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The European Parliament endorsed on Wednesday controversial EU plans to label some nuclear and natural gas plants as climate-friendly investments.
New Zealand’s agriculture sector is on track to implement a basic independent carbon pricing system by 2025, however at this stage it is unclear if the government could actually manage such a scheme, according to the independent Climate Change Commission (CCC).
As an increasing number of regional and local governments in China seeking to establish forest carbon projects, some districts are experiencing problems with scammers trying to reap the benefits.
Japanese-owned forestry firm New Forests on Wednesday launched a programme that will utilise carbon markets and timber sales to incentivise farmers in Tasmania to grow trees.
A company that was forced to suspend trading and issuing a new voluntary carbon credit standard last week, just a day after launch, has now resumed service despite continuing to disregard additionality issues in its methodology.
Private equity firm Blackstone is investing $400 million through its Energy Partners arm into carbon commodities platform Xpansiv, the companies announced Wednesday.
A European NGO warned against the pitfalls of net zero portfolio pledges, and offered recommendations for financial and non-financial segments to achieve carbon neutrality in the real economy in a scathing report.
Exchange operator AirCarbon (ACX) on Wednesday announced plans to host an auction for its first VER issuance of a Brazil landfill VCM project.
The GER standardised voluntary carbon contract is being offered to individuals in smaller clips and initially at cost, its backers said on Wednesday, three weeks after launching to corporate buyers.
A Canadian waste management project developed with Bluesource was given a low grading by an offset ratings firm this week, with three other activities also awarded ratings for the first time.
The director of nature-based solutions at Toronto-based carbon consultancy ClearBlue Markets is leaving after nine months on the job.
Attractive margins, tight hydro supply, and weak nuclear output, sent European coal generation soaring over H1 2022, driving EU ETS power sector emissions 7% higher year-on-year, with analysts expecting full-year totals to surpass pre-pandemic levels as fundamentals favour burning the black stuff.
EUAs ended near flat after spending time in both positive and negative territory on Wednesday, as participation continued to dwindle into the summer holiday season, while energy markets extended their recent rally even after the outlook for gas supply improved after a Norwegian labour strike was ended.
Chemicals firm Air Products has signed a deal with Vitol’s UK power generator VPI to develop the ‘H3’ Humber Hydrogen Hub, an 800 MW blue hydrogen production facility in Immingham.
The UK’s energy security bill published Wednesday did not mention the country’s 2024 coal phaseout date as utility Drax added to the coal facilities agreeing to continue beyond September.
Oil and gas major Shell has made a final investment decision to build what will be Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant once it becomes operational in 2025, the company announced on Wednesday.
The European Commission has launched a call for experts in carbon removals to form part of an expert group to advise on policy initiatives and legislation concerning both nature-based and industrial removals.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by environmental groups against the Dutch subsidiary of Air France KLM over its ‘Fly Responsibly’ advertisement campaign could prove pertinent to other airlines’ plans to offset emissions, or even to the sector’s ambitions under the UN’s CORSIA offsetting scheme.
Pennsylvania opened RGGI compliance accounts for regulated parties on Wednesday as the state entered the regional power sector cap-and-trade programme on July 1, according to CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) data.
