CP Daily: Thursday June 20, 2024

Published 02:11 on June 21, 2024  /  Last updated at 02:11 on June 21, 2024  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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TOP STORY

DATA DIVE: Energy transition barely begun as fossil fuel demand reaches new heights in 2023

There were few signs of a global energy transition taking place in the Energy Institute’s 2024 Statistical Review of World Energy, which was released on Thursday, as data revealed that global primary energy consumption hit new heights in 2023.

EMEA

EU ETS set for hundreds of millions in fundamental deficit in 2027, say analysts

The EU’s carbon market is set for a fundamental deficit of as many as 300 million allowances in 2027, according to analysts speaking on a webinar Thursday, as industrials become more exposed to compliance buying and auction supply tightens after frontloaded REPowerEU sales end.

EU ETS more effective decarbonisation tool than Inflation Reduction Act, says bank analyst

Europe’s carbon market sends a stronger decarbonisation signal than Washington’s subsidy-laden Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), an analyst told US television network CNBC Thursday, outlining an EUA price forecast of as high as €130 per tonne by 2028.

Germany and Italy to eat up all spare non-ETS emissions allocations by 2030 -report

Germany and Italy are on course to miss their climate goals in sectors excluded from the EU ETS, by such a large gap that they would eat up the entire available surplus of annual emissions allocations (AEAs) left for other countries, according to a report released on Thursday.

Alarm bells in Central Africa as Congo Basin forests face 27% reduction by 2050

The Congo Basin, central to global carbon sequestration efforts, is under severe threat from deforestation and unsustainable exploitation, with projections indicating a potential 27% reduction in forest cover by 2050 unless immediate action is taken, experts have warned.

Euro Markets: EUAs back in close formation with natural gas, while UKAs plummet most in six months

European carbon prices resumed their close formation with natural gas prices on Thursday, with EU ETS levels falling 1.6% as the market tracked the ebb and flow of the TTF’s reaction to news that Russian LNG transshipments through Europe will be banned, potentially adding to regional supply, while UK Allowances prices were “absolutely smashed” amid a surge of aggressive selling.

AMERICAS

WCI Markets: Impatience grows in CCAs, WCAs up on low volumes

California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices moved lower as market participants looked for direction from California regulator ARB, while Washington Carbon Allowance (WCA) prices picked up on steady offers.

IRA clean energy incentives could be ‘on the chopping block’ with Trump’s re-election -report

If US President Joe Biden is re-elected in November, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is “likely to remain intact”, while a return of former President Donald Trump to the White House “could put some, if not all, of the tax incentives for clean energy on the chopping block,” found a Bloomberg Intelligence report released Tuesday.

California March gasoline sale lags 2023 levels, diesel picks up once again

California gasoline consumption in March continued to trail levels during the same time last year despite reaching year-to-date (YTD) highs, while diesel surpassed 2023 figures for the month amid the ongoing rise in monthly sales, state data published this week showed.

US Forest Service advances plan to protect old-growth forests

The US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is set to publish a draft environmental impact statement for a new national old-growth forest plan amendment on Friday, advancing the Biden administration’s commitment to forest conservation.

ASIA PACIFIC

INTERVIEW: US developer enters Indian voluntary carbon market with rice methane offsetting projects

A California-headquartered agri-tech firm seeks to reduce methane emissions from rice farming in India and is preparing its first batch of projects on the east coast of the South Asian nation, the company’s co-founders told Carbon Pulse.

PNG cookstove project under updated Verra methodology to be issued half the credits originally planned

An Australian carbon project developer has had its cookstove project in Papua New Guinea registered by Verra, but will receive roughly half the volume of credits it initially expected due to using an updated methodology, a fact the company’s CEO said he welcomed.

Santos “confident” it has enough ACCUs to meet projected Barossa Safeguard requirements

Oil and gas major Santos is “confident” it has enough Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) for its Barossa LNG project to meet its compliance obligations under the Safeguard Mechanism.

