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The voluntary carbon market is making plans to secure its future as the postponement of intergovernmental climate talks ensures the UN Paris Agreement era will begin without rules on global emissions trade.
Pennsylvania has put forth an initial carbon budget of 78 million tons for its draft power sector ETS, as a RGGI-aligned programme would force coal power offline but still keep natural gas supplying over half of the state’s electricity through 2030, according to an analysis published Thursday.
California Carbon Allowances (CCA) continued to rise on the secondary market this week as prices oscillated around the $16.00 mark, while RGGI Allowances (RGAs) dropped on relatively thin volume.
New Zealand’s independent Climate Change Commission will review the nation’s ambition level under the Paris Agreement, its climate change minister said Thursday after submitting an updated NDC to the UN without ratcheting up the 2030 target.
EUAs bounced back above €21 in rocky trade early on Wednesday after prices held a key technical support level and absorbed a bumper auction, and as wider financial markets rallied.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Biden build-up – Former US Vice President Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, will increase his $1.7 trillion climate change spending plan to address the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus fallout, a campaign official told Politico. The news comes after Biden on Wednesday laid out nine “key elements” of his clean energy plan and also pledged to “hold polluters accountable”, saying he will direct the EPA and Justice Department to pursue cases against polluters to the fullest extent permitted by law and signalled he could seek legislation to hold corporate executives personally accountable. In addition to securing Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s endorsement on Wednesday, Biden also won the backing of former Vice President Al Gore.
Presidential press – Poland could hit net zero emissions by 2050 and should be part of the EU Green Deal to help achieve that goal, according to Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska of Civic Platform, who is trailing incumbent Andrzej Duda in the country’s presidential race. Duda’s ruling PiS government is the only holdout among 27 EU member states to commit to the 2050 EU net zero goal. The presidential election takes place May 10, but the coronavirus pandemic has raised doubts over whether it can go ahead. (Reuters)
Opposed in Oslo – The board of Norway’s Equinor has rejected all shareholder climate resolutions, including one asking to set more ambitious emission reduction targets, the company said in a notice to the annual shareholders’ meeting published on Thursday. In February, the oil company announced plans to reduce its net carbon intensity by at least 50% by 2050, for the first time including so-called Scope 3 emissions, or emissions from the use of its products, which is the bulk of Equinor’s emissions. However, Follow This – a group representing about 5,400 green-minded shareholders in oil and gas companies – said the ambition fell short of actions required to keep global warming at well below 2C, proposing a motion for Equinor’s AGM on May 14. Equinor’s board also rejected shareholder resolutions calling to stop exploring for oil, selling its assets abroad, splitting the company into two parts – one for oil and gas production and one for renewable energy – and phasing out petroleum production by 2040. (Reuters)
Coal still not clean – The Australian government earlier this year awarded Shine Energy A$4.4 mln to do a feasibility study on constructing a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland as part of a ‘technology neutral’ push to safeguard the nation’s energy security. The plant would be located in Collinsville, but sources familiar with the work done on the submission so far have told the Guardian that the facility’s carbon intensity would equal that of plants built 15-20 years ago, casting doubt over the project’s future.
Bootstraps – China’s Hubei province was the world’s first region to suffer from the coronavirus, and the drastic measures eventually implemented to control the spread caused the provincial GDP to drop 39% year-on-year in Q1. But the provincial government has now issued its climate change action plan for 2020, insisting it will strive to meet its carbon intensity target as imposed by Beijing despite its economic troubles, and also pledged to finalise work this year on the registry for the national ETS, which the province will host. It also said local industry will finalise 2019 compliance under the regional ETS by the end of the year, and for good measure added it would continue to develop the Hubei carbon market, including improving the MRV system.
SGRR stretch – The Alberta Ministry of Environment and Parks on Thursday extended the 2019 reporting deadline under the Specified Gas Reporting Regulation (SGRR) to July 31 from June 1 in response to possible coronavirus-related difficulties. In a letter from Alberta environment minister Jason Nixon, the department said the decision aligns with the federal environment ministry’s move to extend its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program deadline to the same date. Alberta already extended the 2019 compliance deadline for the outgoing large emitter trading programme, the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (CCIR), to June 30 from Mar. 31.
Brussels bods – Carbon trading business association IETA has hired Adam Berman as its acting EU policy head, covering for Julia Michalak who is on maternity leave. Berman has previously worked as an analyst for an energy company and at the UK Parliament for the Labour Party.
And finally… Two thumbs down – Environmental experts have panned the new documentary from executive producer Michael Moore and director and narrator Jeff Gibbs for trashing renewable energy as a key solution in the fight against climate change. Planet of the Humans, which was released on the internet on Earth Day, takes a contrarian view of renewables and casts the industry as no better than fossil fuels, and environmental groups as sleek corporate outfits in bed with the billionaires helping kill the planet. Gizmodo’s Earther says the film is “deeply flawed in both its premise, proposed solutions, and who gets to voice them”. The movie’s central thesis is that we are on the brink of extinction and have been sold a damaged bill of goods about all forms of renewable energy by environmental groups motivated by profit. Essentially, the argument is we’re all dirty and the stain will never come out no matter how hard we try. Experts say it’s difficult to take the film seriously on any topic when it botches the facts so thoroughly, in some cases examining the clean energy industry from a decade ago rather than now. As well, it seems to promote eugenics and ecofascism as more viable solutions to the climate crisis.
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