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European oil majors should provide greater clarity on the contribution that carbon offsets and CCS will make towards their voluntary climate goals amid doubts over the effectiveness of such a solution, according to a report commissioned by investors and published on Tuesday.
In this latest episode of our Carbon Pulse Conversations podcast, we chat with Owen Hewlett, chief technical officer at The Gold Standard, which is one of the main certifiers of voluntary carbon market projects and an approved standard under the international CORSIA aviation offset scheme.
California’s carbon market floor price is on pace to rise less than 5% in 2021 after year-on-year inflation dipped in April with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the US, according to federal data released Tuesday.
California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) transacted at the WCI floor price on the secondary market for the first time since mid-March on Tuesday, with traders attributing the higher values to increased demand ahead of the Q2 auction.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credit prices rose past the $200 mark on Tuesday for the first time since March, despite some participants cautioning the increase was not supported by market fundamentals.
South Korean carbon allowances fell 8.2% on Tuesday to hit their lowest since early January as the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus continues to bite, casting doubt over the worth of banking permits to next year.
Australia has delayed by a year the transition to new emissions baselines for companies covered by the Safeguard Mechanism as the ongoing coronavirus crisis makes it difficult for emitters to submit new baseline applications in time for the original deadline.
Reducing emissions from Europe’s non-ETS covered sectors, either by expanding the scope of the EU ETS or through a carbon tax, will be challenging but critical for Poland’s energy transformation in particular, experts said on Tuesday.
EUAs dropped to a five-week low below €19 level on Tuesday, breaching technical support that had held for several days as power markets fell on news of delays to French nuclear outages.
Czechia-based utility CEZ on Tuesday reported a ticking over in its hedging during Q1 even as its coal-fired output fell away, while retailer E.On urged Germany to alter its renewables policy to maintain infrastructure investments without causing a spike in consumer bills.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
India drop – India’s CO2 emissions have fallen for the first time in four decades due to an economic slowdown, renewable energy growth, and the impact of Covid-19, according to Carbon Brief analysis. Emissions fell by around 1% in the fiscal year ending Mar. 2020, as coal consumption dipped and oil consumption flatlined. Falling electricity use and competition from renewables had weakened the demand for fossil fuels even before the coronavirus hit, but it was the sudden nationwide lockdown in March that finally tipped the country’s 37-year emissions growth trend into reverse.
Not on board – The conservatives in the German parliament will reject any increase in Germany’s GHG reduction targets without also reopening sensitive talks about burden-sharing at EU level, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported this past weekend. Reducing emissions by 50-55% by 2030 could place an enormous burden on the German economy, the conservative alliance warned in the briefing note. And even though the CDU/CSU recognises that more ambitious climate targets open new opportunities, such a decision would only be acceptable in the event of a new burden-sharing agreement within the EU, it adds. “Our European partners must contribute to achieving the climate target with comparable efforts,” they add, calling on the government not to lose sight of the current emergency situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (EurActiv)
German coal – Coal’s share in Germany’s net public power production fell to around 16% in April 2020, down from 30% a year earlier, as low electricity demand due to the coronavirus and high generation from renewables pushed the fuel out of the market. Meanwhile, carbon allowance and hard coal prices did not fall enough to compete with low gas prices, according to think-tank Fraunhofer ISE’s Energy Charts project, which doesn’t count facilities’ own generation. Lignite plants produced around 4.31 TWh and hard coal plants around 1.31 TWh out of 35 TWh in total power production. Separately, German economy minister Peter Altmaier said he plans to get the country’s coal exit laws passed before the government’s summer break. (Tagesspiegel Background, Clean Energy Wire)
Disposable HEROES – Democrats on the US House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released the 1,815-page Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act as a proposal for the next coronavirus response package. Unlike past COVID-19 relief bills, the HEROES legislation left out any mention of renewable tax credits, aviation carbon offsets and biofuels, and ESG disclosures for companies that receive federal assistance. However, Democrats did include the Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program, which would provide assistance at $0.45/gallon to qualifying producers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). That legislation was released as some 300 businesses prepared to hold a virtual advocacy day on Wednesday for the LEAD on Climate 2020 event. Organised by non-profit organisation Ceres, the companies and investors are calling for climate action as part of economic recovery efforts spanning across the American economy.
Fun in the sun? – The US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management on Monday approved NV Energy’s Gemini solar-plus-storage project, the largest in the country. The 690MW facility, also slated to be the eighth biggest in the world, was rejected under President Obama’s administration under an agreement with conservation groups that protected sensitive desert land from wind and solar development. The Trump administration indicated it would scrap that agreement in Feb. 2018. (Utility Dive)
New pneumatics – The Alberta Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP) on Tuesday published version 2.1 of the Quantification Protocol for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Pneumatic Device. The AEP said the main change to the protocol was removing the end date, aligning the methodology with provincial and federal carbon pricing and methane regulations.
Making up for it – Cosmetics group L’Oreal said it would donate €50 mln towards restoring damaged ecosystems, plus a further €100 mln split between promoting a circular economy and supporting vulnerable women hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. The major carbon offset buyer said that aside from this “L’Oreal For The Future” plan, it would present a new sustainable development programme for 2030 at the end of June. (Reuters)
And finally… Lakefront property – Plans by Swiss technology company and solar panel manufacturer Meyer Burger to build a 10GW floating solar plant on a lake to be left behind by the future closure of Germany’s Hambach coal mine is gaining support from the local scientific community. In an interview with local radio station Radio Rur, Uwe Rau, director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at the Forschungszentrum Juelich research centre, described the company’s proposal in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as “perfect and absolutely feasible”. Noting that it was an ideal situation for the region, Rau said installing solar parks in opencast mines and replacing coal-fired power stations would offer a double advantage. As well, electricity pylons and lines leading away from coal-fired power plants would not have to be dismantled and erected elsewhere. “It also fits in very well in terms of scale: the solar park could generate just as much electricity as all of today’s coal-fired power plants in [North Rhine-Westphalia’s] Rhenish mining district combined.” (Clean Energy Wire)
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