CP Daily: Thursday August 18, 2022

Published 23:18 on August 18, 2022  /  Last updated at 23:18 on August 18, 2022  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORY

Peru floats proposals to tighten oversight on voluntary carbon projects

Voluntary carbon market projects in Peru will need to meet strict criteria to be accredited to generate emissions reduction units as the country tries to clamp down on concerns about double counting and criticism of hot air, according to draft regulations from one of the world’s biggest suppliers.

ASIA PACIFIC

China announces technology plans to help deliver peak in emissions, highlighting CCUS and nature-based projects

The Chinese government has outlined an implementation plan it believes would support low-carbon technology innovations, such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) and nature-based solutions, laying the groundwork for the country to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030.

Australian Safeguard facilities unlikely to have access to int’l carbon credits, govt paper shows

Facilities covered under the Australian Labor government’s revamped Safeguard Mechanism will likely have restricted, if any, access to international carbon credits despite tougher baselines, according to a consultation paper released Thursday.

Wat­­chdog fears of lobbying ‘blood sport’ over Australian Safeguard reforms

A corporate watchdog group has warned of a “feeding frenzy” by vested interests attempting to water down the strength of the Australian government’s Safeguard Mechanism reforms during its consultation period.

AMERICAS

NA Markets: CCA prices retreat into Q3 auction, RGAs climb to five-week high

California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices reversed course from two-month highs on a multitude of factors ahead of this week’s WCI auction, while RGGI Allowance (RGA) values lifted after Pennsylvania provided a deadline for whether or not its 16 mln carbon permits will be included in the power sector programme’s September sale.

ARB evaluates regulatory design changes for California’s LCFS programme

California regulator ARB presented opportunities for streamlining implementation and potential updates to verification and base crediting methodology of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in a public workshop on Thursday, asking for public input on the regulatory design changes under consideration prior to the start of the formal rulemaking process.

EMEA

Euro Markets: EUAs hold on to small gain despite €5 rapid morning sell-off

EUAs clawed their way to a modest gain on Thursday, with prices recovering following a positive auction result after a sharp burst of selling had driven prices down by nearly €5 in just 50 minutes.

Swedish bio-CCS firm set to expand after acquisition

A Swedish biochar company is eyeing rapid domestic and international expansion of its carbon offsetting activities after being acquired by a local greentech business, it announced Thursday.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

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INTERNATIONAL

Back in business – The $430 bln IRA US climate bill signed into law this week restores the country’s credibility as a leading player in UN climate negotiations. The prime ministers of US allies Bahamas, Barbados, and Fiji welcomed the milestone as a sign that the country is matching its often-ambitious climate rhetoric with action, though Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama urged the US to do more to account for its emissions. But China, currently the world’s largest carbon emitter, cast doubt on whether the climate bill would help the US achieve its GHG reduction goals. In an exchange on Twitter, the Chinese foreign ministry’s official account questioned US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns for celebrating the bill’s passage on Twitter and calling on China to follow with a law to reduce its emissions by 40% in less than 10 years. “Good to hear. But what matters is: Can the US deliver?” the ministry said. (Reuters)

Funding fractions – IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva said global investment in combating climate change is falling far short and called for stronger policies to boost public and private finance. Georgieva, in a blog post on Thursday, cited estimates that battling climate change and boosting resilience against “shocks” will require an estimated $3 trillion to $6 trillion annually until 2050. “The current level at about $630 billion is just a fraction of what’s really needed — and very little goes to developing countries,” she wrote with Tobias Adrian, a top IMF official. The IMF officials argue incentives are poorly aligned with needed finance, noting other investor options including fossil fuels in the absence of widespread carbon pricing. It also says investments in both emissions-cutting and adaptation projects in emerging and developing markets face specific hurdles. (Axios)

Fire force – The world lost 16 football pitches of trees per minute to forest fires in 2021, according to the latest data from Global Forest Watch. Last year was the second worst year for fires on record, an area the size of Portugal was lost. Of the 9 million hectares of trees consumed by fire in 2021, over 5 million were in Russia. It says the amount has nearly doubled in the past 20 years and that climate change is a key factor in the increase as fires are becoming more frequent, more severe and have the potential to unlock a lot of the carbon that’s stored in soils there. (BBC)

