CP Daily: Monday December 5, 2022

Published 03:57 on December 6, 2022  /  Last updated at 03:59 on December 6, 2022  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

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

Presenting CP Daily, Carbon Pulse’s free newsletter. It’s a daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world. Subscribe here

TOP STORY

ANALYSIS: Taiwan’s proposed climate bill vague on carbon price, access to voluntary market

Taiwan’s legislature is set to pass a revised climate bill by the end of this year, though lack of policy clarity surrounding carbon pricing mechanism could hamper the island’s ambitions towards net zero and leaves it unclear to which degree Taiwanese companies can rely on access to the international carbon market, experts told Carbon Pulse.

VOLUNTARY

EXCLUSIVE: ICE to launch standardised reference data service for voluntary carbon in bid to ease trade, win market share

Exchange operator ICE is launching a new standardised reference data service to help facilitate the management of voluntary carbon credits through the trade lifecycle while also reducing operational risks and costs, the company told Carbon Pulse in an exclusive interview.

ExxonMobil reportedly considering buying Guyana forest carbon credits

Oil major ExxonMobil could follow its Guyana offshore exploration partner in buying some of the country’s new forest carbon credits, its regional boss has reportedly said.

Money pours into GEO futures after UN deal stokes offset compliance talk

Money is rushing into the CBL GEO futures on the CME exchange ahead of the introduction of the first phase of the airline scheme the standardised contract is based on, although the move also coincides with increasing talk of using these types of carbon credits in national compliance programmes.

VCM Report: Prices edge lower despite surge in open interest in GEO futures

VER prices edged lower in thin liquidity this week, continuing to bump along at the bottom of a bear market despite bullish signals from a surge in activity in CORSIA-based futures, the signing of a huge jurisdictional REDD contract, and more countries talking about using VERs in compliance markets.

First fund announced to use London Stock Exchange’s VCM framework

The first voluntary carbon market designation from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) was announced on Monday, with the company touting transparency and credibility markers to help carbon projects scale.

ASIA PACIFIC

PREVIEW: Secondary market muted on expectations NZU auction price might clear at NZ$70

NZU buyers appear to be anticipating they will pick up a bargain at Wednesday’s ETS auction compared to current secondary prices, market participants said Monday, amid growing frustration of the government’s indecision on next year’s price settings.

China’s Guangdong marginally increases CO2 cap in pilot ETS as more emitters are brought in

China’s biggest provincial pilot emissions trading scheme has released its 2022 allocation plan, setting the CO2 cap marginally higher than last year’s levels, the Guangdong provincial government said.

Only half of Australia’s biggest companies have net zero emissions targets, report says

Emissions from the top 200 companies on Australia’s stock exchange will overshoot their 1.5C carbon budgets between now and 2050, with more than half having yet to set any net zero emissions targets, a new report has found.

CCUS in India has key net zero role but needs incentives, govt think-tank says

CCUS can play a critical role in India’s decarbonisation efforts but a viable policy framework that prioritises financial and tax incentives across the value chain needs to be put in place to bring it to scale, including via the carbon market, a government think-tank has urged.

Indonesian carbon tech firm raises $4.5 mln for expansion purposes

An Indonesian carbon trading and project developer has raised $4.5 million in seed funding to go towards marketing, project development, and hiring new staff, according to local media.

AMERICAS

Inaugural Washington carbon allowance trade clears at 20% premium to California permits

The first Washington Carbon Allowance (WCA) futures contract traded on the Nodal Exchange on Monday at a sizable premium to the California Carbon Allowance (CCA) contract, ahead of the Evergreen State’s cap-and-trade system launching in January.

PIMCO-affiliated investor sells nearly $300 mln for California carbon-focused funds

A multi-trillion-dollar investment firm has significantly increased its sales in two funds that appear to focus on California Carbon Allowances (CCAs), according to new US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

Economic risks to pressure CCA prices in 2023, RGGI legal clarity expected early next year -analysts

Average California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices in 2023 will veer lower than previously forecast due to continued macroeconomic weakness, while market stakeholders should have clarity on the participation of Pennsylvania and Virginia in the RGGI programme early next year, analysts said in a recent report.

