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Sky-high European energy prices must not get in way of the EU’s climate action but rather spur the bloc to accelerate the low-carbon transition, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told the European Parliament on Tuesday.
China is banking on carbon sinks to to help meet its 2060 climate ambitions, but the domestic carbon forestry industry is still struggling with familiar obstacles in the Chinese emissions market: lack of regulatory certainty and lacklustre demand.
Australian oil and gas firm Santos has signed an agreement with the Timor-Leste government to progress with a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the offshore Bayu-Undan gas field, the company announced on Tuesday.
Spain has followed Greece in announcing plans to direct additional revenue from its share of EU carbon permit auctions to support electricity consumers, as power prices across Europe have soared to record levels.
Norwegian voters on Monday threw out its centre-right government after eight years in office, paving the way for a centre-left coalition to take over, but although its policy platform is yet to be negotiated it is unlikely there will be major changes to the nation’s climate and energy policies.
EUAs settled below €60 on Tuesday for the first time in ten days, as more traders concluded that carbon cannot continue to track gas prices higher, with some saying emissions demand may have peaked for the moment after utilities brought coal units back on line to leverage better operating margins.
European steelmakers must accelerate their low-carbon transition as their emissions budget to 2050 nears exhaustion, according to a report published Tuesday that found Turkish and former Soviet producers most at risk of holding stranded assets.
California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) July emissions set a five-year high amid rising power consumption after COVID-19 restrictions were removed, while the monthly CO2 output also soared to its largest level this year.
California’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade floor price expectations for 2022 further narrowed in August as inflation saw its smallest month-on-month gain since December.
Quebec distributed the remainder of its 2020 free carbon market allowance allocation on Tuesday, with the total volume declining slightly year on year, according to data published by the province’s environment ministry.
US oil major Chevron announced goals on Tuesday to ramp up its production of renewable fuels and increase its usage of carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) and offsets.
US biofuel credit (RIN) prices hit a five-month low this week as market participants expect the federal government to release preliminary biofuel quotas under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) after many months of delays.
Mining giant BHP Billiton has begun retiring voluntary carbon credits four years ahead of schedule, a company climate announcement showed on Tuesday, though the firm did not commit to a consistent use of carbon offsets.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Methane mandate – The US and the EU have agreed to aim to cut emissions of methane by around a third by the end of this decade and are pushing other major economies to join them, according to documents seen by Reuters. The biggest cause of climate change after CO2, methane is facing more scrutiny as governments seek solutions to limit global warming to 1.5C, but as atmospheric levels are rising thanks to the growing agriculture and oil and gas industries. In an attempt to jumpstart action, the US and EU later this week will make a joint pledge to reduce human-caused methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared with 2020 levels, according to a draft of the Global Methane Pledge. A separate document listed over two dozen countries that the US and EU will target to join the pledge, including China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, as well as others including Norway, Qatar, Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa. The agreement would likely be unveiled on Friday at a meeting of major emitting economies intended to rally support ahead of the COP26 Glasgow climate summit.
That’s enough – The US, EU, South Korea, and other wealthy nations are moving to forbid their export-financing agencies from supporting coal-fired power projects overseas, in an effort to end government support for a fuel that is one of the world’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases. The proposed ban, which will be made this week at the OECD, is part of the West’s campaign to push China, India, and other big developing countries to take a tough position against coal ahead of COP26. China and India have resisted entreaties by the US and Europe to commit to end subsidies for coal-fired electricity, raising fears that deadlock over the issue could result in the collapse of climate negotiations in Glasgow. (WSJ)
Well, DUH – NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) is filing lawsuits against five German states on behalf of children and young adults over their failure to pass adequate climate protection laws. Lawyers are working alongside citizens of the states Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saarland, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt to try force local governments to pass climate protection laws that are in line with the Paris Agreement or the country’s constitution. “Climate protection isn’t just a federal issue, it is also a state issue,” head lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press release. “All of the states against which we are filing constitutional complaints today are looking even worse in terms of climate protection than at the federal level. These state governments are simply not doing enough. ” Citizens taking part in the lawsuits described feeling “afraid” of what climate change will bring in the future and accused their state governments of “failing” them. The NGO launched similar cases against the states of Bavaria, Brandenburg, and North Rhine-Westphalia at the start of July. (Clean Energy Wire)
Hitachi hits – Industrial group Hitachi has pledged to go carbon neutral across its value chain by 2050, according to Nikkei, becoming one of the first Japanese manufacturing powerhouses to set an ambitious sustainability target that covers an extensive supplier web. Hitachi previously aimed to reduce direct emissions to net zero by 2030, while slashing those from suppliers, customers, and other related companies 80% by 2050 from 2010 levels. The company’s supply chain emitted 110 MtCO2e in 2019, with 96% being Scope 3 emissions. To achieve the upgraded 2050 goal, extensive efforts involving about 30,000 suppliers will be essential.
