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ICAO Council moves four offset programmes towards CORSIA participation, delays re-eligibility decision
UN body ICAO’s Council has given a jurisdictional REDD+ initiative full eligibility and three other carbon credit programmes conditional eligibility to supply emissions units to the CORSIA global aviation offsetting scheme, while delaying a decision on granting re-eligibility for already-approved standards past the scheme’s current pilot phase.
RGGI’s Q4 auction this week cleared at the lowest level in over a year amid weaker demand from compliance entities, according to results published Friday.
California free carbon permit distributions to industrials increased slightly for 2023 as economic sectors likely saw their production bounce back after the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from state regulator ARB published on Friday.
Compliance entities and financials reduced their California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) over annual contract rolling and rebalancing activity, while RGGI Allowances (RGAs) were picked up by regulated entities ahead of the last allowance sale for the year, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
The Canadian government confirmed on Thursday that it would end new direct public support for the international fossil fuels energy sector by the end of 2022, in keeping with a pledge made at COP26 last year.
Bursa Malaysia officially launched its voluntary carbon market (VCM) exchange on Friday, to be known as BCX, an initiative jointly developed with the Malaysian ministries of environment and finance, as the Southeast Asian nation seeks to unlock sources of VCM revenue to help meet its climate and environmental policy goals.
AU Market: Safeguard Mechanism to create fundamentally bullish spot price forecast, analyst firm says
An Australian market firm has updated its base case spot price forecast for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) in light of the expected changes to the Safeguard Mechanism, as a policy watcher urged the government to expand the scope of scheme’s design.
Spot prices and trading volume in China’s national emissions trading scheme both dropped over the past week, with unclear market prospects that observers attribute to possible changes in the proposed post-2020 allowance allocation plan amid opposition from power plants.
An Indian start-up has raised $4 million in a seed round as it seeks to expand its operations in South Asia, it announced on Friday.
Gold Standard has dismissed the UK government’s statement that the standard body’s carbon credits could be used to mitigate a controversial new coal mine in the UK, branding the offsetting justification as “nonsense” and against its guidance.
EUA prices dipped on Friday but still managed a weekly gain, as a supportive energy complex and options-related positioning eclipsed warnings that the recent rally to a three-month high is overdone.
Eight projects for energy infrastructure across Belgium, Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Tunisia are set to receive a total of €602 million from the Connecting Europe Facility after gaining approval from Brussels on Friday.
A French investment bank this week launched an exchange-traded commodity (ETC) contract in Europe that tracks EU carbon prices.
A rating agency has warned a cookstove project in Nepal has a moderate chance of achieving CO2 avoidance or removal because of additionality risks, while placing another six projects on watch for a potential ratings change, including three REDD+ projects in Kenya.
UK-based non-profit Global Canopy has cooperated with a number of financial market participants to draw up guidelines for how global family offices can help put pressure on asset managers to rid their portfolios of activities that drive deforestation.
A weekly summary of our biodiversity news plus bite-sized updates from around the world. All articles in this edition are free to read (no subscription required).
2023 is shaping up to be a year filled with climate action from businesses, as new regulations come into place and carbon data becomes key to meeting reduction targets. Rachel Delacour, CEO of Sweep, Europe’s leading carbon management and reduction platform, shares her insights to help businesses get ahead of the curve.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Solar Alliance – The European Commission, together with industrial actors, research institutes, associations and other relevant parties launched the European Solar PV Industry Alliance. It will help mitigate supply risk. In a joint statement, the Commission and signatories of the Alliance set out the immediate priorities for 2023, such as boosting domestic manufacturing capacity and delivering €60 bln of new GDP per year and the creation of more than 400,000 new jobs.
Romanian help – Romania will receive over €2 bln from the EU’s Just Transition Fund, thanks to the adoption of its Territorial Just Transition Plan (TJTP). The Fund will help the country achieve its goal to phase out coal by 2032. In particular, it targets the most affected regions: Dolj, Galati, Gorj, Hunedoara, Mures and Prahova. Exceptionally, the JTF will support two installations covered by the EU ETS: Liberty Steel’s Galati facility and fertiliser producer Azomures. “These investments will help industries to achieve deep emissions cuts (well below the ETS benchmark) while keeping jobs in the JTF regions,” according to Sander Happaerts, the European Commission’s JTF policy coordinator.
Empty promises – Germany is considering support for at least 10 foreign fossil fuel projects worth over €1 billion, despite its pledge to end international funding for coal, oil and gas, Climate Home reports. In response to a parliamentary question from a left-wing German lawmaker, the state secretary at the ministry of economic affairs and climate action Udo Philipp said the government is considering 10 applications for export credit guarantees for fossil energy projects in Brazil, Iraq, Uzbekistan, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. A breakdown of the projects accompanying the response shows that €419 mln or around 40% of the funding, could go to a single project in Brazil. Three of the projects totalling €340 mln are located in Iraq and four are in Cuba. Other fossil fuel projects could be under consideration by the German state-owned investment and development bank KfW. The bank does not disclose projects it hasn’t decided to support. Germany was among 16 countries to sign a pledge at Cop26 in Glasgow last year to end international funding for fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. Ten have published policies showing how they will restrict funding to coal, oil and gas. But Germany has not adopted a policy because of internal divisions over exemptions for gas.
