CP Daily: Tuesday July 28, 2020

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*TOP STORY* Brussels mulls aviation and maritime fuel taxes to spur ‘green’ recovery
The European Commission is considering whether to end the bloc’s exemption to taxing aviation and shipping fuels as part of an overhaul to EU Energy Taxation Directive (ETD).
*EMEA* EU Market: Prices rebound 3% as selling seen exhausted, buyers stock up ahead of supply cuts
EUAs rallied by 3% on Tuesday afternoon after holding above €25 for a second straight day, reversing some of the previous session’s 5% drop as wider markets steadied amid hopes of more government stimulus measures. Spain’s Endesa reports 84% drop in H1 coal-fired output as phaseout plans advance
Spanish utility Endesa reported a major drop in H1 coal-fired power generation in its financial results on Tuesday, amid earlier-than-expected shutdowns of nearly half of the country’s fleet of coal plants.
*AMERICAS* California forest offset developers seek improved invalidation guidance, project area changes
California’s Compliance Offset Protocol Task Force (OPTF) should recommend changes to invalidation language in the state’s compliance forestry protocol and allow initiatives to add or remove project areas in its report to regulator ARB on possible programme amendments, according to nearly a dozen developers. Former RGGI executive tapped to lead work on Oregon climate policies
A former RGGI executive director has been hired by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as the state develops a cap-and-reduce programme and a more stringent clean fuel standard under a gubernatorial order.
*INTERNATIONAL* Global commodities firm launches AI-powered solution for ‘private wire’, carbon-neutral energy
A global commodities firm has launched an AI-powered business to offer industry and SMEs a low-cost path to achieving ‘private wire’ energy supply and net zero emissions.
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*BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD*
*Roadmaps required ­–* Policymakers are underestimating the challenge posed by phasing out coal , with detailed roadmaps needed to carefully plan plant retirements and accompanied by a range of policy measures and funding to support affected workers and communities, a group of leading energy experts have warned. In a new research paper published in the journal Nature, the authors – which comprise 13 experts and academics from the UK, Germany, India, Australia, and the US – outline the scale of the challenge involved in weaning the world off coal. While the power sector must stop using the fuel without CCS within 30 years in order to achieve global climate targets, the research points out that coal combustion still accounts for 40% of global CO2 emissions from energy use, with demand still growing in China, India, and other populous Asian countries. (BusinessGreen)
*Eye in the sky –* Huge plumes of methane spewed from energy infrastructure and coal mines at least 790 times last year, according to satellite-based technology that for the first time allows the tracking of major leaks of the powerful contributor to climate change. The ability to measure methane – a potent but invisible GHG – and pinpoint the exact cause has traditionally been difficult. It is dependent on company disclosures, best-guess industry estimates, and localised tracking using ground sensors and specially commissioned aerial surveys with planes and helicopters. But by using satellite data from the European Space Agency, energy consultancy Kayrros said it can now automatically detect and attribute large sources of methane to create an independent global tracking system for these emissions. (The Financial Times)
*A nuclear record *- French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off the five-year assembly phase of the world’s largest nuclear fusion project on Tuesday, in a ceremony attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, among others. The €20 bln Iter project will replicate the reactions that power the sun and is intended to demonstrate fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale, The Guardian reports . Nuclear fusion releases vast amounts of energy when heavy hydrogen atoms fuse together, but this requires a temperature of 150 mln degrees Celsius – 10 times hotter than the core of the sun. As with conventional nuclear energy, nuclear fusion does not produce any GHG emissions. As well, fusion reactors cannot meltdown and produce much less radioactive waste.
*Payback time* – A new study in Nature Energy has found that UK offshore wind farms are set to be the first in the world to pay money back to consumers following dramatic price declines for power generation. A steep drop in the cost of offshore wind power, coupled with a slight rise in wholesale power prices, will likely mean the newest wind farms coming online in the UK will operate with “negative subsidies” – meaning they will effectively be paying the government to generate power. (Carbon Brief)
*IEA watch -* French oil major Total’s plans for a $20 bln gas project in Mozambique are one example of how oil and gas companies use International Energy Agency forecasts to justify investments in fossil fuels. The agency has become increasingly supportive of clean energy, yet it continues to appeal to its oil-producing funders, ducking hard questions about the endgame for dirty energy. (Climate Home)
*Weak in review – *The US EPA’s internal watchdog is opening a probe into how the agency wrote controversial rules that weakened Obama-era carbon emissions standards for cars and light trucks. The EPA inspector general said the office will explore whether the rules met transparency and record-keeping requirements and “followed the EPA’s process for developing final regulatory actions.” The prior rules would have required roughly 5% annual efficiency improvements through the mid-2020s, while the rewritten standards finalised this year mandate 1.5% year-over-year gains. (Axios)
*Border justice -* Carbon border taxes are unjust , according to Arvind Ravikumar, director of the sustainable energy development lab at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania. He writes that although reasonable at face value, unilateral carbon border adjustments merely represent the latest form of economic imperialism and are antithetical to the principles of equity enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Without buy-in from countries like India and China, carbon border adjustments risk becoming a climate-based sanctions regime. (MIT Technology Review)
*And finally… You shall go to the ball – *Nature-based climate mitigation projects have been the long-neglected “Cinderella of climate mitigation”, according to former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres in the Financial Times’ Investing in Nature special report . “We do need a carbon market [for nature], and we need to have it with integrity, and with impact,” Figueres added. Carbon Pulse has extensively tracked the rapid rise of nature-based projects in the voluntary carbon market over the past two years.
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