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Global CO2 emissions from energy production are set to rise by a little less than 1% this year, slowing last year’s jump as more renewables and electric vehicle capacity outweighed a post-pandemic tilt to coal, the IEA said on Wednesday.
Climate change less important to developing world despite rising threat of ecological catastrophe -study
Climate change is largely a first world priority, while many poor and less developed countries, some facing the highest level of ecological threat from food insecurity, water shortages and natural disasters, rank many other issues higher, according to a study published on Wednesday.
Countries have submitted 139 new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as of September this year, but global policy commitments still fall well short of getting on the pathway needed to limit global warming to 1.5C, according to research from a non-profit think tank released on Wednesday.
Flawed or misleading reporting is masking the considerable gap in international climate finance flows, according to a report by a development charity published on Wednesday, pointing to inflated numbers behind claims that are already falling short of financial promises.
While publicly-listed companies are committing to net zero, privately-held firms are largely not, a study published Wednesday found, with the largest 100 private companies accounting for 5% of the global economy.
National-scale forest protection credits sold on the REDD.plus platform are “not rigorous enough to offset or compensate for emissions”, analysts said in a note on Wednesday, noting that the market does not seem to trust the marketplace.
Global offset developer South Pole has teamed up with an agtech company to offer farmers across Europe and Africa prepayment for carbon credits from agricultural projects, with 130 farms signed up from the outset.
Leading digital travel company Booking.com has formed a partnerhsip with Oslo-based climate tech outfit Chooose with the aim to increase traveller awareness of the carbon footprint of their trips, and to eventually introduce carbon offsetting options for travellers, the companies announced on Wednesday.
Four US improved forest management projects credited by the American Carbon Registry (ACR) have been downgraded to a low chance of avoiding or reducing CO2 by a ratings agency following a review.
The governor’s race in New York state may seem like a done deal for the pro-environment incumbent, Kathy Hochul (D), against the pro-fracking Representative Lee Zeldin (R), but there’s more to the midterm showdown than meets the eye.
EU carbon gave up early price gains on a rare auction-free day after weekly data showed an unexpected increase in investors’ short positions, while energy markets reversed their early increases amid some rolling of prompt positions as supply concerns have eased.
UK company Liberty Steel has completed trials of a sustainable raw material that can replace anthracite, the main source of charge carbon in electric steelmaking, and reduce steel’s carbon footprint by as much as 30%, the subsidiary of global conglomerate Gupta Family Group (GFG) announced.
Switzerland has scheduled its first auction for carbon units from compliance year 2022 in its ETS.
The New Zealand government is seeking feedback on legislation that would extend the transition period given to small-scale foresters in its ETS to protect them from hefty fines.
Government support to help Queensland’s beef industry to retain and regrow trees could generate A$4.4 billion ($2.7 bln) in carbon farming projects, according to a report released Wednesday.
Australian climate and environmental groups are pushing the government to ban native forest use in biomass power generation from the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), arguing the forests would be better used for sequestering carbon.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
First response – Small island states will present a proposal for a “response fund” to help climate victims recover from snowballing impacts at next month’s COP27 climate summit, Climate Home reports. It is more than 30 years since vulnerable nations first demanded support to address the losses and damages caused by fossil-fuelled storms, floods, and sea-level rise. Rich countries, wary of endless liabilities, pushed back. But with costs of extreme weather mounting, the issue has become unavoidable. It is set to dominate negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has drawn up plans for a Loss and Damage Response Fund. This is an evolution of the “facility” proposed by developing countries and opposed by wealthy ones at the COP26 Glasgow summit last year. AOSIS tested the idea last month at a seminar hosted by the European Capacity Building Initiative in Oxford, UK. It would follow a similar model to the UN’s flagship Green Climate Fund, with regular – voluntary – fundraising rounds. Government donors should deliver support mostly as grants, on top of existing climate finance commitments, the bloc envisions. The negotiating bloc is hoping to get broader backing from the group of 134 developing countries known as the G77.
Crypto control – The European Commission will work with international partners to come up with an EU energy efficiency label for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that will encourage more environmentally friendly crypto systems, such as “proof of stake,” according to a draft proposal seen by Bloomberg. The EU will also call on countries to target miners’ energy consumption this winter as it tries to navigate the season with far less Russian gas. The bloc will also produce a report that evaluates the climate impact of the industry by 2025. Read Carbon Pulse’s analysis on how the blockchain carbon industry is looks beyond controversy as ‘the Merge’ wipes out emissions.
