CP Daily: Thursday January 19, 2023

Published 03:12 on January 20, 2023  /  Last updated at 03:13 on January 20, 2023  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Oil major forecasts VER demand to soon outstrip supply, market to reach $40 bln by 2030

An oil major on Thursday said it believes the voluntary carbon market (VCM) will grow from its current $2 billion valuation to reach $10-40 bln by 2030, with bullish credit price projections based on strong demand increases and tightening supply in the coming years.

VOLUNTARY

Investment in carbon credit project development jumps to $10 bln in 2022 despite price slump -report

A highly fragmented carbon developer ecosystem is building as investments of more than $10 billion were made in 2022 across more than 65 deals, up $3 bln year-on-year, according to a report published on Thursday.

Rating agencies weigh in on REDD+ over-crediting claims

Carbon credit ratings agencies on Thursday disputed articles published by several media outlets that claimed as many as 94% of credits from a sample of Verra-issued REDD+ projects do not represent genuine emission reductions, comparing the findings of the investigation against their own analyses.

Two major airlines eye multi-year carbon credit agreements

Two major airlines are eyeing multi-year agreements to acquire carbon credits, potentially bucking an industry trend that has seen several carriers recently shy away from offsets as a decarbonisation solution.

Brazilian metals and mineral company agrees long-term offtake for REDD+ offsets

A Brazilian mining company on Wednesday announced it has entered into a contract to purchase carbon credits over the remainder of the decade from an Amazonian REDD+ project.

Investor piles more cash into billion-dollar removals startup

A specialist investor in decarbonisation solutions has advanced its funding of a carbon capture and removals startup now worth over $1 billion, the firms announced Thursday.

INTERNATIONAL

Tipping points in three sectors could trigger accelerated economy-wide decarbonisation -report

Deliberate climate policy actions targeting three “super leverage” points could trigger a cascade of broader decarbonisation in sectors that cover 70% of global GHG emissions, a report presented at the WEF annual summit in Davos on Friday stated.

Trade ministers from more than 50 nations launch coalition on climate

Trade ministers from more than 50 nations on Thursday launched the first ministerial-level global forum dedicated to trade, climate, and sustainable development issues, aiming to promote trade policies that can help address climate change locally and worldwide.

EMEA

EU seeks views on rules for enhanced oversight of ETS trading activity

The European Commission has opened a public consultation into proposed new regulations that would beef up the market regulator’s powers to investigate trading activity in the EU ETS, after legislators last year agreed to deepen oversight of the bloc’s carbon market.

EU official plays down prospects for CBAM changes via early review

EU industry should not expect major changes to the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) following a 2025 impact assessment examining the value chains of covered sectors, the EU’s top official on the issue told an event on Thursday.

Euro Markets: EUA rally slows after hitting two-week high on short covering

EUAs extended their rally for a third day on Thursday, hitting a two-week high before retreating as the recent burst of short covering was said to have ceased, while gas prices ended their recent rally despite forecasts for a short cold spell.

As net closes in on EU transport emissions, EEX teams with startup trading platform

The European Energy Exchange (EEX) has taken a stake in a startup marketplace for trading greenhouse gas (GHG) quotas used by German transport fuel suppliers, deepening its interest as regulation of the sector’s emissions increases across the EU.

ASIA PACIFIC

Indonesia, WEF partner to scale up blue carbon

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday signed an agreement with Indonesia to help the Southeast Asian nation scale up blue carbon restoration and ocean conservation efforts, with similar partnerships with other countries to follow.

Indian carbon market group forms alliance with state-level renewables agency body

India’s newly-formed Carbon Markets Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a government-sponsored renewable energy organisation to help develop the country’s carbon market and make it play a greater role in reaching the country’s net zero ambitions, it announced on Thursday.

Hong Kong should work with Beijing to explore VCM potential, top banker suggests

Hong Kong, which now hosts an international carbon marketplace, should facilitate more collaboration with Beijing to explore the potential of voluntary carbon markets, a top banker has suggested.

Tokyo Gas subsidiary invests in US direct air capture company, eyes Japanese deployment

Tokyo Gas on Thursday announced one of its California-based subsidiaries has invested in a direct air capture (DAC) firm, and will seek to collaborate on deploying the technology in Japan.

AMERICAS

WCI Markets: CCA prices hold onto weekly gains amid macro risk-off sentiment

California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices retreated in line with broader macro risk-off sentiment but still managed to hold onto weekly gains, while Washington Carbon Allowances (WCA) bide their time as markets await direction from next month’s auction.

