CP Daily: Wednesday September 21, 2022

Published 08:13 on September 22, 2022  /  Last updated at 08:13 on September 22, 2022  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

One month until Carbon Forward 2022 – Europe’s leading environmental markets conference. Taking place in London and online from Oct. 12-14, don’t miss the chance to hear about the risks and opportunities presented by the world’s largest carbon markets – compliance and voluntary. Or come network with your industry peers and meet our sponsors and exhibitors.

In-person passes are limited and going fast, so Register Now!

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TOP STORY

Verra’s faith “shaken” in IC-VCM, lambasts carbon credit quality guidelines

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM) needs a course correction in order to avoid significantly harming the VER space through its plans to assess carbon credit quality, the world’s largest offset standard manager and developer Verra said Wednesday.

AMERICAS

Multiple paths exist for California carbon market extension amid “spectrum of legal risk”

The extension of the California cap-and-trade programme past 2030 can find legal basis in several different areas of statute, though doing so without a two-thirds legislative vote might be riskier for some avenues than others, experts said Wednesday.

RGGI programme review to examine procedures for entering, exiting carbon market

The ongoing RGGI programme review will collect stakeholder input on rules for states entering and exiting the scheme, as several linkages in the power sector cap-and-trade programme remain in doubt, a conference heard Wednesday.

Massachusetts sees record-high price at September GWSA carbon auction

Massachusetts’ power sector Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) cap-and-trade system saw its current vintage allowance auction clear $5 above the previous sale, while the programme’s second sale for future permits settled a little over half that price, according to results published Wednesday.

California fuel emissions narrow towards 2021 levels through June on slowing gasoline sales

Gasoline sales in California in June retreated from May’s year-to-date high and stayed beneath 2021 totals, while diesel consumption surged to the second-largest amount this year, according to state data released Wednesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

ANALYSIS: Fronts harden as Australian group urges emitters to ditch offsets

An Australian green group on Wednesday called on major emitters to avoid using carbon credits towards their CO2 targets, accentuating the growing distance between those considering offsets as part of the climate solution and those dismissing them as greenwash.

Japan sees progress on DAC, livestock emissions ahead of domestic market launch

A Japanese research project has produced the nation’s first direct air capture (DAC) test device, while regulators on Wednesday also registered a first livestock manure project under the domestic J-Credit scheme.

EMEA

Exchange-traded fund sells 7.8% of EUA portfolio as investors boost short positions

The leading exchange-traded fund in compliance carbon markets has sold a significant slice of its holdings in EU allowances, a move coming amid growing investor short positioning as the 27-nation bloc considers drastically boosting the market’s near-term supply to help fund its energy transition.

Euro Markets: EUAs drop below technical level after options expiry as focus shifts to MSR sales

EUA prices fell below a key technical support on Wednesday after the September options contract expired and the market’s focus shifted to the debate over sales of EUAs from the market stability reserve, while energy prices also jumped as the crisis showed no signs of ending.

Industrial demand for natural gas falling by 30% in Europe, says Engie exec

Demand for natural gas from energy-intensive industrial companies in Europe has fallen by around 30% in recent weeks as the region grapples with the soaring costs of energy and a worsening economic outlook, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chairman of utility Engie said on Wednesday.

EU coal imports to reach around 100 mln tonnes in 2022 amid scramble for energy –analyst

European demand for seaborne coal is predicted to increase by 14% in 2022 as the bloc struggles to address the energy crisis, but the rise will not trigger any significant investment and global demand is expected to continue to trend downwards, analysts said on Tuesday.

Researchers urge EU to lift 2030 emissions goal to a ‘Paris-compatible’ 63-73% cut

The EU should aim to reach net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest – five years earlier than its current goal – to have a shot of remaining within a Paris Agreement-aligned 1.5 C warming scenario this century, researchers said in a report this week as officials prepare to increase the bloc’s collective pledge.

UK moves to cap wholesale energy costs for industry at “less than half” market price

The UK government announced a support package for businesses and ETS-covered industrials on Wednesday in which wholesale energy prices will be capped at “less than half” of expected winter levels in a bid to avoid mass demand shutdowns and economic disruption.

VOLUNTARY

More than a third of Fortune 500 firms yet to make significant climate pledge -study

Some 37% of companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 share index have yet to make any significant climate commitment amid signs of waning ambition, according to an annual study released on Wednesday.

VCM analytics firm signs deals with brokers to boost customer offering

A voluntary carbon market (VCM) analytics firm has signed deals to supply its project and offset valuation data to several inter-dealer brokers to help its clients gain better access to the market.

TD Bank funds large Canadian forest conservation project, launches carbon advisory business

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM) needs a course correction in order to avoid significantly harming the VER space through its plans to assess carbon credit quality, the world’s largest offset standard manager and developer Verra said Wednesday.

Offset rating agency awards high marks to major Indonesian nature projects

A carbon credit ratings agency has awarded high grades to two Verra-accredited peatland restoration projects in Indonesia that are among the biggest credit generators in the market.

