CP Daily: Monday February 10, 2020

Published 01:41 on February 11, 2020  /  Last updated at 01:41 on February 11, 2020  / Ben Garside /  Newsletters

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

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Oregon Democrats working to advance carbon market legislation as GOP opposition intensifies

Oregon Democrats intend to send a WCI-modelled cap-and-trade bill out of committee later this week amid a slew of Republican amendments and growing fears of a second consecutive GOP walkout.


Switzerland to source 5 mln UN offsets after chemical firm discovers unreported emissions

Switzerland will buy 5 million UN carbon credits as part of a plan to cover recently-discovered chemical plant emissions that have potentially been discharged for decades.


Ireland’s carbon price plan at risk from election stalemate

A three-way tie in this weekend’s Irish general election could have a major impact on the country’s carbon pricing programme, with the party leading in the yet-to-be-finalised vote count having campaigned against the existing government’s planned CO2 tax increases.

German prosecutors reissue warrant for Briton suspected of masterminding EU ETS fraud

German prosecutors on Monday reissued an arrest warrant for a British businessman suspected of masterminding a €125 million tax fraud using the EU ETS.

EU Market: EUAs sink towards €23 amid bearish technical, energy signals

EUAs dipped towards €23 early on Monday as a confluence of bearish technical and fundamental factors led experts to predict further falls.

Low-cost EU airline emissions dip in January

Two of Europe’s biggest low-cost airlines have reported a dip in in-flight emissions to start the year.


China’s ETS schemes reopen quietly as virus caution has traders work from home

Seven of China’s eight pilot emissions trading markets reopened Monday after the Lunar New Year holiday break was extended by over a week due to the coronavirus spread, but activity was low as traders pondered the wider impacts of the virus crisis from home.

Independent MP floats plan to end Australia’s climate policy paralysis

Independent MP Zali Steggall on Monday outlined the basics of a climate policy plan she hopes will garner bipartisan support to put Australia on track to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


RGGI states likely to approve Pennsylvania’s bank adjustment mechanism, sources say

Existing RGGI states will likely support Pennsylvania’s plan to include an allowance adjustment mechanism at the end of ETS compliance periods because it mirrors carbon market language adopted by New Jersey, regulatory sources said.


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Flatliners – Despite widespread expectations of another increase, global energy-related CO2 emissions stopped growing in 2019, according to IEA data released Tuesday. After two years of growth, global emissions were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes in 2019 even as the world economy expanded by 2.9%. This was primarily due to declining emissions from electricity generation in advanced economies, thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources (mainly wind and solar), fuel-switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation. Other factors included milder weather in several countries, and slower economic growth in some emerging markets. A significant decrease in emissions in advanced economies in 2019 offset continued growth elsewhere. The US recorded the largest decline on a country basis, with a fall of 140 Mt or 2.9%. US emissions are now down by almost 1 gigatonne from their peak in 2000. Emissions in the EU fell by 160 Mt or 5%, driven by reductions in the power sector. Natural gas produced more electricity than coal for the first time ever, while wind-powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity. Japan’s emissions fell by 45 Mt or around 4% – the fastest pace of decline since 2009, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased. But emissions in the rest of the world grew by close to 400 Mt, with almost 80% of the increase coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise.

Drive on by – The car industry should remain exempt from plans by the European Commission to increase the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target, Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier has said in a letter to Commission EVP Frans Timmermans, according to Zeit Online. Existing emissions limits for vehicles already have “eliminated all leeway for a further tightening”, Altmaier’s letter read, urging the Commission to leave regulation for the car industry unchanged until 2030 in the context of the Commission’s Green Deal. Separately, dpa reported that German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze also rejected tighter car emissions limits. An environment ministry spokesperson said that the limit values introduced in 2019 “are very ambitious” and would “remain in place.” Under the current targets, the average vehicle fleet emissions for newly registered cars must not exceed 95g of CO2 per kilometre by 2021 – a limit the car industry very likely will overstep. Current planning foresees that average emissions must then fall to 60g per km by 2030. (Clean Energy Wire)

Council incoming – British Columbia Environment Minister George Heyman announced members of the province’s Climate Solutions Council on Monday. The independent body, a continuation of the Canadian jurisdiction’s previous council, will advise government and track progress on CleanBC initiatives to reduce GHGs and create new opportunities for people around the province. The announcement came alongside the government’s release of its 2019 Climate Change Accountability Report for CleanBC, which details a range of actions over the past year to lower emissions and build a cleaner economy.

Changes afoot? – US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Saturday said the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision from last month on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance waivers “has the potential of completely changing the small refinery programme”. The court vacated three small refinery exemptions (SREs) to the US biofuels programme, saying they had to continuously receive exemptions in order to be eligible. Wheeler said in an AgWired interview that the EPA is “taking a close look at the 10th Circuit decision and the ramifications to the programme,” and he promised, “we’ll have something on that shortly.” (Politico)

Belt tightening –  Meanwhile, the Trump administration proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by 26%, or $2.4 billion, from the agency’s 2020 level, according to a draft released Monday. The White House plan would cut the EPA’s budget to $6.7 bln in 2021, while eliminating nearly 50 programmes that were determined to be outside the environment agency’s core mission or duplicative efforts, although those programmes were not identified in the proposal. The cuts would drop the agency funding to its lowest level since the 1990s, but the budget proposal is unlikely to be enacted in its current form amid opposition from Congressional Democrats.

Transition tick up – The administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) provided an update on its clean energy transition strategy on Friday, mapping out planned actions on a wide array of energy initiatives designed to help the country reach 50% clean power by 2050. The percentage of clean-sourced electricity is set to rise from 25% in 2018 to 30% in 2021, 35.1% in 2024, and 39.9% in 2030. Those are modest improvements from a similar strategy paper presented in Apr. 2018 under the previous administration, which pointed to the goal of 35% in 2024 and 37.7% in 2030. The document also offered further evidence of the AMLO administration’s vision of state electricity utility CFE as the primary driving force behind generation. (BNAmericas)

How to 100 – The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will jointly conduct a workshop with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to discuss inputs and assumptions for analysis to be conducted for Senate Bill 100 (SB-100), which calls for eligible renewable energy and zero carbon resources to supply 100% of retail sales to California end-users by 2045. The workshop will begin with presentations from staff reviewing the approach for analysis for the SB-100 Joint Agency Report. Staff and consultants will present background on the model to be used for the quantitative SB-100 analysis, including inputs, assumptions, and planned scenarios. A stakeholder panel will discuss considerations for inputs and assumptions related to reliability, land use, equity and environmental impacts.

And finally… Flying bananas – The UK’s citizens’ climate assembly considered flown-in bananas, fashionable indoor fleeces, personal carbon allowances, and synthetic jet fuels at its second weekend meeting on how Britain can best reach net zero emissions in a way the public can accept. Bananas were a surprise addition – with the panel weighing how bananas that are flown in are really bad for the environment, while those that are shipped in have hardly any emissions at all. (BBC)

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