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EU heavy industry is lobbying to ensure its allocation of free carbon allowances is maintained once production recovers from massive drops due to the coronavirus outbreak, business sources have told Carbon Pulse.
Offset standard developer and manager Verra is seeking to cut red tape and costs for stakeholders by launching its own registry, becoming the latest US-based organisation to administer its own system.
Chile will aim to peak its GHG emissions in 2025 and set a carbon budget for the coming decade as part of its new Paris Agreement contribution submitted Thursday, and will also start a public-private dialogue on how international emissions trading may help meet those targets.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices ceded previous gains during another hectic week of trading as participants remain wary of how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact WCI emissions, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) maintained their recent bullish trend.
Nova Scotia will offer 640,000 permits in the cap-and-trade programme’s first auction on June 10, the Canadian province’s environment ministry announced Thursday.
At least three large nations have postponed CORSIA deadlines for their airlines to report 2019 emission data due to coronavirus disruptions, even as auditors insisted on Thursday that the checks can be completed with little difficulty.
EUAs hit a fresh one-month high on Thursday but sank back towards €21 in choppy trade following this morning’s auction and as wider markets fluctuated wildly on mixed news.
New Zealand carbon allowances saw a second straight day of gains on Thursday, ending at a high ahead of the Easter break as the market continues to find support above NZ$24.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Unprecedented, but nowhere near enough – A Carbon Brief analysis suggests the coronavirus pandemic could cause emissions cuts this year in the region of 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2. Although this number is necessarily uncertain, countries and sectors not yet included in the analysis can be expected to add to the total. Nevertheless, this tentative estimate is equivalent to more than 4% of the global total in 2019. As a result, the crisis could trigger the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions in 2020, more than during any previous economic crisis or period of war. But even this would not come close to bringing the 1.5C global temperature limit within reach, Carbon Brief adds. “Global emissions would need to fall by more than 6% every year this decade – more than 2,200 MtCO2 annually – in order to limit warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. To put it another way, atmospheric carbon levels are expected to increase again this year, even if CO2 emissions cuts are greater still. Rising CO2 concentrations – and related global warming – will only stabilise once annual emissions reach net-zero.”
Bern out brighter – US Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee. However, Sanders said he will stay on the ballot to collect delegates for the party’s summer convention, and could pursue more climate action pledged on the party platform. The democratic socialist Sanders has criticised the moderate Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate plan for not going far enough to address the scale of the issue, with Sanders having proposed his own $16.3 trillion strategy focused on deep decarbonisation and a strengthening of the Paris Agreement and Green Climate Fund. In response to Sanders’ suspension, a coalition of youth-focused groups wrote to Biden calling for him to adopt the framework of a Green New Deal and prosecute fossil fuel executives and lobbyists “who have criminally jeopardised our generation”. (Politico)
Berlin bounce – Germany’s national Green party lawmakers have called on the government to clarify how it aims to decide the amount of EUAs to cancel under to the country’s coal exit, Clean Energy Wire reports. The economy ministry responded that it was not possible to quantify in advance and would depend on two annual reports from independent experts that the government will decide “in due course” whether to make public. The ministry also reiterated that it will push for a “moderate” EU ETS carbon floor price to create investment planning security whenever an EU-level review begins.
Border overlap – Climate activist investor group IIGCC has warned that EU heavy industry should not be compensated twice for the potential risks of carbon leakage, which it believes could happen if firms win a lobbying effort to maintain their free ETS allocations while the EU introduces a new carbon border adjustment to shield them from outside rivals, Reuters reports. Read Carbon Pulse’s extensive reporting over this past week on how EU industries want the border measure to complement free allocations, how the EU’s neighbours are beginning to show concerns, as well as the EU’s timeline for rolling out the plans.
Green recovery – Ten EU environment ministers have issued an open letter calling for a green recovery as a response to the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic downturn. The statement calls for the EU Commission to move ahead with the European Green Deal and to boost the bloc’s 2030 climate targets, in contrast to ministers from Estonia, Czechia, and Poland who are calling for a rolling back of the green agenda amid the outbreak. (Climate Home)
New job – China’s Environment Minister Li Ganjie on Thursday was appointed deputy Communist Party chief for Shandong province, Reuters reports. A successor to head the ministry has yet to be appointed. The move comes at a challenging time for the department, with environmental concerns widely expected to be set aside as the government seeks to get the economy back on track following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The ministry is also leading the efforts to get the national ETS up and running by the end of the year, though uncertainties remain as to whether that will be possible as the virus crisis is creating difficulties for the preparations.
Shell shock – Royal Dutch Shell’s GHG emissions declined in 2019 to their lowest in four years, according to data provided by the energy company. At the same time, flaring of unused natural gas in Shell’s upstream oil and gas operations rose last year by 13.5% due mostly to an “unanticipated spike” during the start-up of the giant offshore Prelude liquefied natural gas plant in Australia. The Anglo-Dutch energy company has laid out an ambition to halve the carbon intensity of energy products it sells by 2050 from their 2016 levels. Earlier this year, Shell also set short-term targets to reduce its carbon footprint by 3% to 4% from 2016.
Up to the (Car)gills – Global commodities trader Cargill starting this spring will pay American farmers for capturing carbon in their field soils and cutting fertiliser run-off, an executive said. The Soil & Water Outcomes Fund, a partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association and third-party verification company Quantified Ventures, will then sell the environmental credits created to polluters such as cities and companies, including Cargill itself, Ryan Sirolli, Director of Row Crop Sustainability at Cargill, told Reuters. Cargill estimates the practices would prevent run-off of 100,000 pounds of nitrogen and 10,000 pounds of phosphorus this year and sequester 7,500 tonnes of carbon in soils, equivalent to taking 1,480 cars off the road.
And finally… Of all that is good and holy – Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus may be one of “nature’s responses” to people around the world ignoring the harsh consequences of climate change. Asked about whether he thought the pandemic was an opportunity for an ecological conversion and a reassessment of priorities and lifestyles, the Pope stressed that society has not responded to “partial catastrophes” stemming from the climate crisis. “Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted?” he asked during an interview with the Catholic weekly The Tablet. “Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.” (The Hill)
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