CP Daily: Tuesday March 14, 2023

Published 22:34 on March 14, 2023  /  Last updated at 22:51 on March 14, 2023  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

**Carbon Forward Asia is coming – May 2-3, Singapore**

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TOP STORIES

Cookstove offset projects in firing line after paper claims rife over-crediting

An academic study has claimed cookstove projects are more than six times over-credited, reigniting criticism of the voluntary carbon market that is still dousing the flames from January’s damning reports of hot air in the REDD+ avoided deforestation sector.

ANALYSIS: Cookstoves in focus as observers question credit quality

Carbon credit buyers have been drawn to clean cookstove projects for their extensively touted benefits in improving the health of millions of some of the world’s poorest people, but observers warn that the sector bears many of the same over-crediting risks as forest protection programmes.

INTERNATIONAL

ANALYSIS: US bank collapse may signal increased role for government-led green banks

The collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) could spark fresh enthusiasm for publicly-funded green banks that help propel nascent clean technology firms, with these types of set-ups continuing to evolve globally and due shortly to get a foothold in the US.

EMEA

Euro Markets: EUAs extend losses and approach key support level as “risk-off” mood persists

EUA prices extended their steep losses for a second day on Tuesday, falling through multiple immediate technical targets and approaching a major support level as the daily auction saw the lowest demand in six months and traders reported further “risk-off” selling, while energy markets also dropped sharply.

Brussels presents middle-of-the-road EU electricity market reform proposal

The European Commission presented its proposal to reform the bloc’s electricity market on Tuesday, putting the main focus on boosting renewable development and protecting consumers but presenting no significant overhauls of the current power market structure.

MEPs welcome clear “pathway” for EU emissions cuts under effort sharing law

The European Parliament gave its formal approval on Tuesday to three EU climate bills, with MEPs welcoming the binding emissions reduction trajectory set out under the beefed-up EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) despite the looming launch of a second carbon market covering the same sectors.

EU lawmakers seek to add more ambition to ‘green homes’ directive

The European Parliament adopted a more ambitious line on the bloc’s proposed revision of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) on Tuesday, backing the earlier position of its industry committee (ITRE).

Norway weighs reverse auction mechanism to stimulate industrial carbon removals

The Norwegian Environment Agency has assessed the potential for industrial carbon removal in the country, saying in a research note released Monday that a s0-called “reverse fee” mechanism combined with voluntary carbon market sales of credits could help boost growth in the sector.

EU environment ministers to exchange views on carbon removals’ future

The EU will seek guidance from its national environment ministers on the European Commission’s proposal to set up a certification framework for carbon removals, as they will convene in Brussels on Thursday.

VOLUNTARY

New scientific approach hopes to quell criticism of REDD+

A new scientific approach to calculating the carbon saving of avoided deforestation projects hopes to bolster confidence in REDD+ following claims of widespread over-crediting of the voluntary carbon market sector.

Carbon credit price for controversial PNG REDD+ project takes a hit following investigation, rating downgrade

The price going for carbon credits from a REDD+ project in Papua New Guinea has nosedived following an investigation by an Australian news programme, as the project’s developer told media they were “exploring its options” in terms of how to respond.

Most voluntary carbon market standards bodies lack adequate grievance mechanisms, review finds

Only one standards body operating in the voluntary carbon market (VCM) has a viable grievance mechanism offered to communities affected by climate projects, according to a review published Tuesday.

Finnish forest carbon firm secures fundraise for global expansion

A Finnish start-up specialising in AI-powered tracking of forest carbon storage has announced Tuesday a €1.4 million fundraise for international expansion.

AMERICAS

British Columbia to consider credit trading as part of provincial oil and gas emissions cap

British Columbia will implement a cap on oil and gas emissions to ensure the province hits its GHG reduction target for the sector, and will also consider how credit trading may work under the system, the Canadian province announced Tuesday.

Tighter market, ease of account openings responsible for high Washington carbon auction clear -analyst

More aggressive GHG reduction targets and a simple process for California-Quebec market traders to open accounts resulted in the Washington cap-and-invest programme seeing a steep clearing price at its inaugural auction last month, an analyst said Tuesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

China likely to prioritise green transition finance amid economic and energy concerns -report

Transition finance is likely to become China’s priority in developing green finance compared to other policy instruments, given a heightened focus on post-COVID economic recovery and energy security, a report has found.

BIODIVERSITY (FREE TO READ)

UK pension funds calls for carbon offsets regulator to boost nature protection

The UK government should establish a domestic regulator for the carbon offset market to help incentivise capital flows into nature protection and restoration, according to one of the nation’s leading pension funds.

Study finds impact limitations for private biodiversity finance

The UK government should establish a domestic regulator for the carbon offset market to help incentivise capital flows into nature protection and restoration, according to one of the nation’s leading pension funds.

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CONFERENCES

Argus Asia Carbon Conference – Mar. 14-16, Sarawak, Malaysia: Organised by Argus Media in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Sustainability Sarawak (MEESty), and with host sponsor Samling Group, the Asia Carbon Conference will take place on Mar. 14-16 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Join us for the first industry leadership conference for carbon offsetting and trading in Asia to get ahead of your competitors in a rapidly growing global market. This is your opportunity to interact, learn, and network, for the answers you need on fundamental questions about carbon offsets: how do they work, and how might they impact Asia? Find out more

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.

