Trump ‘Shot America’s Credibility in the Head’; Carbon Market Discussions to Ramp Up in Coming Months: Kerry

–“Reality carbon price” still missing globally; prices too low: Kerry

By Mathew Carr

April 9, 2021 — LONDON: U.S. Special Envoy on Climate John Kerry said talks on carbon markets will intensify “into the next months” because they are an important tool in combating the climate crisis.

Clean tech has plunged in cost, yet the world is continuing its dirty ways amid the coronavirus pandemic recovery because there’s little incentive to shift from the status quo. That’s why carbon prices are desperately needed — polluters need to start paying.

See his comments, speaking in India, April 8:

Journalist:  Jayashree Nandi, Hindustan Times.  I have a couple of questions that are related.  One, did you have any discussions regarding carbon markets or carbon trading with the Indian officials?  And did you have any discussions regarding net zero emissions target – first the 2030 targets and then leading up to net zero emissions later?

Mr. Kerry:  Any discussions about what?

Journalist:  With the Indian officials, with your Indian counterparts.

Mr. Kerry:  About?

Journalist:  About carbon trading and carbon markets.

Mr. Kerry:  Okay.  That’s the main question.

Yes, not in-depth, not a huge one, but we both agree carbon markets exist and need to exist.  We need them to be stronger.  President Biden believes that at some point in time we need to find out a way to have a price on carbon that’s effective.  He hasn’t decided or made an announcement about it, but we all know that one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions is putting a price on carbon.  You’re paying a price here now.  You have a price on gas, you have a price on coal, and it has some effect but no one has yet put the reality price on anything.  The fact is, prices are low enough that it’s just not having the kind of broad effect that we need to have on a global basis.  It’s a subject that needs to be discussed.  I think going into the next months there will be a lot more talk about whatever tools are available to us and certainly a carbon market is an important tool.

https://icapcarbonaction.com/en/ets-prices

Briefing here including this quote on Trump:

 “He shot America’s credibility in the head and turned his back on science and became the only leader of a nation, let alone one of the biggest nations, but the only leader of any nation who decided to withdraw from the agreement.  Without science, without any rational — other than telling something to the American people that wasn’t true, which is that Paris put too big a burden on the United States.  Well guess what?  Paris didn’t place any burden on the United States.  Every country wrote its own plan in Paris.  Every country decided itself what it would do

https://www.state.gov/briefing-with-special-presidential-envoy-for-climate-john-kerry/

John Kerry

OPINION: Carbon Pricing Would Help U.S. Undertake its Own Belt and Road Initiative (3)

–This is what success at saving the climate might look like in 2030; these are not answers, but requests for collaboration and better ideas

April 6-7, 2021 — LONDON: The United States should undertake its own “belt and road initiative” to help solve the climate crisis, if it’s genuinely concerned about China’s expansion program.

China’s belt and road initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations. China’s already starting a domestic carbon market and is helping fund several development banks. The EU has the world’s biggest carbon market, which has given it about 60 billion euros of revenue.

The U.S., with the world’s biggest economy, could help pay for its version by imposing a carbon price at home and by encouraging the same globally. This boosts government revenue as governments sell the remaining space in the atmosphere for fossil-fuel-emissions instead of giving it away for free. It could also implement corporate tax gains and a wealth tax, enhancing social and climate justice simultaneously in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Germany are already backing part of this plan. See below and this Tweet chain:

The good news is that with the right policy, the technology is now ready to be deployed, across the globe to meet the goal of cutting emissions aggressively during the next 10 years. Of course, it’s not going to be easy, but there’s been some work creating ways to cut the risk of climate investment during the past few years.

Here is a potential breakdown of spending that could encourage a solution — emission cuts of about 3 billion tons a year during the next 10 years to about 30 billion tons globally in 2030 — based on science.

The revenue from carbon pricing can protect poorer people from costs caused by richer people, who are most responsible for the climate crisis.

CarrZee and friends

The first column represents a pro-rata estimation of payments needed by each country or region based on 2019 emissions.

Under this scenario, the U.S. would pay for $222 billion of cuts (not necessarily just in the U.S.) in 2030 at $51 a ton. (The EU carbon price is already at this level, btw.)

