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Ghana is fast developing global leadership as a seller of carbon credits under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 international trade provision by establishing levies on such exports, having already developed key relationships with several buyer nations and big-hitting trading houses.
Text setting out an EU decision on how many carbon allowances it will auction from the market stability reserve as part of its REPowerEU strategy suggests that legislators have developed a view on what is an appropriate price for carbon, market sources said on Wednesday.
Several EU countries are pushing for a higher share of renewable energy sources (RES) than the goal just adopted as a position by all member states in Council, increasing the prospects of a jump in ambition in final negotiations with the European Parliament in the new year that could dampen carbon prices.
EUAs gave up almost all Tuesday’s gains in very quiet trading on Wednesday, with traders reluctant to pinpoint key drivers as the holiday season looms, while European energy markets continued to lose ground amid a combination of warmer weather and healthy supplies.
Sweeping federal legislation, which must be approved this week to avoid a shutdown of the US government, includes a provision to support the agriculture industry’s participation in voluntary carbon markets (VCM).
The federal government of Canada on Wednesday announced plans to enhance regulated annual zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) sales targets for all new light-duty vehicles, with interim milestones towards achieving 100% ZEV sales by 2035.
Quebec retired more of California’s allowances and offsets over an eight-year period in results released on Wednesday of a new accounting mechanism to track compliance instrument transfers between jurisdictions under the WCI-linked carbon market.
While New Zealand will allow all scientifically robust forms of sequestration in its ETS from 2025, a government report has cautioned it will be some time after that before landholders are likely to be rewarded with NZUs.
India expects its planned carbon market to be fully operational in 2026 and intends to set up a market stabilisation fund to ensure prices don’t fall below a certain level, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a government presentation shared with stakeholders.
Confusing and incomplete reporting guidelines are making it difficult for China’s iron and steel industry to adequately and correctly report their CO2 emissions, a report has found, raising concerns ahead of the sector’s planned inclusion in the national emissions trading scheme.
The emergence of CCUS as an effective technology to mitigate climate change will require the regular revising of laws at both the national and international level to regulate issues such as the transport and storage of CO2, the formation of hubs and clusters, and a viable insurance system for the sector, a study has found.
The US arm of a German certification giant has acquired a North American greenhouse gas auditing firm.
The ownership of carbon credits in a huge jurisdictional forestry conservation project in Guyana involving oil major Hess is being disputed by an activist group for Indigenous people following a successful case about land rights in the country.
A Europe-headquartered energy company has revealed that it provided the greatest proportion of carbon credits for the first MENA voluntary carbon market auction hosted by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF) in October, selling almost 500,000 tonnes to the organisers.
Three Verra-certified forestry conservation projects in Kenya could be over-credited, a rating agency has warned following a review that nonetheless slightly improved grades for two of them while reaffirming the previous rating of a third that at one stage attracted backing from Hollywood actors.
A web3 company offering digital carbon credits for offsetting purposes has refined its offering to allow users to select the geography, vintage, and project type they want to use.
BIODIVERSITY (FREE TO READ)
UK-based Social Carbon Foundation has launched a new methodology to award carbon credits to conservation projects located in areas of biodiversity importance.
Spain-headquartered fashion group Inditex, which owns clothing brands such as Zara, has committed to at least €10 million in funding to a number of WWF biodiversity and ecosystem restoration projects over the next three years.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Down by a fifth – EU GHG levels in 2021 fell by 22% from a peak hit in 2008, the bloc’s Statistics Office said on Wednesday. Its latest annual analysis, which excludes an expected rebound in emissions this year, found overall GHG emissions stood at 3.6 bln tCO2e in 2021, 1.01 bln tCO2e lower than a peak so far hit in 2008 when the EU data set began. Mining and quarrying recorded the largest drop, down 42% between 2008 and 2021, followed by utilities, steam, and air conditioning supply (-39%), manufacturing, transportation, and storage (-23%), and households (-13%), Eurostat said. (Reuters)
Dim decisions – The UK will pay as much as £4.5 bln to help fund the takeover of collapsed energy supplier Bulb by rival Octopus Energy. Octopus officially took over Bulb’s 1.5 mln customers late on Tuesday, despite the objections of rival energy providers. The funding facility will help cover various costs including the bill to secure energy for Bulb’s customers through Mar. 2023, according to a document published by the UK’s department for business, energy, and industrial strategy. (Bloomberg)
Christmas bonuses – The European Commission approved a slew of just transition plans and state aid before the holidays, on top of green-lighting €4.11 bln from the ETS-financed Modernisation Fund to accelerate the clean energy transition in Croatia (€120 mln), Czechia (€1 bln), Estonia (€62 mln), Hungary (€74 mln), Lithuania (€85 mln), Poland (€643 mln), Romania (€1 bln), and Slovakia (€399 mln). The new releases amount to €465 mln and €183 mln from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) going to Finland and Belgium, respectively. The executive also gave the green light to three German schemes (€28 bln, €1.5 bln, €34.5 bln) for implementing renewables, and recapitalising the energy company Uniper, as well as to a French scheme for wind power.
