CP Daily: Monday January 30, 2023

Published 02:06 on January 31, 2023  /  Last updated at 02:12 on January 31, 2023  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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POLL: Finding pockets of bullish optimism, analysts lift EU carbon price forecasts

Analysts have raised markedly their forecasts for EU carbon prices for the next two years, despite the impending injection of tens of millions of additional permits into the market and wider concerns over the bloc’s economy.


Norway highlights preference for jurisdictional REDD+, as stakeholders respond to criticism

Jurisdictional forest carbon markets have multiple advantages over project-based approaches in addressing climate change, Norway has outlined in response to recent media criticism that on Monday also prompted market stakeholders to defend the use of carbon credits.

VCM Report: Prices drop across the board after REDD+ over-crediting reports

The expose of over-crediting REDD+ in national newspapers two weeks ago has continued to cast a shadow over the voluntary carbon market this week, widening a price gap between more sought-after over the counter (OTC) avoided deforestation credits and standardised nature-based contracts.

South Pole parts ways with public affairs chief amid media scrutiny

Carbon credit provider South Pole has parted ways with its head of public affairs, Carbon Pulse has learned, as the company reviews its entire REDD portfolio amid claims of widespread over-crediting of forest protection projects.


Alaska governor unveils bill to create forest offset programme, targets 2025 start

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) on Friday introduced a bill package to promote and manage the state’s participation in nature-based offset markets and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) projects, with voluntary credit generation potentially starting in the next several years and totalling several million tonnes over the next decade.

US court grants small refiners relief from Renewable Fuel Standard obligations, pending appeal

A federal court on Friday reversed the US EPA’s decision last year to deny compliance obligation exemptions to a pair of small refiners under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), sending biofuel credit (RIN) prices lower even as judges have yet to rule on the merits of the case.

RGGI Market: RGA prices tread water as traders look towards auction, emissions data

RGGI Allowance (RGA) values rose slightly last week, halting a slide in prices, on expectations that the upcoming release of Q4 emissions data and the March auction will revive trading in an otherwise stagnant market.

Nova Scotia carbon market emissions rebound above cap in 2021 on fuel sector strength

GHG output under the Nova Scotia cap-and-trade programme exceeded the scheme’s allowance budget in 2021, as an increase in fuel emissions offset abatement in the power sector, according to government data published Monday.


EU power sector emissions post marginal rise in 2022 as weak winter demand offsets coal burn

EU power sector emissions rose 4% year-on-year in 2022 as weak winter demand and surging renewable output dampened the impact of much higher coal burn, according to data collated by an environmental think-tank.

Euro Markets: EUAs test major resistance level for second day as analysts boost 2023 price outlook

EUAs closed higher on Monday after the market made a number of determined but unsuccessful efforts to breach a key level as analysts increased their full-year price forecasts amid differing views on the prospects for demand in 2023.

Ryanair flags return to “robust” summer demand, as two more European airlines grounded

Ryanair became the latest airline Monday to point to resurgent demand in its quarterly report, stating expectations of “very robust” demand in the summer as passenger numbers breached a company record in the final quarter of 2022, while two more European airlines have been grounded in the past few days over financial woes.

EU draft outlines plans for first green hydrogen auction in autumn

The European Commission aims to launch the first EU-wide auction to support renewable hydrogen in the autumn, according to a leaked draft of its industrial strategy seen by Carbon Pulse on Monday.

UK “systematically and severely” underestimates oil and gas methane emissions -report

The current method for estimating UK methane output from offshore oil and gas production “systematically and severely” underestimates emissions, with many other countries also likely to be falling short in their GHG accounting from the sector, according to a study by US-based researchers.


Australian Greens say cost to offset too cheap under Safeguard Mechanism

The leader of the Australian Greens party has lashed the design of the government’s Safeguard Mechanism policy, arguing that fossil fuel producers can simply buy their way out of cutting emissions by purchasing carbon credits.

China’s steel sector could peak emissions earlier, though scrap availability remains constraint -study

China’s steel industry should be capable of peaking emissions by 2025 and reducing them by 30% by 2030, a much faster pace than an official target set by the government, though scrap availability will be the main constraint for cutting emissions by the end of this decade, a study has found.

Singapore, Malaysia to cooperate on carbon markets in green economy bilateral agreement

Singapore and Malaysia have signed an agreement to cooperate on the green economy and technologies for decarbonisation, one which will include collaboration on carbon markets, they announced on Monday.


War in Ukraine and US climate policy sees BP significantly revise down emissions outlook

Events in 2022 including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the US Inflation Reduction Act have driven BP on Monday to substantially reduce its annual outlook for emissions out to 2050, with the oil major forecasting that emissions could peak earlier in the 2020s than it had previously suggested.