Democratic lawmakers in America have already reintroduced a carbon pricing bill — last week — which would quickly get prices to the needed level (see below). The U.S. is hosting a climate summit on April 22-23 and it’s invited 40 world leaders.

But, there are several apparent problems with this scenario, according to one emerging-nation climate negotiator, who calls them “lethal flaws”:

(1) You must prorate based on responsibility for warming not on the basis of current share of emissions.
(2) Responsibility must be calculated on consumption-based emissions and not on the basis of production-based emissions within the country borders.
(3) Similarly current emissions must be based on consumption and not production to estimate the reduction needed.
(4) Carbon is taxed differently in different countries.  In some poor countries over 50% of the price the consumer pays for energy is taxes.  You must normalize these differences across countries.
(5) It is not clear to me who pays the fee to generate carbon revenue.  Will the developed countries pay it as required under the convention?
(6) Countries below an agreed level of per capita GDP/Income should be excluded as they need to develop and deliver a basic threshold level of prosperity.  They can follow the low emission path only to the extent that it’s paid for by the developed world inclusive of cost of technology procurement and capacity building — again as provided in the convention.

(Note, the convention referred to here is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; consumption emissions take into account that some developed country emissions are produced making energy intensive goods for rich-country consumers — the reverse also happens to a lesser extent.)

So, the second column of numbers seeks to overcome some of this feedback.

Under that alternative scenario, the U.S. contribution surges to $444 billion in 2030 versus the $222 billion under the opening-gambit-pro-rata scenario. It would mean the U.S. funds about 8.7 billion tons of the 30 billion tons of cuts in 2030.

One rich-country source says such a cost would be “dead on arrival” politically in the U.S. But, let’s just consider it for a moment.

The Green Climate Fund is already funding such programs, with private sector money — including from the U.S. (see below).

Carbon pricing is becoming a desirable thing because it attracts capital and gives governments a way to tax the rich with less criticism than increasing income, payroll or sales taxes. Funding emission-reduction projects (wind, solar, batteries, EVs, green hydrogen) may turn out to be lucrative, so paying up in the next 10 years might be a seriously wise move.

The new U.S. administration has already flagged that development finance is a powerful tool for addressing the climate crisis, Antony Blinken, secretary of state, said last month.

“Secretary (John Kerry) – the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate – and I are very interested in how the Development Finance Corporation can help drive investment toward climate solutions, innovation in climate resilience, renewable energy, and decarbonization technologies. This part of the DFC’s work will be front and center at the climate summit on April 22.”   

The DFC, created and expanded from other institutions in 2019, is the U.S.’s development bank.

Another way to slice and dice the 30 billion tons of emission reductions needed in 2030 is via some of the structures allowed for under the Paris climate deal, or that stem from its structure. See this:

CarrZee and friends

Here, the required reductions in the opening gambit scenario are mainly filled by country and regional carbon markets, perhaps including those in Europe and new regional linkages in North America and Asia.

This scenario includes a new UN-overseen market under article 6.4 of Paris, so assumes envoys can reach agreement on rules over the next year or two.

The alternative scenario assumes 6.4 negotiations don’t create a new UN-overseen market. Instead, developing and least-developed nations opt to keep much of their economies outside the nationally determined contributions and seek to win capital from the voluntary markets.

I’ve put 6 billion tons as the voluntary market’s contribution to the 30 billion tons of needed reductions, because the voluntary markets already have a head start on whatever the UN can create under article 6.4 (see story link in notes below).

Having said that, it’s possible envoys could create a better UN market than those currently serving the voluntary market. Or they could choose to merge 6.4 with the voluntary market — or even merge 6.2, 6.4 AND the voluntary markets.

Under the alternative scenario, aviation and shipping cut or offset all their industry emissions in 2030 (at approximate 2019 levels), versus half under the opening gambit. I’m assuming this because supply may be higher and prices lower under the alternative scenario.

The best-case scenario would be for UN envoys to create a global market that creates a huge supply of reductions for a low price, blasting away my assumption.

(Updates with market-split chart and notes; more Yellen, adds development banks; Feedback sought: I plan to better explain and update this with more of your ideas over the next few days. Russia and Saudi Arabia may not like elements of my first alternative scenario, for instance; My email is mathewncarr@gmail.com)

NOTES:

Janet Yellen’s corporate tax plan: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/germany-backed-janet-yellens-call-120426178.html (Yellen also favors carbon pricing, btw.)