California fuel sector emissions still tracking beneath 2021 levels after October sales

Gasoline sales in California for October climbed slightly after last month’s drop but stayed below historic levels, while diesel consumption declined considerably, according to state data released Wednesday.

BIODIVERSITY PULSE (FREE TO READ)

SBTN opens for initial screening of corporate nature-based targets

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has begun accepting applications from companies wanting their nature-based targets validated by the group, expected to drive private-sector biodiversity ambition.

Australian cassowary credit scheme highlights the long road to a biodiversity market

A crediting project looking to protect tropical wetlands in remote northern Queensland has been described by its developer as one of the most developed in the world, however it is being held up by a lack of market infrastructure while also wanting to ensure it is scientifically rigorous enough to avoid the stigma of carbon credit schemes.

Biodiversity Pulse Weekly: Thursday January 19, 2023

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).

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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

CCS under Article 6 – A new technical report has been published by the IEAGHG in partnership with consultancy Carbon Counts that aims to review and summarise the recent and ongoing work in the area of CCS in an Article 6 context. Within the paper, potential models for Article 6 cooperation on CCS include carbon pricing based on the trading of emission reductions and removals units, supply side offsetting based on voluntary pledges by major independent energy companies, as well as supply side offsetting based on country pledges. In light of this, the paper suggested that CCS could be incorporated into Article 6 through emissions trading or crediting, within compliant or voluntary markets, through governmental transfers of mitigation outcomes, and through CCS-specific approaches.

Mending fences? – US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He pledged at a meeting Wednesday in Zurich to work together to resolve climate financing issues and keep the lines of communication open between the world’s two biggest economies, VOA News reports. Speaking to reporters at the start of their talks, Yellen said despite “areas of disagreement,” the two countries have a responsibility to manage their differences and “prevent competition from becoming anything near conflict.” Liu said China was ready to work with the US “to maintain dialogue and exchanges” and seek common ground. Yellen’s face-to-face meeting with Liu was the highest-ranking contact between the two countries since US President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali in November. After the Zurich meeting, the US Department of the Treasury said the two officials agreed that the US and China would cooperate more on climate finance issues and work to support “developing countries in their clean energy transitions.” Despite their pledge of cooperation, bilateral relations remain a concern for many US lawmakers.

Insurance alliance – The Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) has released its first target-setting protocol at the World Economic Forum, accelerating the transition to a global net-zero economy. Launched at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, version 1.0 of the NZIA target-setting protocol will enable NZIA members to independently set science-based, intermediate targets for their insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios, aligned with a net-zero transition pathway consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. It requires the members to set and disclose their initial targets by July 31, 2023. The NZIA, convened by the UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative, is a group of leading insurers representing over 15% of world premium volume globally. The members have committed to transitioning their insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. (Insurance Business America)

Status quo – After committing to net zero by joining the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), financial institutions, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Nomura Asset Management, have continued pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the companies developing fossil fuels, according to a new report published by a group of NGOs including Reclaim Finance and 350.org. The report analyses support for the world’s largest fossil fuel developers from the financial institutions who are members of the sectoral alliances. It finds that:

  • Since joining the alliance, 56 of the biggest banks in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) have provided US$270 bln to 102 major fossil fuel expanders, via 134 loans and 215 underwriting transactions
  • 58 of the largest members of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM) held at least US$847 bln of stocks and bonds in 201 major fossil fuel developers as of Sep. 2022
  • Only a handful of the financial institutions have adopted policies that meaningfully restrict finance to new fossil fuel projects and companies developing new fossil supply projects since joining GFANZ.
  • In total, 229 of the world’s largest fossil fuel developers received finance from the 161 GFANZ members covered in this report, which will support them to develop new coal power plants, mines, ports and other infrastructure, as well as new oil and gas fields and pipelines and LNG terminals.

EMEA

CEPO? – The leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party, Kier Starmer, has called for an “inverse OPEC” coalition of countries to help drive down global energy prices without relying on fossil fuels, Bloomberg reports. Starmer proposed a so-called Clean Power Alliance to counter the influence of the oil cartel, with countries sharing information and investment as they forge a path to so-called net zero carbon emissions, speaking in Davos during the WEF’s annual summit.

