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EU nations are split and carbon market participants anxious over potential mandated gas demand cuts proposed this week, but multiple analysts said it would take a deep recession to drag ETS-covered emissions lower than 2021 levels given the significant rise in coal burn expected this year.
Japan and Singapore have both approached Papua New Guinea seeking a framework under which they would be able to buy carbon credits aligned with Article 6 under the Paris Agreement, according to the PNG Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA).
Heavy polluters in New Zealand will have their free allocation of NZUs dramatically slashed as the government looks to ensure it can meet its emissions reduction targets.
Australia’s Northern Territory makes net zero deal with Japan’s Inpex, both commit to boosting LNG supplies
The Northern Territory (NT) government in Australia and Japanese oil and gas firm Inpex have signed a “statement of commitment” to achieve a “net zero emissions future” as part of an agreement that also involves the expansion of a key gas and LNG project, it was announced on Thursday.
The international Green Climate Fund (GCF) has begun the formal process for its second replenishment, following its latest meeting, along with commitments to fund four new projects valued at $380 million.
Chile and New Zealand on Thursday announced they will look into a new mechanism under the Paris Agreement’s bilateral trading provision to generate emissions reductions beyond the South American country’s climate goals and generate carbon credits for the South Pacific nation.
Nature-based voluntary carbon market prices slipped to around $8 Thursday morning UK time to compound a sharp fall Wednesday, likely triggered by a US fund selling positions, sources said.
For the second time in a month, a forest carbon offset company has accidentally started a large forest fire in Spain.
The Australian resources company Mayur Resources, which had its REDD+ development licence revoked by the Papua New Guinean government, said it will “vigorously challenge” the decision.
An offset project developer and carbon credit vendor has signed an offtake deal to supply funding to an innovative startup to build carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) units that are estimated to trap 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2025.
Australian downstream oil company Ampol will expand its “carbon neutral” fuels programme which aims to offset emissions from the sourcing, refining, distribution, retailing, and consumption of its petrol and diesel products, the company has announced.
US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) continues his battle for a US carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), with bipartisan support for the measure very likely necessary given Congress’ current failure to pass climate legislation through budget reconciliation.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) price action calmed in recent days after bearish macroeconomic developments led prices to a four-month low, while RGGI Allowance (RGA) values also stabilised after back-and-forth legal developments in Pennsylvania’s court battles concerning its programme membership.
Wildfires were the main driver of California tree cover loss over the past four decades, and worsening climate change may exacerbate the situation further and deplete the state’s forest offset buffer pool, according to a new study.
Low-income neighbourhoods and communities of colour in RGGI member states are seeing fewer benefits from the power sector cap-and-trade programme than whiter, more affluent areas, according to new research published Wednesday.
Exchange operator ICE has acquired a provider of global corporate emissions and climate transition data, it announced Thursday.
EUA prices fell for a fourth day on Thursday despite an early auction-inspired rally, finding some technical support later on while energy markets weakened as Russia’s Gazprom resumed deliveries of natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after completing a maintenance turnaround.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Go with the flow – The 40% utilisation rate of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany following a 10-day maintenance closure “speaks a clear political language” according to Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck, alluding to Moscow’s deliberate squeezing of supply. “We will no longer be able to rely on a permanent and reliable supply from Russia,” said the head of industry association BDEW, Kerstin Andreae. Germany has set targets to refill gas storages ahead of winter, banned gas sales, and will activate a reserve of lignite power plants on Oct. 1. (Clean Energy Wire)
Force majeure, s’il vous plait – France’s EDF has asked the UK to trigger a force majeure clause in the subsidy contract for its Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. The company has applied to a government agency to be allowed to declare a force majeure covering one year of delays due to Covid-19 restrictions that curbed the number of workers on the project, according to Stuart Crooks, managing director for Hinkley Point C. If approved, it will extend the time EDF has to start generating electricity before it starts losing funding. The claim has been borne out of the escalating delays and cost overruns at Hinkley Point C. The reactors are supposed to be the beginning of a nuclear renaissance in Britain as the government seeks to boost the country’s energy independence and cut its reliance on fossil fuels. In May, the start date for the plant’s first unit was pushed back to June 2027 and the company has flagged a possible further 15 months of extra time it may need. As things stand, both units need to be generating by 2029 or the company loses a day of subsidy for every day it’s late. The contract for £92.50 ($110.77) per MWh for 35 years is now below the market rate.