Tree power – UK forests could store almost double the amount of carbon than previous calculations suggest, with consequences for our understanding of carbon stocks and humanity’s response to climate change, according to a study involving researchers at University College, London. For the study, published in the journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence, the international team of scientists used a novel 3D scanning technique and analysis to assess the amount of aboveground biomass – used to derive carbon storage – of 815 trees in a UK woodland. The team found that their results were 77% higher than previous estimates (410 t ha-1 of biomass vs 232 t ha-1). The authors say that their study could have implications for the role of forests in tackling climate change, with the potential underestimation of carbon stocks having both positive and negative consequences for climate policy. (AZoCleantech)
GO Morocco – Morocco is planning to introduce a guarantees of origin (GO) system to protect its exports to the EU and help companies avoid paying the bloc’s new carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), local media reports. The announcement was made earlier this month by Morocco’s Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development Leila Benali. Speaking in the country’s legislature, she announced the development of a certification system for the origin of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in order to enable companies to prove that their output was produced via low-carbon means. The government, Benali said, has also been working since Oct. 2021 to accelerate the energy transition and develop renewable energy within the country. Morocco last month signed a memorandum of understanding with France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain to support the integration of green electricity markets in Europe in line with efforts to mitigate climate change. The agreement signed at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh focuses on a two-year plan to remove “unjustified” barriers for cross-border renewable power purchase agreements between all parties, as well as adopting measures to facilitate financial and technical cooperation.
Not good enough – Indonesia’s climate targets are “critically insufficient”, a global climate research consortium has said, despite the country’s renewed emission target, Asia News Network reports. Indonesia this year announced plans to reach net zero emissions by 2060 and to reduce its carbon emissions by 31.89% independently, or 43.2% with international assistance by 2030, in its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. This is a slight increase from the 29% and 41%, respectively, outlined in the first NDC target submitted in 2016 and retained in a revised NDC last year. Despite these changes, Climate Action Tracker (CAT) still rated Indonesia’s climate targets as “critically insufficient,” the same rating it gave to the country in September 2021 before the new targets were announced. Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) executive director Fabby Tumiwa said recently that Indonesia should have set more ambitious targets as its enhanced commitment still relied on a “business-as-usual projection,” thus could still be easily achieved. To be in line with the global ambition of warming to just 1.5C, Fabby said. “There really isn’t much time left to push for more ambitious emission reduction actions and this is highly correlated with our adaptive capacity. The later we cut greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the risk of a climate disaster and the higher the impact,” Fabby said.
Plugged in — The Australian federal and New South Wales will commit A$7.8 bln ($5.2 bln) to fund transmission infrastructure to connect renewable energy zones and the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to the rest of the grid, the Guardian reports. The funded transmission projects include the Sydney Ring – Hunter Transmission Project, the Central-West, Orana, New England, Hunter-Central, and South-West renewable energy zones, as well as the HumeLink, VNI West, and the Southern Sydney Ring projects. “Support for critical transmission infrastructure like Sydney Ring, VNI West and HumeLink, to get across the line, will help transform Australia into a renewable energy superpower,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. NSW State Premier Dominic Perrottet said the funding would support the A$32 bln in private investment for regional energy infrastructure by 2030, and create 3,9000 jobs during construction. The federal government has promised A$20 bln to “rewire the nation” by quickly building new electricity transmission links between states and regions to support the east coast’s transition from running predominantly on coal power to renewable energy.
Diet Dr. Copper – Mitsui has entered into agreements with Florence Copper for copper cathode offtake and an equity conversion right, the company announced in a press release. Florence plans to produce low-carbon copper cathode in Arizona. Mitsui will pay $50 mln to cover part of the development costs, and will receive copper cathode and also acquire an equity conversion right. Florence is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taseko Mines Limited, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Florence plans to produce copper using the in-situ recovery for extracting the metal from underground deposits. This method will enable mining operation with carbon emissions approximately 80% lower compared with conventional copper mining, and also a low environmental burden, since no shovels, trucks, or other heavy machinery are used to extract copper. Once the US Environmental Protection Agency issues the final environmental permit, Florence will start construction of the project, which is expected to take 18 months, and then will commence production. Mitsui will use its marketing and business development expertise accumulated over the years to contribute to the sale of the low carbon copper cathode in the United States and the development of the project.
Say no to greenwashing – China plans to tighten rules to regulate green funds, as part of its efforts to rein in ‘greenwashing’ in the world’s second-largest climate fund market, according to Reuters. The new rules, likely to be launched in the first half of 2023, could impact some or most of the green funds that make up the bulk of the 160 sustainable products now in China, forcing them to back up their green claims or drop the popular label, the report said. Currently, China’s green funds only operate within broad investment guidelines that came into effect in 2018 and do not have a mandatory labelling regime.
