CP Daily: Friday February 3, 2023

Published 01:52 on February 4, 2023  /  Last updated at 02:00 on February 4, 2023  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORIES

Global carbon market growth slowdown set to continue into 2023 -analysts

Uncertainty plagued the carbon markets in 2022 and will continue to do so in 2023, analysts said in a report published this week that identified how macroeconomic weakness, energy crises, and regulatory changes had caused a slowdown after several years of growth.

Verra withdraws UN rice farming offset methodology for review over integrity concerns

Carbon standard developer and manager Verra has halted the use of a popular UN methodology for generating offsets from growing rice, launching a review of the protocol after integrity concerns were raised.

VOLUNTARY

Activity picks up in OTC offset market, but REDD+ prices continue to crash lower

Activity is picking up in the general over the counter (OTC) voluntary carbon market, brokers reported on Friday, although prices for REDD+ credits have dropped again after buyers largely disappeared in the wake of reports claiming widespread over-crediting in the avoided deforestation sector.

New US-based platform to sell 10 mln reforestation offsets at low end of carbon credit price spectrum

An Alabama-headquartered technology firm has launched a blockchain platform to sell millions of tokenised carbon credits from a patented reforestation programme, coming in at a price per tonne well below that of most nature-based removals.

Norwegian DAC firm adds former agri-carbon boss to team, targets 1 Mt plant

A Norwegian direct air capture (DAC) developer has appointed a former US-based soil carbon CEO to a senior position, the firm announced, targeting a launch of the first million-tonne plant in 2027.

ASIA PACIFIC

Long way to go to put Chubb review recommendations into action, Australian govt official says

An Australian official on Friday laid out the steps the government is taking to implement the recommendations of the recent review into the country’s carbon market, but said it would take some time to see them fully realised.

China faces long list of barriers before CCERs can be cleared for international trade, report finds

Beijing has a lot of work to do to facilitate the international trade in Chinese carbon credits, despite emissions reductions generated from the country’s national CCER offset programme having been deemed eligible in CORSIA’s pilot phase, according to analysts.

CN Markets: CEA market enters hibernation amid unchanged prices and thin volume

Allowances in China’s national emissions trading scheme remained unchanged over the past week with few permits changing hands, as a prominent economist has called for policy reforms to help boost demand in the market.

India’s Green Credit scheme to act as an additional climate policy lever, could attract international support

India’s Green Credit programme that was announced in this week’s budget could potentially receive support from multilateral agencies, enabling the initiative to act as an additional environmental policy tool to existing schemes aimed at meeting the country’s net zero goals, according to an Indian market participant on Friday.

AMERICAS

Analysis firm lowers 2023 CCA price forecasts, expects RGGI deficits to continue

Analysts lowered their average California Carbon Allowance (CCA) price forecasts for 2023 on weaker industrial emissions and heavier offset usage, but retained prior RGGI price forecasts as they expect annual deficits to continue despite Virginia’s impending exit, according to a recent report.

US Carbon Markets and LCFS Roundup for week ending February 3, 2023

A summary of legislative, regulatory, and policy action on carbon, clean fuel standard, and clean energy markets at the US federal and subnational levels this week, including bills for cap-and-trade oversight in Washington, emissions disclosure in California, and zero-carbon power in New Jersey.

EMEA

Euro Markets: EUAs post 4.6% weekly gain as traders again look to Brussels

EUAs had a relatively quiet end to the week, posting a marginal gain on Friday after a volatile week in which prices set a new five-month high amid short-covering and technical trading, as traders began to eye the next steps in the process to approve market reforms.

EU must extend gas curbs over 2023 as carbon price bites -researchers

The EU must extend its gas demand curbs for at least another six months to ensure it has enough supply next winter, according to a think-tank report, raising the prospects of further restrictions even as the bloc’s energy crisis has eased.

French energy giant to offload renewables assets amid boom in oil and gas profits

TotalEnergies, which has a self-imposed 2050 net zero emissions target, is selling a share of its renewable portfolio to insurer Credit Agricole Assurances amid booming returns from oil and gas sectors.

European Commission launches application call for renewal of EU Innovation Fund expert group membership

The European Commission on Friday launched a call for applications for the renewal of the membership of an expert group tasked with helping to implement the EU’s Innovation Fund.