Major California-registered offset project in danger of termination due to wildfires -researchers

The second largest California Carbon Offset (CCO) project could be terminated if it faces similar losses from wildfires as it did in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, researchers said in a recent blog post.

RFS Market: RIN prices retrace to 4-mth low after biofuel quotas surprise market

US biofuel credit (RIN) values continued to unwind on Monday before finding some support, with market participants still reeling from US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending quotas last week that came in far below expectations.

EMEA

Swiss auction for 2022 carbon allowances clears at record high

Switzerland’s first auction for carbon allowances from its ETS compliance year 2022 cleared at a record high, the government announced Monday.

Euro Markets: EUAs record marginal loss on technical correction after bullish week

EUA prices eased marginally lower on Monday following a technical downward correction after strong gains made last week, dropping 0.4% amid pressure from funds selling Dec-22 futures to shift volumes along the curve and amid reports of heavy gas demand destruction so far in Q4.

INTERNATIONAL

EU chief von der Leyen calls for three-pronged response to US climate law

The EU must take action to prevent an exodus of industry triggered by the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech on the eve of trade talks between the two major powers on Monday.

BIODIVERSITY

Introducing Biodiversity Pulse

We are thrilled to announce that Carbon Pulse has extended its news coverage to the emerging voluntary market for biodiversity credits.

Australia’s total biodiversity finance market could hit $94 bln by 2050, report finds

Total spending on biodiversity in Australia could rise rapidly to A$137 billion ($94 bln) by mid-century, carrying with it significant risks and opportunities for major industries such as construction, mining, and tourism, a report from consultants PwC has found.

UNDP, IIED back carefully designed biodiversity market to unlock finance

Biodiversity credits could help break the nature finance logjam if they can avoid some of the pitfalls that have left carbon offsets open to greenwashing accusations, according to a new study by the UNDP and UK-based think-tank IIED.

Scientists urge protection of forests from bioenergy use

Over 650 scientists have signed a letter urging world leaders to stop using forests for bioenergy ahead of the upcoming UN COP15 summit on biodiversity in Montreal.

—————————————————

Job listings this week

*Premium listings

Or click here to see all listings

—————————————————

CONFERENCE

Asia’s largest carbon markets event is back! The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) looks forward to welcoming delegates to its flagship Asia Climate Summit (ACS) 2022, being held Dec. 6-8 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center in Singapore. Everything you need to know about carbon markets in Asia in 3 days! Held in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual offerings, the programme brings together leading private sector experts and policymakers from both the carbon and energy world to discuss the current state of play, and what’s next for compliance and voluntary markets. An ideal forum to take stock of the world’s evolving net zero landscape and clean growth opportunities. Organised by IETA, in collaboration with ICAP and the IEA.

—————————————————

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

Steeling for a trade dispute – The US and EU are weighing new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum as part of a bid to fight carbon emissions and global overcapacity, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The move would mark a novel approach, as the US and EU would seek to use tariffs – usually employed in trade disputes – to further their climate agenda. The idea, generated within President Joe Biden’s administration, is still in an initial phase and hasn’t been formally proposed, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified as the discussions aren’t public. An agreement with the EU, including specifics on how to identify thresholds for applying tariffs, isn’t likely until late next year at the earliest, one of the people said, adding that even that timeline was optimistic. The new framework, which builds on a related US-EU agreement last year, is mainly aimed at China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter and producer of steel and aluminum, as well as other large polluting nations. It’s unclear what legal authority the Biden administration would use to implement new tariffs. A person familiar with the matter said that question is still being worked out internally and in talks with the EU, as well as with industry representatives and Congress. The White House is also talking to lawmakers about potential new authorities, the source added.