European Climate Summit (ECS 2023) – Mar. 28-30, Lisbon: Registration for the 5th edition of the European Climate Summit organised by IETA and partners is open. The ECS brings together leading private sector experts and policymakers from both the carbon and energy world, to analyse and discuss the current developments and pressing challenges. The summit provides a discussion and networking forum for policymakers, business leaders, and innovators involved in building, scaling, and collaborating on markets for net zero. The event will feature high-level plenaries, cross-cutting deep dives, interactive side events, and quality networking opportunities. Registration here

Carbon Forward Asia – May 2-3, Singapore/Online: Carbon Forward is coming to Asia! Join us in Singapore or watch the conference online, and gain valuable insights into the trends and developments in carbon pricing throughout the Asia Pacific region. We will discuss investment opportunities across compliance and voluntary carbon markets, as well as transport initiatives such as CORSIA and SAF for aviation and shipping sector programmes, the impact of the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), CCS crediting, developments under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, corporate climate goals, and other exciting topics. We are curating a high-level programme for this rapidly-evolving region, with the agenda and speaker line-up to be released soon. Early Bird tickets are now available. Purchase yours now

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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

Meet Mafalda – The UN’s Green Climate Fund has appointed one of the few women leaders in the multilateral climate finance space as its next executive director. Mafalda Duarte, a Portuguese national, joins the fund from the Washington-based Climate Investment Funds (CIF), where she served as CEO since 2014. She previously held senior positions at the African Development Bank and the World Bank, working on climate finance. Duarte is replacing French UN veteran Yannick Glemarec, who served a four-year term at the helm of the GCF and is due to step down on Apr. 2. (Climate Home)

Rating revisions required – Rating agencies must overhaul their credit-assessment methods to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and better reflect risks from the looming climate crisis, according to a report by the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). While credit-rating companies increasingly view risk through an ESG lens to assess an entity’s creditworthiness, the way they have incorporated ESG factors into credit analysis has had no effect on their conventional credit assessments, according to the report released on Tuesday. IEEFA’s analysis of 721 companies in the oil and gas, utilities, automotive-manufacturing, and coal-mining industries as of September found no direct relationship between the companies’ ESG credit scores and their credit ratings. (South China Morning Post)

EMEA

(Re)nault thanks – France is ready to fight Germany to save EU green transport legislation which effectively bans the sale of combustion engine-installed cars and vans from 2035, economy minister Bruno Le Maire has said. His comments put Paris and Berlin on a collision course over the draft law — a critical part of the EU’s green agenda which mandates that automakers only sell zero-emission vehicles from 2035. The German government, alongside allies like Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, are threatening to block the legislation at the last minute unless they secure changes to the text that would allow a loophole for cars running on e-fuels — a synthetic and somewhat greener alternative to fossil fuels that can be used in conventional combustion engines. (Politico)

CurbING fossil loans – Dutch lender ING on Tuesday said it had again toughened its lending policy to the oil and gas sector, restricting finance to clients engaged in commodity or trade finance and “midstream” infrastructure. ING, a leading provider of commodity finance, said it was working on a methodology to reduce the volumes of traded oil and gas it finances in line with global climate goals with a view to setting targets by 2024. Commodity trade finance covers many types of loans, most of which are for less than a year, that facilitate global movement of goods from wheat to gasoline. As of yet, none of the largest TCF banks have introduced climate-related restrictions to this part of its lending book, ING said, though Rabobank has done so. (Reuters)

ASIA PACIFIC

Full scope — Global energy management company Schneider Electric has partnered with Australian carbon accounting software startup, Avarni, to create software that allows businesses to track their full carbon footprint, RenewEconomy reports. The partnership is focussing on Scope 3 emissions, as shareholder pressure demands business take all of their emissions more seriously. Avarni’s digital AI capabilities and emissions insights, delivered via Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Resource Advisor software and value chain decarbonisation consulting services, is expected to improve the quality and accessibility of Scope 3 and value chain data. Avarni CEO Tony Yammine said companies are trying to understand the impact of Scope 3 emissions on their ability to meet net zero and address the issue within their company.

New service – Japan’s largest gas retailer Tokyo Gas has announced a GHG emissions calculation service for the construction and housing industries, which will become operational on April 1 this year, it said in a statement published on Tuesday. The new platform, called CARBONIX, will help companies collect and organise quantitative information on tens of thousands of building materials and equipment that make up buildings, according to the statement. The service will also allow users to easily assess emissions intensity per square metre of a building during construction and operation, with data from Japan’s green building certification program CASBEE, Tokyo Gas said.

