In this report

Compliance: U.S. and China see climate cooperation as diplomatic hope, Brazil sees clearer ETS timeline

The U.S. and China should use climate cooperation to redefine their troubled diplomatic relationship, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told top Chinese officials as part of his three-day visit to Beijing this month.

The UN body with a mandate to shape carbon crediting under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement has signalled that draft recommendations on removals are to be prepared by the end of August following an ongoing consultation. 

Legislation outlining a Brazilian Emissions Trading System (ETS) will reach Congress by August, environment minister Marina Silva told local media. The ETS legislation will reach pass Congress before Brazil hosts the COP30 UN climate summit in 2025, and the draft regulation is “practically ready”, according to Ministry of Development official Rodrigo Rollemberg. 

A McKinsey report said Brazil’s public and private sector would need to spend a combined $80 billion per year to reach net zero by 2050. 

An expert panel said avoided emissions from dairy digesters in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) are overcounted, overcompensated, and are offered perverse incentives at a July 17 meeting of regulator ARB's Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC). 

California’s cap-and-trade programme should adopt an Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) to help address allowance oversupply in a predictable manner, according to public comments from utilities, environmentalists, and business groups ahead of the ARB’s forthcoming rulemaking to strengthen the WCI-linked system.

Washington State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D) said in a July 13 webinar that he regrets the state instituting a 10% allowance purchase limit for compliance entities at cap-and-trade auctions and hopes to change the rule in the next legislative session. 

New Zealand has announced changes to its price controls and ETS settings in line with what the independent Climate Change Commission (CCC) proposed last year, which will enter into force in time for the Dec. 2023 auction. Minimum prices at auctions will go up and available NZU volume down. NZU prices have collapsed since the government rejected the CCC recommendations last December. 

The NZ Cabinet has also approved a proposal to allow all types of carbon sinks generate credits eligible in the domestic ETS, instead of just forests, which is the case currently. However, it is unclear when the policy will be put in place. 

China has announced that all allowances banked from the initial compliance cycle in the national ETS will be eligible for use when participants surrender permits for 2021 and 2022 at the end of this year but did not say whether or not carryover limits would be implemented in the future. 

South Korean CO2 allowance prices are at all-time lows, at the regulator should relax the strict KAU carryover rules in order to increase interest in securing additional permits, according to government-run think-tank Korea Development Institute. 

Australia will start accepting proposals for new carbon project methodologies from 2024, a government official told a conference in Brisbane, as changes to how methodologies are developed following the Chubb review has kept the process on hold in recent months. 

Southern Europe has seen EU ETS-covered fossil generation spike due to higher demand for air conditioning after extreme heat, as analysts point to sustained consumption this summer with temperatures set to remain elevated. 

Chemical production in the EU is on course to decline by about 8% in 2023 compared to the previous year, with no imminent recovery of demand in the region, a large industry group has warned. 

Swedish steelmaker SSAB also highlighted weak demand in Europe as the core reason for a halving of its operating profit in Q2 in quarterly financial results. Sustained weak industrial demand in the EU is to keep the bloc’s compliance carbon prices under pressure during H2, analysts have said. 

Large corporate power utility RWE reported a drop of almost one-fifth year-on-year in power generation covered by the EU ETS during the first six months of 2023. 

The Hungarian government announced it will introduce a tax of €40 per tonne of emissions for EU ETS participants that receive a proportionately large volume of free carbon allowances, as well as a 10% transaction fee on the value of those permits. 

Voluntary: Voluntary carbon market projects and standards face criticism across Africa, the U.S., and Brazil

The Kariba REDD+ project and other voluntary carbon initiatives in Zimbabwe have paused their technical activities in line with a government directive, but monitoring and other operations continue as normal. 

A donation of 2 million carbon credits made by a Belarusian group, backed by formed South African President Jacob Zuma, to kick-off trade on Zimbabwe’s new carbon exchange was reportedly revealed to be comprised of banned Russian offsets. The Zimbabwean exchange then later reversed course, announcing that only African units will be allowed on the platform. 

Tensions are said to be escalating over reports that the Liberian government is in talks with UAE-based Blue Carbon to grant it access to a million hectares of crucial forest land to develop for carbon credit generation. 

A row has erupted in Tanzania after the Ministry of Environment imposed a raft of hefty new fees on voluntary carbon projects that developers warn will derail current activity and discourage future investment in the African country’s nascent market. 

Africa’s first direct air capture (DAC) and storage facility will begin operations in 2024 at an annual scale of 1,000 tonnes, with the developers partnering with a voluntary carbon removals certifier and platform to generate commercial credits in the same year. 