Plastic planet – The predicted rise in plastic use between now and 2050 is on track to eat up more than an eighth of the world’s carbon budget, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie. The firm told BusinessGreen that its base level scenario will see plastic demand more than double by 2050 as consumption rises among growing middle classes in Africa and Asia. Current trends are on track to drive a 178Mt increase in plastic between now and 2050, a rise which will seriously undermine the global drive to cap global temperature rise at safe levels, according to Wood Mackenzie. The 48 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases that would be emitted to meet the additional demand for plastic could burn through 12% of the remaining carbon budget to reach 1.5C, it said. But the report noted it is possible to avert this outcome, if financiers and businesses and work together to drive a significant drop in plastic use, increase recycling rates, and accelerate the shift away from fossil fuel-derived plastics.

EMEA

Demand destroyed – EU countries cut gas demand by a quarter in November even as temperatures fell, in the latest evidence that the bloc is succeeding in reducing its reliance on Russian energy since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the FT reports. Provisional data from commodity analytics company ICIS showed gas demand in the EU was 24% below the five-year average last month, following a similar fall in October. European countries have been trying to pare back their reliance on Russian gas and oil by finding alternative sources or making changes to curb demand. They have been helped by an unseasonably warm autumn, although in the past two weeks temperatures have dropped closer to normal levels. In Germany and Italy, the EU’s two largest gas-consuming countries, demand fell 23% and 21% respectively in November, ICIS found. In France and Spain it fell more than a fifth and in the Netherlands by just over a third.

Renovating out of crisis – Europe’s 130 mln buildings – mostly private homes and apartment blocks – are responsible for 36% of the EU’s CO2 emissions and 40% of its energy consumption, Euractiv reports. Renovating those to make them zero-emission, in line with EU climate objectives, is a massive challenge, said Luxembourg’s energy minister Claude Turmes at the November launch of the EU Renovation Loan, a new financial instrument to help boost renovation. Turmes cited one key lever to boost renovation: standardisation, including when it comes to financing and the training of skilled workers. In 2020, the European Commission launched its Renovation Wave, an initiative designed to double the rate of deep renovations in the EU to about 2% of the building stock every year. Yet, despite rising energy prices, deep renovations remain stuck at 1% annually.

Loans for gas – Trafigura has entered into a $3 bln four-year loan to support new gas deliveries to the EU grid jointly arranged and underwritten by Deutsche Bank and another international bank, and syndicated to a number of participating banks. The loan will support a new commitment by Trafigura to deliver substantial volumes of gas into the European gas grid, and ultimately into Germany, over the next four years, as part of the Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE) programme, which was recently recapitalised by the German government. The first gas delivery took place on Nov. 1 and Trafigura will primarily use existing quantities from its global gas and LNG portfolio to help secure gas supplies to SEFE. (Reuters)

Phosphate date – Morocco’s phosphates and fertiliser producer OCP said it will spend $12.3 bln to increase fertiliser production using renewable energy by 2027, the company’s chief executive Mostafa Terrab said. State-owned OCP, one of the world’s biggest fertiliser companies, will invest in solar and wind projects as it seeks to reach carbon neutrality by 2040. It also plans to invest in desalination powered by renewables to supply both its industrial plants and adjacent farmlands. (Reuters)

Just transition – The Polish coal regions of Silesia, Malopolska, Wielkopolska, Lower Silesia and Lodzkie will receive €3.85 bln for a just transition toward climate neutral economy. The European Commission adopted five operational programmes with Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs).

Flemish aid – Flemish companies that have recently incurred operating losses will access a €250 mln measure. Under the scheme, approved by the EU executive, the aid will take the form of direct grants up to €500,000 per company and up to €4 mln for energy intensive businesses. Furthermore, the latter are eligible for increased support up to €7.5 mln if they are active in particularly affected sectors. In particular, the individual aid amount will not exceed 50% of the eligible costs for the maximum aid ceiling of €4 mln. For beneficiaries which qualify as energy-intensive businesses and are active in particularly affected sectors, the overall aid per beneficiary will not exceed 40% of the eligible costs for the maximum aid ceiling of €100 mln. The aid will be granted before the end of next year.

