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Verra has issued a draft version for its long-awaited consolidated REDD+ avoided deforestation methodology that will replace five separate methodologies and tackle the thorny issue of calculating emissions baselines that has provoked criticism of hot air in the sector.
As carbon project certifier Verra prepares a new programme and fellow issuer Gold Standard pushes its related platform, corporates may increasingly turn to “insetting” as a way to take credit for the positive actions they take to clean up their value chains or Scope 3 emissions.
Another organisation has condemned the use as carbon offsets of REDD+ “results units” issued under the UN’s Warsaw Framework, prompting the coalition promoting the concept to hit back against the “atmospheric garbage” currently for sale on the voluntary carbon market.
US tech giant Apple has outlined its current and intended carbon removal credit purchases through 2030 in a report outlining progress towards its 2030 carbon neutral goal across all scopes and products.
Two US-based companies are betting on enhancing the ocean’s ability to naturally remove carbon on a gigatonne scale, one by spreading olivine on beaches and the other by sinking CO2 to the deep ocean in permanent form.
An ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) company on Thursday said it has received the biggest investment in the technology on record, with a tech company having already committed to pay nearly $2,000 per tonne for the credits.
Two new nature based removal methodologies have been released for mangrove restoration and hemp farming globally by new-to-the-scene standard bodies.
The charitable foundation of one of Canada’s major banks has invested $1.5 million to support carbon sequestration on agricultural land.
A major US climate change-focused charity announced Thursday it is earmarking almost $10 mln for Indigenous associations in Brazil to ensure those communities benefit from carbon market investments generated from the Amazon rainforest.
A US-based agricultural technology company is offering farmers greater flexibility in monetising their sustainability and voluntary carbon sequestration practices.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday promised a total of $1.5 billion to two international climate funds, along with accelerated global action to address emissions of methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose this week to levels not seen since August on the return of macro market optimism and compliance buying, while Washington Carbon Allowance (WCA) values retraced slightly from recent record highs but continued to trade above the programme’s second reserve tier trigger price.
The Canadian government has significantly ratcheted up the social cost of carbon (SCC) used to calculate climate damages to levels in line with a US EPA proposal last year, according to a federal minister and media report.
The Canadian government does not know how its suite of climate policies have impacted GHG abatement, making it difficult to track progress towards its emissions targets, according to a watchdog report published Thursday.
Taiwan is set to further clarify rules about its upcoming carbon levy scheme in August though exact rates will likely be decided next year at the earliest, according to a top official at Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
Three of Pertamina’s business units have combined to sign a carbon trading cooperation agreement to help the Indonesian national oil company (NOC) realise its long-term net zero emissions goal, they announced.
Australia’s land sector could reach net zero or even become a carbon sink by 2050, according to a wide-ranging report on how the country will reach net zero emissions, however it warned other sectors should not rely on it as a tool to offset their own emissions.
Japan will auction off some 430,000 J-Credits next month, the first government sale of the domestic carbon offsets in a year.
Japan is looking for potential buyers for domestically issued blue carbon credits, known as J-Blue Credits, for fiscal year 2023, according to a notice published Thursday.
EUA prices weakened throughout the day on Thursday, breaking below key technical support levels as buying interest appeared to wane as the compliance deadline is now just six working days away, while UKA prices extended their losses for a seventh day to reach a 17-month low.
The EU, the UK, and Norway are set to forge a new alliance to spearhead a massive scale-up of clean tech activity in the North Sea at a high level summit in the Belgian port of Ostend next week.
The World Bank on Thursday outlined a roadmap to finance the transformation of power sector infrastructure away from fossil fuels and towards clean energies in developing countries, stating that investment must quadruple in these economies by 2030.
BIODIVERSITY (FREE TO READ)
A biodiversity registry based in Colombia is aiming to incorporate five standards and as many as 40 credit-issuing projects in the next three years as it seeks to become a global example for nature crediting, several senior members told Carbon Pulse.
Australia’s Reserve Bank (RBA) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) are developing a digital exchange for the nation’s emerging biodiversity market, which they hope will make the marketplace more efficient.
France-headquartered cosmetics firm L’Oreal on Thursday announced it has invested in three projects related to biochar, reforestation, and mangroves through its €50-million Fund for Nature Regeneration.
A 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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City Week 2023 – April 24-26, London: City Week event brings together more than 1,000 top-level senior decision-makers from UK and overseas financial institutions for a comprehensive programme of cutting-edge presentations, panel discussions, and networking. This year’s forum will feature many well-known names from the global financial services industry, the world of politics and the international regulatory community. Day 1 has been set at the Climate Change, Green Finance and Sustainability Summit. The 13th annual edition of City Week will be held in-person at Guildhall, London, and also streamed live on our media channels. As in previous years, CW2023 is being organised in partnership with the UK Government, the City of London Corporation, TheCityUK, UK Finance and leading City institutions. Carbon Pulse readers can enjoy a 20% discount on tickets. Register here and use code CITY14CP.
