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Pressure mounts on the world's biggest carbon emitters.

Even though most countries submitted new or updated climate plans this year ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the combined result still leaves the world on track for 2.7C of warming by century's end, according to the UN.

The 2015 Paris accord goal is to limit global warming to well below 2C since pre-industrial times, and ideally to no more than 1.5C. Global warming is estimated by scientists to be at 1.1C already. The UN's latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said the Paris targets "will be beyond reach" by 2040 without immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Exports are also facing the prospect of carbon border adjustments, with the EU publishing its proposal in July, which is also gaining traction among Democrats in the US. This raises the possibility of the formation of a carbon-zero trade bubble, while countries lagging behind their emissions reduction targets may be penalised over the long term. Meanwhile, climate risk assessments for listed companies are looking increasingly likely to become mandatory over the medium-term. The EU, the UK, the US and China have all recently indicated their support for standardised climate disclosure measures.

Key Climate Pledges

China

China aims to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The country is also aiming to (by 2030):

  • Lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level.
  • Increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25%.
  • Increase the forest stock volume by 6Bcm from the 2005 level.
  • Bring total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2bn KWh by 2030.
United States

The US has committed to reduce net GHG emissions by 50-52% by 2030 compared to 2005. The US has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

European Union

The EU and its Member States, acting jointly, commit to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"If net-zero targets are to
be met, governments must
lead the way in planning
and stimulating the massive
investment required."

"Climate spending is back
in the US Budget, China set
a new road map and
Australia committed to net
zero by 2050."

"China wants 40% of new
vehicles to be powered by
clean energy by 2030. The
US, meanwhile, is aiming
for 50%."

CO2 Emissions by Sector, China, 1990-2019
Mt CO2
Feature Articles

Zinc December 2021
Zinc and a Greener, Cleaner, Sustainable Future

Global leaders have committed to making a concerted effort to end their reliance on fossil fuels by 2030 and solidified their commitments to carbon neutrality, with most nations aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and China by 2060.

READ MORE

LNG December 2021
Torches in the Dark

China’s consumption of LNG has only grown over the last several years, and Chinese import demand promises to overtake that of current world leader Japan within the decade. AME currently pegs China’s maximum regasification and receival capacity at 80Mtpa, though the nation only consumed 68Mt in 2020.

READ MORE

Gold December 2021
Gold and E-Waste

The value of gold in electronic waste (e-waste) could stand at around US$50bn by 2030. In 2016, it was estimated that around 16Moz of gold was thrown away in 44.7Mt of e-waste. In 2030, it is estimated that 74Mt of e-waste will be produced globally, which would translate to 26Moz of gold.

READ MORE

Oil Refineries November 2021
Refining Future in Chemicals not Fuels

Crude oil has been used to produce transportation fuel for many decades. However, market factors may now make it necessary for organisations to consider oil-to-chemical complexes to maintain a competitive edge in today’s global market.

READ MORE

Gold November 2021
Renewables in Gold Mining

With the intensifying global focus on greenhouse gas emissions and the existential risk posed by climate change, miners are coming under increasing pressure to decarbonise their operations.

READ MORE
Daily Briefing
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Verizon Purchases Up to 640MW of Renewable Energy from Leeward
21 Jan 2022
US telecommunications conglomerate Verizon will purchase up to 640MW of renewable energy from Leeward Renewable Energy, as part of its goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its operational emissions by 2035.

Verizon will purchase the energy generated from four of Leeward’s wind and solar projects under development: the 200MW Blackford County Wind, 200MW Horizon Solar, 160MW White Wing Ranch Solar projects, and an 80MW wind project currently under development. The projects have a combined capacity to generate up to 640MW of clean energy.

Construction of the 200MW Blackford Wind project in Indiana is expected to begin in February 2023 and to be completed by the end of 2023.

Construction of the 200MW Horizon Solar project in Texas is expected to begin in September 2022 and to be completed by the end of 2023.

Construction of the 160MW White Wing Ranch Solar project in Arizona is expected to begin in May 2023 and to be completed by the end of June 2024.