Green ammonia the key to unlock Australia’s hydrogen superpower ambitions -analysis

Using green hydrogen instead of natural gas to decarbonise Australia’s established ammonia production sector provides a doorway to unlock the country’s hydrogen ambitions, and tax credits offered by the government in its latest budget could be the key, analysis published Thursday said.

INTERNATIONAL

Gas flaring emissions jumped in 2023 to blow the IEA’s net-zero scenario off track

Four countries let gas flaring increase last year, pushing global volumes to the highest level since 2019 and adding an extra 23 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere.

Global solar to surge to 20% of power generation on north’s longest day of year

Solar power is expected to generate a fifth of global electricity across midday peaks on Friday’s summer solstice and 8% across the month of June, making it the fastest-growing source of power in the world, according to new research.

VOLUNTARY

FEATURE: Voluntary carbon market embraces ozone projects despite public policy qualms

Protecting the ozone layer has been a global priority for decades, but as the voluntary carbon market (VCM) continues to credit the destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), and countries move to fill gaps in multilateral governance, the competing or complementary roles for public- and private-sector engagement on the matter are in flux.

Letters come out for and against SBTi’s Scope 3 emissions proposal

A US forest foundation has joined a group of environmental NGOs and carbon project developers urging the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to support the use of carbon credits in Scope 3 emissions abatement, while a group of French NGOs have demanded the organisation abandon the proposal.

Voluntary carbon platform to auction 1.5 mln Article 6 credits from Malawi cookstoves

A voluntary carbon trading platform will auction 1.5 million Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) at a minimum of $10 per tonne generated by clean cooking projects in Malawi, it announced Thursday.

Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market appoints first CEO

The private sector-led Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has named its first CEO.

New bioenergy carbon removals methodology approved by certifier

A certifier has validated a new methodology for net CO2 removals (CDR) using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), in what may provide a boost to the development of the nascent market.

Digital marketplace for physical commodities to launch voluntary carbon credit trading

A digital marketplace for physical commodities is launching voluntary carbon credit trading, it said this week.

BIODIVERSITY (FREE TO READ)

UBS invests in impact data provider to advance nature-related disclosures

Swiss bank UBS has invested in impact data and analytics provider GIST Impact to back its expansion, with a focus on bolstering support for nature-related corporate disclosures among companies and investors.

OBC launches survey on biodiversity certificate claims to drive corporate demand

The Organisation for Biodiversity Certificates (OBC) has launched a survey to gather views on the claims that companies can make when buying biodiversity credits, as the organisation expects more clarity will have a significant impact on corporate demand.

TNFD, ESRS release joint guidelines on corporate reporting

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) released Thursday joint guidelines to support companies in their nature-related disclosures, highlighting the alignment between the two frameworks.

Biodiversity Pulse: Thursday June 20, 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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CONFERENCES

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

INTERNATIONAL

Cement the deal – An agreement has been signed by the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) to work together on decarbonising the cement and concrete industry, with a focus on the Global South. The two organisations agreed an MoU Thursday, which will see them working together on key sustainability and decarbonisation issues. The partnership agreement includes pledges to: provide recommendations for decision-makers to create the right market environments for the development of low and near zero emissions cement and concrete; develop innovative technological solutions to help meet net zero commitments; organise joint international industry and government events; jointly author and publish documents, recommendations, and research tools; and identify promising companies and innovative solutions and showcase these at relevant events and in publications.

EMEA

Red alert – French winemakers have been permitted by an association to earn carbon credits under the country’s ‘low-carbon label’ system. A senior member of the Alliance Forets Bois forestry cooperative explained to local media how this would work for the some 200 wine growers said to be interested in earning the certificates from the French government. The emissions reductions are achieved by afforestation of uprooted vines as an economical alternative to fallowing – leaving the ground empty between harvests. Only methodologies approved by the French state can be certified to assign the ‘low-carbon label’.

SAF bottleneck – There is not enough sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) available in the EU for airlines to meet quotas, the CEO of Frankfurt airport operator Fraport has said, according to Reuters. Stefan Schulte called on the European Commission to address the issue. The EU requires flights departing from EU airports to carry progressively increasing amounts of SAF, which is made from bio-based materials such as used cooking oil or wood chips. The quota will rise to 70% by 2025, starting with 2% fuel in 2025. SAF currently accounts for just 0.2% of global jet fuel. One reason for the slow uptake is that SAF costs three to five times more than fossil jet fuel, Reuters reported.

