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Analysts expect prices to hit and potentially exceed $10/tonne for CORSIA-eligible voluntary emissions reductions (VERs) within months, despite urging caution over how the voluntary market will develop in the coming years.
Voluntary carbon market (VCM) investments risk being hindered by a focus on buying carbon removals and a push to insist that companies require their offsets to include corresponding adjustments, a conference heard on Thursday.
Governments should refrain from interfering in the EU ETS as part of efforts to deal with the jump in energy prices, the European Commission is expected to say next week when it unveils a ‘toolbox’ of emergency measures to help member states.
EUA prices bounced off technical support at a six-week low below €58 on Thursday after the previous session’s 9% plunge, while peripheral European energy markets continued to weaken amid significant volatility.
German utility RWE held its place as the biggest corporate emitter in the EU ETS last year, amid a major drop-off in CO2 output among the market’s major polluters, a report found Thursday.
Two companies secured around 6.5 million, or 57%, of the NZUs sold at last month’s record-breaking New Zealand carbon auction, regulator data showed Thursday.
Two Australian firms on Thursday signed an agreement to deploy and scale up a carbon credit-funded direct air capture (DAC) project that is expected to begin sequestering GHG emissions in 2024.
Australia-headquartered miner BHP has announced its first carbon neutral copper transaction with Southwire, a US copper cable and wire manufacturer, the company announced on Thursday.
Japanese trading house Mitsui and Cambodia’s environment ministry have begun procedures to get the first REDD project registered under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, expecting to earn some 4.2 million carbon credits by 2030.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) and RGGI Allowance (RGA) values set consecutive all-time highs in recent days on the continued strength of speculative involvement in the North American cap-and-trade programmes, though both markets saw prices retrace mid-week as European gas and carbon experienced a downturn.
CO2 output from the California Independent System Operator dropped slightly in August, though continued low levels of hydropower deprived the state of a low-carbon resource, according to data posted Thursday.
UN body ICAO must respond to more ambitious climate goals from countries and industry for its CORSIA programme to remain the sole market-based mechanism for global air travel and avoid a patchwork system of multiple carbon pricing policies, a panel heard Thursday.
Airlines’ communications around carbon credits are “misleading” from close to half of all carriers, academic researchers examining greenwashing found, although the study’s methodology included strict criteria about avoiding vague or irrelevant language in offset advertisements.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has outlined a pathway for reducing global methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 75% by 2030 in a report released on Thursday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Transition security – The use of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia in fossil fuel power plants can play a key role in maintaining energy security during the transition to greener power, the head of the IEA told a virtual conference held by Japan’s industry ministry on Wednesday, according to Reuters. IEA chief Fatih Birol told the International Conference on Fuel Ammonia that co-firing hydrogen and ammonia from low-carbon sources would cut emissions from existing fossil fuel plants, giving more flexibility in the energy transition. “This will be especially important for countries with young thermal fleets and limited access to other low-carbon resources, such as countries in East and Southeast Asia,” he said, as the agency issued its latest report on low-carbon fuels.
Dubai doing better – The UAE has become the first Gulf petro-state to commit to fully decarbonise its economy and reach net zero emissions, with leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum setting a goal of 2050. Maktoum pledged to invest 600 mln dirhams ($163 bln) in “clean and renewable” energy until 2050. The UAE previously committed to reduce its emissions 23.5% by 2030 compared to a BAU baseline and to get 50% of its electricity from renewables and nuclear by 2050. UAE is hoping to host the COP28 climate talks in 2023, with only South Korea putting in a rival bid so far. (Climate Home)
More data – The EU wants to create indicators to measure its transition away from fossil fuels and add them to its economic databases as the region changes gears in a fight with climate change. “It is high time that our dashboards focus not only on GDP growth, public deficits, or inflation but also on the green transition,” EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told a conference on sustainable investment in Brussels on Thursday. The bloc will develop a set of statistics on the ambitious Green Deal strategy to monitor its progress on the way to its overarching goal of reaching net zero GHGs by 2050, he said. That will include quarterly carbon emissions data, which now are published on an annual basis with a delay of around half a year. (Bloomberg)
In session – Courts and tribunals across England and Wales are going green thanks to a £40 mln government investment to cut their carbon emissions. This includes reducing their consumption of fossil fuels by installing solar electricity panels at a number of buildings across the estate, as well as updating lighting, heating and air conditioning systems to ensure they are energy efficient. In addition, electric vehicle charging points are being rolled out to more buildings to encourage carbon-friendly travel. This action will help to reduce the emissions generated by courts by 10% – saving approximately 6,000 tonnes of carbon by 2025. It comes after four new ‘net zero ready’ prisons were confirmed recently by ministers, designed to prevent the emission of 280,000 tonnes of CO2 and cut energy demand by half.
Speaking of prison… – Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service has demanded unconditional prison sentences of up to three years against six suspects in an investigation into the conversion of unsustainable biodiesel to sustainable biodiesel. The case was initiated because the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa) filed a report with the Service in 2015 in response to serious suspicions of fraud. In the Netherlands, the NEa supervises the suppliers who bring biofuels to the market. The Public Prosecution Service blames the suspects heavily for the social unrest and damage caused by the fraud. In addition, by committing fraud on this scale, the suspects have nullified a substantial part of the CO2 reduction that is sought through the use of sustainable biodiesel. “As a result, achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement and combating climate change has been violated purely for personal gain,” the NEa said. The main suspect, the CEO of the biodiesel company from Kampen, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in an earlier case from 2019. In addition, sentences are also sought against other employees of this company.