AVIATION

SBTi guidance sees aviation CO2 intensity halve by 2035 to keep warming below 1.5C

The UN-backed Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) on Thursday released a technical report describing an interim pathway for aviation companies to set GHG reduction goals in line with the more ambitious temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

BIODIVERSITY (FREE TO READ)

Major conference gets underway to find pathway towards 30% ocean protection target

Some 3,000 government officials, scientists, conservation professionals, NGOs, and Indigenous groups have gathered in Vancouver, Canada to spend the next week laying the groundwork for meeting the Global Biodiversity Framework of protecting 30% of global oceans by the end of the decade.

Asset manager addresses biodiversity, climate in natural capital index strategy launch

UK-headquartered Northern Trust Asset Management has launched the World Natural Capital Paris-Aligned Index Strategy, an investment tool that integrates climate and natural capital considerations to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

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CONFERENCE

North American Carbon World (NACW) 2023 – Mar. 21-23, Anaheim: For 20 years, the NACW conference has been the place for carbon professionals working in North American carbon markets and climate policy to learn, collaborate, and network. Taking place Mar. 21-23 in Anaheim, California, NACW 2023 will dive into new policies and developments that will shape and scale carbon markets and climate solutions with integrity, ambition, and equity. Register now to gain actionable insights for bold climate solutions and participate in premier networking opportunities with an active and engaged audience to strengthen your organization’s strategy for navigating the carbon landscape.

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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

Another broken record — Investment in renewable energy last year rose to another record, BloombergNEF estimates in a blog published Thursday, approaching half a trillion dollars for the first time. Solar investment jumped 36% year-on-year to $308 bln and is estimated to have installed 260 GW of new capacity in 2022. Investment in the second-largest sector, wind, stayed roughly stable at $175 bln, held back by slow procedures for securing permission to build on land and connect to the grid, especially in Europe and North America. China made up 55% of the world’s renewable energy investment, putting $164 bln into new solar farms and $109 bln into new wind farms. The US was the next largest single market, at nearly $50 bln. The EU countries invested just $39 bln, down 10% from 2021 despite a strong rise in solar.

Public protein – Governments should force prisons, schools, hospitals, and other state-run institutions to serve more vegan burgers, sausages, and fillets in order to trigger a dramatic shift in global agriculture, a team of researchers has proposed. They identified public procurement of plant-based protein as a “super leverage point” that would spark cascading changes throughout the global food system. Serving more plant-based foods in public institutions would help the alternative protein sector to scale up and bring down its costs, while also boosting the popularity of these products with the public, according to a report from sustainability consultancy Systemiq in partnership with the University of Exeter in the UK. Should vegan alternatives displace 20% of meat sold globally, up to 8 mln square km of land used for livestock farming could be redeployed for climate-positive schemes, says according to Tim Lenton at the University of Exeter, who contributed to the report. (New Scientist)

EMEA

Temporary relief – France’s nuclear power plants generated at the highest level in nearly a year this week, providing temporary relief in Europe’s fight to save natural gas, Bloomberg reports. The nation had 45 reactors online on Friday, producing as much as 45,360 MW, according to grid operator RTE. That’s the highest since Feb. 11 last year, but about 12% lower than the average of the past five years. That surge in output is likely to be short-lived though as fresh maintenance this month is likely to curb generation to historically low levels for this time of year. How much of France’s nuclear fleet can return to service and stay in operation will be crucial for Europe’s energy security with flows of Russian gas now mostly halted.

Confidently captured carbon – A UK government-commissioned study has indicated “a very high level of confidence in the long-term security of CO2 containment” in CCS on the UK continental shelf, Argus reported Friday. The study modelled more than 25 years of CO2 injection operations and 100 years of post-injection monitoring for two example sites, designed to reflect “typical” UK continental shelf sites. It indicated that “more than 99.9% of the injected CO2 will be retained within the storage complex.” The UK’s CO2 storage database, CO2Stored, has identified more than 500 potential sites with a combined estimated capacity of 78 bln tonnes, the report noted. The report was written by independent chartered engineers, subsea engineers, and energy consultants and reviewed by representatives of Heriot-Watt University, certification society DNV and the British Geological Survey. The UK plans to establish four industrial CCS clusters by 2030, with a targeted combined capture rate of 20-30 Mt CO2.