Fintech firms team up to improve carbon credit transparency via Singapore blockchain registry

Two fintech firms based in Singapore and France have formed a partnership to promote data-backed carbon credits with end-to-end traceability in a project that will enable greater transparency of the carbon credit lifecycle, with buyers and users able to access attributes and data of carbon credits via a standardised registry, they announced on Wednesday.

INTERNATIONAL

CEOs back plans for zero-emissions pathways for heavy industry

More than 200 industry leaders backed plans for zero-emissions aluminium, ammonia, steel on Wednesday, offering policymakers a guide for sector-level regulations and investment while providing tools to back the growing momentum behind sectoral mitigation targets at the international level.

US banks threaten to quit Carney climate finance group over legal risks

A number of large US investment banks are threatening to leave the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) over legal fears, putting in jeopardy the future of the coalition of institutions formed last year by UN climate envoy and former central bank head Mark Carney to help fight climate change.

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CONFERENCE

One month until Carbon Forward 2022 – Europe’s leading environmental markets conference. Taking place in London and online from Oct. 12-14, don’t miss the chance to hear about the risks and opportunities presented by the world’s largest carbon markets – compliance and voluntary. Or come network with your industry peers and meet our sponsors and exhibitors. In-person passes are limited and going fast, so Register Now!

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Carbon Pulse has teamed up with CME Group to provide its clients with regular updates on the global carbon markets. Check out these briefs for the latest insights on pressing trends and events impacting markets, published every other week. Registration required

INTERNATIONAL

Twenty lacking – Decarbonisation rates in the G20 economies slumped to their lowest level in two decades last year, consulting firm PwC said in its annual study, noting that the pace of change needed to pick up to get back on track with the Paris Agreement’s stretch objective of capping global warming at 1.5C Global decarbonisation fell to 0.5%, a long way below the 12.9% required for 1.5C, while in the G20, it landed at just 0.2%. The average global rate of decarbonisation must now reach 15.2% year-on-year, 11 times faster than that achieved since 2000. (Reuters)

No Danish taboo – Denmark has become the first sovereign nation to pledge funds to developing countries specifically for “loss and damage”, Climate Home reports. It notes that the move breaks a taboo among rich countries over giving money to address the unavoidable losses and damages already caused by climate change, on top of funding to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Denmark committed $13 mln to “build resilience and help climate victims recover” during a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with chunks of money going to support insurance schemes in poorer countries and “strategic partnerships with civil society” focused in the Sahel region of North Africa. Read Carbon Pulse’s reporting on how loss and damage is set to be the focus of November’s COP27 UN climate negotiations.

AMERICAS

Roundly ratified – The US Senate on Wednesday ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down high global warming hydrofluorocarbon gases, by a bipartisan vote of 69-27. Alternatives to the harmful chemical will be developed for heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration in countries that sign on to the amendment. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the vote would go a long way to hamper rising temperatures globally. (Reuters)

Republican revenge – Conservative Democratic US Senator Joe Manchin called moves by Democrats and Republicans to block his plans for expedited natural gas permits “revenge politics” on Tuesday. Manchin, who is also the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, agreed to pass President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act in exchange for the expedited permits. The deal was largely unpopular with some progressive Democrats and environmental groups. (AP)

My Petrochemical No-mance – Former New York City Mayor and current UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition Michael Bloomberg launched an $85 mln campaign to block the planned construction of plastic and petrochemical plants across the US on Wednesday, modelled on his decade-long effort to shutter coal plants. The expansion planned by the industry could account for 15% of US GHG emissions, which could make the country miss its goal under the Paris Agreement of halving its emissions by 2030, Bloomberg Philanthropies said.At least 90 petrochemical and plastics projects have been proposed over the last decade, including 42 major construction projects that will release GHG emissions and other hazardous air pollutants, according to the Environmental Integrity Project, which tracks the planned buildouts. (Reuters)

Submerged suburbs – Sea level rise could reduce land values in the US by $108 bln by the year 2100, according to analysis by Climate Central. The report estimates 650,000 private properties over 4 mln acres (1.6 mln ha) will fall below tide lines in the next 30 years. The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are expected to feel the worst of the effects, with three quarters of one town in Louisiana expected to get submerged. (NBC)

EMEA

Takeover confirmed – Utility Uniper will be put under control of the German state after the company has accrued crushing losses over the past months due to skyrocketing gas prices resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine. The German government provides some €8 bln in additional capital to the country’s largest gas supplier and will take over 99% of its shares, replacing Finnish company Fortum as the majority owner. Economy minister Robert Habeck said the controversial gas levy Germany plans to impose on gas customers to save struggling importers and avoid a market collapse due to bankruptcies would go forward as planned, even though it remains unclear whether Uniper would still be allowed to benefit from it. (Clean Energy Wire)