Joint venture – The European Commission cleared the way creation of a joint venture in In Salah Gas Limited by the Societe Nationale pour la Recherche, la Production, le Transport, la Transformation, et la Commercialisation des Hydrocarbures – both of Algeria, Eni of Italy, and Equinor of Norway. Through the transaction, Eni replaces BP as joint controlling shareholder.

AMERICAS

Climate court – ExxonMobil, Shell, and other oil companies facing lawsuits accusing them of fuelling climate change on Friday asked the US Supreme Court to review whether those claims should be heard in federal courts, the companies’ preferred venue, instead of the state systems where they were originally filed. In two separate petitions, the companies said the lawsuits filed by Rhode Island and two municipalities in Hawaii are governed by or pre-empted by federal law. The suits are among about two dozen cases brought by states and municipalities against the companies in state court, accusing oil companies of exacerbating climate change by concealing and misrepresenting the dangers associated with burning fossil fuels. The plaintiffs want the companies to help pay for the costs of adapting to and mitigating climate change impacts. The oil companies have been fighting to bring the suits to federal court but have so far been rebuffed by a series of district courts and at least five US Circuit Courts of Appeals. (Reuters)

Disclosure discourse – Backers and critics of brewing US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) emissions disclosure rules are using the new Inflation Reduction Act climate law to bolster their arguments, but in different ways. Recent filings from progressive groups say the law’s huge clean energy incentives mean investors need info the SEC rules would provide. The March proposal will help “determine which companies and sectors are best positioned and ready to capitalise” on the law and analyse companies’ climate strategies, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund said in Dec. 1 comments. Sierra Club comments point to Credit Suisse analysts’ view that the law will have a “profound effect across industries.” On the other side, have a “profound effect across industries.” On the other side, A major chemical industry trade group’s recent comments cite provisions directing the US EPA to support “enhanced standardisation and transparency” of corporate pledges and plans. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) notes this section mirrors the SEC’s justification for its rule, yet does mention the financial regulators. “This omission, coming in the midst of a pending SEC rulemaking on the very same topic, suggests the Commission has misjudged the scope of its authority.” The ACC filing is also among many that argue the SEC proposal runs afoul of last summer’s US Supreme Court ruling that limits executive running room on climate. (Axios)

IRA zombie – US President Joe Biden supports adding an expedited energy project approval bill to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. The energy project approval bill would fast track environmental reviews and limit court challenges to renewable projects and pipelines and is championed by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D). Manchin was offered must-pass inclusion on the bill in exchange for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act back in August, but the bill was shelved due to lack off support. (Bloomberg)

Well no! California’s Los Angeles (LA) City Council voted unanimously (12–0) on Friday to immediately ban new oil and gas extraction, and phase out oil drilling in the state within 20 years, the Los Angeles Times reported. Presently, the city has 26 oil and gas fields and more than 5,000 oil and gas wells, of which some are active. Many wells are located in Wilmington and the harbour areas, but also operate in downtown, West Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and the northwest San Fernando Valley, according to the city’s planning department. Stand Together Against Neighbourhood Drilling (STAND-LA), an association of community groups that helped spearhead the law, said, “Black, Latinx, and other communities of colour currently living near polluting oil wells and derricks in South LA and Wilmington will eventually breathe easier.” The oil industry opposed the vote warning city officials that the phase out would hurt the city’s finances and make LA more dependent on foreign oil. In an October letter to city officials, trade group California Independent Petroleum Association, representing over 300 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, disputed claims of “detrimental health effects” from oil and gas drilling and production operations. The group also said that the loss of oil production in the city would lead to more imports of oil through the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. “The South Coast Air Quality Management District has identified oil tankers as one of the major sources of air pollution in the LA Basin,” the group wrote. The group also pointed to a June 2020 study by Capitol Matrix Consulting that estimated the oil and gas industry brings in about $250 mln to the city’s general funds.

