CP Daily: Tuesday June 18, 2024

Published 02:50 on June 19, 2024  /  Last updated at 02:50 on June 19, 2024  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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Microsoft buys 8 mln nature-based carbon credits in world’s largest removals offtake deal

Tech giant Microsoft has inked another large voluntary carbon deal worth 8 million nature-based credits through 2043, it announced Tuesday, considered the largest offtake transaction for removals to date.


Carbon removals buyers’ group signs $49 mln offtake deal with Swedish energy firm

A corporate CO2 removals (CDR) buyers’ club and a Stockholm-based energy firm announced Tuesday a $48.6 million offtake agreement for 800,000 tonnes worth of credits from a commercial-scale CDR retrofit on a biomass-fueled district heating facility.

Indigo Ag sells its largest ever block of voluntary credits to tech giant

US agtech firm Indigo Ag said it has secured its largest ever delivery of credits in one single transaction to a tech buyer eager to enrich its credit portfolio.

Voluntary carbon insurance product launches to protect against buffer pool depletion

A carbon insurer active in the voluntary market (VCM) has launched what it says is world’s first insurance against depletion events for a buffer pool, in partnership with a standard, it announced on Tuesday.

Nordic carbon capture firm secures funding in bid to reach 5 mln tonnes by 2030

A Nordic carbon capture initiative has raised funding to help it scale its removals business, targeting credit issuance in 2028, it said Tuesday.

Carbon markets intelligence firm teams up with ICE

A carbon markets intelligence firm and data provider has partnered with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), they announced Tuesday, facilitating information sharing between the two.


EU biochar carbon removal methodology to generate first units in 2026 -official

The European Commission is aiming to complete a draft methodology for biochar carbon removal methodology by early 2025 and certify the first units in 2026, a senior EU official said during an expert group meeting on Tuesday, during which the Danish climate ministry also announced they are preparing a national biochar strategy.

Deal struck for CO2 pipeline to store France’s industrial emissions in the North Sea

A deal has been struck between an oil and gas firm and France’s gas transmission operator to develop CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the country with potential capacity of over 5 million tonnes per year.

EU bank urged to scale up public guarantees for clean tech investment

A group of 39 European clean tech innovators, investors, industry associations, researchers and NGOs have joined forces to call on the European Investment Bank (EIB) to ramp up public guarantees for investments in clean technologies ahead of a key board meeting on Friday.

Social acceptance of carbon pricing hinges largely on revenue spending, study finds

The political success of carbon pricing policies – such as the upcoming EU ETS2 for road transport and heating fuels – will depend on whether they help people to switch away from fossil fuels, as inflation and higher interest rates have made it harder for consumers to access cleaner alternatives, according to new research.

Cote d’Ivoire receives $35 mln for forest carbon emissions reductions under World Bank programme

Cote d’Ivoire has received $35 million from the World Bank for successfully reducing 7 mln tonnes of carbon emissions, according to a release Tuesday.

Plan Vivo, consultancy set to launch nature-based pilots across Asia and Africa

Nature and carbon standard Plan Vivo has partnered with a UK-based consultancy to launch a series of nature-based pilot projects in Asia and Africa towards the end of the year.

UK researchers make case for national carbon regulator

An independent UK carbon regulator with economy-wide oversight of the voluntary carbon market could ensure a level playing field for innovators, cut investment risks, and build business and consumer confidence, according to a report published on Tuesday.

Calls grow louder for ‘new industrial deal’ to drive EU climate agenda

Industry associations in the cement, steel, chemicals and wind energy sector have joined forces to call for “a new industrial deal” to drive Europe’s transition to climate neutrality while securing jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Euro Markets: EUAs remain rangebound ahead of options expiry as UKAs finally breach key level

European carbon prices edged higher but remained broadly within their recent range on Tuesday, moving in a €1.54 channel as the market continued to position itself ahead of Wednesday’s expiry of the June options contract, while UK Allowances broke above a key psychological level that had been capping the British market’s recent rally.


INTERVIEW: ‘I don’t mind going first,’ says co-author of Vermont’s landmark ‘Climate Superfund’ law

Vermont is prepared to implement and defend in court its first-in-the-nation “Climate Superfund” law, even if it must go it alone, one of the lead sponsors of the legislation told Carbon Pulse.