Democratic lawmaker carbon proposal: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/545988-house-democrats-introduce-carbon-pricing-measure

Green Climate Fund example: https://carrzee.org/2021/01/26/its-private-equity-but-not-as-you-know-it-gold-standard-arnie-dicaprio-watch-on/

Paris climate markets are not the only option; don’t forget the voluntary markets because Paris Article 6 is voluntary: https://carrzee.org/2021/03/29/the-voluntary-carbon-market-is-putting-pressure-on-un-climate-envoys/

WTO Will Meet on Green Trade Rules Immediately After Glasgow Climate Talks

The World Trade Organization will meet on green-trade rules immediately after the climate talks in Glasgow in November this year, according to Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, director general of the organization.

Greening the flows of goods and services will be a step forward in the climate fight, boosting employment in renewable energy, for instance, she told an IEA conference.

The EU and other nations are pushing for trade to be linked to climate policy to encourage action on cutting emissions by countries wanting to tap global markets.

“We know we need to scale up investments, both public and private,” Okonjo Iweala said. Trade can facilitate it, she said.

China’s senior energy official Zhang Jianhua said international collaboration is important.

Tackling the climate crisis by installing renewable energy is helping India’s ability to give its people their first access to electricity, said Raj Kumar Singh, that country’s minister of power, new and renewable energy.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Varied Speeds of Climate Action Around the World Seen Causing Trade Tension (1)

–Unlikely U.S. carbon legislation will be introduced this year: Morgan Stanley
–EU carbon futures rise to close Wednesday at a record above 43 euros a ton
–U.S. catch-up effort seen world-war like

ANALYSIS SUMMARY, REACTION

By Mathew Carr

March 17-18, 2021 — LONDON: The fact that various countries are tackling the climate crisis at completely different speeds may stoke trade tension, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

The introduction of a carbon border adjustment by the EU could encourage a range of responses from Europe’s trading partners, said the bank’s analysts including Jessica Alsford in London.

“The end goal is to incentivise a global approach to pricing carbon, and one possible outcome could be cooperation with complimentary climate policies introduced by key countries, such as the U.S. and China,” she said in a research note.

“However, time horizons may not be compatible and, with Europe progressing at speed, there is the potential for trade tensions to occur in the short term.”

Morgan Stanley’s base case is that the European Commission will put forward a carbon border adjustment proposal this year for implementation in 2023.

Depending on the evolution of the carbon price, the commission estimates that the carbon border adjustment could bring additional resources ranging from €5bn to €14bn.

In the U..S., the bank’s public policy strategists expect the Biden Administration to drive a step change in climate policy, but say it’s unlikely that carbon legislation will be implemented this year, according to the note.

The U.S. may catch up fast, said Tim Williamson, who was an Obama renewable energy official, commenting on LinkedIn.

It’s very likely the U.S. pandemic recovery legislation will be introduced this year, including “Sense of Congress” statements about a low-carbon economy and U.S. achieving net zero emissions by 2050, Williamson said.

“Cross-border adjustment taxes were never envisaged to start in EU-27 in 2021. This leaves plenty of time for high emissions countries to react with policies to avert cross border adjustments hitting their bottom line on high-embodied carbon exports to EU. My sense is, border adjustments are coming before 2025,” he said.

Here is a Morgan Stanley chart detailing some of the varied prices around the world, complicating trade in energy-intensive goods:

Source: Morgan Stanley

While carbon prices globally vary materially, all prices in the table above are below that required to incentivize a net zero pathway, the bank said.

“In an academic study co-authored in 2020 by Noah Kaufman, who is currently serving in the Biden-Harris Administration,
the necessary price of carbon for achieving net zero by 2050 is estimated to be $50/metric ton by 2025, increasing to $100/ton by 2030.

“The EU emissions trading system is the closest to achieving this, trading at around $45/tonne currently. Elsewhere, the IMF has estimated that $75/tonne is necessary to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 2˚C over pre-industrial levels.”