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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
State of things – The world could breach a new average temperature record in 2023 or 2024, fuelled by climate change and the anticipated return of the El Nino weather phenomenon, Reuters reported on Thursday. The annual European State of the Climate (ESOTC) report, released by Copernicus Climate Change Service, showed that 2022 was the fifth warmest year globally and summer 2022 the warmest ever recorded in Europe. Now, climate models suggest that after three years of the La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which generally lowers global temperatures slightly, the world will experience a return to El Nino, the warmer counterpart, later this year. “El Nino is normally associated with record breaking temperatures at the global level. Whether this will happen in 2023 or 2024 is yet known, but it is, I think, more likely than not,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Investors needed – The recent World Bank and IMF meetings have emphasised the need for increased private capital in climate mitigation and adaptation projects in emerging and developing countries. According to the DWS Research Institute, these countries struggle to receive climate finance despite being responsible for 95% of the GHG emissions increase in the past decade. To reduce CO2 emissions, investments in energy infrastructure must reach $1 trillion by 2030, Citywire reports. De-risking climate finance in emerging markets is crucial for attracting private investors, and blended finance and first-loss tranches are seen as key steps to improve risk profiles. The Indonesia Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) exemplifies this approach, aiming to mobilise $20 bln in 3-5 years, with $10bn from private finances. Regulatory improvements, including green taxonomies and carbon pricing mechanisms, are also essential for enhancing transparency and investor confidence, DWS said. Investor engagement can further incentivize emerging markets to adopt stronger climate commitments and improve ESG ratings by addressing multinational supply chain impacts.
Take a chance on green – Germany sees “a chance” that a deal to accelerate phasing out fossil fuels – similar to the one reached over the weekend by the G7 nations – could be done at this year’s COP28 UN climate summit in Dubai, a senior government official said. In a joint statement at the recent meeting in Japan, G7 energy and climate ministers agreed “to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest”, as Carbon Pulse reported. The German official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed it would be possible to reach a similar deal in Dubai. “In the Gulf region, [the UAE] are the country that is most going into the [green] transition. They are sitting on oil and gas, but they know they need to go into the future with renewables in order to still have a business case in 30 years,” the official said, as Climate Home reports.
Capital at risk – South Africa’s Cabinet is said to be considering slowing the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations amid an energy crisis in the country, but critics warn this could put $8.5 billion in funding from the Just Energy Transition Partnership at ‘great risk’. In 2021, Germany, France, UK, US, and the EU pledged the cash to assist South Africa – one of the world’s biggest emitters – to reduce its CO2 output by closing some of Eskom’s old coal-fired plants. (news24)
Pension aggression – Five of the UK’s largest pension schemes, which together oversee £244 bln in assets, will vote against the reappointment of BP’s chair Helge Lund in a growing revolt among key shareholders over the oil company’s decision to slow planned cuts in fossil fuel production and carbon emissions, the FT reports. Nest, which is the UK largest workplace pension scheme, along with the UK’s universities pension scheme, Brunel Pension Partnership, Border to Coast, and LGPS Central intend to signal their anger at BP’s decision to revise its production targets and carbon emissions goals without consulting with shareholders. BP in February pared back its industry-leading commitment to cut its oil and gas output by 40% by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, and is now targeting a 25% decline.
No participation trophy – Over 35 civil society organisations have sent a letter to the Commission expressing ‘serious concern’ over the lack of avenues to public participation in member states’ drafting processes of updated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). The groups have sounded the alarm following the results of a survey by CAN Europe and WWF that found 60% of states were still to initiate any sort of public consultation three months before the deadline for the NECP drafts. Signing organisations reminded the Commission of its duty to foster and enforce participation requirements in the EU member states and demanded the Commission employ its influence and its services’ resources to address this lack of democratic decision-making. The letter outlines five priorities for improving public participation to realise a just transition.
Go Gitter – Germany’s second-largest steel producer Salzgitter said on Thursday that it has signed a long-term green energy supply deal with Spanish power company Iberdrola. The German subsidiary of Iberdrola will provide Salzgitter with 114 MW of power from its Baltic Sea wind farm for 15 years, starting from 2024, it added. The deal’s value was not disclosed. On Tuesday, Salzgitter received an almost €1 bln subsidy to fund its hydrogen-based steel production project. (Reuters)
Electric Jags – Jaguar Land Rover has said it will invest £15 bln over five years as Britain’s largest car-making employer upgrades its factories to produce electric vehicles, including its first UK-made battery car, the Guardian reports. The company will shift production to electric cars at its plant in the north of England, while its factory making internal combustion engines in in the West Midlands, will focus on producing electric motors and associated parts.