Court rejects oil and gas – The environmental impact of emissions from burning fossil fuels must be considered in planning applications for new oil and gas extraction projects, not just the impact of emissions produced in extracting the fuels, the UK Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. The landmark decision throws doubt over the future of new oil and gas projects in the country, Sky News reported. The case focused on an oil drilling project at Horse Hill in Surrey, southern England, which was granted planning permission by the local government in 2019. A local campaigner argued that the environmental impact assessment should have taken into account the emissions from burning the project’s oil. The local government countered, unsuccessfully, that the law did not require it to look at downstream emissions.

Go-to? Togo – The West African nation of Togo, among the first countries to submit prerequisite documentation to host Article 6.4 projects to the UNFCCC Secretariat back in March, is taking its national climate policies a step further this week by conducting workshops to facilitate adoption of a GHG reduction plan through to 2030 (Togo First). Simultaneously, the country’s environment ministry has confirmed, it is preparing to adopt a new climate change law. The ministry stated that public consultations for the new law have involved nearly 40,000 participants.

Under the sea – The Norwegian energy ministry has offered four new exploration licences for CO2 storage in the North Sea to Equinor (two); a group composed of Var Energi, OMV (Norge), and Lime Petroelum (one); and another group consisting of Aker BP and PGNiG Upstream Norway (one). The licences are attached to a binding work programme that will require agents to return the areas in question should they fail to carry out storage as agreed. The licencing is aimed at “facilitating the socioeconomically profitable storage of CO2 on the Norwegian continental shelf”, states the government’s press release.

ASIA PACIFIC

Cassava credits – Thailand’s agriculture and food company Thai Wah has signed an MoU with an environmental consultancy VGREEN to push domestic entrepreneurs to adopt sustainable business practices through the creation of GHG inventory data for cassava plantation areas. The partnership is a part of Thailand Voluntary Emission Reduction Program (T-VER) of the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), and the process involves the calculation of carbon credits and carbon footprint, assessing economic feasibility, and registering the carbon footprint label for renewable products.

Greening thermal power – Korean power company Doosan Energy has entered into a partnership with a Thai state-run firm, Global Power Synergy Company (GPSC) for conducting joint research and introducing carbon reduction technologies at Thai thermal power plants. Under the agreement, the two companies plan to conduct joint research and feasibility studies by 2026 to apply technologies such as ammonia co-firing and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) to the Gheco-One power plant operated by GPSC in Thailand. The companies will also introduce carbon neutral power generation technologies such as small modular nuclear power plants, offshore wind power, and hydrogen.

K-SAF – Seoul-based petroleum and refinery company S-Oil Corporation has signed an agreement with Yuil Biotech, a startup with microbial production technology, and Korea University to research and develop Korea sustainable aviation fuel, K-SAF, based on microbial raw materials. According to S-OIL, lipids extracted from Euglena, a microalgae, can be used as raw materials to produce sustainable aviation oil with a high conversion rate which can contribute significantly to decarbonise the aviation sector. The entities plan to pursue government support projects to conduct research and development at a faster pace and expanded scale.

Floating first  – Australia’s first floating offshore wind project took another step after it was awarded a feasibility licence by the federal government, Renew Economy reported. The 2 GW Novocastrian project off the coast of the New South Wales Hunter Valley region is being developed by Norwegian energy giant Equinor and Oceanex Energy. The project was the only one offered a licence in the the Hunter zone, due to other proposals being pitched in overlapping areas and found to be of “low merit”, according to the government.

AMERICAS

Cache that – Canadian fossil fuel firms have cleared their websites and social media feeds of all environmental claims as of Thursday, following amendments to Canada’s Competition Act that would require corporations to provide evidence to support their environmental claims, the Canadian Press reported. Pathways Alliance, a coalition of Canada’s oil sands firms, now lists a notice on its page indicating that all content has been removed as a result of new legislation. Bill C-59, which passed third reading in Canada’s Senate on Wednesday and will soon become law, states that businesses must not make claims to the public about what they are doing to protect the environment or mitigate the effects of climate change unless those claims are based on “adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology”.