AMERICAS

Fossil fast track – Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced the text of a massive energy and permitting bill they plan to bring up for a floor vote at the end of the month. The bill would fast-track approval of cross-border oil and gas pipelines, eliminate the US Energy Department’s role in authorising LNG exports, mandate quarterly onshore oil and gas lease sales, and overhaul vast parts of federal environmental reviews. It would also repeal key parts of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, such as a new fee on methane emissions, a $27 bln programme to lower GHG emissions and other climate-related spending. The bill has effectively no chance of being approved in the US Senate, where the Democratic majority has no appetite for considering sweeping changes to federal energy policy. But House Republicans believe passing an expansive bill can offer a contrast to White House policies, while also becoming a starting point for future bipartisan negotiations related to permitting. (Argus Media)

What gets measured, gets money – The US Department of Energy (DOE), the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) on Tuesday announced nearly $47 mln in funding for 22 research projects to advance the development of new and innovative measurement, monitoring, and mitigation technologies to help detect, quantify, and reduce methane emissions across oil and natural gas producing regions of the country. Projects will focus on technical challenges of quantifying and mitigating methane emissions along the US oil and natural gas supply chain, including the development and demonstration of an efficient integrated methane monitoring platform to enable early detection of methane emissions.

Geothermal suite – Colorado Governor Jared Polis is spearheading the 22-member Western Governors’ Association to increase use of geothermal energy in the region, Fast Company reported Tuesday. Most of the US’ geothermal energy that relies on underground permeable rock with fractures containing hot fluid used in power generation is in Western states, but is more expensive than renewable energy. Colorado has plans to file a suite of legislative proposals in the coming weeks, including a “clean firm” standard that would direct utilities to invest in dispatchable low-carbon generation, such as geothermal, according to Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, and was the first new proposal outside of California to mandate development of 24/7 carbon-free electricity, Sarah Jewett, vice president of strategy with geothermal developer Fervo Energy said. State lawmakers will also consider another bill this year to establish a regulatory process for approving geothermal wells. While another proposal would allow the state’s natural gas utilities to transition to geothermal-based district heating systems. Governor Polis has also proposed clean energy tax credits that would support both geothermal heating systems for consumers and investments in the initial drilling phase of geothermal projects for developers.

VOLUNTARY

Livestock carbon credits – Athian, the world’s first cloud-based carbon marketplace for the livestock industry, announced a seed investment from Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognised leader in protein. This latest investment from Tyson Ventures, along with previous investments from Elanco Animal Health Incorporated and Newtrient, will fast-track the launch of the first-of-its kind transactional carbon credit inset programme for the livestock sector that will provide producers economic incentives for on-farm sustainability practices, while helping improve the sustainability of the food system and reduce climate warming.

Running LAX on SAF – JetBlue and Shell Aviation on Tuesday announced a new collaboration bringing additional supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), targeting commencement of delivery in the first half of 2023. Within the terms of the agreement, JetBlue is expected to take delivery of 10 mln gal (37.9 mln L) of blended SAF at LAX over the next two years and an option to purchase up to 5 mln gal more in the third year, either at LAX or other airports in JetBlue’s network.

March Malay-dness – New York-based environmental offsets broker and marketplace Bluesphere Ventures on Tuesday announced it has partnered with Regal Malay Capital Berhad to form Malay Carbon Corp. The joint venture aims to commercialise CCS opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. In a press release, the companies said the joint venture aims to deploy ground-breaking technologies developed by third parties that could potentially enable the mitigation or capture and sequestration of GHGs from offshore wells, which has traditionally been difficult to achieve economically.

SCIENCE & TECH

Construction storage – A new research paper published on Tuesday found that some 0.5% of global carbon emissions could be captured during the normal crushing process of rocks commonly used in construction. If utilised at scale globally, the process could capture CO2 equivalent to planting a forest the size of Germany – some 175 MtCO2 annually. The paper, published in Nature Sustainability, found that almost no additional energy would be required to trap the CO2. More than 50 bln tonnes of rock is crushed worldwide every year and current standard crushing processes in construction and mining do not capture CO2. The paper documented how a larger proportion of CO2 can be trapped in a stable, insoluble form in rocks composed of multiple different minerals by grinding it in CO2 gas. The resulting rock powders can then be stored and used in the environment for construction and other purposes. “In the future, we hope that the rock used in concrete to construct high rise buildings and other infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and coastal defences will have undergone this process and trapped CO2, which would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere and contributed to global temperature rise,” said principal investigator Rebecca Lunn.

AND FINALLY…

Food fight over carbon claims – The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) is calling for an ‘outright ban’ of carbon neutral claims for food and drink in Europe, claiming they confuse and mislead shoppers. Is a ‘climate neutral’ food basket too good to be true? According to the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), multiple examples of products claiming carbon neutrality suggest it is. From single-use bottled water, to milk and cheese, meat, and plant-based alternatives, products across various categories now carry the ‘CO2 neutral’ claim. Even some fruit, from bananas to blueberries and clementines, are known to carry the claim. However, in BEUC’s opinion, there is ‘no such thing as a carbon neural banana’. The consumer organisation is calling for a ban on all carbon neutral claims, including ‘carbon neutral’, ‘CO2 neutral’, ‘carbon positive’, and ‘carbon neutral certified’. One of BEUC’s main arguments is that carbon neutrality is ‘scientifically inaccurate’, as the production of ‘all’ food and drinks necessitate the emission of carbon. (FoodNavigator)

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