Line my pockets with coal – Democrats continue to advance their plan to boost CCS tax credits in a move that they hope will help secure support for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, two anonymous sources told Reuters on Thursday. The plan would see the ’45Q’ federal CCS credit for geological storage boosted to $85/tonne of captured carbon and eliminate minimum requirements to participate. The deal is supported by Sen. Joe Manchin (D), whose vote in favour of the budget bill will be critical in the evenly divided Senate, and represents the large coal-producing state of West Virginia. Manchin had pushed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to allow coal and natural gas burning power plants to be provided with incentives for CCS in the reconciliation bill. Democrats are also trying to reverse Manchin’s opposition to the Clean Energy Payment Program (CEPP) that would reward utilities that add more than 4% clean energy capacity annually to their portfolios while providing financial penalties on those that do not – to the tune of $40/MWh. Critics say Manchin’s rejection of the CEPP policy is protecting the coal and natural gas industry in his home state as well as his personal pocketbook. Manchin founded the private coal brokerage Enersystems in 1988 and still owns a big stake in the company, which his son currently runs.
Brainiacs – The US Federal Reserve should advance efforts to assess big banks’ exposure to financial risks related to climate change, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said Thursday. Brainard said the Fed, which oversees the country’s largest banks, is developing scenario analysis tools to model the economic risks of climate change and assess the resilience of the entire financial system. She also signalled the Fed will provide supervisory guidance on climate change to help banks mitigate their exposure. (CNBC)
Help us help them – Alaska Gasline Development Corp (AGDC) said on Thursday that its proposed LNG export project would reduce GHGs in Asia by allowing power generators to use a cleaner fuel than coal. The state-owned LNG and pipeline developer released a study concluding that overall emissions from Alaska LNG would be 50% less than burning Chinese regional coal, reducing CO2 emissions by 77 Mt per year. The study, produced by energy and environmental experts from EXP, SLR Consulting, and ALG (Ashworth Leininger Group), also showed that Alaska LNG had a lower GHG intensity than other LNG export projects on the US Gulf Coast and Australia. “When you look at the environmental benefits achieved by completing our project, it strengthens our position,” Frank Richards, president of AGDC, told Reuters. AGDC is developing the $38.7 bln Alaska LNG project, which includes a liquefaction facility on the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska and a proposed 807-mile pipeline that would move gas currently stranded in northern Alaska across the state.
CAPP in hand – Oil and gas companies have asked the Canadian government to design a tax credit to pay for 75% of the cost to build carbon capture facilities that will curb GHG emissions, the country’s main energy industry group said on Thursday. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) made the request in August to the Department of Finance just before the federal election campaign, setting the tax credit at a level high enough to provide an economic return, Ben Brunnen, CAPP’s Vice-President of Oil Sands, told Reuters. Carbon capture facilities are expected to be a key part of global efforts to contain emissions from fossil fuels production. Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and has a set a goal of generating net zero emissions by 2050.
Hart-less – Australia’s richest woman, iron ore billionaire Gina Rinehart, has said humans do not cause global warming and warned against climate change “propaganda” in a speech to students at her old school, The Age reports. Rinehart said the students at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls, located in a leafy upmarket suburb of Perth, were “overwhelmed by media and propaganda” regarding climate change and urged them to “research for the facts”. Rinehart said the girls should consider influences such as the sun’s orbit, volcanoes, and “other scientific facts that I had the benefit of learning when I was at school”. She said that as the globe had heated and cooled before humans were on the planet, global warming was not caused by humans.
Wash it out – Around 90 climate groups have written to UN Special Envoy Mark Carney and placed ads in the Financial Times and Toronto Star, urging him “to stop greenwashing financial institutions that continue to invest in expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.” While his work to convene financial institutions to take climate actions is laudable, Carney is “facilitating the watering down of net zero rules for finance,” the climate groups said, “as his green alliances fail to adopt the latest International Energy Agency (IEA) findings on net zero emissions.” Members of the alliances have continued supporting companies expanding coal, oil, and gas industries, with civil society arguing that this must end for the alliances to be fit for purpose. The groups are asking the former Governor of the Banks of England and Canada to integrate the findings of the IEA into the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which sets guidelines for the investors, banks, and insurers who have joined to show their commitment to net zero emissions. (City AM)
Mars attacks – Mars has pledged to reach net zero emissions across its full value chain by 2050 to align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increases by 1.5C. The maker of M&M’s and Skittles candies and Ben’s Original rice said this will include indirect emissions from agriculture to suppliers to the consumers of its product. Mars also reaffirmed its commitment to regenerative agriculture, as well as providing carbon credits for any emissions that the company can’t neutralise. (Utility Dive)
Denying doesn’t pay – Google and YouTube on Thursday announced a new policy that prohibits climate deniers from being able to monetise their content on its platforms via ads or creator payments. Axios called it one of the most aggressive measures any major tech platform has taken to combat climate change misinformation. Google advertisers and publishers, as well as YouTube creators, will be prohibited from making ad revenue off content that contradicts “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” the company’s ads team said in a statement. “This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.” Ads and monetisation will still be allowed to run alongside other climate-related topics, like public debates on climate policy, impacts of climate change, and new research around the issue. Google said it’s making these changes in response to frustration from advertisers and content creators about their messages appearing alongside climate denialism. Google says it will use a combination of automated tools and human review to enforce the new policy, which will start being enforced next month.
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