The last project, an 80MW wind asset, is still in development. Details have not yet been disclosed.

The projects will utilise wind turbines and thin-film panels from American renewable technology manufacturers such as Arizona-based First Solar.

Verizon and Leeward have an existing relationship through previously signed renewable energy purchase agreements for the 196MW Big Plain and 100MW Oak Trail solar projects.

“Since 2019, Verizon has issued three US$1bn green bonds to support our climate strategy, including our expansive renewable energy initiatives,” James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer, said. 

Texas-based Leeward currently has a total installed generating capacity of more than 2GW across nine US states.
World’s First Hydrogen Ship Arrives in Australia
21 Jan 2022
The world’s first carrier of liquefied hydrogen has arrived in the Australian state of Victoria to pick up its inaugural cargo and transport it to Japan.

The Suiso Frontier, docked at Victoria's Port of Hastings, will transport liquid hydrogen from a A$500m (US$361m) pilot project in the Latrobe Valley to Kobe in Japan in a world first.

Governments are increasingly looking to hydrogen to slash emissions from difficult-to-decarbonise parts of the economy. Japan, the top buyer of Australian LNG, has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and is counting on hydrogen to lower its usage of fossil fuels.

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project, led by a consortium including Japan’s J-Power, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Shell and AGL, is demonstrating the conversion of Latrobe Valley brown coal into hydrogen gas.

The hydrogen is produced by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure in a process that also yields carbon dioxide. The hydrogen is then trucked to a port site where it is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius, liquefying it for export. 

If the project becomes commercial, it would be paired with carbon capture and storage to trap emissions and bury them in depleted gas reservoirs in Bass Strait.

“The 225kt of carbon-neutral liquefied hydrogen produced by HESC in a commercial phase will contribute to reducing global carbon-dioxide emissions by some 1.8Mtpa – equivalent to the emissions of about 350k petrol-driven cars,” the consortium said.

The Australian government on Friday will announce a further A$7.5m (US$5.4m) to support the project's pre-commercialisation phase and A$20m (US$14.5m) for the CCS project.

The project's use of coal combined with CCS has drawn criticism from environmentalists, who argue that the technology’s success at a large scale is unproven and fear it could prolong the use of fossil fuels.

Last year, Chevron’s huge Gorgon CCS project in Western Australia failed to meet a crucial target of capturing and burying an average of 80% of the carbon dioxide produced from its gas reservoirs.
Serbia Revokes Rio Tinto's Lithium Project Licenses
21 Jan 2022
Serbia revoked Rio Tinto's lithium exploration licenses for its proposed US$2.4bn project on Thursday, following sustained protests against the project on environmental grounds.

"All decisions (linked to the lithium project) and all licenses have been annulled," Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told reporters after a government session. "As far as project Jadar is concerned, this is an end."

Rio Tinto said it was "extremely concerned" by Serbia's decision and was reviewing the legal basis for it.

Earlier this week, Rio had pushed back the timeline for first production from Jadar by one year to 2027, citing delays in key approvals.

The Anglo-Australian miner committed to the lithium project last year. The project would have transformed Rio into a global top-10 lithium producer as part of a broader trend of miners looking to future-proof their firms by investing in metals needed for the green energy transition.

However, critics of the project accused the government of paving the way for illegal land appropriations and brushing aside environmental concerns.  Thousands of people blocked roads last year in protest against the government's backing of the project.

Ms Brnabic accused Rio of providing insufficient information to communities about the project. Rio counted by saying "it had always operated in compliance" with Serbian laws.

The decision comes as Serbia approaches a general election in April and as relations between Belgrade and Australia have soured after the high-profile deportation of tennis star Novak Djokovic from Australia over the country's Covid-19 entry rules.
Finland's Largest Green Hydrogen Production Plant to Cost EUR250m
20 Jan 2022
Finnish energy firm Lahti Energia Oy and clean energy developer Nordic Ren-Gas Oy have signed a deal to team up on Finland's largest green hydrogen plant, set to cost EUR250m (US$220m).

