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France will seek this week to convince EU nations to adopt a carbon price floor and to strengthen the Emissions Trading System’s MSR, teeing up an early test of the bloc’s resolve on climate ambition in the face of coronavirus concerns.
Switzerland will reopen its emissions trading registry in mid-May following a two-month closure, and with it the country’s EU-linked carbon market, the government said Monday, also announcing an extension to this year’s compliance deadline and the dates for the next allowance auction.
EUAs fell back towards €20 on Monday despite signs that Europe’s economy may have hit a bottom after weeks of stifling virus containment measures.
(Updates from Friday with government confirmation that the industry CO2 tax is intended to start in 2021, further details)
Countries should update their Paris emission pledges this year even as the annual UN climate summit is postponed and the world grapples with the coronavirus crisis, Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulz said on Monday.
Companies may see the cost of removing GHG emissions through direct air capture (DAC) technologies bottom out at $100 per tonne in the near term, according to experts, even as some entities say they can realise cheaper abatement opportunities.
Virginia environmental justice (EJ) organisations have labelled a recently-passed climate bill inadequate despite it setting a 100% carbon-free power sector goal and allowing the state to join the RGGI ETS, while Governor Ralph Northam (D) removed the final hurdle to link with the US Northeast cap-and-trade programme next year.
California regulator ARB does not yet have a timeline for the next rulemaking process that will alter future power and industrial sector allocations under the state’s ETS, with some sources saying the state could wait until the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is known.
NZUs rose 20 cents to their highest since mid-March on Monday as the nation prepared to ease restrictions in place over the past five weeks, including sending the forestry industry back to work.
China’s Guangdong province sold out all 400,000 CO2 allowances on offer at Monday’s auction, with bid interest almost eight times higher than the volume available.
In the latest Carbon Pulse Conversations podcast, we speak to Megan Boutwell, vice president of operations at US-based consultancy Stillwater Associates, about the coronavirus-related impacts on the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and neighbouring transportation sector clean fuels markets.
Job listings this week
- Program Officer, American Carbon Registry, Winrock International – Arlington, Virginia/Remote
- Forestry Program Officer, American Carbon Registry, Winrock International – Arlington, Virginia/Remote
- REDD+ Program Officer, Architecture for REDD+ Transactions, Winrock International – Arlington, Virginia/Remote
- Senior Vice President, Climate Change, WWF – Washington DC
- Head of Climate Action, Vertis Environmental Finance – Madrid
- Carbon Footprinting Consultant, Engie Impact – London
- Project Manager, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House – London
- Junior Registry Manager, South Pole – Medellin/Bogota
Or click here to see all our job adverts
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Corona presidency – The next presidency of the Council of the EU, to be held by Germany between July and December, will be marked by the recovery from the coronavirus crisis but will not lose sight of climate and environment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video statement. She added that while Berlin is in the process of adapting its agenda and priorities for the six-month presidency to the COVID-19 outbreak, it will push for important climate initiatives such as a joint carbon market for aircraft and ships, hinting at the idea that the country supports the inclusion of maritime emissions in the EU ETS.
Ready, steady… – The Shanghai exchange set to host carbon trading in China’s national emissions trading market is ready to launch pilot trading, an expert review meeting has decided. The Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange has been developing the trading platform for several years and said over the weekend it is nearing the end of the work, in time for the planned start of the national ETS before year-end. However, without being connected to the as-yet unfinished registry, the bourse will initially function mainly as an OTC market, with contracts having to be signed manually and numbers on the screen being indicative, sources say. The registry will be hosted by the Hubei carbon exchange and is likely to only be completed towards the end of 2020.
Summer setback – The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the US EPA’s plans to ease carbon emission limits for newly built power plants, the agency revealed in a court filing on Friday. The EPA in 2018 proposed raising the limit for any coal plants that may be built in the future, eliminating an Obama-era requirement for partial CCS for such projects, though the change isn’t expected to prompt utilities to build new coal capacity. The EPA now expects to send the package to the White House Office of Management and Budget in early summer and take final action on the proposed rule shortly after. (Politico)
Bad basin – Methane emissions from the largest oilfield in the US were more than twice the amount estimated by federal regulators, new research shows. A study published last week in the journal Science Advances found that 3.7% of all gas extracted from the Permian Basin, which spreads across Texas and New Mexico and from which more than one-third of US crude oil is extracted, is leaked into the air – a rate around 60% higher than the national average leakage rate. The study author said the figure marks the highest emissions ever measured from a major US oil and gas basin. (Climate Nexus)
Meth deal – Alberta is “extremely close” to taking control of its methane emission regulations from the federal government, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said, weeks after Saskatchewan reached a similar agreement with Ottawa, The movement represents a significant step for Canada’s largest oil-producing province, the Globe & Mail reports. It has wrestled with the federal government for years to secure equivalency of its methane emission-reduction regulations, which propose a 45% reduction of 2014 levels by 2025. A key part of Alberta’s plan for that exemption is to direct funding from its large-emitter carbon tax toward methane-reduction technology, and use financial incentives to encourage industry to get on board.
Squad SDG goals – The Colombian arm of green group Conservation International and project developer ALLCOT on Friday announced a new alliance. The partnership will see the organisations develop projects under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the press release noting the potential of the South American country’s carbon market. Colombian companies subject to the country’s roughly $4/tonne CO2 tax can utilise domestically sourced credits to fulfil their obligations, though administrative bottlenecks have recently slowed the number of offsets cancelled against the carbon levy.
And finally… Pump n’ burn – By this Friday, Russia has to find ways to cut a fifth of its oil output under an OPEC+ deal to tackle the market glut, and companies are looking at all options including repairing wells, abandoning them entirely, and even burning oil, industry sources told Reuters. Last week, the Russian energy ministry told oil companies to cut their production by a fifth to 8.5 million barrels per day to meet the deal, with companies now targeting mainly mature fields where production is falling anyway. But some are reluctant to curb production because it may be difficult to restart it, and could instead burn the oil it extracts. “It’s true that demand is low but this is not a reason to put a lock on the fields: sometimes it is better to pump and (even) burn,” one source said. “Remember how oil production nearly halved in the USSR? It took a decade to restore it back.”
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