Youth ask for do over – Attorneys for the 21 youth behind Juliana v. United States on Monday filed a petition for rehearing before a larger slate of judges of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, along with plea for the court to vacate its earlier order rejecting their case. Such petitions are rarely granted. If the 9th Circuit declines, the Juliana challengers’ next stop may be the US Supreme Court. Our Children’s Trust, the Oregon-based law firm that represents the youth, argued in its petition that the three-judge panel that dismissed the case in May ignored court rules and legal history. (E&E News)

Ditch gas, save cash – Utilities could save around $20 bln over the next two decades in gas pipeline replacement costs by electrifying groups of buildings where technically feasible in California rather than replacing the aging gas pipelines that serve those buildings, found a new analysis prepared for the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council by consultancy Energy and Environmental Economics. Those savings could be accomplished while affecting just 3% of current gas customers. Regulators could help realise these savings by allowing utilities to pursue such projects without requiring all customers to opt in. While electrification is more cost-effective than gas pipeline replacement in many cases, the analysis found that technical feasibility is still the main limitation for many potential projects, said NRDC’s Kiki Velez. (Smart Cities Dive)

Embodied carbon incentives – Boulder, the largest city in Colorado to ban natural gas in new construction, is pioneering climate-friendly building practices beyond energy use. Starting in December, the city’s new energy code will allow residents to use building materials with lower carbon footprints to meet efficiency regulations. The city says its incentives for “embodied carbon” – emissions released from processes like mining iron ore for steel beams and burning coal or gas to heat limestone and clay for traditional cement – are the first in Colorado and among the first in the nation. So, in addition to steps like installing a ground-source heat pump or battery storage for solar, residents and developers have an incentive to build with lower-embodied carbon materials, like cellulose insulation or cross-laminated timber. (Boulder Reporting Lab)

US climate adaptation – The US EPA released its 2024-27 Climate Adaptation Plan, which describes agency actions to address the impacts of climate change and improve US climate resilience. The plan includes provisions to foster a climate-ready workforce; build facility resilience; develop climate-resilient supply chains; integrate climate resilience into external funding opportunities; apply climate data and tools to decision-making; and integrate climate adaptation into rulemaking processes. EPA recently launched an internal Climate-Resilient Investments Clearinghouse website to help managers of financial assistance programmes account for climate adaptation and resilience considerations when making investment decisions.

Saudi greens Brazil – Renewable energy developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of the Saudi Abdul Latif Jameel Energy Group, has announced plans to develop a 2GW green hydrogen project at the Pecem Industrial and Port Park in Ceara State, Brazil. The H2 Cumbuco project will focus on producing green ammonia for export, particularly to European and Asian markets. FRV is one of multiple companies so far that have signed contracts with the Ceara government to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives in the state (Solarabic).

VOLUNTARY

Aqua appeal – Danone Waters of America has requested a New York court to reconsider its decision that allowed a lawsuit concerning misleading ‘carbon neutral’ claims on Evian bottled water to proceed. The lawsuit is attracting attention due to the increasing scrutiny over carbon neutral claims in the consumer goods sector. US District Judge Nelson S. Roman found the term ‘carbon neutral’ potentially misleading due to its technical nature and ambiguity, which could deceive consumers and was sufficiently alleged as a basis for a fraud claim if used to justify a higher price. Danone argues that the court should have considered the full statement on the product’s packaging, which includes a certification by The Carbon Trust, claiming this makes the statement clear and not misleading. The company contends that the certification does not claim the product is sustainable, but rather that it is certified as such, a distinction it believes is significant. Danone also believes that the fraud claim should not proceed, arguing that it sets a dangerous precedent and that allegations of intent to defraud under ‘greenwashing’ claims do not meet the legal standards required. (AFN)

Cash Cawa – Amsterdam-based Cawa, which provides API infrastructure for carbon accounting and ESG platforms, has raised €500,000, which it says will support its mission to facilitate the sale of transparent, high-quality carbon credits, Founders Today reported. The funding round was led by Shamrock Ventures, along with participation from Golden Egg Check Capital and other angel investors. Cawa’s software brings transparency and trust to the market, said Shamrock’s managing partner, Tommy Hurley. Founded in 2022, the company’s software platform provides access to traceable carbon credits through an API, allowing companies to integrate the purchase of transparent, high-quality carbon credits and enabling stakeholders to monitor the financing and impact of their projects.