Plan Vivo prepares release of draft protocol for biodiversity credits

The first biodiversity credits issued by a major standard are rapidly approaching market readiness, as Plan Vivo Foundation looks set to publish its draft biodiversity protocol on Tuesday.

EU nations face stricter fishing curbs, leaked biodiversity plan suggests

EU member states will have to increase the number of protected marine areas in their seas to at least 30% by 2030 and prohibit more harmful fishing practices in these areas, a leaked draft European Commission document revealed on Monday.

Experts call for greater urgency from private sector on biodiversity

There needs to be greater urgency in private sector action if the world is to make improvements on biodiversity in light of the historic deal on nature positivity at COP15 in Montreal at the end in December, a webinar heard last week.


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Pipe dreams – Bloomberg examines how France is facing the daunting task of repairing corroded pipes in its nuclear reactors — a crisis with implications for the whole EU. The plant shutdowns flipped France from Europe’s biggest electricity exporter into a net importer last year, just as the continent needed it more than ever, with ETS-covered thermal generators ramping up to cover the shortfall.

Mineral hunting – German chancellor Olaf Scholz wants promote energy cooperation and secure critical raw materials for the energy transition from South America. The politician is visiting Argentina, Chile, and Brazil between Jan. 28-31 and has announced cooperation agreements in the areas of energy supply, energy security, and raw materials. In Argentina, Germany wants to promote projects involving hydrogen or power-to-x pathways and make use of the opportunities in both countries, adding that when raw material deposits are used in a country, the country itself should also reap the benefits. (Clean Energy Wire)

IFA-1 and one for all – A key power cable linking Britain and France has been used at full capacity for the first time since a fire shut it down in 2021, Bloomberg reports. The cable’s return is a boon to the countries’ power supplies in the middle of winter, even though the season has so far seen relatively mild weather and demand curbs eased pressure on their strained grids. The tightest days for their power systems have seen balancing prices spike to records as well as households dial down demand. The IFA-1 interconnector imported at about 2,000 MW on Saturday and exported at that level on Monday morning, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A fire at a converter station in Kent, southeast England, put the cable out of action in September 2021, just as gas and power prices started surging in the early stages of Europe’s energy crisis.

Following footprints – Global steel and metal product distributor Klockner & Co has launched an individualised Personal Carbon Footprint (PCF) service that offers customers with emissions details on each of their 200,000 products, the company said in a release Monday. The PCF records all emissions of the product down to the kilogram, from raw material extraction to delivery to the customer’s factory gate, with the help of the independently certified Nexigen PCF Algorithm, developed in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the company noted. TUV Sud has certified the calculation method of the Nexigen PCF Algorithm, which complies with ISO standard 14067, ref. 14040 and 14044, as well as the GHG Protocol. Technology companies Siemens Smart Infrastructure and ZF have agreed with Becker Stahl-Service, a subsidiary of Klockner & Co, to have PCFs calculated for flat steel products initially, including all deliveries to Siemens’ Cham and Frankfurt sites in Germany.


Coal’s collapse – Coal in the US is now being economically outmatched by renewables to such an extent that it’s more expensive for 99% of the country’s coal-fired power plants to keep running than it is to build an entirely new solar or wind energy operation nearby, a new analysis has found, The Guardian reported Monday. The plummeting cost of renewable energy, which has been supercharged by last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), means that it is cheaper to build an array of solar panels or a cluster of new wind turbines and connect them to the grid than it is to keep operating all of the 210 coal plants in the contiguous US, bar one, according to the study by Energy Innovation. The new analysis, conducted in the wake of the $370 bln in tax credits and other support for clean energy passed by Democrats in last summer’s IRA, compared the fuel, running, and maintenance cost of America’s coal fleet with the building of new solar or wind from scratch in the same utility region.

RGGI exit planning – Virginia’s Register of Regulations published on Monday Governor Glenn Youngkin’s (R) proposal to rescind the state’s RGGI regulation at the end of the year, opening up the 60-day public comment period through to Mar. 31. The proposed regulation repeal included a new section providing transition for affected facilities following the repeal. An editor’s note was added to the top of the registry entry stating that the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) had voted on Dec. 19 to object to the regulatory action repealing the RGGI regulation. The commission is charged with reviewing proposed regulations to see if they are consistent with the law. Following the public comment period, Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board (APCB) would vote once again on the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) proposal to exit the 11-state power market that the APCB voted to advance in December, and if adopted, would be subject to a final executive branch review. Once the finalised repeal of RGGI is published in the Registrar, the rule would take effect 30 days after publication.