Enough charging for green trucks – New analysis by cleaner transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) argues there are enough EU public charging targets in Europe to ramp up truck CO2 standards. T&E called on lawmakers to mandate a 65% cut in truck emissions in 2030, going further than the EU Commission’s proposed standards. According to a recent analysis by the NGO of the energy needs of electric trucks and coaches on the road, by 2030 Europe will have 13.79 TWh of charging energy per year for heavy duty vehicles. T&E said truckmakers’ lobby group ACEA is asking four times the public charging capacity that is needed to meet the EU Commission’s truck CO2 targets in 2030. According to the NGO, this would result in charge points being used for just over 30 minutes a day, on average, leading to massive overbuilding of the charging network.
SAF and Schiphol – Ryanair has commenced using a 40% blend of sustainable aviation fuel in all its operations from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport through a new agreement with renewable fuel producer Neste, advancing the carrier’s goal of 12.5% SAF use across all its flights by 2030, GreenAir reports. The European low-cost airline did not disclose details of the volume of fuel to be acquired or the terms of the agreement. The deal builds upon a recent MoU between Ryanair and Shell through which the energy company will supply SAF at more than 200 European airports served by Ryanair between 2025 and 2030. Neste has started providing renewable diesel fuel to power ground service vehicles at Schiphol, which is targeting net zero emissions by 2030. The airport has proposed a night closure, a ban on private jets, and the scrapping of plans for a new runway as part of becoming “quieter, cleaner and better”. Ryanair operates a total of 63 flights per week from Schiphol, flying to both Dublin, the airline’s home base, and the Spanish resort of Malaga. Thomas Fowler, the airline’s Director of Sustainability, said the new deal with Neste, which took effect this month, boosted Ryanair’s use of SAF at Amsterdam from one third of its departures to all services. “This increase at Amsterdam will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of our flights from there by 32%,” he added.
Green Finance – To decarbonise the economy quickly, Singapore will expand its focus, which is now solely on green finance, to one that also includes transition finance by mapping out clear definitions, encouraging innovation, and extending grants, The Straits Times reports. This will be achieved through the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) refreshed Finance for Net Zero Action Plan. Transition finance is a form of financial support to help high-carbon companies become greener via long-term initiatives. The plan is an expansion of MAS’ Green Finance Action Plan launched in 2019 for Singapore to be a global hub for green finance. Among the goals is the need for clear definitions of what activities are considered green, what are not, or those that are in transition, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong. Speaking at the official opening of the Sustainable and Green Finance Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Thursday, Mr Wong, who is also deputy chairman of MAS, said Singapore’s Green Finance Industry Taskforce has led the development of a taxonomy to classify activities according to a “traffic light” system.
Debut sustainability loan – Malaysia’s MISC Berhad, an energy services company in the maritime sector, through its Singapore-based subsidiaries, has entered into a $527 mln syndicated loan facility, for the financing of six very large ethane carriers (VLECs), Standard Chartered bank stated in a press release. Standard Chartered served as the structuring bank, sustainability coordinator, and hedge coordinator. The Korea Development Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Labuan Branch, DBS Bank, Export-Import Bank of Malaysia, MUFG Bank Singapore, as well as an undisclosed lender acted as mandated lead arrangers. The 11-year sustainable-linked non-recourse term loan is MISC’s debut sustainability-linked loan (SLL) and is structured to align with its long-term business strategy and sustainability aspirations. MISC has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and aims to contribute to a carbon-neutral economy by transitioning to low carbon, and eventually zero carbon, emissions transport solutions. With both environmental and governance key performance indicators (KPIs), the ambitious environmental KPI is benchmarked to go beyond the emissions target outlined in International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2050 decarbonisation trajectory and the Poseidon Principles. This includes measuring the carbon intensity of MISC’s gas assets & solutions fleet by means of the annual efficiency ratio (AER). MISC will benefit from the annual adjustments of the interest rate benchmarked by meeting the pre-agreed KPIs, the press release said.
Not good enough – China has built the diplomatic and institutional frameworks to provide climate-related finance to the Global South, though the country has not yet lived up to its potential, a report by think tank E3G has found. Beijing has delivered merely 10% of the $3.1 bln pledged for a dedicated fund to finance climate cooperation with the Global South in the seven years since the launch, according to the report. Between 2013 and 2017, China spent over $1 bln a year on average on climate-related projects in developing countries, though that is less than 2% of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on infrastructure projects through the Belt and Road Initiative and other official programmes, E3G found.