Baker’s Bay State blueprint – By the year 2050, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker envisions virtually all of the state’s more than 5 mln light-duty vehicles running on electric power instead of fossil fuels, 80% of the state’s homes will be heated and cooled with electric heat pumps, and the state-wide electrical infrastructure will be able to handle 2.5 times more load than in 2020, NBC Boston reports. Those are some of the key benchmarks in a new climate and clean energy plan Baker’s secretariat published Wednesday, outlining sector-specific emissions reduction targets and policy steps that will help Massachusetts achieve the legally required target of achieving net-zero state-wide carbon emissions by the middle of the century. The 2050 plan, which the Baker administration released on its way out the door of state government, seeks to formalize and expand a range of tactics already in play, leaning heavily on electrifying the transportation and building sectors and expanding clean energy sources such as offshore wind.
Gulf of Mexico CCS hub – Carbon-Zero US, Cox Operating, Crescent Midstream, and Repsol on Tuesday announced a partnership to develop one of the Gulf Coast’s largest offshore hubs for the permanent storage of CO2. Cox is among the largest owners of energy infrastructure in the offshore Gulf of Mexico and intends to repurpose facilities and equipment to lower the CCS project’s carbon footprint during market-based energy transition. Cox’s current leasehold consists of more than 600 wells in 66 offshore fields potentially containing the largest CO2 storage volume owned by a single operator in the Gulf of Mexico. Crescent Midstream, a Louisiana-based pipeline operator, has extensive onshore and offshore pipeline construction and operations experience in the Gulf of Mexico. In conjunction with its CCS hub partners, Carbon-Zero recently submitted an application to the Department of Energy for the CarbonSAFE program for a pilot in one of their proposed CO2 sequestration locations. The proposed project accesses offshore storage fields from Crescent and Cox’s Grand Isle, Louisiana, facilities.
Not so fast – Virginia’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, a state legislative oversight commission voted along party lines – 5 (D) to 4 (R) – earlier this week against repealing Virginia’s RGGI regulation, The Virginia Mercury reported. The commission is charged with reviewing proposed regulations to see if they are consistent with the law. Its objection will be filed with the Virginia registrar and the State Air Pollution Control Board that voted earlier this month to begin the process of withdrawing the state from the 11-state RGGI carbon market, the report noted.
No Dakota – North Dakota officials plan to challenge the Biden administration’s use of the social cost of carbon to calculate GHG emissions from federal oil leases, E&E News reports. The state said Tuesday that it will argue that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is overestimating carbon’s social cost and underestimating the taxes and other benefits the state would receive from federal leases in the state. The North Dakota Industrial Commission approved a draft of the comments it will submit as part of an ongoing environmental assessment that the BLM is undertaking. North Dakota is the third-largest oil-producing state, and it has more than half its electricity from coal-fired power plants in 2021, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
SCIENCE & TECH
Bomb hell – An unusually intense Arctic cold front is forecast to send temperatures in the US tumbling by up to 40 F overnight. This front, along with an accompanying rapidly intensifying storm known as a bomb cyclone, will engulf the most of the Lower 48 states in extreme weather through the weekend, with wind chill expected to drop as low as -70 F (-57 C) in Wyoming. “This will not be your average cold front,” the National Weather Service said in a forecast discussion. (Axios)
Bitmuch – Emissions from mining the cryptocurrency have skyrocketed, researchers reported recently in Scientific Reports. From 2016 to 2021, the carbon footprint of mining a single Bitcoin multiplied a staggering 126 times. In that window, Bitcoin mining caused an estimated $12 bln in global climate damages. “We find no evidence that Bitcoin mining is becoming more sustainable over time,” said economist Benjamin Jones of the University of New Mexico. “Rather, our results suggest the opposite: Bitcoin mining is becoming dirtier and more damaging to the climate.” Bitcoin in 2020 used 75.4 TWh of electricity – more than Austria. Most of that electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, the researchers said. To estimate the resulting climate impacts, Jones and his team analysed how Bitcoin’s electricity demand fluctuated from 2016 to 2021. Based on where miners operate and how those places produce electricity, mining a coin in 2021 emitted 113 metric tonnes of CO2 on average, up from just 0.9 tonnes in 2016. Assuming each tonne of CO2 causes $100 of environmental damage – a figure similar to those used by other researchers – then each Bitcoin mined in 2021 dealt over $11,300 of climate damages. (Mongabay)
Like it or lump it – On Amazon, you can buy red velvet bags emblazoned with “you’ve been naughty” and stuffed with lumps of real coal. Coal has long symbolised the nadir of Christmas presents, a shameful “gift” for ill-behaved children. Pediatrician Tamsin Holland Brown is co-author of an opinion piece published in The British Medical Journal on Monday calling for an end to coal as a Christmas punishment, CNET reports. The paper offers compelling arguments for banishing coal from Christmas traditions. As a non-renewable fossil fuel, the use of coal is one of the culprits in our human-caused climate crisis. “It would be good for goodness’ sake if coal was left in the ground,” the paper says. The paper suggests giving coal won’t improve a child’s “so-called naughty behaviour”, especially at a time when gloomy global news, ranging from cost-of-living concerns to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, can take a toll on mental health. The paper’s finale is a call to action to the mythical Father Christmas: “Santa should phase out coal”.
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