CP Daily: Monday March 30, 2020

Published 23:48 on March 30, 2020  /  Last updated at 23:52 on March 30, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

COVID-19 crisis to slam already-struggling EU heavy industry

Disruptions to supply chains and factory shutdowns in Italy and Spain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are severely affecting EU heavy industry and their ETS emissions output, with the sector was already reeling from declining output before the outbreak started.

ASIA PACIFIC

Japan shirks higher ambition in new NDC

Japan announced an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on Monday, but the nation will not increase its 2030 climate ambitions.

NZ Market: NZUs in slow recovery as demand returns

New Zealand carbon allowances rose 3.5% in Monday trade amid healthy demand, and have now clawed back over a third of the COVID-19 driven losses suffered over the past two weeks.

EMEA

Spanish emissions set to drop further as govt closes ‘non-essential’ businesses to fight coronavirus

Spain on Saturday ordered the closure of all ‘non-essential businesses, including a number of factories, after the number of deaths from the coronavirus reached a new high.

Steep path back to €20 for virus-hit EU carbon prices, analysts warn

EU carbon allowances are unlikely to trade back above €20 any time soon, analysts said, slashing their 2020 price estimates by more than 20% due to the coronavirus outbreak.

EU Market: EUAs lift above €17 after strong auction defies virus concerns

EUAs climbed above €17 on Monday, defying losses in oil and equity markets as a strong auction performance and technicals lent support.

AMERICAS

California offset registries hanging in amid COVID-19 challenges

California offset registries are not experiencing any operational delays since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, though discussions are continuing on providing additional flexibility for developers of WCI-eligible credits.

Speculators opened California CITSS accounts before allowance price drop, data shows

Eighteen entities opened WCI Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) accounts in the California carbon market during the first quarter as 16 participants closed theirs, data from state regulator ARB showed Monday.

New York moves closer to finalising post-2020 RGGI regulation during virus outbreak

New York is honing in on a draft regulation to implement post-2020 changes to the Northeast US RGGI carbon market, regulatory sources told Carbon Pulse, though state officials remain mum on when they will release the finalised proposal.

COMMENT

ICAO’s carbon market report offers valuable lessons for Article 6 talks

A report by experts recommending carbon credits for the ICAO’s CORSIA international aviation mechanism provides valuable lessons for the Article 6 negotiations. Even in the absence of an Article 6 agreement at COP26, countries which want to use global carbon markets should heed these lessons, writes Gilles Dufrasne, Policy Officer at Carbon Market Watch.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

We’ll Zoom it – Germany plans to hold the Petersberg Climate Dialogue as scheduled in late April – but the meeting, which includes environment ministers from around the world, would be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic, newswire dpa reports. The annual meeting is seen as a key milestone on the road to the COP26 UN climate negotiations in Glasgow, which are scheduled for November. “Climate change continues to exist, even if it is receiving less attention right now,” German environment minister Svenja Schulze told dpa, adding that the rapid response to the coronavirus crisis could be a model for climate action. “We should learn from this to take seriously the other major crises that make us vulnerable – climate change and the destruction of nature – and to fight them resolutely together,” Schulze said. (Clean Energy Wire)

Car plea – The European carmakers’ association ACEA has called on the EU to delay implementing regulations including a 2021 tightening of EU emissions allowed from vehicles because the coronavirus pandemic had affected its “plans to comply”. It said production and sales of cars had stalled in many countries and companies were facing a cash crisis. Campaigners described the call as shameless and opportunistic while big German carmakers Daimler, VW, and BMW have already indicated they are aiming to comply regardless. (The Guardian)

Barc’ing up the right tree – UK bank Barclays said it plans to cut its net emissions to zero by 2050 and only provide finance to projects that align with the temperature reduction goals of the Paris Agreement.  It will put the proposal to a shareholder vote in May. That meeting will also see a vote on a separate proposal coordinated by the pressure group ShareAction for the phaseout of financing activities to the most carbon-intensive energy companies. (Bloomberg)