Freedom of flight – The airline industry plans to invoke EU rights to freedom of movement to push back against restrictions on short-haul flights, following a partial ban in France approved by Brussels in December. Industry groups fear the ban could set a precedent for wider limitations across Europe on short-haul flying – once a symbol of cross-border liberalisation. They also claim the ban – which impacted far fewer routes than environmental groups had hoped – is ultimately ineffective in significantly curbing emissions. On the other hand, green campaigners want wider restrictions, such as the original proposal of banning flights on routes with travel times of less than 6 hours. For now, the EU will stick to its approval and add some “strings attached”. (Euractiv)

Mind the gap – Net Zero Insights, a leading market intelligence platform for climate tech in Europe and North America, together with Alder & Co., a climate tech marketing agency, on Wednesday announced year-end climate tech investment results for 2022 totalling a record-setting sum of $82 bln, a 20% increase compared to 2021. While the majority, $43.9 bln, came from the US, Europe’s total funding reached $35.6 bln, representing a 33% year-over-year increase, compared to only 7% in the US. Europe’s funding surge of 33% was driven by investments in energy, which saw an increase in funding by 81% ($18.5 bln), followed by transport ($9.4 bln), circular economy ($7.1 bln), and industry ($6 bln). The sectors showing the strongest growth in Europe are industry (645%); GHG capture, removal, and storage (457%); and emissions control, reporting, and offsetting (433%). Climate tech companies from the UK scored the highest funding ($8.1 bln), followed by Sweden ($7.7 bln), and Germany ($5.3 bln).

Nordic H2 – Australian hydrogen shipping tech developer Provaris has signed an MoU with Norwegian Hydrogen to look into the development of green hydrogen value chain projects in the Nordics. ASX-listed Provaris told the market, Thursday, the collaboration would ramp up development of a hydrogen value chain covering large scale production and export of hydrogen to they key ports of Europe. The MoU features the pair working on a concept design study to review and identify sites and select a preferred location suitable for domestic and export volumes of hydrogen, and a technical and economic review of the production and supply of compressed gaseous green hydrogen to nominated European ports. Provaris is currently working on a novel type of hydrogen transport, where the hydrogen is compressed, rather than liquified or converted to ammonia,  for transport. The company said the scope of the study would include the renewable power supply, production of hydrogen, compression facilities, storage infrastructure, and import infrastructure at suitable facilities. The pair will also apply for suitable funding schemes from national government’s and the EU. Provaris CEO and MD said the Nordic region offers several advantages that can include low-cost hydropower, proximity to offtake markets, and supportive governments.

UAETS? – The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority is in talks with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and other stakeholders to develop a carbon-trading mechanism as the Arab world’s second-largest economy aims to achieve net zero in the coming three decades. “Due to the large footprint of the carbon sector in the country, it would be useful to have a carbon-trading mechanism in the UAE,” SCA chief executive Maryam Al Suwaidi told the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum on Thursday, according to The National. “The SCA is consulting the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and other stakeholders on ways to implement this.” Last year, the Abu Dhabi Global Market teamed up with AirCarbon Exchange to create the “world’s first fully regulated” carbon-trading exchange and clearing house in the emirate. The ADGM will regulate carbon credits and offsets as emission instruments, and issue licences for exchanges to operate both spot and derivative markets.

Adnoc and the mangroves – Adnoc, the UAE’s national oil company, will use drone technology to plant 2.5 million mangrove seedlings in Abu Dhabi over the next three years as part of a contract signed with Distant Imagery, a UAE environmental technology company, The National reports. The contract, announced at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, is part of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative and Adnoc’s existing partnership with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the state energy company said in a statement on Wednesday. Adnoc will use drones that can disperse more than 2,000 mangrove seeds in about eight minutes, as the company targets planting up to 10 million mangrove trees in Abu Dhabi by 2030. “Mangroves can provide a living defence against the impact of climate change, by preventing erosion, stabilising Abu Dhabi’s coastlines and enhancing biodiversity, as well as significantly contributing to the quality of life in the area for future generations,” said Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, senior vice president of sustainability and climate at Adnoc.

Taxing the rich – Harbour Energy launched a review of its UK operations and cut its 2023 spending plan after the country imposed a windfall tax on oil and gas producers, Bloomberg reports. Britain’s largest independent North Sea producer said its tax rate has soared after the government imposed the ‘Energy Profits Levy’ to raise funds to help consumers cope with high prices. The company, which pumped more than 200,000 barrels equivalent of oil and gas last year, said “certain opportunities” in the country will no longer be pursued. French major TotalEnergies said this week that it expects to take a hit of about $1 bln from the UK Energy Profits Levy in 2022. The profits of energy firms have soared over past year off the back of extremely high wholesale fossil fuel prices.

