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Monday, 2 October 2023

TODAY: The UAE’s Blue Carbon is spending USD 1.5 bn in carbon offsets in Zimbabwe + The EU just rolled out the world’s first CO2 border tax

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to a busy start to the week in our corner of the climate world. We have a healthy serving of big news stories — plus a whole bunch of climate-related events kicking off today around the region.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Dubai-based offsetting company Blue Carbon signed an MoU with Zimbabwe worth USD 1.5 bn to finance forest protection and rehabilitation projects to generate tradable carbon credits


The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec) kicks off at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre today and runs through this Thursday, 5 October. The event will see heads of the global energy industry and policymakers convene to advance decarbonization and the transition to clean energy, reports Wam. The conference's main pillars are Decarbonization, Maritime and Logistics, and Digitalisation in Energy, and will see companies showcasing the tech driving the industry including direct air capture, carbon capture, utilization and storage, green hydrogen electrolyzers, artificial intelligence, and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Expect climate to be the big focus at Adipec: Discussions on climate are set to be at the top of the agenda at the Adipec summit just two months ahead of UAE-hosted COP28, Bloomberg reports. Oil producers now “want to be part of the energy-transition discussion,” Ed Bell, a senior director for market economics at Emirates NBD PJSC in Dubai, told Bloomberg. However, “they’re going to be stressing the need for reliable supplies and that renewables can’t do the job on their own,” Bell said.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY- Qatar’s OIC Conference on Food Security and Agricultural Development kicked off yesterday and wraps today. Led by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the ministerial conference will address agriculture and food security in its 57 member states, identifying priorities and solutions and reviewing the work of the IOFS and other OIC institutions in agriculture, rural development, and food security.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- The world’s first CO2 border tax officially kicks off: The EU has launched the first phase of the world’s first carbon border, requiring importers to report emissions from products sold in Europe or risk fines, Reuters reported yesterday. The CO2 levy — called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) — will require firms importing steel, cement, aluminum, electricity, fertilizers, and hydrogen into the EU to report CO2 emitted during manufacturing, and eventually charging pollution fees on those products by 2026. The planned tariff has caused disquiet among trading partners, especially Turkey, Ukraine, China, and Russia. Last month, China's top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua urged countries not to resort to unilateral measures like the EU levy, the newswire said.

The border tax also got coverage from: Bloomberg | The Financial Times

OVER IN COPLAND- UAE FM kicks off Caribbean tour to discuss COP28 preparations + green partnerships: UAE’s Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Al Nahyan met with Barbados Prime Minister and climate champion Mia Mottley on Saturday and President of Guyana Muhammad Irfaan Ali yesterday to discuss prospects for boosting cooperation in green projects alongside talks on COP28 preparations, Wam reported. Barbados was the first leg of Al Nahyan’s Latin American and Caribbean tour, which will continue through this week. Reiterating COP28 President Designate Sultan Al Jaber’s position, the foreign minister expressed his support for Mottley’s Bridgetown Initiative, which is expected to be a major topic of contention during the climate summit as developing countries push the West to reform multilateral institutions to reduce excessive risk and unlock crucial green funds.

Food innovation priorities identified ahead of COP28: The COP28 president and the Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture have identified several preliminary innovation areas to help mns of farmers with climate change adaptation and to lower greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, a statement by COP28 said on Thursday. These include improved weather forecasts, digital agricultural extension services, climate-responsive social protection programs, and necessary training for rainwater harvesting techniques. Other areas include microbial fertilizers, techniques to help lower livestock methane emissions, and alternative proteins, according to the statement.

Why this matters: Food systems account for a third of global emissions, with small farmers in low and middle-income nations being the most vulnerable to climate change, according to the statement.

AND- Could Indonesia be phasing out coal 10 years earlier than expected? Indonesia is planning to formally announce plans to expedite its retirement of coal at COP28, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said at a conference in Berlin last week. The plan would see Indonesia cutting out reliance on coal-powered electricity by 2030 instead of 2040 as earlier suggested. The move could help the country — the world’s eighth-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses — access the USD 20 bn package of climate financing announced at last year’s G20 by a US-Japan-led coalition.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Greece and KSA team up to provide EU with cheaper energy: Greece’s IPTO and Saudi Arabia's National Grid are forming a 50/50 joint venture, the Saudi-Greek Interconnection, which would link their power grids to deliver greener, more affordable energy to Europe, Reuters reported. IPTO and National Grid’s agreement will see them look at how feasible it is for the electricity linkage project to move forward.