Combustible plans – German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD and the business-friendly FDP have rejected a Green Party-backed proposal for a climate levy on new combustion engine cars put forward in a strategy paper by the Green-led climate and economy ministry. SPD parliamentary leaders said the government should focus on implementing other coalition agreements instead, such as accelerating the roll-out of charging stations while the FDP said in times of inflation, the state must not artificially inflate prices. (Handelsblatt, Clean Energy Wire)
Fret zero – The UK’s “jet zero” strategy promises to deliver net zero aviation by 2050, while allowing passengers to travel by air guilt-free. It prioritises largely undeveloped technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuels and zero-emission flights – while skirting recommendations from its own climate advisers to reduce demand for flying. Under the strategy’s plans, the UK aviation sector will not reach net-zero by 2050, but instead will still be emitting 19 Mt CO2e. For the UK to reach its legal net zero target, these emissions will need to be removed from the atmosphere. According to Carbon Brief, the plans will also see passenger numbers increase by 70% from 2021 to 2050, representing an additional 200 million passengers.
More coal – China has examined and approved the environmental impact assessment for 20 coal projects during the first half of the year, representing the possible addition of an extra 125 mln tonnes to its annual coal production capacity, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) told a press conference Thursday. China, with its coal output reaching a record high of 4.1 bln tonnes last year, has also ramped up approvals for new coal power plants to ensure energy stability at home. Currently, the country relies on coal for around 60% of its electricity. (China Energy News)
First soil carbon deal – China has completed its first soil carbon transaction in Fujian province, according to a local government statement. A Quanzhou-based environmental solution provider this week bought 7,000 locally issued credits from a pilot site in Nanjing County for an undisclosed amount of money, the statement showed. The deal is considered a big step for the coastal province, which has been working to combine carbon sequestration with the development of agricultural practices in rural villages since 2021.
This is 40 – The US Postal Service is accelerating efforts to electrify its aging delivery fleet and on Wednesday committed to acquiring 40% electric vehicles as part of an ongoing overhaul. The decision expands on a previous commitment to electrify 10% of its new delivery vehicles that was met with pushback from President Joe Biden’s administration and a lawsuit by conservation groups. EV and environmental advocates celebrated the announcement, but also said the postal service must move faster. (Utility Dive)
Species suit – The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in the DC Circuit on Wednesday challenging the US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements for corn ethanol and other biofuels. Wednesday’s lawsuit accuses the EPA of failing to fully assess how endangered species will be impacted by the increase in land conversion as well as pesticide and fertiliser use needed to meet the higher biofuel targets. The DC Circuit has already ruled twice in prior lawsuits that the agency failed to properly assess RFS impacts on endangered species when setting annual fuel volume targets. Despite the EPA’s recognition of the issue and claims that it has begun a consultation process to address it, the agency has never established a formal commitment or timeline to do so, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. (Courthouse News Service)
Scotia spend – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced up to C$255 mln in new spending on clean energy Thursday morning in Halifax, money the government said will power hundreds of thousands of homes and create hundreds of new jobs in Nova Scotia. The Prime Minister’s Office said in a news release that C$125 mln of the funds will be dedicated to new wind power projects, and the remainder will go to four battery sites across the province that will store clean energy. (CBC)
Give ’em a break – Most Canadians would support giving farmers a break on the carbon tax to reduce the cost of food, says a recent poll. About 60% said they’d “strongly approve” of implementing this change, with an additional 18% saying they’d “somewhat approve” a tax break. These findings were included in survey results from Mainstreet Research on matters of inflation. The public opinion and market research firm polled a sample of 1,749 adults, 18 years of age and older, which it said was reflective of the population, between July 15-18. (iPolitics)
South of the border – Offset registry Climate Action Reserve (CAR) this week posted a draft of its Mexico Forest Protocol Version 3.0 for public review and comment. Proposed updates include the revision of mechanisms to comply with the permanence and social safeguard requirements for ejidos and communities, the application of stratification for forest inventories, modifications for mangrove ecosystems such as the inclusion of soil carbon, and the standardised additionality assessment, among other topics. Public comments are due by Aug. 12.