The risks of non-additionality of conservatively-issued High Forest, Low Deforestation carbon credits pale in comparison to the risks of losing the world’s remaining expanses of intact forests, argues the board of ART TREES crediting programme in response to recent views that such credits should not be allowed for use to offset emissions by airlines under CORSIA because they are not additional.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Club dead – The concept of an international carbon club of nations which agree to cooperate on higher climate policy standards could lose drive before it is even launched due to the increasingly volatile political climate in the USA, writes Handelsblatt. The carbon club idea, which was pushed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the recent G7 summit in Bavaria, clashes with the US Supreme Court’s ruling on curbing federal influence on the states’ emissions reduction policies. The unity demonstrated at the G7 summit could vanish quickly, as the US gears up for its midterm elections this year and the beginning of presidential campaigns in 2023. “The consequences are devastating, also for the EU … Diplomats in Brussels tremble when they start thinking of the America that emerges from the coming presidential elections,” which could bring a return of far-right and anti-climate action ex-President Donald Trump, while incumbent President Joe Biden has so far failed to consolidate US climate policy. The planned introduction of an EU carbon border adjustment tax could also end up becoming a source of conflict with the US, rather than a foundation for cooperation, the piece adds. G7 leaders agreed during their summit in the Bavarian Alps to establish a carbon club by the end of 2022. (Clean Energy Wire)
Sunak scrapped – A mooted windfall tax on UK power generators could be delayed or scrapped entirely after Chancellor Rishi Sunak resigned on Tuesday, according to utilities analysts. The UK Treasury, which was still considering the policy as recently as mid-June, had been criticised for creating uncertainty in the energy market by dragging its heels on the proposals after reports hit the share prices of generators, Bloomberg reported. Sunak has already set out clear plans for a tax on oil and gas producers, though has since met with industry to discuss their concerns. Any leadership contest is likely to delay new legislation, “be it windfall taxes or structural reform of the power market,” said Citigroup analyst Jenny Ping in a note. “It could also change the political narrative all together, for good or bad for the sector.” As the UK government is rocked by a flurry of high-profile resignations including Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, for now MPs holding key climate-related positions within PM Boris Johnson’s cabinet are expected to stay. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and environment secretary George Eustice are both seen remaining in their roles, with other important roles being filled as the UK is striving towards a net zero target that needs to be financed through a realignment of the economy. Some British edia notes that new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has historically voted against green legislation, but as education minister did lead a scheme to embed climate awareness into the national curriculum for UK schools. (Carbon Brief)
Coal comeback – The reactivation of mothballed coal plants in Germany – in response to the energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine – could include old lignite-fired power stations which do not meet emissions limits and other environmental requirements that normally would prohibit continuing their operations. Plants in the so-called security reserve should be made exempt from these requirements, plant operator LEAG recently demanded, as retrofitting the old installations would take too much time. Germany’s economy and climate ministry will ultimately have to decide on the conditions for a return of individual plants, which might lead to a split of coal plants in two categories, lignite and hard coal, the article says. (Tagesspiegel Background/Clean Energy Wire)
Nearly near – Germany’s ruling parties have dropped the target of “near 100% renewables” in the power grid by 2035 but agreed on more favourable conditions for solar PV and strict wind power expansion targets for laggard states in their final negotiations on the country’s landmark 2022 energy transition reforms. Parliamentarians of the government coalition reached a compromise on the over 20 laws and ordinances that needed changing to launch what the government hopes will initiate a new renewables boom to reach climate targets and reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. Ready to be voted on Thursday, the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) still states that the country aims to achieve a share of 80% renewables in power consumption by 2030 and wants to have a greenhouse gas neutral power system after the completion of the coal exit”. (Clean Energy Wire)
State scoop – France will fully nationalise utility EDF, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Wednesday. EDF is already 84% state-owned and is one of Europe’s biggest utilities and sits at the heart of France’s nuclear strategy, which the government is banking on to blunt the impact of soaring energy prices exacerbated by the prospect of an abrupt halt to Russian gas supplies. (Reuters)
Climate cash – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UK government have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a £107 mln ($134 mln) trust fund to support efforts by Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to scale up green financing and shift to low-emission, climate-resilient development. The UK–ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) Trust Fund will leverage UK and ADB funds to accelerate a pipeline of low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure projects and catalyse financing from public and private capital sources. The fund will be part of the ASEAN Green Recovery Platform launched at COP26 (ADB).