Quantifying H2 – Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced that the final publication of the federal low-carbon intensity (CI) hydrogen quantification methodology (QM), currently under development, would be published in the winter of 2023. The hydrogen QM is undergoing some additional consultations with expert reviewers, the ECCC noted in an email update to Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR) stakeholders.

ASIA PACIFIC

CCS project lift-off – Malaysia’s Petronas is working on the development of a depleted oil field off the coast of Sarawak for storage of captured carbon dioxide (CO2) from an adjacent oil producing field, The Star reports. A licence for this venture will be issued as soon as the new rules for carbon storage are gazetted in early 2023, according to Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. He said Petronas had reached the final investment decision for the development of the Kasawari CO2 Sequestration (CCS) project off Bintulu, which is expected to reduce CO2 volumes emitted via flaring by 3.3 million tonnes of CO2e annually, making it one of the largest offshore CCS projects in the world.

Leverage this – A new analysis conducted for Environmental Defence Fund by independent global research firm Rystad Energy has explored how Japan can leverage its unique market position as a key LNG importer to drive global methane reductions. As a major LNG buyer, Japan is well-equipped to work with its suppliers to incentivise and implement emission measurement and reporting strategies based on initiatives such as the UN-backed Oil & Gas Methane Partnership. In the near term, Japan could prioritise credibly-certified low methane intensity gas for the sizable portion of its LNG demand that is not locked in to long-term contracts (EDF).

Renewable superpower – The Australian state of New South Wales is leading the pack in the race to export renewable energy, an annual scorecard by World Wildlife Fund released today said. The state had a score of 71 out of 100, an increase of 12, followed by Tasmania (69), Queensland (64), and South Australia (64). The report said the federal and Queensland government have announced the largest suite of policies since the last scorecard was released. Meanwhile, the country’s main electricity grid, is tracking well to become 100% renewable, however policy leadership is still required to achieve the exponential growth to reach 700% renewables by 2050, according to the report.

CCS for PNG LNG – TotalEnergies plans to include CCS with its 5.3 Mt/yr Papua LNG in Papua New Guinea, as part of the firm’s efforts to reach a net zero GHG target by 2050, Argus reports. TotalEnergies plans to make a final investment decision on Papua LNG by the end of next year. TotalEnergies projects to be operating CCS with nameplate capacity of between 50 Mt and 100 Mt/yr by 2050 compared with around 7 Mt at present. TotalEnergies is the operator of Papua LNG, which when it produces its first gas in either late 2027 or early 2028 will be PNG’s second LNG production facility after the ExxonMobil-led 6.9 Mt/yr PNG LNG.

VOLUNTARY

Re-up – Carbon trading exchange and clearing house AirCarbon Exchange (ACX) is looking to raise $50 mln in its upcoming Series B round that is expected to close in end-March or early-April, co-founder Thomas McMahon told DealStreet Asia. The round has already piqued the interest of 17 parties including banks, financial institutions, and traditional energy players, he said. Existing investors are also likely to re-up in the round, McMahon added, without divulging names.

Haifa-lying – Israeli startup RepAir raised $10 mln to help scale up its technology to suck CO2 out of the air, Bloomberg reports. RepAir is one of a handful of companies looking to build DAC technology. RepAir currently has a working prototype that’s about the size of a shoe box, which it operates in a laboratory near Haifa, Israel. With that proof of concept, the company plans to scale up with the money raised from investors including climate venture firm Extantia Capital and the venture arms of European oil and gas giants Shell and Equinor. The next phase for RepAir will be to build a unit capable of capturing as much as 1 tonne of CO2 per year out in the real world, a system about the size of a residential air conditioner. That will be up and running in about six months. Next would be to scale up to a module able to suck in about 200 tonnes per year, a building block to larger-scale plants that aim to operate commercially. The world’s largest DAC plant, built by Swiss startup Climeworks, started up last year in Iceland with a capacity to draw in 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. RepAir, founded in 2020, aims to distinguish itself by limiting how much energy is needed to capture CO2. The firm said that its machine needs about 650 kWh of power to capture a tonne of CO2 compared to roughly 2,000 kWh required by the Climeworks system. While RepAir requires power, Climeworks uses heat for much of its energy.