Selling Kenyan credits – Kenyan CO2 removals developer Octavia Carbon has partnered with Ceezer, a platform that connects carbon credit buyers with vetted, high quality carbon removal projects, it announced this week. Using Ceezer’s platform will increase the visibility of carbon credit offerings from the Hummingbird direct air capture (DAC) project and “showcase Kenya’s potential to be a climate vanguard”, Octavia said. Octavia aims to launch the first DAC + storage facility in the southern hemisphere by the end of this year, Carbon Herald reported. The project will start with a capacity to capture 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and scale up in the following years.

Updated CDR – Standard body Puro.earth has revised its Geologically Stored Carbon Methodology in line with the latest scientific research and the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) Core Carbon Principles, it announced on Linkedin. The methodology contains the requirements to issue CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs), Puro’s carbon credit, from bio-CCS, including BECCS, and DAC+Storage carbon removal activities in underground geological formations for the purpose of permanent CO2 removal. The 2024 edition includes major changes in project eligibility, as well as requirements for the storage reservoirs. Other changes relate to biomass sourcing criteria, carbon accounting, data collection and monitoring requirements.

New in post – VCM marketplace Xpansiv announced Thursday that Lawrence (Larry) Leibowitz and John (Jack) Klinck Jr. have assumed the roles of chair and vice-chair, respectively. Leibowitz had served as vice-chair since 2015, and Klinck had been a director since 2016. Leibowitz is currently the CEO of Entrypoint Capital. He is also a director at Enfusion Systems, an asset management SaaS platform; Crux Informatics, a cloud-based data management platform; and GivingCompass, a non-profit philanthropy technology platform. Meanwhile, Klinck is a senior advisor at BCG and director at the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation (DTCC). He is also chair of the board of directors of Best Egg, a consumer financial technology platform, and Cardlytics, a Nasdaq-listed advertising platform.

INVESTMENT

We get the gist – GIST Impact, a data and analytics provider, has announced an undisclosed  investment from UBS Next, the Swiss bank’s venture and innovation unit. This will see GIST Impact scale its software that provides intelligence to companies and investors, helping them easily measure their environmental and social impacts. Its clients include banks, sovereign wealth funds, and technology firms. The provision of better impact data is critical in developing greater transparency for investors to help them manage their portfolios, also aligning to new regulations and standards have also set a higher bar for measuring impact across value chains. These include standards set by the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) as well as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), Thursday’s release stated. The investment from UBS Next will support the further expansion of GIST Impact’s product integrations with partners and development of proprietary impact data and software solutions, including preparations for CSRD and TNFD requirements where clients require most support.

AND FINALLY…

Home heat home – The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has developed an interactive web application that allows users to visualise how climate change might alter their local environment. By inputting their hometown, users can see how the future climate of their area could resemble the current climate of another location worldwide. The tool uses data from the IPCC and offers projections based on various emission scenarios, including a high-emission trajectory leading to a 9 F (5 C) increase by the century’s end, and a scenario aligning with the Paris Climate Accord targets that could limit warming to about 1.5 C. The researchers believe northern hemisphere cities will increasingly resemble those further south near the equator. “For example, if you live in Washington DC, you would need to travel to northern Louisiana to experience what Washington DC will feel like by 2080, where summers are expected to be 11.5 F warmer in 50 years. If you live in Shanghai, China, you would need to travel to northern Pakistan to experience what Shanghai’s climate could be like in 2080.” They note the challenge of finding current climatic matches for equatorial regions and some southern areas, reflecting the unprecedented nature of future conditions there.

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