ASIA PACIFIC

Bank backs hydrogen, gas – Japan’s largest bank, MUFG, is keen to back the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia and will maintain lending to major LNG projects, which, it says, is compatible with its commitments to net zero as carbon capture and storage technology improves, Australian Financial Review reports. Rob Ward, a Sydney-based managing director at MUFG Bank – which has A$20 billion of loans in Australia where it is one of the largest providers of project finance – said large Japanese industrial companies, which it banks in both countries, would play an integral role driving demand for new energy sources, including green hydrogen.

Target net zero – Malaysian utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) targets to invest around RM20 billion ($4.4 bln) per year over the next 28 years as capital expenditure for initiatives to fast-track TNB’s energy transition plan that aspires to reduce its emissions intensity to net zero by 2050, Malaysian Reserve reports. The investment will pave the way for the utility company’s journey towards its net zero aspiration and enhancing its profitability, TNB president and CEO Datuk Baharin Din told a forum in Kuala Lumpur. “This responsible energy transition  journey will bring positive business growth to the group, even as we accelerate our efforts to decarbonise,” he said. “We will pursue regional interconnection that will allow for a wider reallocation of renewable energy resources that will help decarbonise the Asean power system, as well as strengthen the security of supply. The grid will provide the group with potential earnings of RM7 billion by 2050,” he added.

Shell steps back – Shell is drawing back from the planned green hydrogen projects in New South Wales with Australia’s BlueScope Steel following a detailed scoping and assessment of the initiatives, Renewables Now reports. Shell and the Australian steel maker signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2021 to explore and develop renewable hydrogen projects at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks in the Illawarra region of New South Wales.

Not good enough – China’s Guangdong province should focus on navigating a full energy transition, given the region’s relatively high consumption of non-fossil fuel energy and increased investment in low-carbon projects, Greenpeace East Asia said in a statement. The share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in Guangdong reached 30% in 2020, compared to only 18% in Shanghai and 11% in Jiangsu, according to the statement. However, Guangdong-based fossil gas projects have also received significant investment and policy support, making it difficult for the southern province to “lead the way in the national energy transition,” according to the environmental NGO.

AMERICAS

Oversight fight – Battles over Wall Street climate policies and US federal regulators’ role in overseeing climate-related investments are getting more intense on several fronts. The Securities and Exchange Commission is getting an earful from various parties over a pair of May proposals to tighten oversight of ESG funds. Conservative state attorneys general – led by Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia – are attacking the efforts as outside of SEC authority, including provisions requiring some funds to disclose emissions linked to their investments. Their letter to the SEC signals litigation ahead if the rules are finalised, citing the recent Supreme Court ruling that limits the breadth of EPA climate rules crafted without explicit congressional instruction. But the SEC is also hearing from environmentalists who want the SEC to go further, arguing the rules should “specifically define what should and should not be included in an ESG fund.” The spectrum of comments on the SEC rules is part of a wider fight unspooling over several financial regulators’ moves under President Joe Biden’s administration on climate disclosures and managing climate-related financial risks. (Axios)

EMEA

Conditioned controls – Power use in Spain fell 3.7% in the week after the country passed emergency measures to save energy, despite hot weather which usually prompts people to turn on air conditioning, according to Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera. Strict temperature controls and requirements to turn off lights in public buildings and shop windows look set to contribute more than half the savings Spain promised as part of a EU-wide push to cut gas use ahead of a winter of uncertain supplies from Russia, Ribera said. Compared with the same week of the previous year and adjusting for other factors including temperature and working patterns, power use fell by 6%. (Reuters)

AND FINALLY…

Biblical drought – The reputed home of the biblical Garden of Eden in Iraq has been turned into a “desert” due to years of drought and low rainfall in rivers that are supposed to feed the once-lush swamplands. Vast expanses of the Huwaizah Marshes, straddling the border with Iran, have been baked dry, their vegetation yellowing. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in Iraq said the marshes were “one of the poorest regions in Iraq and one of the most affected by the climate change”, warning of “unprecedented low water levels”. (AFP)

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