Source: Morgan Stanley

EU carbon futures rose 3.4% to close at a record 43.03 euros a ton on Wednesday — about $51.50

The region is forging ahead with its decarbonization plans, with support for green hydrogen using carbon contracts for difference (CCfD) auctions. Portugal is leading the way by making plans to hold an auction in the second half of 2021, according to Carbon Pulse.

See this story on CCfDs and green hydrogen in Europe: https://carrzee.org/2020/11/20/exclusive-germany-confirms-its-considering-funky-carbon-contracts-to-support-climate-transition/

The challenge for the U.S. and beyond is world-war like, said Doug Houseman, principal consultant at 1898 & Co., a Burns & McDonnell division.

In the U.S. (not globally) if we are to fully electrify transportation and buildings – we need 1 million 2.5 MW wind turbines (the world today makes about 12,000 of that size turbine or larger) – over 8 years (to meet the 2030 goals) – so if we buy 100% of the global production we have 10% of what we need each year. The wind industry needs to ramp up by 30x minimum. We need 320 acres an hour 24/365 of solar panels and every hour they need to be placed on 640 acres (1 square mile an hour). Just for the U.S. – and in 8 years when we are done we need to demobilize about 80% of the production facilities. This is similar in scale to what the U.S. did during World War II with the scale of the industrial machine that needs to be created,” Houseman said on LinkedIn.

See this cool animation setting out the challenge, even before trade tensions:

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/andor-savelkouls_energy-sustainability-renewableenergy-activity-6777545292997767168-YqCJ

(Updates to add extra commentary and EU carbon prices, CCfDs.)

Hopeful story on how policies could align: https://carrzee.org/2020/12/14/britain-touts-world-first-net-zero-carbon-market-as-it-leaves-eu-and-seeks-trade-deal-with-australia/

Ten Republican Senators Will be Convinced on Ambitious U.S. Climate Action as Global Trade Rules Rewritten (1)

–G7 outcome highlights chance of climate deal, multilateralism, new system of planet-friendly trade via G20 by June

By Mathew Carr

Feb. 18-20, 2021 — LONDON:

OPINION: The world now needs carbon prices of about $100 a ton in 2030 to spur sufficient climate action to meet the 1.5C temperature increase goal in the Paris climate deal.

That is about double the level targeted just a couple of years ago by the Obama administration. The higher price is required because global emissions are still very high, even though nations have become more ambitious, with many adopting mid-century net-zero targets.

The required price could be even higher. Lawmakers realise they need to embrace widespread climate measures across the economy, so carbon prices now need only do part of the emissions-cutting work, and clean technology has advanced apace.

Still, this paper by prominent economists Nicholas Stern and Joseph Stiglitz, makes a case that the U.S. needs to aggressively lift its estimate of the social cost of carbon, which will guide policies across the board and corporate assumptions for carbon prices in business plans.
See: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/biden-administration-climate-change-higher-carbon-price-by-nicholas-stern-and-joseph-e-stiglitz-2021-02

Some commentators are skeptical there’s enough political will in the U.S. to tackle climate action cost effectively and install such levels.

Robert Stavins, the A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, is one who was last month pessimistic about prospects for getting the required 60 senators: https://www.lawfareblog.com/biden-administration-and-international-climate-change-policy-and-action

I’m heartened by the seven Republican senators who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump. It shows the Republicans are far from a lost cause.

Three more level heads than in the impeachment vote seems very possible indeed.

I reckon Biden-Harris can convince the ten because the U.S. now has a chance to catch up with, and even overtake, Europe by setting a logical policy framework for cost-effective emission cuts.

Europe’s climate policies have proved fairly effective, but they are still way too complicated and far from cost optimal. That stems from the nature of EU policymaking, nationalistic geopolitics and compartmentalized public debate.

The prospect of moving ahead of Europe will prove too tempting for at least 10 Republicans.

The prospect of the U.S. biting at its heels will make the EU even more ambitious.

The U.S. senators will be convinced not because they are becoming more progressive or leftist, but because U.S. companies don’t want to face a tax on Europe’s borders as they seek to boost exports post pandemic. Trillions are going to be spent on the climate transition during the next 10 years — that’s a considerable carrot.

The flipside stick is the EU plan for a so-called carbon border adjustment mechanism by 2023 on nations without climate policy that’s ambitious enough.