Row over retirement plans – A coalition of 25 US states led by Texas and Utah filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down a Biden administration rule allowing retirement plans to consider ESG factors such as climate change and racial justice when selecting investments, Reuters reported Friday. The states filed a complaint in a federal court in Amarillo, Texas, on Thursday arguing that the rule finalised in November will lead many retirement plans to focus on a social agenda rather than long-term financial stability for investors. The rule, which takes effect on Monday, reverses restrictions on socially conscious investing that were adopted by the Trump administration. The states in Thursday’s lawsuit said the new rule fails to justify the departure from Trump-era regulations, in violation of the federal law governing rulemaking. And, the states said, it violates the US law that regulates employee benefit plans by failing to protect retirement assets.

Up in smoke – Fire-prone communities in the American West may be missing out on a chance to turn potential wildfire fuel into renewable energy, thanks to outdated maps EPA uses to decide which areas are eligible to do so, E&E Daily reported Monday. That’s the complaint from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), who urged EPA to more carefully take actual wildfire history into account in deciding whether biomass taken from areas near buildings and communities qualifies for the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS). In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Feinstein suggested the environmental agency use Forest Service “wildfire consequence” maps to help determine RFS eligibility, rather than a map designed by the University of Wisconsin that shows density of forests and infrastructure.

Low-carbon leviathan – ExxonMobil announced the next step in the development of the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen production facility with a contract award for front-end engineering and design, BIC Magazine reported Monday. A final investment decision for the project is expected by 2024, subject to stakeholder support, regulatory permitting, and market conditions. ExxonMobil’s Baytown low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and carbon capture facility is expected to produce one bcf/d of low-carbon hydrogen, making it the largest low-carbon hydrogen project in the world at planned startup in 2027-2028. More than 98% of the associated CO2 produced by the facility, or around 7 Mt/yr, is expected to be captured and permanently stored. The CCS network being developed for the project will be made available for use by third-party CO2 emitters in the area in support of their decarbonisation efforts.

Net-zero recommendations – Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) on Friday announced the release of its annual report, Compete and Succeed in a Net-Zero Future, featuring concrete solutions the government of Canada should implement to ensure Canada benefits from a global net-zero economy, accelerates the attainment of a net-zero emissions economy, and generates clean prosperity for generations to come. Canada has committed to fight climate change by reducing GHGs by 40% to 45% by 2030 from 2005 levels and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The report to the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change includes 25 recommendations across the NZAB’s three lines of inquiry identified for 2022-23: net-zero governance, net-zero industrial policy, and net-zero energy systems. This advice was informed through engagement with over 100 decision-makers and experts, including industry experts, academia, NGOs, and associations, and Indigenous rights-holders. Implementing these actions without delay is essential to succeed in creating a prosperous net-zero future for all Canadians, the report recommended.

CATS and dogs – The online registration system for verifiers in Canada’s Clean Fuel Regulations, called the Credit and Tracking System (CATS), has new functionalities as of Monday, an email from Environment and Climate Change Canada said. Credit-creation reports, credit transfers, compliance credit tracking, updated pathway and carbon intensity applications as well as CO2e-Emission-Reduction Project applications are all now available. The Clean Fuel Regulations require fuel suppliers in Canada to reduce the carbon intensity of their products by 15% before 2030.


Pacific planning — The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) has launched a country planning framework for Papua New Guinea, alongside the country’s Climate Change Development Authority, it announced. The framework will guide the development of GGGI’s country programmes for its member countries, with PNG being earmarked as a priority country over the next five years. The priorities focus on programmatic solutions that support the mobilisation of green investment and climate finance to implement climate mitigation and adaptation projects, according to GGGI Country Representative Sakiusa Tuisolia. The framework involved heavy consultation wit the CCDA, national and provincial governments, development partners and civil society, CCDA said. GGGI aims to mobilise over $500 mln in green investments and climate finance between now and 2028.

Seoul signed — South Korea and the state of Western Australia signed a LoI Monday to strengthen cooperation on key minerals, hydrogen, and other energy fields, Yonhap News Agency reports. South Korea’s Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang signed the agreement with WA Premier Mark McGowan that calls for enhancing ties on investment and exports on major minerals, clean hydrogen, carbon technology and a wide range of advanced energy sectors. The two sides said they are “optimum partners” in ensuring stable global supply chains and nurturing new energy industries. South Korea seeks to explore new supplies of major minerals to reduce its heavy reliance on China, as well as in response to the US’ Inflation Reduction Act.

Eco-friendly – South Korean company Asiana Airlines partnered with Shell to introduce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), produced from alternative sources that should reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil fuels. KED reports that the new memorandum of understanding will establish a preferential supply of sustainable aviation fuel through the Shell network in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East for five years, starting from 2026. “We plan to expand SAF supply in other regions”, “through consultations with other energy suppliers,” said an Asiana Airlines official. The company may be looking at the European market, where the use of sustainable aviation fuel will be obligatory from 2025. Read more on aviation coverage in the bloc here.

