Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to the accidental food issue of Enterprise Climate. This morning we have a major food startup VC funding round from Qatar, a feature on alternative proteins and what they could mean for MENA, and another warning that morning cup of Joe is at risk. We break them all down in the news well, below.
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY in our corner of the world- Countries along the Red Sea coast are facing what Canada’s CBC says would be a “catastrophic” oil spill if United Nations members don’t quickly transfer several mn USD the organization needs to kickstart a salvage operation. Failure to pay up could mean we will need to take on a >USD 20 bn cleanup operation — and face big problems for everything from marine navigation to the tourism industry (to say nothing of the sea- and wild-life who call coastal areas home).
The problem: A decrepit oil tanker named the FSO Safer that Yemen’s government had been using to store oil, but that is now about to break up. The UN is seeking USD 75 mn in funding to get phase one of the project off the ground — but too many of the countries and institutions that have pledged to kick in haven’t made good.
ALSO IN THE REGION- Oman continues to rev up its hydrogen plans and is now exploring converting its natgas pipeline to move hydrogen. The owner and operator of Oman’s gas pipeline, state-owned OQ Gas Networks, has started running tests to assess the network’s readiness to transport blue or green hydrogen within the country, managing director Mansoor Al Abdali announced recently. We have more in this morning’s hydrogen story, below.
THE BIG CLIMATE STORY outside the region- There is no single big climate story dominating the international press today, but here are a few interesting highlights:
#1- Denmark just became the first rich nation to pledge loss + damage funds to countries in the global south — but is it enough? Denmark has earmarked DKK 100 mn (USD 13.3 mn) in loss and damage aid to countries most impacted by climate change, with a focus on Africa’s Sahel region, it said in a statement. The move marks the first time a developed nation has offered compensation for the impact of emissions on poorer countries, but activists say the sum pales in comparison to the real price tag of the damage sustained by developing countries. (Reuters | Euronews | Washington Post)
#2- The pace of decarbonization in G20 countries reached its lowest level in 20 years in 2021, Reuters cites a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study as saying. The countries are falling short of reaching the 1.5°C cap set forth in the Paris Agreement due to rising energy costs and covid. Globally, decarbonization fell to 0.5%, far below the 12.9% target required, but in the G20 it only fell to 0.2%. Decarbonization needs to reach 15.2% a year in the aftermath of the slowdown to cap global warming at 1.5°C.
Who did well? “South Africa was the strongest performer, with a decrease of 4.6%, followed by Australia at 3.3% and China at 2.8%,” Reuters wrote.
#3- Former US vice president Al Gore is calling the World Bank president a “climate denier,” urging US president Joe Biden to remove him from his post, several news outlets wrote. Al Gore argues that the bank was providing capital to fossil fuel companies operating in developing countries. (The Independent | Bloomberg)
SIGN OF THE TIMES- No money for gas projects, says EIB: The European Investment Bank (EIB) said it will not invest in any gas projects despite calls by most African nations to recategorize gas for investments, EIB President Werner Hoyer told FT in an interview. “We as a European public institution should not invest in assets that one day will be seen as stranded assets,” he said. The EU’s lending arm should take “the energy transition seriously and move to renewables, Hoyer said, risking a clash with African nations at COP27 who are asserting their right to continue investing in oil and gas. African and developing nations argue that the move is key to their development even as some wealthier nations step up calls to phase out fossil fuels.
Major Wall Street banks are threatening to ditch Mark Carney’s green alliance: JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are among those who could pull out of the former Bank of England governor’s Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) due to what they say are legal risks associated with meeting strict decarbonization rules, the Financial Times reports, citing top execs. “I am close to taking us out of these global green commitments,” one senior exec said. “I’m not going to allow third parties to create legal liabilities for us and our shareholders. It is immoral and irresponsible.” GFANZ seeks to tackle climate change from within the financial system by getting members to decarbonize their combined USD 130 tn in assets.
