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A powerhouse is being created in the global carbon markets with Xpansiv, a major platform for environmental markets, announcing Thursday it is acquiring Evolution Markets, one of the world’s largest emissions brokerages.
The escalation of war in Europe and in other regions may hamper efforts to slash planet-warming gases, as newly beefed-up defence spending risks driving sectoral emissions to record highs.
A green group has sued Virginia’s government to force it to release a document that the environmental organisation says contains an opinion from the state’s attorney general’s office indicating that Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) cannot withdraw Virginia from RGGI.
The Canadian federal government has argued the carbon allowances Koch Industries purchased in the shuttered Ontario cap-and-trade system aren’t protected investments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), legal documents released Tuesday revealed, marking the latest development in a years long dispute.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices climbed on purchases believed to be generated from funds along with an uptick in broader market sentiment, while RGGI Allowances (RGAs) were relatively flat this week, as Pennsylvania’s future in the 11-state cap-and-trade programme remains mired in uncertainty.
Spot prices for NZUs have drifted sideways in the week following its dramatic price rise in reaction to the ETS reform recommendations, holding firm around the highest levels seen in the market since early March.
An Australian gas producer has entered into a three-year partnership with a Victorian university to restore critical coastal wetlands, as private-sector interest in blue carbon continues to grow.
China’s coking industry has pledged to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 through technological breakthroughs, echoing a similar commitment made by the country’s steel sector.
A bill to establish a national framework for carbon market trading and mandate low carbon energy use that was introduced to India’s parliament on Tuesday has been met with cautious optimism by analysts, with specific details over how it will operate to further the government’s emissions reduction agenda still to be developed.
Regulators’ interest in the voluntary carbon market (VCM) has grown alongside its bloom, with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) the latest US agency contemplating oversight through a variety of channels that stretch beyond derivative products.
Some of the crypto community are planning to save at least one oil block put up for sale in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by turning their conservation efforts into a voluntary carbon market (VCM) project.
Crypto carbon group KlimaDAO has teamed up with a start-up Web3 company to work out how the blockchain carbon market can address know-your-customer (KYC) requirements from offset standards such as Verra.
A venture capital-backed Estonian start-up is launching a combined carbon and biodiversity token for blockchain buyers, saying traditional carbon credits might help the climate but not the biosphere.
EUAs edged higher on Thursday after robust gains early in the session encountered resistance before a weak auction result dragged prices back from a 12-day high, as energy markets advanced after shaking off news that a major US Gulf LNG export terminal would restart faster than expected after repairs are completed.
A new analysis published by a coalition of environmental groups in the UK has argued that the country’s demand for wood pellets to generate biomass energy is harming Estonia’s forests and ecosystems, including protected nature reserves.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
This time for Africa – African climate negotiators have quashed a proposal by the African Union to promote gas as a bridge fuel for the continent at UN talks, Climate Home reports. The executive council of the African Union had proposed that African nations adopt a common position at the COP27 climate summit on Africa’s energy development. It called on nations to “continue to deploy all forms of its abundant energy resources including renewable and non-renewable energy to address energy demand”. This would involve financing for gas, green and low-carbon hydrogen and nuclear energy to “play a crucial role in expanding modern energy access in the short to medium term”. African Union officials presented the proposal to the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) during a three-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which ended on Thursday. They hoped climate negotiators would adopt it as the group’s position at the next UN climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November. But climate diplomats argued a pro-gas stance was too controversial and would distract from priorities like adaptation and climate finance, sources said. That included representatives of the Egyptian presidency of COP27. While negotiators ultimately defer to political masters, it would now take an extraordinary intervention from African heads of state before COP to force the position.
Summer curse – Wildfires raging through Europe this summer have burned the second-largest area on record, even though the region is only halfway through its typical fire season, according to data from the EU’s Joint Research Centre, Reuters reported. A dozen European countries have suffered major blazes this year, forcing thousands to evacuate and destroying homes and businesses. Countries including Italy, Spain, and France still face extreme fire risks. Wildfires have burned 600,731 hectares in EU countries this year so far, the data showed. That ranks as the second-highest total for any year since 2006 when records began. In 2017, 987,844 hectares were burned.