Speaking of efficiency – Germany is charging ahead with its own energy savings law, amid ongoing negotiations in Brussels over the EU’s flagship Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), according to documents seen by Euractiv. On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz ordered his government to present a “very ambitious law to increase energy efficiency”. A draft has been ready since June, but the government could not agree on it, due to reluctance by the liberal FDP, Euractiv understands. But despite Scholz’s push for more ambition, the draft indicates Germany may fall short of EU targets currently being negotiated in Brussels. By 2030, Germany aims to save 500 TWh of energy thanks to measures set out in the new law, a figure which corresponds to a 9% energy saving goal. While this is in line with the European Commission’s original proposal for the EED, tabled in July 2021, the EU’s level ambition has since been revised upwards because of the war in Ukraine. In 2021, the Commission proposed a 9% reduction in final energy use from 2020 to 2030. That objective was increased to 13% under the Commission’s REPowerEU plan presented in May. In June, EU countries agreed on a common position that stuck with the 9% target while the European Parliament voted for 14.5% objective in September.
Greenwashing adverts stopped – The UK’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, has banned two posters by banking giant HSBC for being misleading about the company’s work to tackle climate change. The watchdog said that the posters “omitted material information” about HSBC’s activities. The first poster featured an aerial image of waves crashing on a shore with text that stated “Climate change doesn’t do borders. Neither do rising sea levels. That’s why HSBC is aiming to provide up to $1 trillion in financing and investment globally to help our clients transition to net zero”. The second poster featured an image of tree growth rings with text that stated “Climate changes doesn’t do borders. So in the UK, we’re helping to plant 2 million trees which will lock in 1.25 million tonnes of carbon over their lifetime”. HSBC told the watchdog the claims in the posters highlighted two tangible and specific short-to-medium term initiatives, capable of quantifiable measurement, and would not be seen as commenting, in a broader sense, on their green credentials or environmental contribution. However the Advertising Standards Authority said that despite the initiatives highlighted in the ads, HSBC was continuing to significantly finance investments in businesses and industries that emitted notable levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.
Green shipping fuels – Europe’s lawmakers want the maritime sector to cut emissions from ships by 2% as of 2025, 20% as of 2035 and 80% as of 2050 compared to 2020 level, initiating the world’s first measure to decarbonise shipping fuels. This would apply for ships above a gross tonnage of 5000, in principle responsible for 90% of CO2 emissions, to all energy used on board in or between EU ports, and to 50% of energy used on voyages where the departure or arrival port is outside of the EU or in its outermost regions. MEPs also set a target of 2% of renewable fuels usage and mandated containerships and passenger ships to use on-shore power supply while at berth at main EU ports as of 2030. In a joint letter, 50 industry organisations and NGOs including Unilever, Siemens, and T&E called on the EU to raise the mandate to at least 6% in 2035. They also called for a removal of the exemption for companies with three ships or less, which would exempt 60% of shipping companies. Read how T&E already warned member states on the risk of a weaker EU ETS linked to their shipping proposals on Carbon Pulse.
Cost savings – Renewable energies have allowed the EU to avoid €99 bln in fossil gas imports since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, with an increase of €11 bln compared to last year thanks to record growth in wind and solar capacity, according to a new report. Solar and wind power have produced a quarter of EU electricity since March 2022, allowing to avoid 70 bcm of gas imports, according to the study carried out by think tanks E3G and Ember. In turn, this also helped mitigate the reduction in hydroelectricity generation caused by droughts and a decline in nuclear production caused by maintenance and a series of failures in the French nuclear fleet. (Euractiv)
For the forest – Finland, together with Sweden, Austria, and Slovenia, have formed an informal strategic partnership, ‘For Forest’, to deepen cooperation in forestry management and policies within the EU. The agreement, signed by the four ministers in Luxembourg, can be interpreted as preparation for the mounting pressure to protect and preserve forests with new legislation. One of the aims of the ”For Forest” group will be to block initiatives based on ”false or unscientific facts” and instead advance ”sensible and sustainable” legislation. (Euractiv)
Wired Up — The Australian government has rolled out the first project as part of its A$20 bln ($12 bln) Rewiring the Nation program, including a multi-billion dollar package to support offshore wind in Victoria, pumped hydro in Tasmania, and two major transmission links and renewable energy zones, RenewEconomy reports. The federal government has negotiated with the state government in Victoria and Tasmania to provide A$1 bln to support the long suffering Marinus Link, which another interconnector linking Tasmania’s hydropower dams with the main land. There will be another A$1.5 bln to go towards six renewable energy zones in Victoria, including the necessary conditions for offshore wind in the state. There will also be another A$750 million to go towards the VNI West transmission project to ensure it is completed by 2028, which would help unlock some 4 GW of new wind and solar projects. Federal energy minister Chris Bowen described the deals as the biggest energy investment by a Commonwealth government since the 1940s.