Fuelled by California’s LCFS, US renewable diesel growth is shifting global feedstock market -report

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), followed by federal incentives for biomass-based fuels production, has spurred renewable diesel (RD) production in the US and consequently transformed the global feedstock trade landscape, according to the country’s Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Canadian emissions cap would curtail oil and gas production, reduce GDP by C$282 bln over 10 years

Under a Canadian emissions cap, oil and gas producers would reduce output rather than invest in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), resulting in a C$282 billion ($205 billion) decline in GDP over the next 10 years, according to a report commissioned by the province of Alberta.

National Audubon Society, US grassland projects developer team up for carbon crediting programme

A wildlife habitat initiative from the National Audubon Society (Audubon) and a Texas-based grasslands carbon project developer announced Tuesday a partnership to establish a carbon crediting programme for landowners who implement regenerative land management practices.

US forest carbon firms extend IFM collaboration to northeastern US

Two US forest carbon firms have announced the expansion of their successful collaboration into the northeastern region of the US, targeting over 200,000 landowners with forestlands ranging from 40 to 5,000 acres.

Canadian project developer to generate voluntary carbon credits with British Columbia First Nation

An agreement signed between a northwestern British Columbia First Nation and a Vancouver-based project developer will see the generation of voluntary carbon offsets via improvement of 1.1 million hectares (2.7 million acres) of forest, the duo announced Tuesday.

Canadian think tank looks to support first-time voluntary carbon removal buyers

The first-time purchase of CO2 removal (CDR) credits by a Canadian innovation hub offers key learnings for other new buyers, according to a case study published Tuesday.


Bidless quarterly NZ carbon permit auction fails to clear

The second New Zealand ETS auction for 2024 has failed to clear due to a lack of demand, with not a single bid being submitted as allowances in the secondary market trade below the auction floor.

INTERVIEW: Industry actors team up to create scalable, flexible biochar ACCU method

An industry collaboration has submitted an idea to develop a methodology to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from biochar creation, aiming for a design as scalable and flexible as possible.

Shell announces acquisition of Pavilion Energy

Singapore-based Shell subsidiary Shell Eastern has acquired Pavilion Energy, including its LNG and carbon trading business, the companies announced Tuesday.

China thermal power declines in May, renewable energy expansion continues

China saw its domestic thermal power generation decline last month, while hydro and solar power production continued to post strong annual growth amid increasingly optimistic expectations about the country’s decarbonisation path.

Australian opposition lays out plans for nuclear energy

The Australian opposition Coalition is proposing to have two nuclear power stations up and running in the country by 2035 and 2037, and seven in operation “before 2050” as part of its climate and energy policy that it will take to the next election.


GEF Council agrees $170-mln spending on biodiversity

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Council approved Tuesday a $500 million spending package on environment, including nearly $170 mln on efforts to tackle biodiversity loss.

Conservation charity releases standard for certifying biodiversity uplift

A UK-based conservation charity released Tuesday a site-based biodiversity standard applicable to all land management projects, including habitat restoration, tree planting, and agroforestry initiatives.

Australian govt ringfences A$28.5 mln to restore the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian federal Labor government announced Tuesday an allocation of A$28.5 million ($18.9 mln) to support the restoration and rehabilitation of coastal habitats on the Great Barrier Reef.

Biodiversity Pulse: Tuesday June 18, 2024

A twice-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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VdL 2.0 delayed – EU heads of states failed to reach a final agreement on Monday night about the distribution of top jobs in the EU following the European elections, even though Ursula von der Leyen appeared all but certain to secure her nomination for a second term as European Commission President, report Euractiv and Politico. The delay was attributed to the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), which wanted to split the European Council presidency with the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), who nominated Portugal’s former prime minister Antonio Costa for the role. The EPP wants a bigger representation in Brussels following its victory at the June EU elections. A final decision is now expected to be made at the next EU summit, on 27-28 June.