Hydrogen diplomacy – Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen and the Netherlands Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote clean energy supply chains between Australia and the Netherlands on green hydrogen. This partnership will deliver practical collaboration to support the development of a hydrogen supply chain from Australia to Europe, via the Port of Rotterdam, according to a press release from minister Bowen’s office. The MoU, signed at the Port of Rotterdam, covers hydrogen trade policy, standards and certification schemes, port infrastructure and supply chain development, innovative hydrogen technologies, including shipping, equipment and services, and government policies about safety, social licence and regulations for hydrogen.

CCS agreement – Malaysia’s Petronas has signed two project development agreements with ExxonMobil to jointly pursue carbon capture and storage (CCS) activation in Malaysia, The Star reports. Under the agreements, both parties will define the next steps, including maturing technical scopes for the CCS value chain, evaluating the identified fields for carbon dioxide storage utilisation, developing an appropriate commercial framework, and establishing an advocacy plan to support regulations and policy development to enable CCS projects. The agreements follow the signing of a memorandum of understanding between both companies in November 2021.

Solar thermal – A “world-first” solar methanol production facility – providing green fuels for the shipping and aviation industry – to be built in Port Augusta, taking heat and electricity from what is hoped to be the country’ first large scale solar thermal project, Reneweconomy reports. Australia’s Vast Solar and the Solar Methanol Consortium it leads will receive a total of $A40 million from the Australian and German governments to build the facility in South Australia. It is one of four green fuel projects projects co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and its German partners, and announced late last week as part of federal energy minister Chris Bowen’s trip to Europe. The solar methanol plant is the latest in a series of technology proposals at the site that was to host one of the world’s biggest solar thermal projects, SolarReserve’s 150 MW Aurora project that collapsed because of financing and technology problems.

Extended support – The Chinese central bank will extend the use of three monetary policy tools designed to encourage financial institutions to support green technologies and the logistics sector, according to Bloomberg. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s relending programme for promoting the use of “clean coal” will be extended until the end of 2023, the bank said in a statement. It will also deepen global cooperation in green finance and continue to offer cheap funding until the end of 2024 to banks which lend to firms that are helping reduce carbon emissions, PBOC said.


Dialed in on climate – T-Mobile US said it has set a target of achieving net-zero emissions across its carbon footprint by 2040, and has signed on to The Climate Pledge, Dow Jones Newswires reported Monday. T-Mobile said it is the first US wireless company to set a net-zero goal for all three emissions scopes that has been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative using their Net-Zero Standard. The goal covers emission Scopes 1 and 2, including direct emissions from T-Mobile’s operations and facilities, as well as indirect emissions from purchased electricity. T-Mobile said its new commitment also covers all indirect Scope 3 emissions, including those produced by suppliers, customer device usage, materials, and fuel required to ship products, employee travel, and more. The company also signed on to The Climate Pledge, which was co-founded by Amazon.com and Global Optimism in 2019. It is a collective commitment from nearly 400 companies and organisations to achieve net-zero 10 years ahead of The Paris Agreement.


Ouch – Anesthesiologists can play a role in reducing the GHG emissions by decreasing the amount of anesthetic gas provided during procedures without compromising patient care, suggests new research being presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ ADVANCE 2023, the Anesthesiology Business Event. Inhaled anesthetics used during general anesthesia are estimated to be responsible for 0.01-0.10% of total worldwide CO2e emissions. For example, an hour of surgery using the inhaled anesthetic desflurane is equivalent to driving up to 470 miles, according to one study. “No matter how small each effect is, it will add up. As anesthesiologists, we can contribute significantly to this cause by making little changes in our daily practice — such as lowering the flow of anesthetic gas — without affecting patient care,” said said Mohamed Fayed, lead author of the study and senior anesthesia resident at Henry Ford Health in Detroit. While most general anesthesia procedures require high fresh gas flow (FGF) at the beginning and end of the procedure to achieve the desired effect quickly, it is safe and effective to lower the flow during the rest of the procedure, Fayed said. As part of the initiative to reduce FGF overall, the researchers educated anesthesiologists at their institution about the benefits of dialing down the anesthetic gas flow during the procedure, including through departmental presentations, newsletter articles, posters placed in work areas and emails. They also removed desflurane from their operating rooms because it produces the most significant carbon dioxide emissions from among the existing inhaled anesthetics. In the study of more than 13,000 patients, the authors set a goal of an average FGF of 3 litres/minute or less for procedures. In Mar. 2021, prior to the intervention, authors determined that FGF was 5-6 L/min in many cases, and only 65% of cases achieved an FGF of 3 L/min or less. By July 2021, they recorded an average FGF of 3 L/min or less in 93% of cases. The researchers now are aiming to reduce the FGF to less than 2 L/min throughout the system. (Newswise)

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