DIY ETS – A group of Israelis with varied professional expertise is getting together with the ambitious aim of creating a local, and eventually regional, carbon trading scheme. The idea is to fill the vacuum and build a carbon credit system that will reliably measure the ability of projects and technologies, initially in Israel, to absorb the atmospheric gases driving climate change. This will ensure that investments in reducing carbon are effective. The initiative was launched this week at a Tel Aviv meeting held as a follow-up to the country’s first carbon conference in the summer. It is being coordinated, voluntarily, by Amichai Fisher, who formerly headed a special regulations unit within the Prime Minister’s Office. (Times of Israel)

ASIA PACIFIC

Fortescue fortifying — Australian hydrogen developer Fortescue Future Industries have signatures from more than 50 landholders willing to host wind and solar farms on their properties in Western Australia’s Esperance region to be used to generate green hydrogen, the ABC reports. FFI Director Maia Schweizer did not say how much land the agreements took into consideration, but said it would be enough “to build a wind farm that’s bigger than the biggest one that’s operating in Australia today”. The proposed MacIntyre Wind Farm precinct in Queensland, among Australia’s biggest, is set to cover some 360 square-kilometres. FFI has a target to produce 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Bill Grace, sustainability expert from the University of Western Australia, said it would take around 35,000-50,000 square kilometres of wind farms to produce the targeted 15 million tonnes. FFI’s Schweizer did not provide details about the signed agreements except to say they likely included exclusivity clauses and a small initial payment, although she did not disclose the amount.

Ahead of schedule – Singapore has surpassed its 2025 energy storage deployment target three years early, with the official opening of the biggest battery storage project in Southeast Asia, Energy Storage News reports. The opening was hosted by the 200 MW/285 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project’s developer Sembcorp, together with Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA). EMA had awarded the technology company with the project contract last May through an Expression of Interest (EOI). Work began a month or two after that and was finished shortly before the end of 2022, meaning the entire project went from origination to commissioning in just six months. The BESS is located on 2 hectares of land on Jurong Island, which is heavily industrialised and features much of Singapore’s energy generation and infrastructure.

AMERICAS

Damning for dams – For the first time, the US government in 2022 included methane emissions from dams and reservoirs in its annual report of human-caused GHG emissions to the Inventory of Greenhouse Gases and Sinks required by the UN climate agency, The Revelator reported Friday. While its long been known that coal- and gas-fired power plants emit troubling amounts of GHGs, research has found that reservoirs can emit significant amounts of methane, too — which has a global warming potential 85 times that of CO2 over 20 years — along with smaller amounts of nitrous oxide and CO2. Emissions from some reservoirs can even rival that of fossil fuel power plants. Yet, until now, there’s been no real accounting at the national or international level for these emissions, which fall under the category of “flooded lands.”

CFTC partner hack – The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced Thursday its third party service provider, ION Derivatives, experienced a “cyber-incident” this week and the commission’s weekly Commitments of Traders report would be delayed as a result. ION Derivatives supplies the CFTC with cleared derivatives, the management and execution of orders, and trade processing. The CFTC is advising data reporting firms to “use best estimates” in lieu of trader commitments. As a result, Carbon Pulse is not able to report on the CCA and RGGI commitments of traders for the period of Jan. 25-31 until the CFTC releases the report.

Banking on clean power – Colombia has secured $70 mln in funding from the World Bank’s Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to develop wind and solar projects, Reuters reported on Thursday. The CIF was set up in 2008 with capital from developed nations and is aimed at reducing emissions in developing economies. CIF said it hoped their investment would attract $280 mln from public development banks and carbon finance markets, the article noted. CIF endorsed a national plan that includes reinforcing the grid to cope with the intermittency of wind and solar, and building clean power facilities in areas not connected to a network. Colombia is a major coal producer, but generates most of its own electricity from hydroelectric power. Solar panels accounted for just 0.8% of Colombia’s power capacity as of Jan. 2022, the report stated.