(SA)F1 – The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 motor racing team is the latest corporate to announce a commitment to investing in sustainable aviation fuel in efforts reduce its Scope 3 aviation carbon footprint. The sports industry is one of the biggest users of aviation and as the first global sports team to do so, the investment will support the growth of SAF’s availability and the market transition towards net zero, said Mercedes F1. The purchase of SAF will be used to compensate for the team’s indirect Scope 3 aviation emissions from flights to Grand Prix locations and other business air travel, which are excluded from the Formula 1 cost cap, and would, it said, be a key pillar of a commitment to achieve a 50% reduction of Scope 3 emissions by 2026 and to reach net zero by 2030. With sustainable fuels expected to account for up to 37% of energy demand in transport by 2050, Mercedes F1 said its “powerful global platform to support the development and growth of the SAF market will showcase SAF’s potential to other industries.” A spokesperson for the team told GreenAir it was in the final stages of negotiating a contract with a SAF partner and discussions were ongoing with other potential partners.
Making the Gradable – Agriculture firm ADM and Farmers Business Network (FBN) have signed an agreement to expand availability of FBN’s digital farm business management platform, Gradable, to ADM’s network of farmers across North America, offering 55,000 growers a comprehensive digital solution to manage their businesses and measure sustainable production data. Leveraging ADM’s scale and expertise as one of the world’s largest grain buyers and FBN’s digital farm commerce and data analytics, the Gradable platform will enable farmers to identify areas where they can increase profitability of their operation, including measuring, reporting, and verification capabilities that will allow them to participate in regenerative agriculture programs and new markets for low-carbon grain. (agriculture.com)
SCIENCE & TECH
Take me home, watery road – So much ice melted in northern Greenland last weekend that the newly melted water could cover the entire state of West Virginia with one foot of water. given the increasingly rapid melting of Greenland Ice, the 6 bln tonnes of water that melted each day July 15-17 is “not normal,” according to Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, told CNN. While the UK and continental Europe sweltered under deadly heat, Kutalmis Saylam, a Univ. of Texas research scientist stationed in Greenland said, “It definitely worries me … yesterday we could wander around in our t-shirts.” (Climate Nexus)
Plastic predicament – Environmentalists have long called for reductions in the amount of plastic society uses, pointing to images of fish and seabirds with stomachs full of the stuff as evidence that their toxic chemicals inevitably end up in humans. But balancing the threat posed by plastics with their utility leaves us with tough choices with respect to the materials we use in everything from food packaging to T-shirts, and a new report from McKinsey & Co. has findings that challenge the push for less plastic. In 13 out of 14 applications analysed by the consulting giant, plastics had a lower GHG impact than the next-best non-plastic alternative for that product in the US in 2020. McKinsey looked at examples of products within five sectors — packaging, building and construction, automotive, textiles, and consumer durables — which together represent around 90% of global plastics volume. The report chose applications for which viable alternatives to plastic exist — though in some cases, like certain food packaging, few alternatives exist at scale. Packaging represented more than half of total global plastics demand, McKinsey found. In the end, plastics outperformed alternatives like steel in hybrid fuel tanks in vehicles by contributing 90% less GHGs. In grocery bags, plastics emitted 80% less pollution than paper. And in residential water pipes, McKinsey found that plastic produced 25% fewer emissions than copper. The report doesn’t shy away from the fact that plastic wreaks havoc on our water systems, soils and wildlife, noting that “the benefits of plastics do not diminish the industry’s need to continue improving environmental performance, including meeting net zero targets, achieving significant improvements in recycling, and eliminating leakage to the environment.” It notably doesn’t consider the impact of plastic on ocean pollution, and the researchers also note that there are multiple considerations that should go into a material choice, including cost, toxicity, recyclability and GHG emissions. (Politico)
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