Ratings agency Sylvera raised $57 million in Series B funding to expand its team and support growth in the U.S. Renoster also raised a smaller sum in a funding round. 

The European Commission is seeking input on existing methodologies for certifying industrial carbon removal practices, as the bloc moves towards establishing a voluntary framework for these activities. 

The Brazilian state of Para’s public defender filed a lawsuit on July 19 alleging land theft linked to a REDD+ project naming three companies, a private organisation, and the municipal government of Portel. 

Vancouver-based DevvStream announced an 8.3 million hectare avoided deforestation project in Bolivia on July 20, while co-developing a methodology the company claims will better meet the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market’s Core Carbon Principles than REDD+. DevvStream also launched its Orphaned Oil and Gas Well Sealing Program under certifier American Carbon Registry’s Plugging Orphaned Oil and Gas (OOG) Wells methodology on July 17. 

Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has tasked two ministries with drawing up appropriate frameworks for carbon credit management, including a directive specifically addressing rules for trading forestry credits. Hanoi is also planning to launch a domestic ETS later in the decade, and the finance ministry has been asked to submit a master plan for the development of that scheme by the end of July. 

Senhai Carbon, subsidiary of major Chinese forestry and paper producer Yueyang, has agreed with state-owned transportation and construction investment firm Yongzhou Lingling to develop carbon projects spanning over 33,000 ha of forests and a similar-sized agricultural land plot. 

Senhai will develop projects and sell the resulting CCERs to Yongzhou Lingling over a 20-year period in the latest sign that market participants are expecting the national offset programme to restart shortly. 

Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM) has announced a pilot e-cookstove project in Laos using technology from fellow Australian firm ATEC that it says will cut 6 MtCO2e over the next decade. The cookstoves will be fitted with individual sim cards to enable real-time usage monitoring. 

Japanese firms Green Carbon and AJI-CLE have teamed up to develop methane emissions reductions at rice paddies in Bangladesh, initially identifying land plots that could generate 100,000 credits per year by 2025 but with plans to expand that substantially. 

Green Carbon has also signed an exclusive partnership with Ecosystem Regeneration Associates (ERA) to sell offsets generated by the Brazilian firm. Most, but not all of them, will be sold in Japan, Green Carbon said. 

SK E&S, part of major South Korean conglomerate SK, has announced plans to expand its renewable energy business into Vietnam, where it expects to generate carbon credits from its solar and wind operations. 

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Forestry Promotion Institute has launched a funding programme for REDD+ feasibility studies in order to help private sector companies get involved in the global forest carbon market as part of plans to get 30 MtCO2 worth of annual emissions reductions from domestic and foreign forestry projects.

Climate tech investment marketplace HeavyFinance has has tied up with carbon market consultancy ClearBlue Markets to rapidly expand into the soil carbon market and generate 250,000 credits by year end.

Standard body is now offering its CO2 removal certificates, known as CORCs, on Xpansiv’s CBL spot exchange.

Finance: G2O meeting on fossil fuel phase out disappoints, but Canada steps to forefront

G20 energy ministers wrapped up their meeting in Goa, India without any progress on ambition to ratchet up renewable energy production and cut the use of fossil fuels. 

However, the Canadian federal government announced on July 24 it will stop providing new subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and cut off all public funding to the sector by 2024, with an exception for carbon capture projects. Canada is the first G20 country to publish its assessment framework outlining its phase out of the subsidies. 

Canada also committed C$450 million ($340 million) to the 2023 replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, though is only the fifth country to do so in the current round of funding as negotiations around climate finance grow tense and threaten to hinder wider UN negotiations this year

UAE-based asset management firm Offset8 plans to launch a $250 million fund to invest in carbon credit and other climate-related projects, the company announced as the first of its kind in the Middle East.

AXA IM Alts, part of French insurance giant AXA, is committing $49 million to Amazon rainforest reforestation projects from developer Mombak that aim to restore Brazilian lands degraded from agriculture.

South Korea has signed a number of bilateral deals with Laos on the development of large-scale solar power and landfill projects, with at least one of the landfills destined to generate carbon credits under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Seoul plans to buy 225,000 credits annually from the facility.

Australia will draw up specific decarbonisation plans for six major sectors, which will guide future policy as well as the country’s work to update its NDC target for 2035.

The New Zealand government has agreed to spend NZ$90 million ($56 million) of its NZU auctioning revenue to help cut over 2 MtCO2e at facilities owned by dairy firm Fonterra, the country’s biggest emitter.

European carrier Ryanair has outlined the main climate-related risks to revenues in a 2023 sustainability report with increased carbon pricing cited as “most impactful” on strategy in the firm’s net zero outlook.

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