Let me vent for a bit – A satellite detected a 4.6-mile-long cloud of methane over Wyoming containing far more gas than the operator of the gas plant from which it likely originated told regulators it released. Bloomberg reports Tallgrass Energy’s Douglas Gas Plant told regulators it accidentally vented 2.1 tonnes of methane over five separate releases on Dec. 6 and 7, and NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite detected the cloud just before the last release ended. The cloud required methane to have been released at 76 to 184 tons/hour, scientists estimated. “It’s highly unlikely the volume reported by the operator could account for the emissions rate observed by the satellite coming from the facility,” Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the International Methane Emissions Observatory, told Bloomberg. Methane traps more than 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 20-year period. Rapidly slashing methane pollution, especially by fixing leaks and releases from oil and gas operations, is among the most efficient and cost-effective means of limiting short term global warming. The NASA satellite’s observations were corroborated by two European satellites. (Climate Nexus)

VOLUNTARY

Managing the methodology – Offset standard developer and manager Verra announced on Friday the beginnings of the public consultation on methodology for Improved Forest Management through Extension of Rotation Age. The consultations will cover an extended timeframe where projects can show they’ve met the Forest Stewardship Council’s standards, an updated uncertainty deduction equation, and a corrected formula for quantifying wood products. The consultations will run until Mar. 4.

Green rewards – Fintech company Future announced on Thursday the launch of a new rewards programme allowing customers to earn FutureCoins for activities that reduce their carbon footprint such as switching to an electric vehicle, opting for public transit instead of driving, saving on gas and electricity, or purchasing refurbished rather than brand new electronics. The programme will launch with an initial starting price of $90/FutureCoin, the company noted in a press release. The company’s existing FutureCard Visa Debit Card rewards users with up to 6% cashback on climate-conscious purchases.

101 reforestations – Aspiration this week announced a major milestone of over 101 mln trees planted to date across its portfolio of reforestation projects. In partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects along with Aspiration’s community of enterprise, business, and consumer customers, these reforestation projects will help restore over 83,000 hectares of degraded forest habitat in Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, Honduras, and the Philippines.

Cooking’s on – The United Nations Foundation’s Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) is inviting public and private stakeholders operating at the intersections of carbon markets and clean cooking to express interest in co-creating a shared vision for the development of responsible carbon markets for clean cooking, including a shared perspective on the key challenges, priority areas action, and points of complementarity and convergence with other processes and initiatives to ensure alignment of efforts. The joint effort will contribute to the goal of universal access to clean cooking and to the achievement of net zero ambitions.  Please submit your expression of interest to join one of the four Responsible Carbon Finance for Clean Cooking Working Groups outlined here. This work is part of CCA’s Catalytic Finance Accelerator, which aims to catalyse significant growth in funding and investment in the sector by 2026.

SCIENCE & TECH

Carbon capture and concrete – Two firms are developing methods to store carbon in concrete, reducing the environmental impacts of the harmful material by cutting the need for cement and making room for captured CO2 from the atmosphere, Reuters reported Friday. California’s Heirloom Carbon Technologies teamed up with Central Concrete to demonstrate its current ability to store 30 kg of CO2 in usable building material. Meanwhile, CarbonCure from the Canadian city of Halifax was able to combine gas with truck-cleaning water and create concrete with the leftover reaction this week. Concrete accounts for 8% of emissions globally and CarbonCure said its technology could cut that by 5%.

Reactor resurgence – After a decade of regulatory and financial uncertainty, small modular light-water nuclear reactors (SMRs) are getting closer than ever to deployment, Canary Media reported Friday. Last week, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy signed an agreement to build the first grid-connected SMR in North America — a major milestone for the industry. The commercial contract with Ontario Power Generation and two other companies is for the construction of a 300 MW light-water SMR in Ontario, Canada, at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, which is already home to 3.5 GW of nuclear capacity. That news comes on the heels of a historic SMR announcement last month: NuScale Power, a pioneer in small reactors, cleared the ultimate US regulatory hurdle in civilian advanced nuclear power. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified the design of NuScale’s 50-MW power module. It’s the first SMR design ever approved for use in the US.

AND FINALLY…

Why deny? – Studies analysing the motivation behind climate deniers found that fame and fortune were often the catalyst, researchers told AFP this week. ExxonMobil funded the publishers of misleading climate claims including the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute through the 1990s and 2000s, according to documents published by Greenpeace. There were 91 climate-denying organisations that received over $900 mln between 2003-10, researcher Robert Brulle of Brown University found, with funding usually directed through charitable donations. Being contrary online is a method of attracting a large following and narcissism is a driving factor in climate denying, according to John Cook, a researcher at Monash University in Melbourne. Politics, psychology, and ideology were also cited as reasons for climate denialism.

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