Labour’s investment shortfall – The UK Labour Party’s plan for state-led clean energy spending still represents a cut to public investment, contrary to leader Keir Starmer’s promises, the Financial Times reported, citing research the think-tank IPPR. Starmer, widely tipped to become the UK’s next prime minster after the July 4 election, earlier this week promoted plans for £7.3 bln National Wealth Fund to catalyse private investment in ports and green steel, gigafactories, CCS, and green hydrogen, saying it would create 650,000 jobs. But even though Labour promised to invest £4.7 bln more than the current Conservative government, this would still imply cuts to public investment, IPPR said. UK business investment was lower than in any other G7 country in 2022, coming in last for the third year in a row, the think-tank said in a report on Tuesday. The National Wealth Fund would aim to catalyse £3 of private investment for each £1 of public money spent.

Wind blows offshore – Global offshore wind operational capacity has increased by 21% over the past year, to 75 GW from 61.5 GW, which represents enough electricity to power more than 14 mln UK homes year-round, according to the trade group Renewable UK. China and the UK held their top positions, with 36.7 GW operational in China and 14.7 GW in the UK. Germany followed with 8.3 GW, the Netherlands with 3.7 GW, and Denmark with 2.7 GW. Renewable UK expects operational offshore wind capacity could still rise nearly fourfold by 2030, to 277 GW. That said, the global pipeline growth was more modest in the past year compared to the previous year, it said. Separately, consultancy Rystad Energy’s research shows that continental Europe is set to gain 137 offshore substations in this decade, requiring $20 bln of investment total. Substations collect the power generated from wind turbines, and the rising number of developments is driven by the increased scale of offshore wind projects and distance from shore. Projects exceeding 1 GW of capacity require multiple substations.

Big spender – The European Commission announced on Tuesday (June 18) that the EU ETS Innovation Fund will support 15 small-scale projects and 3 large-scale ones for a total of €173 mln. During their first 10 years of operation, the 15 small-scale projects could reduce GHG emissions by over 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, while the potential for the 3 large-scale projects could rise to 2.9MtCO2e, the Commission said. The 18 selected projects cover the areas of energy storage, solar energy, renewables, glass, ceramics, construction materials, iron and steel, refineries, chemicals, cement and lime, and hydrogen – with a particular focus on manufacturing of components for renewable energy and hydrogen production.

Teaming up – Nine gas transmission system operators (TSOs) from countries bordering the Baltic Sea have signed a memorandum of understanding that declares the aim to coordinate and facilitate the buildout of hydrogen infrastructure and also foster market development for the greenhouse gas-neutral fuel in the region, Clean Energy Wire reports. Companies include German TSO Ontras Gastransport; Poland’s Gaz-System; Estonia’s Elering; Energinet in Denmark; Finnish TSO Gasgrid Vetyverkot; Lithuania’s Amber Grid; Nordion Energi in Sweden; and Latvia’s Conexus Baltic Grid.


Seeking exemption – India will likely seek a three-year carbon tax exemption for its micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the upcoming free trade agreement (FTA) talks with the EU negotiators, the Mint reported. EU’s CBAM which comes into effect in 2026 will apply to imports of goods from sectors including cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, and hydrogen. In the last WTO’s ministerial meeting in February, India opposed the tax arguing that it will hit Indian industries massively. The eighth round of FTA talks is slated to be held in Brussels starting June 24.

Greening the steel – Indian steel ministry has invited proposals for pilot projects for using hydrogen in the iron and steel sector, the Economic Times reported. Metallurgical and Engineering Consultants of India Limited (MECON) – a government undertaking under the Ministry of Steel has uploaded the Request For Proposal (RFP) for hydrogen injection in direct reduced iron (DRI) pilot plants fully using hydrogen, for existing blast furnaces to reduce coal or coke consumption, and the existing DRI vertical shafts to partially substitute natural gas and maximise hydrogen. Funding for these pilot projects will be drawn from the National Green Hydrogen Mission. With the falling costs of renewable energy and electrolysers, it is expected that green hydrogen-based steel can become cost competitive over the next few years.

Budget cash – Australia’s New South Wales committed A$3.1 bln ($2 bln) to help deliver the state’s Renewable Energy Zones to help get more clean energy into the grid, it announced Tuesday. Some A$87.5 mln over four years will go to energy-saving upgrades on social housing properties, and A$39.3 mln over seven years will go to speeding up biodiversity assessments for crucial renewable energy projects, it said. Cash will also go towards creating the state’s Energy Security Corporate, which is seeded with A$1 bln to accelerate private sector investments in clean energy projects, the government said.