Command and climate control – Following arguments last week from a suitably tie-less Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Spain published new rules Tuesday stipulating that no business will be allowed to cool its interior below 27 degrees Celsius (81 F) or to heat it above 19 C (66 F) in winter. In place until Nov. 2023, the decree also calls a halt to the illumination of monuments, bans stores from lighting up their windows after 2200, and requires shops to have an electric display showing the temperature inside to passersby. Such curbs are not entirely new — public buildings in Spain, except hospitals, already follow a 27-degree cooling cap — but the extensive reach of this suite of power-saving measures reflects the seriousness of a looming threat: an energy crisis brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In response to fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin will cut off gas supplies, the EU has agreed to trim energy use by 15%, triggering a continent-wide watchfulness over thermostats and light switches. (Bloomberg)
Slovak’s push to green freight transport – The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, a €30 mln Slovak scheme to encourage freight transport to shift from road-only to combined road-rail and road-inland waterway transport. The scheme will be funded through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (‘RRF’), following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Slovak Recovery and Resilience Plan and its adoption by the Council. The scheme will run until Dec. 31, 2027. (European Commission)
Profits flying – Germany’s Lufthansa airline said in results on Thursday it expected demand for short-haul flights in Europe to drive growth this year, forecasting a return to group operating profit for the full year, pushing its shares higher. Travellers have returned to the skies following COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions in 2020 and 2021, helping airlines, such as Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and British Airways-owner IAG to return to profit this summer. Lufthansa said bookings for August to December were now at an average of 83% of the pre-pandemic level, and it hoped that business travel bookings would reach 70% in the fourth quarter. CEO Carsten Spohr said the airline group was seeing more and more wealthy people who were willing to spend money on hotels, rental cars, expensive restaurants, as well as air tickets. (Reuters)
A road runs through it – A 200,000-hectare intact forest in Cameroon is under threat from a road-building project, which could lead to devastating impacts on critically endangered wildlife and more than 40 communities who call Ebo home. While the road-building project is purported to bring development opportunities to the villages affected, closer inspection of the plan by NGOs shows that this consideration is not part of its design. In an urgent letter addressed to EU representatives in Cameroon, the NGOs explain: “The current road trajectory is badly planned and will not deliver for communities. It goes right through the Ebo Forest, it does not connect to any existing villages, and thus has no impact on local economic development. Scientific evidence abounds on the deforestation impact of badly planned roads. Communities stand to lose a precious natural resource that provides for their livelihoods.” Rainforest Foundation UK’s (RFUK) research from a 2021 report shows that this follows a pattern in the region, of poorly planned large-scale infrastructure projects which often lack participatory development, robust social and environmental risk assessments, and practical measures for oversight and mitigation. The case studies in the report demonstrate that this overwhelmingly results in deforestation and the destruction of livelihoods for forest communities, and Ebo will be no exception. The Forest is already under pressure from logging and palm oil development. Only two years ago, a plan to allocate 68,000 hectares as a logging concession was aborted following outcry from local and international NGOs. In a 2019 study, RFUK raised the alarm about a palm oil plantation, which at the time was the largest driver of deforestation in the area and was granted without an environmental impact assessment or adequate consultation with local communities. Meanwhile, the government has refused for years to classify the core area of the Forest as a protected area, in spite of local support for this measure.
Climate consensus – The Australian Labor Party’s climate bill has passed the House of Representatives with amendments by climate focussed independent MPs. The ABC reports that the federal government did not need the votes of cross-benchers in the lower house to pass its climate target bill, but it agreed to support amendments moved by a number of independents. MP Zali Steggall said negotiations on the first major piece of legislation to be brought to parliament had been much more collaborative than with the previous government. The government voted to amend its bill to spell out that its approach to emissions reductions would draw on the “best available scientific knowledge”, that its 43% target by 2030 was a minimum standard, and that climate change policies benefit regional communities. It will now seek advice from the Climate Change Authority before setting future climate targets. The bill moves to the Senate, where it is likely to face a Senate Inquiry, after which it will be signed into law now that The Greens have promised to supply the crucial votes needed for the bill to be passed.
Forever 41 – Washington’s climate ambitions under its planned cap-and-trade system could be stymied by allowing exemptions for 41 of its biggest polluters. Those major emitters won’t be charged much, if anything, to pollute for the first 12 years of the programme. The emitters won the exemptions by being classified as part of industries subject to fluctuation due to international trade, like a pulp and paper mill for example. Only new legislation would remove the loopholes. (Seattle Times)
Carbon bubble – Deutsche Bank AG warned of a possible bubble brewing in carbon markets as bankers debated ESG investing at the Bloomberg Asia Wealth Summit in Singapore, reported Bloomberg. Asked about potential bubbles in ESG, Kalpana Seethepalli, director of Asia-Pacific ESG at Deutsche Bank said carbon markets stand out. “The next ESG bubble may come from carbon markets, which are very, very important,” she said at the conference Thursday. “There’ll be a lot you’ll hear about it in the race to net zero.”
“Grotesque greed” – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the record profits of oil and gas companies as immoral and urged governments to introduce a windfall tax, using the money to help those in the most need. Speaking in New York on Wednesday, Guterres said the “grotesque greed” of the fossil fuel companies and their financial backers had led to the combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year hitting almost $100 bln. “It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate,” he said. “I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times.” Guterres said such profits were unacceptable as people around the world faced financial ruin. “Household budgets everywhere are feeling the pinch from high food, transport and energy prices, fuelled by climate breakdown and war. This threatens a starvation crisis for the poorest households, and severe cutbacks for those on average incomes.” (Guardian)
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