They’re not EVil – Just Global ride-hailing giant Uber has set a target of 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2030 in Europe and by 2040 in all markets – an ambition that requires their self-employed drivers to ditch their petrol and diesel cars for cleaner technologies. But while some have embraced the shift, other drivers are more reluctant to go electric, citing significantly higher upfront vehicle costs and fears over the lack of charging infrastructure, as well as longer charging times compared to refuelling. “There’s definitely some hesitance. I think that’s very natural with a new technology,” Chris Hook, Uber’s global sustainability chief, told Euractiv. “Generally speaking, once someone has tried an EV, the reaction is very positive…  Often, people’s fear or hesitancy, it doesn’t really materialise once they get a chance to actually try the vehicle out.” Currently just under one in ten of Uber’s European fleet is zero-emission, giving the company seven years to drastically refigure their fleet composition.

SCIENCE & TECH

Boreal risk – The spruce bark beetle has been causing massive damage to forests in central and eastern Europe, and is now shown to be venturing further and further north with climate change. Invasive insect infestations are one of the top threats to the CO2 stored in global forests, and along with wildfires, cause significant levels of forest damage every year. Dead trees release CO2 as they decay, jeopardising natural carbon sinks and projects targeting nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation. (AFP)

Longer-lasting SAF – Researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a unique type of SAF that will allow planes to fly further than using traditional fossil fuel, reports the Innovation News Network. The new aviation fuel consists of magnesium and hydrogen. A slurry of magnesium hydride, a chemical compound comprised of magnesium and hydrogen, burns to produce CO₂, water vapour, and magnesium oxide (MgO) nanoparticles when mixed with hydrocarbon fuel. A lower volume of this slurry is needed for combustion than a typical aviation fuel, which means the plane can fly for longer. “We found this fuel would have up to 8% more range than other jet fuel, and more than two to three times longer range than liquid hydrogen or ammonia which other researchers have proposed as sustainable fuels,” said Jagan Jayachandran, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering, who led the research.

AND FINALLY…

Texas is the reason – When a lawsuit was filed to block the US’ first major offshore wind farm off the Massachusetts coast, it appeared to be a straightforward clash between those who earn their living from the sea and others who would install turbines and underwater cables that could interfere with the harvesting of squid, fluke, and other fish. The fishing companies challenging federal permits for the Vineyard Wind project were from the Bay State as well as Rhode Island and New York, and a video made by the opponents featured a bearded fisherman with a distinct New England accent. But the financial muscle behind the fight originated thousands of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, in dusty oil country. The group bankrolling the lawsuit filed last year was the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit organisation backed by oil and gas companies and Republican donors. With influence campaigns, legal action and model legislation, the group is promoting fossil fuels and trying to stall the American economy’s transition toward renewable energy. At the same time, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has spread misinformation about climate science. With YouTube videos, regular appearances on Fox and Friends, and social media campaigns, the group’s executives have sought to convince lawmakers and the public that a transition away from oil, gas and coal would harm Americans. They have frequently seized on current events to promote dubious narratives, pinning high gasoline prices on President Joe Biden’s climate policies (economists say that’s not the driver) or claiming the 2021 winter blackout in Texas was the result of unreliable wind energy (it wasn’t). (NYT)

Got a tip?  How about some feedback?  Email us at news@carbon-pulse.com