Caps – Australian Nationals Party leader David Littleproud has declared the Coalition would ‘cap’ investment in large scale renewable energy projects if elected next year, the Guardian reported. Littleproud offered no details of the Coalition’s energy plan, but said he wanted to send investment signals that there would be a cap on where renewables would go. He also said he would scrap the proposed offshore wind zone in the Illawarra region in New South Wales declared over the weekend by the federal government if elected. The Coalition recently announced it would not set a 2030 emissions reduction target until after next year’s national election.

Pioneer project – POSCO DX, a subsidiary of Korean steelmaker POSCO, plans to build a power generation system featuring energy efficiency technologies at the manufacturing sites of Hwajin Steel, a company statement showed. The project, funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), will enable the production of electricity equivalent to 30% of Hwajin’s power consumption and reduce GHG emissions by 10% once the system is built by August 2025.

Carbon nanotube investment – Tokyo-based chemicals manufacturer Denka has invested in Carbon Fly, a startup developing carbon nanotubes, it announced Tuesday. In addition to the latest investment, Denka said it will support the startup in establishing a sustainable supply chain for lithium-ion batteries, according to a company statement. The chemicals company plans to invest roughly $100 million in capital expenditures for new businesses through its corporate venture capital fund by fiscal 2030.

Forest monitoring – Japanese financial group MUFG has invested in DeepForest Technologies, which develops software that allows clients to use drones for forest management, it said in a release. DeepForest Technologies, analysing forest characteristics based on the latest data obtained by drones, aims to make carbon absorption and biodiversity assessment more efficient. The startup said it will use forest data to scientifically measure the carbon absorption capacity of forests and accordingly create carbon credits.


The end for Exxon – A Texas federal judge dismissed ExxonMobil’s lawsuit against Arjuna Capital on Monday, ending the months-long back-and-forth litigation on climate change-related shareholder proposals, Reuters reported Monday. Arjuna Capital, which called on ExxonMobil to account for its Scope 3 emissions in its shareholder proposal, withdrew its resolution in February, following a lawsuit by Exxon. However, Exxon proceeded with its litigation, and saw support from business advocacy groups as Judge Mark Pittman ruled that Exxon could move forward with its case in May. However, Judge Pittman on Monday concluded that Exxon’s claim was no longer valid after Arjuna “unconditionally and irrevocably” agreed not to submit a future proposal regarding Exxon’s GHG emissions.

EPA car challenge – The Renewable Fuels Association and National Farmers’ Union filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the US EPA’s final regulations on light- and medium-duty vehicles published in March. The groups argued the agency lacks the authority to adopt the regulation, which they said essentially mandates the production of battery electric vehicles while, at the same time, ignoring other technologies — like low-carbon ethanol and flex fuel vehicles — that reduce emissions from light- and medium-duty transportation. In a press release, the pair said they filed the lawsuit separately from other challenges to ensure that ethanol producers and farmers have a strong and independent voice in the proceedings.

Lower your standards – US oil and gas lobby group American Petroleum Institute (API) and members of the corn industry are suing President Joe Biden’s administration over its recently announced regulations to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, Reuters reported Tuesday. The EPA in March announced the finalisation of tailpipe emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses, for the 2027 to 2032 model years to prevent 1 bln tonnes of CO2 emissions. But API said the agency is imposing a switch to a technology that does not exist, leading the lobby group to take legal action just days after filing a lawsuit over EPA’s light- and medium-duty vehicle rules. The National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said they had joined Tuesday’s suit, arguing that the administration was abandoning biofuels by trying to impose a “one-size-fits-all approach” by prioritising EVs over other climate remedies like corn ethanol.

Senators urge RFS boost – A bipartisan group of 18 US senators, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), sent a letter on June 11 to EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to raise Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels to levels that are consistent with production and availability as it develops standards for 2026. “Since the volumes were set last summer, RIN values have decreased by an average of 66 percent, sending a discouraging market signal to farmers, feedstock producers, biofuel producers, blenders and investors. Domestic fuel production facilities are closing as a result, putting Americans out of work and disrupting local economies,” the lawmakers wrote.