Portuguese aid – Gas-intensive businesses in Portugal will be able to access €45 mln of government support after the scheme was approved under the EU’s State Aid Temporary Crisis Framework, in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to the EU Commission daily newsletter on Friday. The aid will take the form of direct grants up to a maximum of €2 mln, while users that incur operating losses may receive further aid up to €5 mln. The amount per eligible beneficiary will not exceed 50% of the eligible costs, calculated based on the increase of gas costs. The individual aid amount will not exceed 65% of the eligible costs for the maximum aid ceiling of €50 mln and will be granted before Dec. 31 2023.
Pricey pipeline – An underwater pipeline to carry green hydrogen between Spain and France will cost about 2.5 bln euros ($2.6 bln), Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez said on Friday, adding he hoped the EU would partly fund the project. The pipeline between Barcelona and Marseille will have a capacity of 2 Mt/yr and be ready by the end of the decade, Sanchez said at a summit of Mediterranean EU leaders in the southeastern Spanish port city of Alicante. The decision to pursue the project comes as an energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has accelerated European plans to bolster renewable energy as an alternative to Russian gas. (Reuters)
Sustainable batteries – EU legislators on Friday reached a provisional deal on a regulation for a regulation on batteries, another element of the Fit for 55 climate policy package. According to the new rules, there will be: stronger sustainability, performance and labelling requirements; due diligence policy to address social and environmental risks; more stringent targets for waste collection, recycling efficiency and material recovery; easier to replace portable batteries. Other measures foreseen by the regulation include: collection targets set at 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030 for portable batteries, and at 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031 for LMT batteries; minimum levels of recovered cobalt (16%), lead (85%), lithium (6%) and nickel (6%) from manufacturing and consumer waste reused in new batteries; collection of all waste LMT, EV, SLI and industrial batteries free of charge for end-users, regardless of their nature, chemical composition, condition, brand or origin. The bloc’s Parliament and Council will have to formally approve the agreement before it can come into force. By the end of 2030, the Commission will assess whether to phase out the use of non-rechargeable portable batteries of general use.
More empty promises – Major energy companies are not doing enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change despite public promises to fight the problem, a US House panel said about documents released on Friday that it got in a probe, Reuters reports. Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed major oil executives for the documents, which included internal corporate emails, late last year after a hearing grilling them over their response to climate change. Many of the documents showed major oil companies discussing the strategy of selling off, or divesting, oil and gas fields to smaller companies to lower their own emissions – a move that simply shuffles those emissions to the next company without reducing them, the panel said. At Shell, spokesperson Curtis Smith said in an internal email about divesting from assets in Canada’s oil sands: “True, we transfer CO2 liability when we divest.” The documents also show that industry group the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) 2021 strategy on climate change has been organised around “the continued promotion of natural gas in a carbon constrained economy.”
Not enough reduction – The US Inflation Reduction Act will speed up the deployment of renewables, energy storage, and electric vehicles, but not fast enough to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of decarbonising the nation’s power grid by 2035, according to an analysis by consultant McKinsey. The company presented the analysis at the annual meeting on Thursday for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which manages transmission in 15 states. The analysis was based on independent modelling McKinsey undertook after the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law. (E&E News)
Gasoline goodbye – Gasoline consumption in California could drop nearly 38% by 2035, as a result of a statewide push to increase zero-emission vehicles, according to a new energy forecast. Agency analysts also predicted a potential 22% decrease in diesel fuel use in 2035. They attributed the big drops in gas and diesel to new regulations from California regulator ARB, including a rule requiring automakers to sell an increasing number of zero emissions vehicles. Staff with the California Energy Commission presented the forecast at a workshop Wednesday for the agency’s update to its Integrated Energy Policy Report. (E&E News)
Indigenous initiative – Canadian natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Friday announced C$5.8 mln in funding for 14 Indigenous-led initiatives, as part of the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions initiative. The Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund is a C$631 million, 10-year fund to support projects that conserve, restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, grasslands, and forests, in order to store and capture carbon. Of this amount, up to C$36.9 million is allocated to provide targeted support for Indigenous peoples through the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solution funding stream, the government said in a press release.