Bilateral best – India and the US have a major opportunity to work together on climate change in a way that will expand bilateral trade and investment in clean energy products and services, Livemint reports. In New Delhi to launch the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) under the India-US Climate Clean Energy Agenda 2030, climate envoy John Kerry said the US looked forward to partnering with India to bring finances and technology that would help Asia’s third largest economy transition from sources of energy such as coal to greener options. India targets 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
Getting the NAC of it – The New York Stock Exchange said on Tuesday it was co-developing a new tradeable asset class based on sustainable enterprises that hold the rights to ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, produced by natural, working, or hybrid lands. The NYSE, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), said “natural asset companies” (NACs) will be listed and traded on its exchange, “creating a new market whose assets generate trillions of dollars in ecosystem services annually.” Globally, natural assets produce around $125 trillion annually in ecosystem services, like water purification and biodiversity, the NYSE said. It is developing NACs with the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), which pioneered the idea and works with natural asset owners to form and list NACs to convert natural wealth into financial wealth. Investments focused on environmental, social, and governance factors have been in demand, with the assets of ESG-related funds rising 12% to $2.3 trillion from the end of March to late July, according to Morningstar. (Reuters)
The Norway way – Barbados is pursuing what a key official called the “Norwegian model” by exporting oil and gas while cleaning up its own cars and electricity production. The government recently submitted plans to the UN to make 100% of its cars run on electricity or alternative fuels and to get 95% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. “Our vision is that by 2030 most Barbadian homes will have solar PV panels on their roofs and an electric vehicle in their garage,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in December. At the same time, the government is supporting two oil and gas exploration schemes in its Caribbean waters. One is with Australian company BHP and the other is with the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Climate envoy Hugh Sealy said the government planned to support oil and gas production but not use it domestically. “If we find oil and gas offshore, we can’t ignore it but it cannot be used in our domestic economy,” he said. Barbados’s updated climate plan aims to reduce the island state’s emissions, relative to a business as usual projection, 35% by 2030. This rises to 70% if it gets financial support from other countries. (Climate Home)
Another lawsuit – Vermont on Tuesday became the latest state to sue some of the country’s top fossil fuel companies by alleging they misled the public about the impact their products have on climate change. The Green Mountain State wants the companies to tell consumers that the use of fossil fuel products harms the environment, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan said after the lawsuit was filed in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington. The suit names ExxonMobil, Shell, Sunoco, Citgo, and other corporations. (AP)
Conservation cash – Green group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group (TIG) on Tuesday announced an agreement to pursue climate action and conservation on more than $850 mln of timberland assets in the US. TNC will serve as conservation advisor on nearly 215,000 ha managed by TIG across 11 states in the Great Lakes, South, and Pacific Northwest. Among the conservation options, the companies are exploring strategies including supporting habitat restoration and connectivity and generating carbon offsets.
Closing the box – Danish company Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery brand, announced Tuesday that it will cut its emissions by 50% from 2019 levels across its own operations and entire value chain of suppliers and business partners by 2030, and will aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. The target builds on a previous goal to become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2025, reducing emissions by at least 90% from a 2019 baseline (Scope 1-2) while carbon removal mechanisms and offsets will be used to net out the rest. Additionally, Pandora plans to implement energy efficiency and purchase renewable energy for its 1,300 stores and distribution centres. Value chain emissions (Scope 3) will need to fall by 42% by 2030, including emissions from raw materials, packaging, transportation, franchise stores, and other supplier-related sources, where Scope 3 emissions currently account for 80% of the company’s total GHG footprint. The company’s 2020 annual Scope 1 emissions were 1,300 tonnes of CO2e, Scope 2 were at 74,600 tonnes, and Scope 3 were estimated at 0.24 Mt, while it generated sales of €2.5 bln the same year.
SCIENCE & TECH
Hy on heating – Germany should include hydrogen for heating houses in its energy transition to successfully decarbonise the heating sector, gas grid operator umbrella organisation FNB Gas said. Germany’s heating sector still runs on 80% fossil energies and 87% of buildings are not or only partially refurbished to make them more energy efficient, the gas pipeline operators wrote in a press release. Based on a report by Frontier Economics, commissioned by FNB Gas, the highly seasonal demand for heat in Germany could best be covered if peakloads are absorbed by the use of hydrogen. Otherwise these peak events would “massively challenge the electricity system” if heating was solely done electrically. Therefore, some of the wind and PV solar power generated should be turned into hydrogen. The use of hydrogen could also “significantly reduce further electricity grid expansion and associated social acceptance problems,” they said. (Clean Energy Wire)
‘76ers aren’t just for Philadelphia – The number of new coal-fired power projects on the drawing boards globally has shrunk significantly amid a wave of cancellations in recent years, per the climate think-tank E3G. Planned projects have fallen by 76% since late 2015 when the Paris Agreement was struck as governments have endorsed new restrictions, the firm’s new report states. E3G said the shrinking project pipeline is “bringing the end of new coal power construction into sight”, but coal’s hardly on a path consistent with steep emissions cuts needed to avoid letting the Paris goals slip completely out of reach. A number of countries are still planning new projects that risk “locking in high emissions for several decades,” E3G added.
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