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US MIDTERMS PREVIEW – PART 1: Oregon climate programmes seen at risk as GOP candidate within reach of governor’s office
Prospects of a Republican winning Oregon’s surprisingly tight governor’s race are raising alarms that the state’s ambitious climate programmes could be put on the chopping block, leaving Oregon’s GHG reduction commitments in jeopardy and its agenda in limbo.
Energy companies dominate the list of top 50 firms by volume that have retired carbon credits, according to analysts, with several South African and Columbian corporates having purchased a substantial volume of credits for cancellation against domestic carbon tax policies, and large oil majors also accounting for a large proportion of units retired.
Over 90% of top global companies will miss climate targets without picking up pace of emissions reduction, consultancy warns
The share of the world’s largest companies committing to a net zero target has increased to one-third, but some 93% of them will miss their long term climate goals if they do not at least double the pace of their emissions reduction by 2030, a report has found.
Carbon credits from a major Pakistan-based blue carbon project traded publicly for the first time on Wednesday at a near 300% premium compared to other nature-based credits, providing bullish sentiment for these offsets going forward, according to the seller.
Two more cookstove-based carbon credit projects have been added to the “watch” list by a ratings agency in the week that ESG platform Xpansiv announced it was launching a new standardised spot contract for the household devises sector in December.
Article 6.4 credits to be issued in 2024 at the “earliest”, as expert calls for clarity on key terms at COP27
It is not likely any credits will be issued under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 before the targeted end of 2023 due to a heavy workload and lack of remaining time, a carbon market expert said Wednesday, as he requested clarity on key pieces of terminology that are due to be discussed at the COP27 UN climate summit next week.
A group of over 600 investors, representing almost $42 trillion in assets under management, have submitted a letter to global governments ahead of the COP27 UN climate talks calling on them to strengthen policies to address the climate crisis.
Switzerland on Wednesday ended its bid to host the UN climate summit in 2026 following a government-commissioned analysis, citing a rival joint bid from Australia and the Pacific islands, the overall cost of the summit, and its preference for establishing a partnership at the event instead.
A sustainable forest firm on Tuesday announced a $1.8 billion purchase of lands owned by a US timberland investment management organisation to develop into offset projects over the coming decades.
Utility Dominion Energy and manufacturing companies are advocating Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration to rescind its RGGI-linked cap-and-trade regulation, arguing that the programme is ineffective at reducing regional emissions and imposes a steep cost burden, according to public comments.
US biofuel credit (RIN) prices this week jumped to levels not seen since spring 2021, as obligated parties under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) snapped up credits, according to traders.
The Congo Basin’s massive 30 billion tonne peatland carbon sink could be at risk of leaking if the vast African region continues to face drought as a result of climate change, according to research published on Wednesday that identified a similar pattern thousands of years ago.
Euro Markets: EUAs drift for a third day after data shows funds’ net short turned into net long last week
European carbon prices ended the day little changed after two days of sharp losses, with the market moving in a narrow band in thin trading as data revealed that investment funds had closed a significant portion of short positions in the previous week.
The Shenzhen municipal government has proposed introducing the use of green power trading credits in its pilot emissions trading scheme, the first time a Chinese jurisdiction has considered linking the green power trading programme with a carbon market.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Money for transition – French shipping giant CMA CGM will invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to accelerate its energy transition across its transport and logistics businesses, Straits Times reports. Mr Farid Trad, vice-president of bunkering and energy transition, said in a recent interview while he was in Singapore that the investment would be set up as a fund that would support the shipper’s initiatives to meet its net zero targets by 2050. He said the investment fund will focus on fast-tracking the use of renewable fuels for the company’s marine, air cargo, and trucking businesses.
Growing pipeline – Hydrogen electrolyser projects currently in development across the world total 957 GW, the global electrolyser database of energy consultants’ Aurora Energy Research shows, although only 11% of these projects have advanced beyond the early planning stage. Electrolysers scheduled to come online by 2030 total 202 GW capacity, up from the 270 MW that is currently operational globally, but 62% of the projects planned to be commissioned by 2030 have not yet advanced beyond the early planning stage, according to the database. European hydrogen demand would total 1,885 TWh by 2050, under a scenario in which Europe achieves net zero by 2050, Aurora’s modelling shows. Regional consumption currently totals 300 TWh and is forecast to grow to 480 TWh by 2030. Aurora expects the industrial sector to account for over 80% of hydrogen consumption until the mid-2030s, with demand from the transport sector set to be roughly equal to industrial consumption by 2050.
U-turn – UK PM Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he will, after all, be attending the global COP27 climate conference, Politico reports. Having previously said he would skip the UN talks in order to focus on domestic issues, Sunak tweeted Wednesday that he would attend the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt next week. “There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables,” he said. The UK hands the mantle of summit host off to Egypt when the talks open on Sunday. Sunak said he wanted “to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.” His initial decision not to go came under heavy criticism. Climate Home reported that the world’s biggest emitters won’t attend the leaders’ summit that kicks off COP27 next week, with Chinese and Indian heads of state deciding to stay home. More than 100 high-level government officials are expected to attend the Nov. 7-8 leaders’ summit on the theme of “implementation”. Joe Biden also won’t make that session because of an agenda clash with the US mid-term elections on Nov. 8, but the US President is scheduled to arrive in Sharm on Nov. 11.