Livestock shock – EU Commission’s plans to expand the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) to include pollution from livestock met with concerns over increased administrative burden and unworkable thresholds. The directive already covers a small number of livestock farms – about 4% of EU pig and poultry farms – but the EU executive has proposed to expand this by including cattle and lowering the thresholds for pigs and poultry. The move has raised the hackles of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee and farmers alike. Now member states have taken issue with both the proposed widened scope and lower threshold for livestock, according to an EU source inside a preparatory meeting of the EU meeting of agriculture ministers this week. (EurActiv)

Exchange takes stake – The European Energy Exchange (EEX) has acquired a 20% stake in q-bility in a bid to expand its trade in greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) quotas, which aims to reduce emissions from the transport sector in Germany, it announced Thursday. Distributors of petrol and diesel fuels are legally obliged to reduce greenhouse gases to avoid penalty levies. For 2023, this reduction requirement is 8%, and it will increase to 25% by 2030. Alternatively, companies can purchase GHG quotas from third parties that make actual emission reductions, such as owners of electric cars or charging station operators. There is a large overlap between companies which are admitted to participate in the sale of allowances in the national emissions trading system (nEHS) on EEX and companies which are obliged to surrender their GHG quotas. Since July 2022, q-bility has been operating a fully digital B2B trading platform for GHG quotas, which was developed and implemented with technical support from EEX Group. In addition to EEX, Enpulse also has a stake in q-bility.

AMERICAS

Published in Panama – The Panama Ministry of Environment (Miambiente) this month hosted a workshop where it launched a “roadmap” for a National Carbon Market (MNC). No details of the roadmap were publicly disclosed, other than Miambiente saying it discussed advances, next steps, and other outstanding aspects of the future carbon market based on the purchase and sale of National Units for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Miambiente in 2021 issued a decree mandating the gradual establishment of the National Carbon Market in Panama (MNCP), which is designed to drive GHG reductions in line with the country’s national economic development strategy and Paris Agreement. Separately, Miambiente and offset registry Climate Action Reserve announced they have entered into a strategic collaboration to support the development of Panama’s carbon market. This includes developing a Panama Forestry Protocol, which itself is based on CAR’s Mexico Forestry Protocol.

Moot in Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Thursday dismissed as moot a Feb. 2022 petition for declaratory relief by then-Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) administration against the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) for refusing to publish its RGGI-modelled cap-and-trade regulation. The Wolf administration had finalised the RGGI regulation in fall 2021, but the LRB refused to publish the rule, arguing the Republican-controlled General Assembly had more time to act on a resolution that would disapprove of the cap-and-trade plan. This resolution failed, eventually leading the LRB to publish the plan in April. However, Republican state senators in the same lawsuit then asked the court for a preliminary injunction to block the RGGI regulation, which Judge Michael Wojcik granted shortly after the state’s carbon market rule took effect July 1 and remains in effect. Thursday’s opinion did not produce an advisory opinion on the merits of the GOP lawmakers’ and coal industry’s arguments against the RGGI regulation, which were heard before the Commonwealth Court in November.

Keep on trucking – Electric truck and charging station company Forum Mobility is teaming up with CBRE Investment Management on a $400 mln joint venture, Automotive News reports. The partnership between Forum and CBRE’s investment arm to electrify the infrastructure of California’s coastal port communities and small independent truck operators is the latest deal involving a major real estate player and an electric or autonomous truck technology company. Forum Mobility, of Oakland, and CBRE Investment Management’s joint venture plans to install electric truck depots at several California ports. These include Long Beach and Oakland. The venture comes as the California Air Resources Board is considering rules that would require all of the Golden State’s drayage fleet — roughly 30,000 trucks — to be zero-emission by 2035. Drayage trucks haul cargo containers in and out of ports to warehouses and distribution centres. The California Energy Commission estimates the state will need 157,000 medium and heavy-duty chargers by 2030 to comply with the proposed rules.

A case for gas exports – In its report released Thursday entitled ‘The Climate Case for Expanding US Natural Gas Exports’, the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank, has argued that the US could become a clean energy superpower by leveraging both green innovation and exports of low-emitting US natural gas. “But achieving large security, economic, and climate benefits from increased gas production will require additional actions by the US, the industry, our allies, and even coal-consuming nations, especially major reductions of methane emissions,” said Paul Bledsoe, the report’s author. Increasing domestic gas production, doubling gas exports, cutting life-cycle methane emissions from oil and gas to 0.3%, retiring coal plants more quickly, improving gas infrastructure, setting net zero goals from gas by 2040, establishing an accurate global methane emissions data centre, and urging gas exporting nations to establish methane emissions content standards were some of the key policy recommendations in the report.