Cuad squad – Fracking in the UK will be impossible at any meaningful scale and will not help with the energy price crisis, Chris Cornelius, the founder of Cuadrilla, the UK’s first fracking company has warned. Liz Truss, the prime minister, has made clear she supports fracking and will lift the moratorium that has been in place since 2019, though it remains to be seen where and how sites will be licensed. She has said she hopes to see gas from fracked sites as soon as six months from now. But Cornelius said his firm had discovered that the geology of the UK was unsuited to widespread fracking operations and said no sensible investors would take the risk of embarking on large projects here. (The Guardian)

ASIA PACIFIC

Barossa ban – Tiwi Islands traditional owners have won a federal court challenge against Santos’ A$4.7 billion Barossa gas project in the Timor Sea north of Darwin, ABC reports. Environmental lawyers representing Munupi clan elder Dennis Tipakalippa argued the group was not properly consulted before approval for the project was granted by the federal regulator in February. After a five day hearing, including a special on-country session where traditional songs and dances were performed as evidence in the case, federal court justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled that the project’s approval was invalid. The ruling means the gas giant has to maintain a pause on work on the project that began after the court challenge was filed. The Environment Defenders Office had argued the approval granted by the National Offshore Petroleum and Safety Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) was unlawful.

Adding CCUS – Japanese oil and gas company Inpex corp is expected to submit a revised development plan for its Indonesia gas project by year-end to include carbon capture installation in their investment, the regulator said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Inpex is leading the investment into Indonesia’s Abadi LNG project that had previously been expected to cost around $20 bln, but the CCUS technology will add an extra $1.4 bln to the bill.

Join the club – Africa’s largest private power company has become a member of leading global carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) research organisation, CO2CRC, it announced Wednesday. Sahara Group, a major energy and infrastructure conglomerate, has joined the Australian-based CO2CRC as it strives to reduce its emissions footprint and build a more sustainable business model. The company’s emissions reduction aspirations will be led by the Nigerian-based Sahara Upstream and Sahara Power divisions, with subsequent replication across other divisions and locations.

Pledge for Nature — Australia has signed on to the UN-led Pledge for Nature, which aims to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. A brief statement from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said signing on to the pledge “highlights Australia’s reinvigorated approach to protecting our environment and climate leadership and signals our solidarity with other world leaders in our commitment to taking strong action on the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change”. The pledge has now been endorsed by 95 world leaders, according to its website. Leaders in New York, Tuesday reaffirmed their commitments to protect and conserve at least 30% of land and ocean by 2030, as part of the pledge.

From coal to hydrogen – The world’s largest coal-to-hydrogen project has become operational in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, with an annual capacity of producing 350,000 tonnes of hydrogen, CGTN reports. The project, backed by a research institute affiliated with state-owned chemical giant Sinochem, is expected to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 220,000 tonnes per year. Regional governments in China have been pushing for the development of hydrogen projects, given the country’s goal of peaking emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

VOLUNTARY

Personal touch – UK-based personal carbon offsetting service Carbon Savvy had partnered with blockchain-based offset marketplace JustCarbon to add pre-screened carbon removals credits to its offering. JustCarbon said its units are all certified by either Gold Standard or Verra, with issued vintages dating back only as far as five years with no ex-ante crediting. JustCarbon’s platform was developed partly by former Gold Standard CEO Adrian Rimmer.

SCIENCE & TECH

Saving electric bills – Technology company OakTree Power, founded in 2020, has agreed a five-year deal with the Financial Times to save electricity consumption at the London newspaper’s headquarters at Bracken House. Over the course of five years, Bracken House will save 22% of their annual electricity bill, the company claims. The scheme is deployed by a smart controller that has been integrated with the organisation’s own building control systems, which will enable OakTree Power to identify non-critical electricity consumption and intelligently modulate small amounts of energy usage. These reductions will be conducted in non-critical electrical plants and equipment such as pumps, fans and air conditioning chillers for short periods, without impacting performance.

AND FINALLY…

Malpass malpractice – Climate groups are calling for World Bank President David Malpass to be fired after he refused to back climate science at a New York Times event on Tuesday, and was also labelled as a climate laggard by former US Vice President Al Gore. Malpass was asked three times to state whether he believed man-made fossil fuel emissions contributed to climate change and after trying to evade the questions multiple times, ultimately answered with “I am not a scientist”. “The World Bank cannot be led by a climate denier and President Biden should call on the Bank’s Board to fire him immediately,” said Luisa Galvao of Friends of the Earth US. “This is a step too far. It is time for the White House and governments all over the world to think hard as to who they want at the helm of the World Bank. The World Bank is critical to the global fight against climate change. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand climate science. The facts are clear, and there’s no alternative but to act,” Sonia Dunlop, programme lead at think tank E3G, said in a statement. Malpass, who was nominated under former President Donald Trump, has come under growing criticism over his endorsement of policies towards funding fossil fuel projects and blocking climate finance to developing countries, with over 70 groups under the Big Shift Global Campaign calling for Malpass to be fired over his failure on climate action in a letter sent to the institution’s top executives last year. Wednesday’s revamped calls from the coalition also echo Gore’s remarks on Tuesday, where he reiterated that the institution is not doing enough to finance clean-energy projects in poor nations.

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