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Poland believes setting EU carbon border adjustments are a good way to protect the bloc’s industry and promote wider climate action, though the government is yet to decide whether to endorse an EU-wide 2050 net zero emission goal, a climate ministry official said on Thursday.
Norway’s Equinor is joining other major European oil and gas companies in setting a target to rein in emissions including those from the fuel it sells, leaving the door open for using offsets to help meet the goal.
Finnish utility Fortum reported zero emissions from its ETS-covered facilities over the entire second half of last year, it said on Thursday, as its profits were boosted by higher hydro output.
Polish oil firm Lotos says ample free EUA allocations could help it dodge cutting emissions next decade
Polish oil company Lotos Group expects that it may need to buy only a minimal quantity of EU carbon allowances over the next decade as its annual free allocation could be enough to allow it to avoid cutting its emissions for the foreseeable future.
EUAs failed to hold an early gains above €24 on Thursday, slumping as energy markets resumed their bearish tone while markets worldwide continued to fret about China’s ability to contain the coronavirus.
Financial market data firm Refinitiv has hired a former energy and carbon analyst to head its European gas research division, Carbon Pulse has learned.
Another group of big emitters under Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism has seen emission caps increase, including facilities owned by BHP Billiton and Alcoa, as the government is implementing new rules that allow emissions to rise each year.
A group of more than 140 Japanese companies and over 20 municipal governments has urged the government to raise its ambition under the Paris Agreement, warning that failure to step up efforts might see Japanese firms left out of international supply chains.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose for the second consecutive week as speculators continued to take long positions on the back end of the curve, while RGGI Allowances (RGAs) retraced previous gains after data showed emissions from the power plants covered by the ETS fell to an all-time low in 2019.
The Canadian environment ministry will aim to publish draft regulations this spring for a federal offset programme under the country’s ‘backstop’ large emitter programme, and it is also developing a shortlist of protocols to supply that output-based pricing system (OBPS), a government official said Wednesday.
A vice president for offset developer and advisory firm ClimeCo has taken a senior position with a Canadian competitor, Carbon Pulse has learned.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
If at first you don’t succeed – The Trump administration is withholding nearly a billion dollars for a clean energy programme it has unsuccessfully tried to cut, congressional Democrats said Wednesday, raising the spectre of political interference. The unspent funds now amount to $823 mln in the Energy Department’s (DOE) office that provides grants and other financial assistance for alternative energy, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency, according to Democrats on the House Science Committee. The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which has a $2.85 bln budget, was targeted for 80% cuts in the last White House budget request, only to see Congress increase its funding instead. Republicans on the committee said so-called carry-over funding within the office was normal. (Bloomberg)
Приготовься – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top adviser on climate change warned big businesses that they need to start preparing for harsher carbon regulations from the EU. An proposal by the bloc to introduce border levies on products arriving from countries with looser environmental rules could come into force within the next two years, Kremlin adviser Ruslan Edelgeriev said at a news briefing in Moscow. Those companies that don’t adapt would find it difficult to sell their products into that market, he said. “The EU wants to push through these regulations not because they don’t like our companies, but so that their own companies don’t overstep emissions targets,” Edelgeriev said. “I’m in favour of regulation because if we don’t do it, we will be shut out of external markets.” (Bloomberg)
Controversial choice – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday appointed Keith Pitt from the National party as his new resources minister. Pitt, one of two candidates failing to oust his party leader Michael McCormack earlier this week, is a former assistant minister to the Deputy PM, but resigned in Aug. 2018 citing amongst other things his unhappiness with Australia being part of the Paris Agreement. He was also one of the Coalition MPs who scuppered then-PM Malcolm Turnbull’s plan for a National Energy Guarantee, which would have included a carbon intensity target for the electricity sector. Pitt has long been a champion for nuclear energy in Australia. His predecessor, Matt Canavan, quit earlier this week to support Barnaby Joyce’s National party leadership bid, which he thought would have helped better protect the coal industry.