Chip-o-missions – US food manufacturer Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, announced Wednesday the completion of its Modesta, California facility transformation, implementing site-wide alternative fuel vehicles, on-site renewable energy generation, energy storage equipment, and employee electric vehicle charging stations, resulting in a 91% reduction in emissions, or 5,250 t, from direct fleet operations. The Frito-Lay Modesto project was supported by the California Climate Investments (CCI) initiative in conjunction with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), and California’s Air Resources Board (ARB). The total grant for $15.4 mln covered a portion of the Frito-Lay transformation and the placement of a publicly accessible compressed natural gas (CNG) station, owned by Beyond6, formerly known as American Natural Gas. The grant share for Frito-Lay was $12.2 mln and the match funding required $13.5 mln in cash and in-kind services. Other project participants include Café Coop, CALSTART, Project Clean Air, University of California, and Riverside CE-CERT. Equipment and technology suppliers for the project include BYD Motors LLC, ChargePoint, Crown, Meritor, Peterbilt, Tesla, and Volvo.

ASIA PACIFIC

CO2 deals – Japanese shipping company K LINE has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the joint study of liquefied CO2 shipping for developing a CCS value chain with Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO), the company stated in a press release. The two companies will jointly study optimal marine transportation schemes and shipping costs of liquefied CO2 emitted from KEPCO’s thermal power plants and aim to develop the CCS value chain in the future. KEPCO also signed another MoU with Mitsui to study CCS supply chain development. KEPCO will lead the study of CO2 capture from its power plants, while Mitsui will lead the studies on CO2 storage and transport, according to a KEPCO press release.

Ambition for solar – Longi Green Energy Technology, one of China’s top clean energy equipment manufacturers, is planning to invest 45.2 bln yuan (US$6.7 bln) to build the world’s largest solar manufacturing base, according to South China Morning Post. The company has signed a letter of intent with local governments in China’s Shaanxi province for an expansion project that would allow it to build manufacturing capabilities to produce 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar wafers and 50GW of solar cells per year, it said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The projects, located near the company’s headquarters in Xian, are expected to go into operation in the third quarter of 2024 and double Longi’s existing capacity, the filing said.

Climate talks – Vietnam and South Korea will promote cooperation on technology to cope with climate change, based on a discussion between ministers of both countries, according to a statement from Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. “With a country with a rapid development rate like Vietnam, it will be very difficult to reach the goal of reaching net zero by 2050. Therefore, the cooperation between the two countries is very necessary, to be able to share and cooperate in technology to achieve the goals of the two countries.”

Bank bitcoin – Australian “big four” bank, NAB, has launched a Australian dollar-pegged stablecoin on the Ethereum network, which it plans to use in carbon markets, the Coin Telegraph reports. The AUDN stablecoin is set to launch in mid-2023, and is aimed at streamlining cross-border remittances and carbon credit trading. NAB chief innovation officer Howard Silby said the decision to mint the AUDN stablecoin — which is backed 1:1 by the Australian dollar — was based on the bank’s belief that blockchain infrastructure will play a key role in the next evolution of finance. Carbon credit trading and other forms of tokensied real-world assets will also be a major use case for the AUDN, Silby said. He also added that they’re planning to offer stablecoins in “multiple currencies” where the bank has licenses. The announcement comes nine months after rival bank ANZ launched 30 mln tokens of its own stablecoin, tickered A$DC, in March, which is also used for international remittances and carbon trading.

VOLUNTARY

Down to a science – Lenovo, a global technology leader, on Thursday announced its goal to reach net zero GHG emissions by 2050, validated and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), making it the first PC and smartphone maker and one of only 139 companies in the world with a net zero target validated by SBTi. By working with SBTi and aligning to their Net Zero Standard (the world’s first), Lenovo is taking a scientific, collaborative, and accountable approach to reducing emissions. Lenovo commits to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 90% by FY2049/50 from a FY2018/19 base year. Primary strategies for reducing Lenovo’s emissions include reducing the environmental impact of its products, harnessing innovation to increase sustainability in its manufacturing, and decreasing emissions across its operations and value chain.

AND FINALLY…

Bad news – The coldest and highest parts of the Greenland ice sheet are warmer than any time in the last 1,000 years. The ice core analysis published Wednesday in the journal nature Nature reveal temperatures already 1.5C (2.7F) warmer than pre-industrial averages. Researchers also observed a sharp increase between 1995 and 201 – an ominous sign given the accelerating increase of global temperatures in the last decade. The findings are especially significant because increased melting can accelerate a feedback loop of ice sheet melt, thus further accelerating sea level rise worldwide. While research “adds momentum to the seriousness of the situation,” Isabella Velicogna, a UC-Irvine glaciologist not involved in the research, told the Washington Post. “This is bad, bad news for Greenland and for all of us.” (Climate Nexus)

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