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Monday, 23 January 2023

TODAY: Algeria inks agreements with Italy on emissions reduction + a potential renewables pipeline

Good morning, lovely people. After a flood of news yesterday, the region has quieted down a bit — but there is a bit of good news from North Africa to dive into.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Algeria inked several agreements during a meeting between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers yesterday. The agreements cover emissions reductions, energy security, and the study of a potential hydrogen and ammonia pipeline between the countries. We have more on this story in the news well, below.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- Germany joins in on Mediterranean hydrogen pipeline: Germany will join Spain, Portugal, and France’s planned H2Med green hydrogen corridor, which — once operational in 2030 — will supply an estimated 2 mn metric tons of the green fuel (c.10% of the EU’s hydrogen demand), German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday. The corridor, which was first announced last October, is expected to cost some USD 2.6 bn, Reuters previously reported.

The story is getting ink from: The AP | The Financial Times | Deutsche Welle.

CORRECTION- We incorrectly stated in yesterday’s issue that Adnoc holds a 42% stake in Fertiglobe, when Adnoc in fact holds a 36% stake in Fertiglobe. We have corrected the story on our website.

IN COP LAND- COP28 host country the UAE is under the microscope for its high per capita emissions in the run-up to the summit, the Financial Times reports. Like other MENA oil and gas giants — including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar — the UAE has some of the highest global carbon emissions per capita, “surpassing other big emitters including the US, China and Russia,” the salmon-colored paper notes, citing information from research group Our World In Data. Independent scientific research group Climate Action Tracker has termed the UAE’s national emissions reduction target of 31% by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario “highly insufficient,” the outlet adds, adding that emissions would more than triple compared to 1990 levels.

But the UAE says it’s prioritizing climate action: The UAE is reportedly set to announce a new emissions reduction target of 18% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, in its submission to the UN this year, the FT notes. And the country has “prioritized climate change in its national agenda,” its Climate Change Ministry is said to have told the news outlet. COP28 will be a COP of action, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber said last week.

WATCH THIS SPACE- The voluntary carbon offset market is set to grow at least fivefold by 2030, according to a joint report by oil giant Shell and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 52% of companies expect their portfolios to be dominated by carbon removal credits by 2030 and the voluntary carbon offset market will grow to USD 10-40 bn by 2030 — up from USD 2 bn in 2021, according to the report.

REMEMBER- Carbon credits are currently in hot water, with climate activists warning that carbon credits are being used to greenwash corporate emissions and a joint investigation by The Guardian, German weekly Die Zeit and nonprofit investigative journalism organization SourceMaterial release last found found that over 90% of the offsets provided by the world’s biggest carbon offset provider Verra are phantom credits, with only a handful showing evidence of reducing deforestation.

WORTH READING- Could “super-leverage points” lower global emissions dramatically? Super leverage points — relatively low-cost and difficulty policy actions that would have an outsized impact on decarbonization — including requiring more green ammonia use in fertilizer production, encouraging plant protein consumption, and mandating EV adoption could eventually result in a 70% reduction in emissions across the world’s most carbon-intensive sectors, according to research by the University of Exeter and consultancy firm Systemiq.

SOUND SMART- Leverage points refer to low or net-zero carbon alternatives becoming more competitive than carbon-intensive choices. If EVs replaced fuel combustion engine vehicles through the introduction of EV sale mandates, it would offset emissions and increase the affordability of battery supplies resulting in an acceleration of renewable energy projects. The tipping point for EVs is the most likely of the three aforementioned super leverage points to be realized in the near term, the report notes, with mandates ending the sale of fuel-based cars set by the UK for 2030 and China for 2035.

WORTH READING #2- CO2 removal tech accounts for only 0.1% of carbon capture: An independent report led by the University of Oxford has found that 99.9% of all CO2 being removed from the atmosphere annually is through forests with only 0.1% being removed through carbon dioxide removal methods, Reuters reports. The report — which measures carbon dioxide removal or the process of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it on land, the ocean and geological formations and in products — estimates that 99.9% of all CO2 is removed from afforestation and reforestation and only 0.1% is removed through carbon dioxide removal methods like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), biochar, and direct air capture with carbon capture and storage (DACCS). Investments in new technologies have amounted to c. USD 200 mn between 2020 and 2022, but there is still a need to expand CO2 removal technology use and boost land-based natural emissions reduction in order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5C.


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CLIMATE DIPLOMACY- Iraq’s office at the UN will have a climate change and security advisor position for the first time, after UN Secretary General António Guterres decided to create the role in the Iraq office, local media outlet Iraqi News notes, citing reports from the Iraqi News Agency (INA). The announcement was made after a meeting on Sunday between Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid and UN Undersecretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo in Baghdad. DiCarlo reiterated UN support for Iraq in the face of climate change-induced challenges — namely water scarcity and drought — Iraqi News adds. Need a refresher on Iraq’s water woes? We’ve got you covered here and here.


Energy and environment conference heading to Dubai + Doha: The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) is hosting its annual energy and environment conference, Urjavaran, tomorrow in Dubai, before heading to Qatar on Saturday, 28 January. The theme of the conference is “Dialogues in Sustainable HVACR and Architecture.”

EBRD + EU + GCF green finance event in Egypt next week: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the EU, and the Green Climate Fund will hold a green finance event on Tuesday, 31 January at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt. Check out the agenda here (pdf).

The Arabia CSR Awards opened the door for organizations to submit their applications for the event’s 16th cycle starting today until Friday, 30 June. The awardwinners will be announced during a ceremony on Wednesday, 4 October.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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