Off the hook – Another Australian minister – Angus Taylor – will be breathing more easily after Australian Federal Police on Thursday announced it would drop further investigations into allegations that he or someone in his office had falsified documents to make them look like they originated from the office of the Lord Mayor of Sydney, the Guardian reports. Taylor, the minister for energy and emissions reductions, presented the documents to claim that Sydney councillors had racked up over A$15 million ($10 mln) in travel expenses for a single year, while the actual number proved to be well below A$10,000. The police said further investigation was unlikely to yield sufficient evidence, and also cited the low level of damage and Taylor’s apology to the Lord Mayor as reasons to drop the case.
Go go Gove – British PM Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to appoint a new president of COP26, reports the Guardian, saying that experts have warned the ongoing vacancy is damaging the UN climate summit’s prospects of success. The paper adds that Michael Gove, currently the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and previously Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is emerging as the most hotly tipped choice. Gove is seen as having a strong reputation among environmental campaigners, having impressed them with his energy as environment secretary under Theresa May, when he drew up a 25-year environment plan and new environment and agriculture bills. The vacancy has resulted from Johnson’s decision to sack former COP26 President Claire O’Neill last week. (Carbon Brief)
When you’re gone – It will be much tougher for the EU to reach its climate targets without climate “poster child” UK after Brexit, according to an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau. The UK has contributed a relatively high share to the bloc’s emissions reductions, and this would have to be compensated by the remaining countries after Britain leaves the bloc. This would become an even bigger issue should the EU decide to raise the 2030 climate target as planned under the European Green Deal package. It is unclear whether the UK will leave joint climate policy with the EU or continue some form of closer cooperation. German power company Steag told Welt am Sonntag that remaining EU countries must cut an additional 136 Mt of CO₂ should the bloc decide to retain its 40% reduction target by 2030, even without the UK. (Clean Energy Wire)
Well blow me down – Europe installed a record 3.6 GW of new offshore wind capacity in 2019, according to statistics released today by WindEurope. Ten new offshore wind farms came online across 5 countries. The UK accounted for nearly half of the new capacity with 1.7 GW. Then came Germany (1.1 GW), Denmark (374 MW), and Belgium (370 MW). And Portugal installed 8 MW of floating offshore wind. Europe now has 22 GW of offshore wind, with the UK and Germany accounting for three-quarters of it. Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands share nearly all of the rest. The average size of the offshore turbines installed last year was 7.8 MW. A 12MW offshore wind turbine was installed in Rotterdam. Offshore wind farms are also getting bigger. The average size has doubled to over 600 MW from 300 MW in 2010. However, in spite of the solid growth, new offshore wind projects are falling short of what’s needed to meet the EU’s climate targets for 2030. And they are far behind the pace required to keep up with Europe’s long-term climate neutrality objective for 2050. The European Commission says Europe needs between 230-450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to decarbonise the energy system and deliver on the objectives of the Green Deal, WindEurope points out. This, it adds, requires building 7 GW of new offshore wind a year by 2030, and ramping up to 18 GW a year by 2050. (Climate Home)
Well blow me down again – According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the installed wind capacity in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean increased by 13.4 GW in 2019. In North America, new installations accelerated (+18% compared to 2018 installations) as the US installed more than 9.1 GW of new capacity before the end of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which has recently been extended by one year to end-2020. Installations slowed down in Central and South America and the Caribbean compared to 2018, despite noticeable growth in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Meanwhile, new markets are emerging: Chile added 526 MW of wind capacity in 2019, while Colombia executed its first renewable auction during the year. The GWEC estimates that this surge in wind capacity in Americas is expected to continue and that 220 GW of new wind capacity could be added in the region in 2020-24. (Enerdata)