Sino-Saudi ties – China and Saudi Arabia agreed to hold regular summits between their leaders, solidifying ties between the world’s No. 2 economy and its top supplier of oil, Bloomberg reports, as the two countries signed a host of agreements that reportedly included one on hydrogen. In a meeting in Riyadh on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed to hold summits every two years as they upgraded the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The two nations also signed a slew of energy and investment pacts, though details on those were scant. They announced plans to synchronise China’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure program with the kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to wean the economy off a reliance on oil. The Saudi investment ministry and Shandong Innovation Group also inked an agreement to build an aluminum plant, and the Saudi government said it signed an MoU to set up a hydrogen cracking project. Saudi Arabia has started work on a large facility for green hydrogen in Neom, a Red Sea city under construction.
Grid performance — The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded A$730,000 ($494,000) to local tech start-up Infravision to develop, test, and trial their transmission line monitoring system, dubbed Next Generation Line Monitoring, to optimise grid performance, it said Friday. The monitoring technology uses a sensor stack that can be installed by drone on transmission lines to provide real time microclimatic data which can unlock additional transmission line capacity, according to ARENA. This data can be used to calculate what’s known as Dynamic Line Rating ( DRL) that rpovies a more accurate and responsive measurement of transmission capacity, allowing higher volumes of electricity to be safely dispatched when conditions are suitable. Most transmission lines currently use static line ratings, which make conservative assumptions to ensure lines operate safely at all times, however calculating DLR using real time, real-world conditions, transmission operators will be able to determine when it is safe to dispatch higher volumes of electricity on existing infrastructure. The funding will go towards deploying and testing Infravision’s sensors on the New South Wales transmission network, to provide operator Transgrid with high fidelity data. The electricity transition is going to require new generation and transmission on a massive scale. Infravision’s integrated Dynamic Line Rating solution can help get the most out of existing transmission lines,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.
Unjustified and ridiculous – The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is fast-tracking a bid to back a gas-fired power plant in Bangladesh, after concluding the project is in line with the Paris Agreement. The Beijing-headquartered development bank is considering support for a 584MW gas plant in Narayangonj on the outskirts of Dhaka. A report from the Bangladesh Power Development Board shows the plant will be fuelled by LNG. Dwindling domestic gas resources, efforts to shift away from coal and phase out polluting diesel plants and the lack of renewable capacity has led Bangladesh to increasingly rely on LNG to meet its energy needs. But soaring prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have left the South Asian nation priced out of the market and facing regular power outages. “There’s no gas to supply this new power plant. It’s not justified and ridiculous,” Hasan Mehedi, secretary of the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt, an alliance of 43 local organisations, told Climate Home. Standard Chartered Bank is lead lender on the $613 mln project, which is under construction. AIIB’s proposed contribution is a $110 mln loan.
SAF for sore eyes – Further commitments have been announced by major airlines in Europe and the US for sustainable aviation fuel, collectively totalling around 550 mln gallons. Air France-KLM has signed an MoU with its long-term fuel supplier TotalEnergies for up to 800,000 tonnes of SAF, or 264 mln gallons, for its group of airlines, while low-cost European carrier Ryanair has partnered with Shell for another 360,000 tonnes, or 120 mln gallons, and US operator JetBlue will take at least 92 mln gallons of blended product from Fidelis New Energy. The three deals add to other significant offtake agreements this year by each of the airline groups as they ramp up their decarbonisation activities. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic is to purchase 70 mln gallons of SAF over seven years as part of a new agreement with joint venture partner Delta Air Lines. The fuel, which will be produced by Gevo, will be used on flights from the US West Coast. (GreenAir News)
SCIENCE & TECH
From the frying pan into the fire – Americans are moving away from some areas hit hardest by hurricanes and extreme heat, and are moving to regions most prone to extreme wildfires and drought — as well as hurricane-prone Florida — a study published Thursday in Frontiers in Human Dynamics finds. The University of Vermont researchers found people are increasingly moving away from flood-prone areas along the Mississippi River, as well as New York state and West Virginia. They’re moving to places with immediate and tangible benefits, like the scenic beauty of the West, or the retiree amenities of Florida, and setting aside wildfire and hurricane risks. That so many Americans are “flocking to fire” as the study’s authors put it, indicates “the public has not fully acknowledged the climate emergency,” Brown University population studies professor Elizabeth Fussell, who was not involved in the study, told Inside Climate News. The socioeconomic costs will still rise, however, Jennifer Marlon of the Yale School of Environment told CNN. (Climate Nexus)
Fake puffins for the planet – The majority of puffin nesting sites in western Europe are likely to be lost by the end of the century due to climate breakdown, according to researchers from the UK’s Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the University of Cambridge. The first-of-its kind guidance gives tips on how to protect 47 seabirds species that breed along the Atlantic coastline. It assesses species-specific needs and gives actions needed to preserve each one. It details how birds could be relocated to safer locations as climate breakdown causes heatwaves and plummeting fish populations. For example, puffins can be successfully encouraged into new breeding sites by placing model birds in them, and gulls can be drawn to manmade nesting platforms. (Guardian)
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