Old law, new problem – The US’ 152-year-old mining law is blocking meaningful input from tribes and nearby communities, fuelling long permitting timelines and triggering litigation that’s undermining the nation’s ability to produce raw materials needed to tackle climate change, according to a top former Interior Department official. Tommy Beaudreau, who left his post as the agency’s No. 2 last fall, said in an interview in the Brunswick Reviewa publication that the consultancy firm Brunswick Group producesthat Congress needs to pass reforms to the 1872 mining law, but acknowledged that doing so is difficult and rife with conflict. As it stands, Beaudreau said permitting hard rock mines in the US isn’t inclusive and doesn’t focus enough on how — or if — nearby communities and tribes actually benefit from new mining projects. “It’s a massive problem,” said Beaudreau, who led the Biden administration’s work to overhaul permitting of projects aimed at digging up lithium, nickel, cobalt and zinc needed to make everything from electric vehicle batteries to renewables and defense equipment. “And the fundamental reason for it is that the law that governs how mining operations are approved in this country dates back to the 19th century,” he continued. “It was a prospecting statute from the Ulysses Grant administration trying to encourage westward expansion and to provide economic opportunity to new states out west.” (E&E News)


Ocean-based CDR facility – Carbon removal (CDR) project partners Equatic and Deep Sky on Tuesday announced they have commenced engineering on their ocean-based CDR pilot facility in Quebec. The plant will remove 109,500 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and produce 3,600 tonnes of green hydrogen every year, according to the firms. Sustainable development firm Arup is leading the assessment and planning of the plant, including siting, permitting, and stakeholder governance. The development follows Equatic’s newly unveiled demonstration project, Equatic-1, that broke ground in Singapore this May, and the new facility’s design will be based on the modular electrolysers used at Equatic-1. The new plant and all subsequent Equatic projects will adhere to ISO standard 14064-2:2019, a new MRV methodology established by the company in partnership with EcoEngineers and the ISO for electrolytic ocean-based removals.

Skytree’s the limit – Climate tech firm Skytree has signed strategic multi-year development and supply agreements with Purolite, an Ecolab company and manufacturer of synthetic and agarose-based purification resins. The improved sorbents within Skytree’s DAC units should allow it to expand its operations, the firm said. The two companies will now jointly develop CO2 capture material as part of a next generation of the technology, which has the potential to increase capture capacity, drive down energy consumption, and lower the cost per tonne of removal, they say. Purolite will become the sole resin material supplier for Skytree DAC technology.

BluSky’s the limit – Vancouver-based renewable energy and carbon credit company BluSky Carbon announced Tuesday that its common shares have been listed for trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol BSKY. The shares will commence trading one day following closing of the Company’s initial public offering of up to an aggregate of 11.5 mln units at a price of C$0.50 per unit, pursuant to a final long-form prospectus dated May 27, 2024, as amended on June 11, 2024, filed with the British Columbia Securities Commission, Alberta Securities Commission, and Ontario Securities Commission, respectively. Closing of the Offering is expected to occur tomorrow (June 19) and trading is expected to commence at market open on June 20.


AI compass – The global commercial shipping industry could cut down its carbon emissions by 47 mln tonnes per year by deploying artificial intelligence for sea navigation, a study by autonomous shipping startup Orca AI showed on Tuesday. The use of the technology could reduce the need for maneuvers and route deviation from close encounters with high-risk marine targets such as vessels, buoys, and sea mammals by alerting the crew in real time, according to the report. In the short term, the tech can lead to fewer crew members on the bridge, while those who are on the bridge will have a reduced workload and more attention to tackle complex navigational tasks, optimising the voyage and reducing fuel and emissions, Orca AI CEO Yarden Gross told Reuters.


Raising the cup – What if the Euro football cup was played based on forest size? Taking the forestland of the nations competing in the tournament as a measure, researchers at Timbersource looked into who would finish ‘top of the tree’. With over 18 million hectares of forestland, Spain came out as the winner after playing the final against France. In other circumstances, Russia would have won hands down thanks to its 800 million hectares of forests but the country was banned from participation due to the war in Ukraine. Full table and results available here.

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