Partnerships – The New Zealand government is partnering with 15 business in its latest funding round from the decarbonising industry fund, Minister for Energy and Resources Megan Woods announced. She said the projects announced today would cut carbon emissions by 38,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 14,200 cars off the road, and 943 tCO2e of lifetime abatement. Funding is distributed via the government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, with the fourth and latest round committing NZ$16 million to the selected projects. Many of the projects involve replacing fossil fuel-powered heat pumps and boilers with electric or biomass equivalents.
Country roads – EQT Corp. is launching its first nature-based carbon offset initiative in West Virginia in cooperation with the state’s Wheeling Park Commission and the firm Teralytic and Climate Smart Environmental Consulting LLC, the firm announced Thursday. The project will take place on 400 ha in Oglebay, West Virginia. EQT Corp. is the second largest natural gas producer in the US, behind only BP, and aims to reach net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
Pyramid scheme – The Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is establishing the Supervisory and Control Committee on Carbon Emissions Reduction Units and their terms of reference, according to media reports, as the country moves towards launching its own domestic voluntary carbon market. Mohamed Farid, Chairperson of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), issued two resolutions No. 57 and 58 of 2023 to set up the new committee. According to the new decision, the committee is responsible for developing rules governing the scheme, selecting verification and approval bodies to oversee projects, and creating special guidelines to ensure integrity and credibility. The panel shall also be tasked with preparing rules for avoiding conflicts of interest for parties and establishing an Egyptian registry. Certifier Global Carbon Council (GCC) last month signed an MoU with the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) to collaborate in the expansion of regional carbon markets including Egypt’s proposed system. EGX was one of the founding firms behind a deal to establish what was cited as the first African voluntary carbon trading platform, making the announcement at the COP27 UN climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh last November. As an outcome of this agreement, GCC-issued carbon credits will be listed on the EGX platform, as the Egyptian firm seeks to drive growth in carbon markets on the continent.
The responsible thing – Dutch airline KLM told the District Court of Amsterdam on Thursday that it would scrap its advertising campaign telling customers to ‘Fly Responsibly’ but offered no commitments about its future advertising and maintains its carbon offsetting offers, after a lawsuit accused the company of greenwashing, activist lawfirm ClientEarth pointed out. The ad campaign was targeted by legal action brought by Dutch campaigners Fossielvrij, challenging the legality of the airline’s advertising under EU consumer law. The lawsuit is the first against aviation industry greenwashing and is supported by ClientEarth and Reclame Fossielvrij.
REDDshift – Carbon accounting, offset, and MRV platform ShiftCarbon on Thursday announced the addition of several new nature-based REDD+ carbon offset projects to its offering inventory. In a press release, the Canada-headquartered firm said the REDD+ projects are located in Brazil and Indonesia, and verified across leading offset programmes including Verra’s VCS and Gold Standard. Gold Standard does not issue credits to REDD+ projects.
SCIENCE & TECH
That’s a big ice cube – A report from the European Space Agency (ESA) states that ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica has increased fivefold since the 1990s, and now accounts for a quarter of sea-level rise. Since 1992, when satellite records of ice-sheet melt began, the polar ice sheets have lost ice every single year. The highest rates of melt have occurred in the past decade. Scientists use data from satellites such as ESA’s CryoSat and the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 to measure changes in ice volume and flow, as well as satellites that provide information on gravity, to work out how much ice is being lost. A team of scientists compile these records in the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE), which is funded by ESA and NASA. This is used widely, including by the IPCC, to understand and respond to the climate crisis. The latest IMBIE assessment, which was published today, states that between 1992 and 2020, the polar ice sheets lost 7.56 trillion tonnes of ice – equivalent to an ice cube measuring 20 km each side.
Ship shape – Investor Lomar’s new subsidiary lomarlabs has announced a collaboration with climate tech start-up Seabound, which has developed a compact carbon capture device that can be retrofitted into a ship’s engine exhaust at the funnel. The CO2 chemically reacts with pebbles of quicklime, which then convert into limestone, keeping the CO2 locked in. Preparations to install this equipment onboard the first ship will take place in May and June this year to run the first-ever pilot project throughout this summer.
Everything is awesome – Lego Group has initiated construction on a $1 bln carbon-neutral factory near Richmond, Virginia, as part of its commitment to global climate goals. Expected to be operational by 2025, the facility will be powered by 50,000-60,000 solar panels generating 30-35 MW of electricity. The factory will utilise energy-efficient equipment and aims to achieve Gold LEED certification, with a target of net zero emissions by 2050. Covering 1.7 mln square feet and 13 buildings, the facility will create 1,760 local jobs and support Lego’s goal to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032. The Virginia factory is part of Lego’s worldwide expansion, including a carbon-neutral factory in Vietnam and planned facilities in Mexico, Hungary, and China. (Green Biz)
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