COP watch – The UK Parliament’s cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into the government’s diplomacy efforts around environmental issues, with a particular focus on preparations for the November COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow. The probe will look at how effectively the foreign ministry manages to balance potential tensions between environmental goals and other diplomatic objectives, such as the pursuit of trade deals. Concerns had repeatedly been raised over the UK government’s preparations for the event, even before the coronavirus crisis escalated. (BusinessGreen)

CCS option – Australia’s Woodside Energy last week announced it will postpone investment decisions on three major LNG projects, including the Browse facility, which is expected to emit up to 7 MtCO2e per year at its peak. Woodside CEO Peter Coleman has now told investors that the longer Browse is delayed, the bigger the chance that it may be fitted with CCS equipment from the outset. Currently that would cost around A$100/tCO2e. The reason, according to Boiling Cold, is that some of Woodside’s partners are demanding the company do more to cut carbon from what would be Australia’s most emissions intensive LNG scheme ever.

What are the chances? – North Atlantic Refining’s Come-by-Chance Refinery in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador will be the first to close in North America due to the coronavirus pandemic, as refineries worldwide cut back operations. The company confirmed on Monday that it told stakeholders it was pausing production at the 130,000 bpd facility because of concerns about worker safety as the virus spreads. The decision is likely to lessen Come-by-Chance’s compliance obligations under NL’s output-based pricing system, with the facility having reported GHG output of 1.36 Mt in 2018, according to provincial data. (Reuters)

Capacity contingency – New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities during a Friday meeting told staff to investigate whether New Jersey can achieve its long-term clean energy and environmental goals under wholesale grid operator PJM’s current paradigm, and to examine alternatives to the regional capacity market if not. The investigation comes in response to a Dec. 2019 order from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directing PJM to expand a price floor in its capacity market to counter any price distortions caused by states’ clean energy policies. However, the board thought an expanded minimum offer price rule could disrupt New Jersey’s efforts to shape its electric generation resource base, including its goal of reaching 100% zero-carbon energy by 2050. (S&P Global Platts)

Stealth bailouts – Environmental activists want to make sure a US corporate debt purchasing programme overseen by BlackRock does not turn into “stealth fossil fuel company bailouts,” Politico reports. “The Federal Reserve should not prop up industry destroying the climate and creating further risk to the financial system,” wrote Sierra Club, 350.org, Greenpeace and more than two dozen organizations in a letter Friday to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. The green groups requested more details on how the Fed would ensure BlackRock does not use the Fed’s lending powers, backed by the Treasury Department, to purchase the debt of companies in which it already owns a stake to avoid conflicts of interest. The groups also called for oil and gas companies to be denied bailouts that would interfere with a transition away from fossil fuels.

Launch delay – Verra has delayed the launch of its new registry to Apr. 9 (from Apr. 6) in light of the coronavirus crisis. “We need a bit more time to prepare for in-housing … This change will ensure a smooth transition and a successful start of the new registry,” the organisation said in an email.

And finally… Forest fudging – The Canadian government has been working to push the impact of exploding CO2 emissions from managed forests off the books by weakening carbon accounting rules, according to an op-ed in the National Observer. Over the past several years, Ottawa has stopped reporting on any forest areas that have been heavily impacted by fires, insects, or extreme weather, effectively pushing a quarter of Canada’s managed forest lands – and most of their emissions – off the books. Additionally, the government two years ago switched from reporting the carbon in harvested wood in the years the trees were cut to reporting when the wood is no longer useful to humans, shifting another quarter of the sector’s CO2 emissions from present to future accounting. Canada also implemented a new business-as-usual “reference level” 2030 climate target for managed forests instead of the land-use sector’s 2005 baseline level, allowing the government to claim some 20 million tonnes of credits as the sector’s GHG output increases.

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