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Thursday, 18 May 2023

TODAY: Infinity Power + Copelouzos Group ink an agreement to explore the joint development of renewables

Good morning, ladies and gents. We have a busy morning of climate updates to dive into before the week comes to a close.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Infinity Power — a JV between UAE’s Masdar and homegrown renewable player Infinity — signed a MoU with Greece-based Copelouzos Group — through its subsidiary companies Damco Energy and Elica Mediterranean Interconnection — to explore the feasibility of jointly developing renewable energy projects to supply energy to the 3 GW Greece-Egypt Interconnector.

^^ We have the details on this story and more in the news well, below.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- Breach of the 1.5°C warming target “more likely than not” by 2027, WMO says: There is a two-out-of-three chance the world will temporarily surpass the Paris-agreed 1.5°C warming threshold in the next five years, according to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) out yesterday, which warns of a 98% chance the planet will record its hottest year yet between 2023 and 2027. The naturally occurring El Nino weather pattern — which is expected to develop in coming months and warm waters in the Pacific — coupled with human-induced climate change from fossil fuel consumption will result in the uptick in warming levels. Breach of the warming target, which is expected to occur in at least a year of the next five, marks the first time in history that it’s more likely than not the warming target will be missed, and would send the world into “unchartered territory,” WMO said.

The story got widespread coverage in the press yesterday: Washington Post | Financial Times | Associated Press | France 24 | Bloomberg| Reuters

OVER IN COPLAND- UAE’s approach to COP28 is “dangerous,” UN ex-climate chief warns: The UN’s former climate chief Christiana Figueres warned that COP28 President Designate Sultan Al Jaber’s language on phasing out emissions through carbon capture and storage rather than cutting fossil fuels is “very dangerous” and a “direct threat to the survival of vulnerable nations,” the Guardian reports. Figueres — a key negotiator in the landmark 2015 Paris agreement — said that the UAE cannot put forward its own position and has to be “neutral,” adding that Al Jaber is “trying to dance on two dance floors at the same time” by pushing for the continued use of fossil fuel energy for the “foreseeable future.”

REMEMBER- Many climate stakeholders are skeptical about Al Jaber’s presidency of the climate conference given his position as chief executive of Adnoc. The continued expansion of Adnoc’s production capacity raises doubts about whether Al Jaber will push for goals that are crucial for avoiding large-scale climate disasters. Some climate groups have also flagged Adnoc’s track record of exaggerating its renewables operations and its failure to report its aggregate emission. Research has shown that most fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground in order to avoid climate disasters.

ALSO- The UAE’s sustainability-focused social enterprise Goumbook has launched a new podcast series titled Climate Leaders: Rising Up to COP28 on its podcast network Forward Talks, Wam reports. The series will feature interviews with experts and stakeholders who have made exceptional contributions to the sustainability and climate action movement in the UAE and around the world. The air date has not been announced, but episodes will be released on their website soon.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- BMW to establish EV production plant in KSA: German auto manufacturer BMW has selected Saudi Arabia as its MENA-based production hub for its hydrogen-powered EV iX5, general program manager of BMW’s hydrogen division Juergen Guldner told Asharq Al Awsat. BMW will leverage the kingdom’s investments in renewables and low-carbon hydrogen as well as its strategic geographical location to expand its operations in the region, Guldner added. No timeline or financial details about the production plant were disclosed.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- BP looking to triple biofuel production by 2030: British oil giant BP is considering obtaining stakes in biofuel feedstock production companies as part of its target to triple its annual biofuel production capacity to some 4.5 mn tons, Reuters reports, citing an unnamed BP senior executive. BP plans to establish five processing plants to convert hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) waste feedstock, the news outlet quotes BP head of biofuels Nigel Dunn as saying. Demand for biofuels is expected to grow to 30 mn tons by the end of the decade from 10 mn tons this year, Reuters notes, citing Barclays’ market forecasts for the sector.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- Biden vetoes legislation to repeal tariff waivers on solar imports: US President Joe Biden vetoed a bill passed by Congress to repeal tariffs on solar panel imports from Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, arguing the waivers are needed to plug a supply gap while the country ramps up its own solar PV production capacity, according to a White House statement. Biden had threatened last month to veto congressional attempts to overturn the tariff waivers, however the statement added that “given the strong trends in the domestic solar industry, the President does not intend to extend the tariff suspension at the conclusion of the 24-month period in June 2024.

The logic: Domestic manufacturers argue that the tariffs — which Bloomberg had estimated could go as high as 254% — are necessary to compete with cheap panels manufactured outside of the US. Chinese solar panel developers were also believed to be evading the decade-old import duties after a US Commerce Department investigation found that the Chinese companies were directing their shipments through the four Asian nations before sending their goods to the US.

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Japan will host the G7 Hiroshima Summit from tomorrow through next Sunday, 21 May in Hiroshima. One of the key topics addressed at the summit will be ensuring energy security with the goal of achieving net zero by 2050 based on the Paris Agreement.

Oman will host the Power and Energy Conference from next Monday to Thursday, 22-25 May in Muscat. The event will bring together local and global industry leaders to discuss global energy market policy updates, future demand and growth projections in the sector, integration and power grid obstacles, and growth potential associated with renewables and EV deployments.

Germany will host the second meeting of the COP27 Transitional Committee from 25-27 May in Bonn. The meeting will build on the loss and damage fund established during COP27 with the aim of establishing institutional mechanisms and governance structures for financing, and will bring together a host of international financial institutions to discuss pathways to increasing funding capacity for climate vulnerable countries.

The UAE will host the Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit from 29-31 May in Abu Dhabi. The conference will bring together state representatives, industry players from the EV sector, as well as engineers and researchers to discuss policy trends and tech innovations in the industry and provide attendees with networking opportunities across value chains.

Qatar will host the Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Forum from 29-31 May in Lusail City. The event aims to spotlight MENA’s CCUS regulations and policies, map out paths and business models that would bring down CCUS project costs, promote regional and international cooperation to advance the international carbon capture sector, and discuss the role CCUS will play in helping Gulf countries meet their net zero targets.

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

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