Regional net-zero – The northwestern German state of Lower Saxony plans to become climate neutral by 2040. Following a regional parliamentary election in October, the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party presented a coalition treaty, which also includes increasing the construction of photovoltaic solar plants tenfold and covering the state’s energy needs 100% from renewables by 2040 at the latest. To reach climate neutrality by that date, the government has set interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and by a minimum of 90% by 2035. These targets are to be written into Lower Saxony’s climate law. Lower Saxony is one of Germany’s largest wind power states. (Clean Energy Wire)
Survey says – Almost a fifth of German industrial companies plan to reduce production due to high energy costs, a survey by the association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) revealed. While 17% of companies said the energy crisis has forced them to cut production, 8% said they were planning to relocate production. Some 59% of all companies said they were planning to largely pass on higher energy costs to clients, while 38% said they considered investments to increase energy efficiency. The consequences of the energy crisis are particularly severe in the car industry, according to the survey. Nearly half of all suppliers described their financial situation as problematic, a substantial increase since the last survey in early summer. Around 16% of carmakers have already cut production, and 17% said they were planning to relocate production abroad. A massive 95% of companies in the sector said that high raw material and energy costs currently pose the largest risk to their businesses. According to DIHK, energy prices paid by producers in September were 132% higher than a year ago. (Clean Energy Wire)
Pathway to net zero – Petronas has announced its net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (NZCE 2050) pathway, the Malaysian NOC announced in a press release. The pathway, with short, medium, and long term targets will provide a trajectory for the company to progress towards the NZCE 2050 aspiration announced in 2020. The Petronas short term target for 2024 is to cap its GHG emissions at 49.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO₂e) for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in Malaysia. By 2025, the target is to achieve a 50% reduction in methane emissions These targets focus on operations within its immediate control. In the medium term, Petronas targets to achieve GHG emissions reductions of 25% by 2030 from 2019 levels of 57.73 MtCO₂e to reach 43.29 MtCO₂e for groupwide operations based on an equity share approach. Part of this effort includes a methane emissions reduction target of 70% set for assets where Petronas has operational control, as well as a 50% reduction in methane emissions from Malaysia’s natural gas value chain in support of the country’s participation in the Global Methane Pledge. With these targets in place, Petronas is allocating 20% of its capital expenditure for decarbonisation projects and expansion into cleaner energy solutions from 2022 to 2026.
Green finance deal – The Monetary Authority of Singapore will roll out three initiatives to expand cooperation with China in green finance and capital markets, Singapore Business Review reports. Amongst the initiatives are the establishment of the China-Singapore Green Finance Task Force which will facilitate greater public-private sector exchanges between the two nations, which, in turn, will allow better mobilisation of private capital for the region’s sustainable development needs. The task force will also explore collaboration in areas such as standards and definitions, green and transition financing solutions, and data and technology enablers to catalyse green financing flows, and enhance green investment opportunities in China and the region.
Forging ahead – BP will aggressively chase Pilbara miners to buy its green hydrogen ahead of exporting it, as the UK oil and gas major gets the ball rolling on the $36 billion green hydrogen project in Western Australia, Sydney Morning Herald reports. BP bought a 40.5% share of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in June. If fully developed, the hub would cover 6,500 square kilometres of northwest WA with more than 1,700 wind turbines – up to 290 metres high – and 18 large-scale solar farms. BP chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss said he expects power to start flowing from the hub sometime between 2025 and 2027. “First of all, it’s a domestic play,” he told investment analysts this week. “Can we bring green hydrogen or green power to the nearby mining and other industries?” BP’s decision to chase domestic customers is the third attempt by stakeholders to generate revenue from 26 GW of solar and wind energy, planned for a location remote even by the standards of northwest WA.
H2 Hub – A coalition of major southeast utilities formed a Southeast Hydrogen Hub to pursue federal funding support from the US Department of Energy (DOE) that has earmarked $8 bln from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for regional hydrogen hubs. Coalition members include utility firms Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Louisville Gas & Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Company, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, and independent non-profit Battelle Memorial Institute.
Climate experts need apply – Although nearly 4,000 companies have made pledges to reduce their emissions, many lack the skilled workers needed to meet those goals, Microsoft President Brad Smith tells Axios. In order to reduce carbon emissions, companies need employees with a range of new skills, including a deep understanding of how supply chains work as well as the ability to properly account for how much carbon a company is emitting. Microsoft is releasing a report Tuesday highlighting the need for more workers with specialized training in environmental issues. To date, most of the companies leading in sustainability work have staffed their efforts from their own ranks and lack specific expertise at the field. That approach, Smith said, won’t suffice as projects scale up.
Sound soil studies – Offset standard developer and manager Verra selected an expert consulting team to develop a tool for soil sampling, processing, and analysis to determine soil organic carbon (SOC) stock changes, according to a company announcement on Wednesday. The tool will be adopted in all relevant VCS methodologies, such as the Methodology for Improved Agricultural Land Management, that quantify SOC stock changes through direct measurements. As demand for carbon credits from agricultural land management (ALM) projects increases, this tool will enable the standardization of procedures for land stratification, physical soil sampling, and laboratory analyses to ensure consistency in determining SOC stock changes across carbon projects. AgriCircle, South Pole, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture – FiBL, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), University of Aberdeen, and SGS will jointly contribute to the tool development process. These organisations bring diverse expertise in soil and crop research, carbon project development, and laboratory analytics.
Occupational hazard – Over 800 mln jobs worldwide – roughly 25% of today’s workforce – are “highly vulnerable” to climate extremes and a haphazardly managed economic transition to lower carbon energy, a new Deloitte study finds. However, well-planned equitable growth of the “green collar” workforce could boost net employment by 300 mln by 2050 – and aid many of the same at-risk workers. Deloitte used multiple lenses to tally “vulnerable” workers, ranging from heat stress to changes in crop yields and tourism to employment in emissions-intensive energy sectors that decline in the low-carbon transition, to name several. There’s a worldwide risk, but “countries with highest job vulnerability are in the African and Asia Pacific regions.” (Axios)
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