The (Big) Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – New York City will stop using natural gas and other fossil fuels in large building systems by 2040, as well as halting any new fossil fuel infrastructure that supplies the Big Apple, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address Thursday. Additional environmental goals outlined in the mayor’s speech included signing a hydropower agreement to supply government buildings with 100% zero-carbon energy, making the city’s entire vehicle fleet electric by 2040, and doubling the amount of solar power produced in New York City. The city has a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, mimicking the Empire State’s own net zero target set by last year’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Stay in-state – Two groups of California cities, counties and municipalities made key arguments Wednesday that could determine the fate of their lawsuits against fossil fuel companies. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments from the cities of San Francisco and Oakland and a separate group of cities and counties, including Imperial Beach, Santa Cruz and San Mateo, advocating for their separate cases against oil and gas companies for damages to be heard in state court versus federal court. While each of these cases has had different paths to the Ninth Circuit, a decision in favour of the cities may make their cases more successful than other cities’ suits against fossil fuel companies that were thrown out of federal courts. (Climate Nexus)
Federal freeze – The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) recent actions interpreting the Natural Gas Act and the Federal Power Act “freeze out the states,” Democratic Commissioner Rich Glick told a crowd of state energy officials on Wednesday. Glick was the sole dissenting voice on the Republican-controlled commission for a number of opinions, including the December order establishing a Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) in the PJM wholesale power market, which would force resources that receive state subsidies, like renewables and nuclear energy, to bid into the capacity market at a higher price level. He believes FERC acted outside of its jurisdiction through the order, though scheduling for the rehearing decision on the MOPR will be determined by FERC Republican Chairman Neil Chatterjee. (Utility Dive)
The 59’ Sound – US senators and 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren collectively spent over $59,000 on offsets last year to counteract their campaign-related emissions, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records obtained by The Daily Caller. Both senators used Vermont-based NativeEnergy for their offset needs, with Sanders outspending Warren $32,200 to $26,900. NativeEnergy did not reveal the exact rate they paid for the credits, nor was the total tonnes purchased disclosed.
Booming bank – The 2020 biofuel blending requirements under the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) were published in the federal register Thursday, nearly two months after the EPA released the final rule. No significant changes were made to the renewable volume obligations (RVOs), though the EPA updated its estimates of the programme’s carryover RIN bank to 3.48 bln, up from its previous surplus estimate of 2.19 bln in July. Despite the surplus, biofuel credit prices have risen in recent weeks after a court decision called into question the Trump Administration’s approach to granting RFS compliance waivers, which have swelled the RIN surplus and depressed prices over the past few years.
Step up or shut down – India has warned 14 coal-fired power plants that they might be shut down unless they comply with air pollution requirements, according to Reuters. The plants, which account for 7% of India’s total coal-fired capacity, have until Feb. 14 to respond to a Jan. 31 letter from the regulator specifying their shortcomings.
Carbon class in session – The World Bank is launching a five-week “Carbon Taxation” online course that explains how CO2 taxes work, key considerations that shape the decision to adopt a tax, mitigating leakage, and options for revenue usage. The free course runs from Mar. 3 – Apr. 6, and the last day to register is Feb. 24.
Pitch me – WCI, Inc., which manages the technical aspects of the linked California-Quebec ETS, opened a request for proposals (RFP) on Thursday for contractors to manage a single market registry and auction system. In documents, the WCI said the effort would be a multi-year project with two phases. The first phase would create cloud-based auction services for the California-Quebec programe and Nova Scotia’s independent carbon market, while the second would develop and test a web-based registry service. The deadline to submit RFPs is Feb. 26 at 2000 Eastern time (Feb. 27 at 200 GMT).
And finally… Good dog – Scottish craft brewery BrewDog on Thursday unveiled new branding, and along with it a series of initiatives to help combat climate change. “We are determined to continuously raise the bar and set a new standard for beer and business … We don’t have all the answers, but in 2020 we are changing the way we do things to do better,” the company said. “BrewDog Tomorrow outlines our commitment to do far more from a sustainability perspective. With brave thinking and bold action we can help ensure we have a planet to make beer on for future generations.” As part of its new initiatives:
- The company will give a share to every person who trades in 50 empty BrewDog cans.
- BrewDog will engage in upcycling, or refilling old cans with new beer.
- It will turn imperfect beer into vodka by distilling it instead of throwing it out.
- BrewDog will invest £1 mln per year in research and initiatives helping the beer industry have a positive impact on the world.
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