New platform – Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is considering introducing a carbon credit trading platform next year, encouraging people to replace ageing gasoline cars with electric or hybrid ones, according to a report by Central News Agency. The new platform – similar to an existing programme exclusively for ageing scooters – will award those who switch to electric vehicles special certificates, which can be sold to science parks and government bodies to offset their emissions. The details of the new policy will be announced by the end of this year at the earliest, EPA officials said.
Capture consequences – A carbon capture retrofit costing $900 mln proposed for Louisiana utility Cleco could reduce electricity production by 30% while increasing the plant’s water use by 55%, according to filings with state regulator Louisiana Public Service Commission. The utility expects to use 200 MW of electricity for running the carbon capture equipment of its 641 MW capacity. For its three power generation units, Cleco pumped up a combined 700,000 gal/minute of water in 2021, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Cleco’s filings also assume a $20/t federal carbon tax starting 2025, remaining flat until 2030, and increasing to $80/t by 2050. (Floodlight)
Garden State suit – New Jersey has joined the ranks of Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont as the latest state to sue some of the world’s largest oil companies for their role in delaying climate policy and increasing the climate impacts, risks and costs borne by state governments. Like Minnesota and the District of Columbia before it, New Jersey has also included the industry’s top US trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, in its suit, which includes not only liability, but also fraud claims against five oil majors: ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips. Some two dozen climate liability suits have been making their way through the courts since 2015, bolstered by media investigations and attribution studies that are able to accurately pinpoint the precise contribution climate change has made to the damages inflicted by extreme weather events. A 2021 study in the journal Nature, for example, found that just over $8 bln of the $62.7 bln in damages caused by Superstorm Sandy across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut is attributable to sea-level rise caused by climate change. (Guardian)
Cheaper green jet fuel — The burgeoning market for sustainable jet fuel will soon reach a milestone, with a plant capable of turning out for the first time a lower-emission fuel at the same price as fossil fuel-based options, Bloomberg reports. But this price parity will only come as result of a $50 mln grant from Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures, alongside support from discounted loans and other financial subsidies. LanzaJet, the startup backed by Breakthrough, is building its first commercial plant in the US state of Georgia and expects to begin production next year. The facility will double the current US capacity for making sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. While the global aviation sector is responsible for only about 3% of the gases that are warming the planet today, its emissions are rising fast.
Climate officer exits – Suncor Energy Inc. says Martha Hall Findlay will retire from her role as the company’s first chief climate officer at the end of November, CTV News Calgary reports. Hall Findlay joined Suncor in 2020 as the company’s chief sustainability officer. Her appointment as chief climate officer in February of this year was the first of its kind in Canada’s energy sector. Suncor did not provide a reason for Hall Findlay’s departure after less than a year in the role. However, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that personal health reasons are a factor. Hall Findlay played a key role in the development of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of major oilsands companies that have together pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions from production by 2050.
Refuel tools – The Energy Institute has today published a new fuel handling research report, highlighting actions the aviation sector can take to reduce GHG emissions when refuelling commercial aircraft. With GHGs occurring before an aircraft has even pushed back from its stand, the report provides a comprehensive refuelling vehicle life cycle assessment (LCA), as well as alternative aircraft refuelling solutions to mitigate emissions. The report finds that the largest GHG reductions can be achieved through the adoption of fully electric hydrant dispensers and refuellers, and where operationally feasible, the use of hydrant carts for servicing narrow-bodied aircraft. Using sustainably sourced renewable diesel may also provide an impactful short-term option in some locations.
Yakety yak – Soil carbon remains more stable in grazed plots than in the absence of grazing animals, according to a study led by the Indian Institute of Science. Researchers testing soil samples on Himalayan ecosystems for over a decade found large herbivores like the yak and ibex play a very important role in the stability of soil carbon in grazing ecosystems, while the levels of soil carbon in fenced plots without grazing animals fluctuated 30–40% more. Grazing ecosystems make up about 40% of earth’s land surface, while soil contains more carbon than all plants and the atmosphere combined, according to experts. (Earth.com)
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