The two partners will now proceed with the technical and economic feasibility analysis for the Power-to-Gas plant, which will convert carbon dioxide, water and wind power into renewable methane and green hydrogen.

The plant, to be built in a staged manner next to the Kymijarvi power station in Lahti, plans to produce around 50mLpa of renewable gas fuel for heavy-duty use. Lahti Energia expects to receive a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2)-free district heating from the plant.

The project will start with a 20MW electrolyser that should be commissioned in 2025. By the end of the decade, the facility could be expanded to 120MW, and at that point, the developers estimate, nearly 40% of Lahti Energia's district heating could be produced cost-effectively with waste heat.

The entire process is planned to run on electricity from 300MW of new wind parks that will be contracted under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The partners aim to conduct a feasibility study this year, while construction work could start in 2023, subject to achieving authorisations and financing.
IEA Forecasts 1% Annual Growth in Gas-Fired Generation Through 2024
20 Jan 2022
The IEA expects global electricity demand growth to moderate to an average of 2.7% per year during 2022-2024, down from 6% growth in 2021. The agency cautioned, however, that Covid-19 and high energy prices “bring some uncertainty to this outlook”.

Through 2024, the IEA predicts average annual electricity demand growth rates of 8% from renewables and 1% from nuclear. In 2021, global generation from nuclear rose 3.5% on-year, while renewables increased 6%, the agency said.

In 2021, China’s electricity demand grew by an estimated 10% on-year, representing about one-half of global demand growth, the IEA said. More than half of China’s provinces have grappled with power rationing amid the spike in demand.

Slower electricity demand growth and significant renewables additions mean “fossil fuel-based generation is expected to stagnate in the coming years", the Paris-based agency said. 

The IEA forecasts “around 1% a year” growth in gas-fired generation, coupled with a slight decrease in coal-fired generation “as phase-outs and declining competitiveness in the United States and Europe are balanced by growth in markets like China and India.” 

Coal-fired power generation rose by 9% last year, buoyed by gas-to-coal switching triggered by the high natural gas prices driven by supply shortages. This resulted in a significant increase in US greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, gas-fired generation increased by a more modest 2% last year, the IEA said.

Through 2024, the IEA expects gas prices to face downward pressure on improving supply availability. “Henry Hub averaging 12% below its 2021 levels according to forward curves as of early January 2022. Nonetheless, coal-based generation remains more competitive than gas, compared to the 2018-2020 period.”

In 2021, prices for major wholesale electricity markets nearly doubled on-year, the IEA said. Prices rose 64% against the 2016-2020 average. Increases were particularly sharp in Europe, Japan, and India, but were more moderate in the US, where gas supplies were less unsettled.
ScottishPower, Shell Win 7GW in ScotWind Auction
20 Jan 2022
ScottishPower, the UK subsidiary of Spanish utility Iberdrola, has been awarded seabed rights for 7GW of offshore wind projects in the ScotWind leasing round.

Most of the awarded capacity, of 5GW across two sites, has been won in partnership with Shell. This generating capacity is enough to power 6m homes, Shell said. 

The new floating wind farms, off the east and north-east coast of Scotland, will be delivered through two joint ventures known as MarramWind and CampionWind. They will have capacities of 3GW and 2GW, respectively.

Floating wind platforms are a proven technology to unlock deeper waters and make up 80% of Europe's offshore wind resources, but this will be the first time they are planned to be deployed at this scale anywhere in the world, Shell said. 

ScottishPower will develop a third project, the 2GW MachairWind, independently of the partnership with Shell. 

These projects have boosted ScottishPower’s existing offshore wind pipeline from 3.1GW to 10.1GW, including the 5GW of co-development with Shell.

“Offshore wind is set to become the backbone of the UK’s energy mix and will do the heavy lifting as we ramp up the production of clean electricity on the journey to Net Zero," Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said. 

ScottishPower and Shell are among 17 winners to secure option agreements in the ScotWind Leasing round. The selected projects will amount to roughly 24.8GW of offshore wind capacity using floating and fixed foundation technologies.
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