Follow This – An activist group is increasing the pressure on five big US and European oil companies with shareholder resolutions urging them to meet the Paris climate goals and cut carbon emissions, Reuters reports. Dutch group Follow This is targeting ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and Equinor with climate resolutions ahead of next year’s AGMs scheduled for the first half of 2020. Follow This owns minor stakes in the firms, which enables it to file resolutions. The Exxon and Chevron resolutions are vaguer than the European text, underscoring an Atlantic divide over companies’ approach to climate change. The US version calls on the Exxon and Chevron boards to “align its strategy with emission levels compatible with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement”, which aims to keep global warming below 2C. The European companies, which all agreed in recent years on various emission reduction targets, are however urged to set and publish clear long-term targets to meet the Paris goals.

Athens switch off – State-controlled Greek utility PPC has approved plans to close at least 3.4 GW or 12 coal-fired units by 2023, instead of 2028 as initially planned. The company plans to boost its green power by 1 GW over the same period via joint ventures. The move follows the July arrival of a new right-wing government that promised to speed up green investments and save costs. Workers’ unions and left-wing politicians opposed the plans, which include cutting 4,500 of PPC’s 15,300 employees by 2024, while only hiring 800 new staff. (Reuters)

Rejection – California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) said Friday evening that utility Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) bankruptcy proposal did not comply with a new state wildfire law and urged the company to make changes, including a completely new board of directors. Newsom’s comments raised concerns about PG&E’s ability to exit bankruptcy by June 2020, which would allow it to participate in the wildfire fund established by Ab-1054. In his letter, Newsom said the company’s plan would leave “the reorganized entity with limited tools to finance itself when it needs to access capital to make billions of dollars in safety investments”. He added the company had not addressed previously raised concerns. PG&E has said its proposal would comply with AB-1054. The utility has fought to maintain control of its bankruptcy proceedings, while the judge is expected to consider an alternative proposal from bondholders. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Third time’s a charm? – Alberta started setting out its legal reasoning that the federal government’s carbon pricing policy oversteps Ottawa’s authority on Monday, but an expert does not anticipate the province will make any new arguments. Eric Adams, a University of Alberta law professor, told the National Post that similar arguments made by Ontario and Saskatchewan during their failed challenges would likely be made by Alberta over this week’s three-day hearing. Adams predicted that those arguments will also lead to the federal government winning for a third time, though he noted that the Alberta court could also display regional empathies. “The argument is that justice on a local level requires judges who live in a jurisdiction and understand its peoples and its concerns. Sometimes, constitutional arguments made in a particular place can have the flavour of that particular place,” he said. The federal government has already notched two victories in suits brought by Ontario and Saskatchewan in the provinces’ respective Appeals Courts, with the Supreme Court of Canada scheduled to rule on appeals in those cases next month.

Missing the PEI point – PEI.’s gasoline taxes will provide a new year’s encore of the dance they performed at the start of 2018 — dropping on the first of the year, then rising again on Apr. 1. According to CBC, that’s a result of legislation passed under the Canadian province’s previous Liberal government as part of its plan to comply with Ottawa’s backstop carbon price, while at the same time trying to shield Island drivers from having to pay more. The provincial excise tax on gasoline will drop 1.2 cents per litre on New Year’s Day, with a bigger drop in the tax on diesel. Then three months later – on April Fools’ Day to be precise – a different tax, the provincial levy on carbon, will increase that much and then some. The net effect, likely to be lost in all the regular fluctuations in pump prices: taxes on both gas and diesel will end up one cent higher, just as they did in 2019.

Gettin’ choppy – Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jumped to the highest level for the month of November since record-keeping began in 2015, according to preliminary government data published on Friday. Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest totalled 563 square km (217.38 sq miles) in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to the country’s space research agency INPE. That would bring total deforestation for the period from January to November to 8,934 sq km, or 83% more than in the same period in 2018 and an area almost the size of Puerto Rico. (Reuters)

And finally… DECC to the future – Boris Johnson is planning sweeping ministerial reforms, including the reinstatement of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Sunday Times reports, as the incoming British PM seeks to position the government to deliver on his campaign priorities. According to multiple media reports, Number 10 is planning to undertake a major re-organisation once it has passed the controversial Withdrawal Agreement that should ensure the UK leaves the EU by the current Jan. 31 deadline. DECC was merged in 2016 with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to create the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as one of the first moves from new PM Theresa May. Johnson and his team are reportedly keen to position the planned move as evidence of the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and delivering on the UK’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. (BusinessGreen)

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