REMEMBER- This follows an agreement between the governments of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel to establish a subsea electricity transmission cable linking their respective national grids in an effort to increase energy cooperation and investigate trading in renewable energy and natural gas.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Some big news from OQ: Omani state-owned natural gas network operator OQ Gas Networks (OQGN) has received orders for all of its shares in its IPO one day after order books opened on the offering in what could be the country’s biggest listing to date, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Order books for institutional investors were oversubscribed multiple times at the top of the price range by the end of the first day of bookbuilding, according to Bloomberg. Belgium-based Fluxys International, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), and the Qatar Investment Authority are purchasing a combined 30% as anchor investors, while the retail tranche accounts for 30% of the IPO. The sale could raise up to OMR 297 mn (c. USD 771 mn) if priced at the top range, beating Oman Telecommunications Co SAOG’s USD 748 mn IPO, which is currently the Gulf country’s biggest.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- Muted demand for Marafiq’s stake sale making PIF think twice: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has postponed the potential sale of its remaining stake in utility firm Marafiq on the back of weak demand from investors, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing sources in the know. They said the PIF has held informal negotiations on raising up to USD 800 mn from a share placement of its 17.5% stake in Marafiq. They said a recent revival of IPOs in the Gulf country has drawn investors away from Marafiq’s placement. A weak performance of the most recent follow-on sales has also made the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund more heedful about future transactions, they added. The PIF might reconsider Marafiq’s stake sale at a later date, they said.

WATCH THIS SPACE #4- An update on Algeria’s ambitious solar tenders: Algeria’s state power utility Sonelgaz has opened 73 local and international bids for the construction of 15 solar plants with a total capacity of 2 GW, local media reported last week. The state-owned company had earlier pre-qualified 77 of 90 bidding companies to slash them to 73 offers after excluding four offers that did not meet legal requirements, according to the report.

About the plan: The ambitious 2 GW plan comprises 15 solar parks in 12 provinces, with each facility holding a solar capacity ranging between 80 MW to 220 MW each, according to the report.

WATCH THIS SPACE #5- Xlinks’ Morocco-UK power project is of “national significance” to the UK, Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said in a statement. This recognition will streamline the planning process for the UK startup, which may now skip local district councils and go directly to the government for planning applications, the Financial Times says. Hurdles that still remain, however, include agreeing long-term pricing agreements with the government and obtaining permissions across Moroccan, Spanish, and French jurisdictions.

Remember: Xlinks’ USD 24.5 bn megaproject was first announced last summer, aiming to export some 3.6 GW of wind and solar energy to the UK via sub-sea cables stretching 3.8k km — a move which is expected to supply 8% of the UK’s electricity needs, or 7 mn homes.

WATCH THIS SPACE #6- Hong Kong-based InterContinental Energy secures USD 115 mn for Middle East + Australia green hydrogen investments: Hong Kong’s giga-scale green hydrogen investor InterContinental Energy has raised USD 115 mn in equity investment from French hydrogen investor Hy24 and Singapore’s sovereign fund GIC to finance its green hydrogen expansion plans in the Middle East and Australia, Hy24 said in a statement last week. The projects will be developed in phases, with an overall goal to install 100 GW of renewables, 10 GW of which is scheduled to be operational by the end of the decade. Hy24 will be making its investment through its Clean Hydrogen Infrastructure Fund, the statement said. InterContinental Energy’s portfolio of projects is among the largest in the world and is projected to produce more than 5 mn tons per year of green hydrogen to help offset more than 50 mn tons per year of CO2.

REMEMBER- InterContinental Energy has already made its first moves in the region, breaking ground in Oman: OQ is working with InterContinental Energy on a 14 GW green hydrogen facility, to be powered by 25 GW of wind and solar energy and with a total investment value of USD 30 bn. The facility will produce 1.8 mn tons of green hydrogen and up to 10 mn tons of green ammonia each year. Much of the output would be exported to Europe and Asia, Alicia Eastman, the co-founder and president of InterContinental Energy, told the Guardian last year.

THE DANGER ZONE- Indonesia is racing against time to extinguish wildfires: Firefighters across Indonesia are racing to put out wildfires sparked by an El Nino dry spell, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. Eight of 44 wildfires in southern Sumatra have been extinguished, it reported, citing a statement by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry. The firefighters are also looking to finish putting out wildfires in Central Kalimantan over the next two to three days, according to the ministry. The wildfires will likely persist due to little to no rainfall in many parts of the country, the country’s Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency has warned.


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The Saudi Green Building Forum kicks off next week from Monday-Thursday, 9-12 October. The forum, hosted by the Saudi Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing Ministry, will focus on speeding up the construction industry's transition to carbon neutrality by promoting sustainable practices in energy, water use, and green cities.

MENA Climate Week is kicking off soon in KSA’s Riyadh Boulevard City: The UN-backed climate conference, hosted by Saudi’s energy ministry, will gather policy makers, the private sector and civil society organizations from across the MENA region to discuss climate barriers and solutions between 8-12 October. This is one of four region-specific climate weeks to take place after the UN’s global stocktake report and ahead of COP28 this December.

Doha’s Qatar Green Desert goes live: The event will be highlighting green technologies from all over the world to encourage their use to promote sustainable development and greening desserts. Green technology developments from over 80 nations will be exhibited as well as conferences, workshops, and other events aimed at improving Irrigation and forestation in dry areas or near water sources such as lakes, rivers, seas, or oceans. 3 mn people are anticipated to attend the event, set to run through to March 28, 2024.

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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