The world needs annual investments of c. USD 1 tn in renewable energy and up to USD 130 bn for hydrogen by 2030 to avoid the crippling repercussions of climate change, FT reported, citing a report by the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the UN ahead of COP27. The world now needs to add four times the size of renewable energy added in 2021 every year by 2030, the report showed. Last year, it was estimated that the world would need 3 TW of renewables capacity by 2030 — a data point the report upped to 8 TW. The research was commissioned by 45 states, including the US, EU countries, Australia, Egypt and Nigeria.
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.
Enterprise Climate is published at 4am CLT / 5am Riyadh / 6am UAE Monday through Thursday by Enterprise, the folks who bring you Enterprise Egypt, your essential 6am and 3pm read on business, finance, policy and economy in Egypt and emerging markets.
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THE COUNTDOWN TO COP-
Climate change remains the most serious existential challenge faced for humanity, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told a climate roundtable on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yesterday (watch, runtime: 7:25). In a pre-recorded speech, the president said that the repercussions of climate change are worsening by the day as temperatures soar globally, noting the recent devastating floods in Pakistan and the forest fires in Europe over the summer. El Sisi reiterated his call for the international community to meet the pledge to provide USD 100 bn in funding every year to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
What does the Biden administration want to get out of COP27? A strengthened position in MENA could be one priority area. The Biden administration is likely to use COP27 as a chance to strengthen its position in our corner of the world — in part through its joint hosting with Egypt of the “Adaptation in Africa” event aimed at boosting climate change adaptation throughout the continent, UN climate change negotiator Ken Markowitz told Energy Monitor yesterday.
More cooperation with China could be another: Biden will also be looking to mend some fences with China and find common ground on climate-related issues, Markowitz predicts.
And pushing partners to up their climate ambition is a possible third: “With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the US enters this COP in its strongest negotiation position in years and it will use that as leverage to motivate its strategic partners to increase their climate ambition,” Markowitz added. The USD 369 bn IRA (pdf) was signed into effect by Biden in August and is considered the largest climate investment bill in US history.
Need a refresher on Biden’s landmark climate bill? We’ve got you covered.
CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Egypt is advancing its climate agenda and more at the UNGA: Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry held climate talks with the foreign ministers of France, Portugal and the Netherlands, as well as the US Special Envoy for Yemen on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly G77 High-Level week. Outside of discussions in national security and diplomacy, conversations focused on investments in Egypt’s green transformation.
Investments in green technologies in Egypt were on the agenda at a meeting between the COP27 President Designate and the US Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), according to a statement.
Egypt and UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres hosted a closed Leaders’ Roundtable on Tuesday. The informal meeting addressed ensuring COP27 outcomes are met, as well as the pressing need to confront weather events that result in great human and material losses and damages, according to a statement. Shoukry also reiterated the importance of honoring the USD 100 bn pledge in 2023 as well as doubling adaptation financing in a video.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Our friends at HSBC are hosting an energy transition webinar series next Tuesday-Thursday (27-29 September). The series will look at the “latest climate analysis in relation to the global energy market and transition to net zero” in six different sessions covering energy security, what is required to ensure the success of COP27, financing and investment needs for the energy transition, and the scaling up of renewables in the region, among other topics. You can register for the series here.
WANT MORE on the region’s energy transition? Catch this op-ed in EnterpriseAM by HSBC’s Group Head, Center of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Zoe Knight on to the capital that’s needed to help drive that shift.
A Spanish business delegation will be in Cairo on 27-28 September for the Egypt-Spain Multilateral Partnership Forum. The two-day event, which will take place at the Sofitel Gezirah Hotel, will bring together Spanish and Egyptian business execs in electricity, renewable energy and water treatment.
The World Cement Association’s (WCA)’s global conference will take place from 25-28 September at Emirates Towers in Dubai, UAE. The event will be attended by COP26 UN Climate Champion Nigel Topping, among other attendees, panelists,and keynote speakers. You can register for the event here.
The Wetex and Dubai solar show will run 27-29 September at the Dubai World Trade Center.
Dubai will host the 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.
Fitch Solutions hosting a webinar on Saudi Arabia’s energy transformation next Thursday, 29 September at 12:00pm KSA. You can register here.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.