CP Daily: Wednesday January 29, 2020

Published 22:44 on January 29, 2020  /  Last updated at 22:52 on January 29, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Germany unveils long-awaited coal phaseout bill after cabinet approval

The German government on Wednesday released a final version of its long-awaited coal phaseout bill, providing no new details surrounding how many carbon allowances will be cancelled to offset the impact of the programme on the EU ETS.

AMERICAS

Trump administration argues against dropping WCI members in California ETS lawsuit

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) urged a federal court to keep WCI board members in a lawsuit challenging the California-Quebec ETS linkage, claiming those defendants were acting as representatives for the jurisdictions.

California mints 589k offsets in second issuance of 2020

California regulator ARB issued nearly 589,000 new California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) over the past two weeks across three WCI protocols, according to data published Wednesday.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs sink below €24 after weak Polish auction sets bearish tone

EUAs tumbled 2% to a two-week low on Wednesday as the market struggled to absorb a bumper Polish auction while digesting confirmation of Germany’s drawn-out exit from coal-fired power.

ICYM

COP26 seen as “last chance” to forge Paris carbon trading rulebook

The 2020 COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow will be the final opportunity for countries to agree to the rulebook for the Paris Agreement’s market-based Article 6, but countries will still press on with carbon market deals over the next decade if negotiations come up short for a third straight year, experts said Tuesday.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Border beater – Brussels is considering proposing a tax, requiring importers to buy permits in the EU ETS, or an excise duty as a carbon border adjustment, according to Vincente Hurtado-Roa, a senior official in the European Commission’s tax department, Bloomberg reported. For the ETS option, it would be easier to carve out a new set of allowances than to use units under the existing cap, he told a Brussels event on Tuesday convened by Sandbag and One Policy Place. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on EU chief Ursula von der Leyen’s plans for the border measure next year as a secondary option to other nations imposing carbon pricing.

Is that it? – Oil majors responsible for half of global output are investing a mere 3% of their combined capital expenditure on renewable energy sources. According to a new report by law firm CMS, 15 of the world’s largest oil companies, including Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, and Saudi Aramco spent approximately $6.6 bln of a combined $228 bln into renewables in 2018. (City AM)

Total inaction – A group of French cities and advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against oil major Total, stating it was not doing enough to cut emissions. The groups argue Total’s plan is “clearly insufficient” if France is to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. (EurActiv)

Frontier failings – Polish utility PGE wants to extend its Turow lignite mine licence beyond April to 2026 and expand mining to just 100 metres from the Czech border. Nearby Czech towns argue this could deprive them of drinking water and have filed a complaint to the European Commission, citing breaches of a host of EU rules on trans-boundary environmental impacts and failing to effectively engage with Czech stakeholders. (Politico)

Water switching – Iberdrola’s vast Tamega hydroelectric project under construction in northern Portugal will directly replace the power lost when the Iberian country closes its last coal plants by 2023, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said. EDP’s Sines thermal plant will close only when the hydro station starts. (Reuters)

Carrying its load – Australian PM Scott Morrison on Wednesday addressed the National Press Club in Canberra, with climate change and the recent bushfires high on the agenda. But anyone still holding out hope the Coalition government might change its tack on climate policy had those prospects quashed. According to the Guardian, Morrison said he would not “sell out Australians” by taxing them more or putting their jobs at risk through expensive climate policies, and repeated that his country’s Paris target would not be increased. He also rejected the notion of playing a more active role to promote stronger international action to cut emissions, saying “Australia is carrying its load and more”. That is despite Australia having been identified as one of a handful of countries blocking progress at last month’s UN talks in Madrid amid its plans to use carry-over credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet its Paris target.

The state of things – State Street said three out of four companies haven’t made meaningful progress on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, and the asset manager is putting them on notice, Bloomberg reports. State Street Global Advisors is prepared to take voting action against board members at companies in the major stock-market indexes that have been “consistently underperforming” peers in the asset manager’s ESG performance scoring system. That’s according to a letter released Tuesday by Cyrus Taraporevala, chief executive officer of the unit that oversees $3.1 trillion in assets.  Meanwhile, a $10 trillion ban on fossil fuel capital spending could hold the key to net-zero emissions by 2050, according to Swiss Bank UBS. To achieve such a freeze on emissions, there would need to be enough global restrictions to reduce cumulative fossil capex by two-thirds of the current amount, or about $10 trillion, UBS analysts led by Sam Arie wrote in a note assessing the outlook on energy and climate change. Europe will likely be the starting point for such a move, the bank added.

If you build it, will they come? – US House Democratic leaders unveiled the outlines for a $760-bln, five-year infrastructure package on Wednesday, which includes a climate agenda. The framework that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats released includes an amalgamation of existing highway, transit, and water legislation of the type that Congress passes every few years, as well as new efforts to boost the availability of broadband internet and help communities counter the effects of climate change. Other representatives said the climate focus will include making federal buildings carbon neutral and transitioning to renewable fuels for aviation, as well as honing in on transit and rail as a greener option than automobiles and airplanes. However, the climate focus could present significant obstacles for Republicans to agree to. (Politico)

Pacific push – A group of businesses and health care climate alliances urged Pacific Northwest legislators in Oregon and Washington on Wednesday to pass cap-and-trade programmes. The signatories, including apparel giant Nike, ride-sharing company Uber, and tech behemoth Microsoft, said the adoption of those carbon markets would expand economic opportunities in the US region and protect those sectors from the impacts of climate change. A similar coalition organised behind Oregon’s WCI-modelled ETS proposal last year, though several businesses pulled out after Senate Republicans fled the state to prevent Democrats from voting on the bill. (Salem Reporter)

Jakarta bites – Indonesia’s environment ministry has ended a 25-year conservation deal with WWF, accusing the green group of letting burn a concession granted in 2015 to undertake reforestation. Thirty WWF projects will be affected. (Reuters)

And finally… The first to fall – Residents in Fairbourne, northwest Wales, say they could become “climate change refugees” and are concerned uncertainty is devaluing homes and harming community life. Homes in the Welsh seaside village are set to be underwater in the next 30 years when sea defences will stop being maintained. Angry residents told North Wales Live that house prices in the area have plummeted as a result, adding that businesses are under threat. Stuart Eves, chairman of Arthog Community Council, said: “Surveyors won’t come to the village because there’s no point, no one can get a mortgage.”

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