It’s all about the batteries – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has received a huge response to its offer of A$100 mln in grant funding for ‘advanced’ grid scale battery projects, which are considered essential for the transition towards a 100% renewables grid, Reneweconomy reports. A shortlist of 12 projects representing more than 3 GW in capacity and 7 GWh of storage has been finalised from more than 54 proposals. ARENA says the response “far exceeded expectations,” and underscores the huge development pipeline of Australian big battery storage projects. Funding will be provided for at least three projects and the shortlisted projects have been asked to submit full applications for their share of the funding offer, available for both new and existing projects retrofitted with an ‘advanced’ inverter. The shortlisted projects amount to a combined A$297 mln of grant funding requests, with a total investment value of A$3.7 bln. The figures suggest ARENA funding could ultimately support the development of around 1,000 MW of new battery storage capacity.
CAN CFR commencement – The final Canadian Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR) and associated regulatory impact statement were published in Canada Gazette Part II on Wednesday. As previewed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) last week, the CFR will require gasoline and diesel producers and importers to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of their fuels by 3.5 grams of CO2e per megajoule below 2016 levels by 2023, en route to a 14 gCO2e/MJ reduction by 2030. The latter target is equivalent to a 15% CI reduction below 2016 levels by the end of the decade. Although clean fuel producers can now start generating credits, obligated parties will not become subject to the CI reduction requirements until July 1, 2023, seven months later than initially planned.
Greening an island – Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a package of clean energy transition bills into law on Tuesday. The bills are HB1800 (Act 238) – Relating to Climate Mitigation, HB1801 (Act 239) – Relating to Energy Efficiency, HB2089 (Act 240) – Relating to Renewable Portfolio Standards, and SB2570 (Law 241) – Relating to Zero Fuel Reimbursements for emission vehicles. “Last week’s US Supreme Court decision limiting the federal government’s ability to combat climate change underscores why it’s so important for states to act and lead by example,” said Governor Ige. “That is why I am proud to sign these four bills into law, as they ensure that Hawaii continues to move forward as a national and global leader in creating the strategies necessary to achieve a clean energy economy, become more energy efficient in state government, clarify how we measure progress in renewable energy, and create incentives for emerging technologies like hydrogen.” (6parknews)
SCIENCE & TECH
The heat is on – A major new study explains why Western Europe has suffered through a series of extreme heatwaves that are outpacing even the planet’s overall warming trend, Axios writes. The study points to stubborn changes in atmospheric circulation for much of the blame. Western Europe has seen a sharp spike in heat waves during the past 42 years, with such events increasing three to four times faster than other parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Last week, areas from Italy to Norway saw monthly and all-time record high temperatures, which contributed to a deadly glacial avalanche in the Dolomite Mountains. The new study, published in Nature Communications, finds that the upward trends in Western European heatwaves are tied to the flow of air in the jet stream in and around the region. • Specifically, the researchers found that a particular weather pattern, featuring two branches of fast-moving corridors of air across Eurasia, is most closely associated with Western European heatwaves. These weather patterns favour weaker upper-level winds over Western Europe, and encourage long-lasting, blocking high-pressure areas, also known as heat domes. Increasingly persistent double jet stream patterns and their associated heat domes can explain “almost all of the accelerated trend” in heat waves across Western Europe, the study states. Importantly, the study ties the persistence of particular jet stream patterns and related heat domes to the rapidly warming land temperatures in the Arctic, and the growing contrast between land and ocean temperatures there.
Hit the beach – Finnish researchers have installed the world’s first fully working “sand battery” which can store green power for months at a time, BBC reports. The developers say this could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy. Using low-grade sand, the device is charged up with heat made from cheap electricity from solar or wind. The sand stores the heat at around 500C, which can then warm homes in winter when energy is more expensive. The device has been installed in the Vatajankoski power plant which runs the district heating system for the area. Low-cost electricity warms the sand up to 500C by resistive heating (the same process that makes electric fires work). This generates hot air which is circulated in the sand by means of a heat exchanger. Sand is a very effective medium for storing heat and loses little over time. The developers say that their device could keep sand at 500C for several months. So when energy prices are higher, the battery discharges the hot air which warms water for the district heating system which is then pumped around homes, offices, and even the local swimming pool.
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