Good morning, wonderful people, and we’re glad you’re joining us in what is shaping up to be another interesting week for the green economy in MENA.
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY in our corner of the world: Could this be the week green bonds in really take off in MENA? It looks possible, if recent announcements are anything to go by.
First up, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which announced that its upcoming USD 500 mn green bond issuance — its first — was 3.8x oversubscribed. It’s a first sign of significant investor appetite for the asset class. The bonds will go on sale this Wednesday.
Cue Saudi: Shortly after ADCB’s announcement, Reuters reported that Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund is looking to go to market with its maiden green bond issuance as early as this week.
Why this matters: We need green finance — and lots of it — across emerging markets to finance both mitigation (trying to slow the pace at which the planet is warming) and adaptation (figuring out how to ensure our cities stay liveable, that homes are safe, that businesses can operate) in the decades to come. Rich countries have promised to make USD 100 bn in climate finance available to developing economies by 2035. Our friend Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN climate champion for Egypt, says the real number is in the tns, not bns.
^^ We have more on this story and more in this morning’s news well, below.
Last week, the buzz was coming from the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF), which wrapped on Friday. Authorities privately positioned it as a “test run” for some of the ideas and infrastructure that will back COP27.
The three-day event saw high-level talks, proposals and even some climate finance pledges, including a pledge of over USD 1 bn in financing from the EBRD. The final two days saw Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat give a glimpse into its guidebook for “fair climate finance” set to be launched during COP27, proposals for how to tackle spiraling green borrowing costs — and a robust defense of African nations’ gas production and export ambitions despite emissions reductions targets. We have more on those outcomes in the news well below.
MEANWHILE- Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohamed Al Jadaan reiterated the kingdom’s commitment to invest SAR 700 (USD 186 bn) bn in its green economy, according to the Saudi Gazette. Speaking at a conference in KSA last week, Al Jadaan said investment in the green economy and the drive to spur npn-oil growth are moving at an “accelerated pace.” The Kingdom’s non-oil economy grew 5.4% in 2Q 2022. Saudi had committed SAR 700 bn in green economy investments through to 2030 as part of the Saudi Green Initiative, which launched last October.
UN Climate Change Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin will be addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt today at 3 PM CLT. You can register to attend the event online here.
The Environment and development forum enters its second day in Cairo, Egypt. The event — organized by the Arab Water Council — is positioning itself on the “road to COP27” and tackles key topics including food and water security, sustainable development, environmental conservation, and sustainable transportation. The event runs through Tuesday.
SIGN OF THE TIMES- Global oil and gas exploration hit new lows this year: Oil and gas exploration activity has significantly slowed down this year, with the number of exploration licenses, leases, and amount of land being tendered for exploration falling to new lows, according to research by energy consultancy Rystad Energy. The amount of land awarded for exploration has fallen to a 20-year low to 320k sqm between January and August. Globally, the number of lease rounds dropped to 21, down half from the 42 rounds held during the first eight months of 2021. Rystad is projecting 44 lease rounds this year (the lowest number since 2000) compared with 58 last year.
How are we looking in our neck of the woods? Licensed acreage in Africa shrank 70% y-o-y to 46k sqm in Egypt, Morocco, Angola and Zimbabwe.
What’s driving the contraction? Rystad thinks the slowdown is largely because of the lingering impact of the covid-19 pandemic, which sent oil prices below zero, promoting oil companies to sharply cut exploration and governments to cancel tender processes. Meanwhile, some governments are “pausing or halting leases and encouraging companies to wrap up exploration activity within already awarded blocks,” a trend it says could accelerate as “governments are less eager to invest in fossil fuel production and instead look ahead to a net zero future.”
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION-
The world may have already passed five dangerous tipping points and could be on the precipice of multiple other “disastrous” ones, several news outlets write, referring to a study published late last week. The report found evidence for 16 tipping points — where passing a particular temperature threshold automatically triggers unstoppable change in a climate system, the Guardian reports. Five of these may have already been passed thanks to the 1.1°C of global heating humanity has already caused. At 1.5°C — the threshold at which signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement had hoped to limit global heating — another five tipping points could be passed, including the loss of almost all mountain glaciers. The final six tipping points require global heating of at least 2°C to be triggered, the study’s authors say. (New York Times | Bloomberg)
MEANWHILE- New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss plans to re-examine the country’s net zero by 2050 policy “in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth,” she said in a statement to parliament. Truss’ vision aims to ultimately provide the UK with energy security and become an energy exporter by 2040 rather than depending on “malign actors.” She wants to ramp up sources of domestic energy, including North Sea oil and gas production, and award over 100 new exploration licenses.
She’s not dismissing renewables: “We will speed up our deployment of all clean and renewable technologies including hydrogen, solar, carbon capture and storage and wind,” she said. The aim is to not have electricity prices set by marginal gas prices. Also, Great British Nuclear — a government body to bring forward nuclear projects — will be launched later this month to ensure that 25% of the UK's electricity generation comes from nuclear sources, she revealed.
YOU’RE READING ENTERPRISE CLIMATE, the essential regional publication for senior execs who care about the world’s most important industry. Enterprise Climate covers everything from finance and tech to regulation, products and policy across the Middle East and North Africa. In a nod to the growing geographical ambitions of companies in our corner of the world, we also include an overview of the big trends and data points in nearby countries, including Africa and southern Europe.
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CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Northern Ireland will be cooperating with Saudi Arabia to divert waste from landfills on a regional and global level, an executive at Invest Northern Ireland (INI) told Asharq Al-Awsat. INI — Northern Ireland’s economic development agency — will expand work with the kingdom in the fields of waste-to-energy and waste management.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies will host its a seminar tomorrow on Zoom headlined “early warning systems for natural disasters.” The virtual gathering aims to address Africa’s need for an integrated early warning system for natural disasters. You can register for the event here.
Also tomorrow: The two-day South Sudan Oil and Power Conference is also scheduled to take place in Juba, South Sudan. Check out the event’s website here to register as a speaker, attendee or a sponsor.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is hosting its Towards COP27: Arab regional forum on climate finance on 15 September in Beirut. The forum will explore the climate finance needs of Arab countries to ensure water, energy and food security, while showcasing projects that can accelerate climate action
The Wetex and Dubai solar show will run 27-29 September at the Dubai World Trade Center.
Dubai will host World Green Economy Summit on 28-29 September. The summit wants to provide a platform to build consensus around the potential of technologies, policies and youth that could drive the green economy transformation.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.