The G7 leaders meeting Feb. 19 — the day of the U.S.’s reentry into the Paris agreement — acknowledged the importance of a global trade regime that serves the planet.

“We will work together and with others to make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.”

Here is another key G7 passage:
We will: champion open economies and societies; promote global economic resilience; harness the digital economy with data free flow with trust; cooperate on a modernised, freer and fairer rules-based multilateral trading system that reflects our values and delivers balanced growth with a reformed World Trade Organisation at its centre; and, strive to reach a consensus-based solution on international taxation by mid-2021 within the framework of the OECD. With the aim of supporting a fair and mutually beneficial global economic system for all people, we will engage with others, especially G20 countries including large economies such as China.

So higher carbon prices could include taxes or markets.

The mention of China is crucial because unless the world’s biggest emitter and most populous nation is drawn into the climate and trade solution it’s difficult to see how the Paris limits can be met.

U.S., including climate envoy John Kerry, has engaged with India and Brazil in recent days.

Here’s the Google Translation of the following embedded tweet from the Brazil Foreign Affairs Minister: Min. Ricardo Salles and I had a conference call today with Secretary John Kerry, US Special Representative for Climate Change. Dialogue and cooperation on environment and climate will be another aggregating element in the Brazil-USA partnership that we continue to build.

Hit translate on Twitter to translate

Kerry is cleverly not just cajoling big emerging countries to join the climate fight but touting the red-hot nature of the investment opportunities:

U.S. President Joe Biden and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a call earlier this month said they’d renewed a partnership on climate change.

Because a G20 deal on trade and climate is in the frame of possible outcomes this year, self interest will prevail in the U.S. Senate.

If it doesn’t — if the U.S. fails to act ambitiously now (in the next 2 years), it’ll miss a rare chance and potentially be defeated by Europe and China (and others) in what’s firmly become a global climate-transition race.

Photo by Harun Tan on Pexels.com

See global climate policy begins to align: https://carrzee.org/2020/12/14/britain-touts-world-first-net-zero-carbon-market-as-it-leaves-eu-and-seeks-trade-deal-with-australia/

(Updated Saturday with G7, Tweets, context, links)

NOTES: The Group of Seven (G7) is an intergovernmental organization consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. The heads of government of the member states, as well as the representatives of the EU, meet at G7 gatherings/video conferences.

G7 text: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g7-leaders-statement-19-february-2021

India red hot: https://scroll.in/latest/986701/india-a-red-hot-investment-opportunity-for-its-clean-energy-shift-us-climate-envoy-john-kerry

Modi-Biden call: https://scroll.in/latest/986344/pm-modi-joe-biden-say-commitment-to-democratic-values-bedrock-of-us-india-ties

Key US Business Group Gets First Female Leader and Pro-Climate Outlook (1)

PRESS SUMMARY

Feb. 10, 2021 — US Chamber of Commerce names Suzanne Clark as new CEO, replacing Thomas Donohue, who led the organisation for more than two decades, WSJ reported.

Days before Mr. Biden was sworn into office, the Chamber took its strongest position yet in favor of climate-change legislation: WSJ

Another fascinating two sentences:

In 2019, the Chamber said Mr. Donahue would step down in 2022—an announcement that came moments after The Wall Street Journal published a story reporting that Mr. Donohue regularly used the Chamber’s corporate jet service to travel on business and personal trips, including a weeklong trip to the Greek Islands in 2019 with his girlfriend.

At the time, the Chamber said it would conduct an extensive search for a successor.

Full story: https://apple.news/ASFZzKs15SdiKZjuS_J6lDQ

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

TECH-LED OIL SHIFT: Historic First Net-Zero Crude Shipment Up For Sale: Person (2)

–Carbon neutral* deal won’t help buyers’ particulate-pollution, but will help the climate, assuming offsetting’s done well
–Further details not immediately available

By Mathew Carr

Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2021 –LONDON: The story of Occidental Petroleum’s delivery of carbon-neutral crude oil to India’s Reliance Industries has taken a twist or two.

Oxy said Jan. 28 that under a “transaction,” Reliance would receive the shipment.

Now, it’s up for sale, according to a person familiar with the situation.

That India’s biggest listed company was taking the oil — produced in the U.S. Permian Basin — was surprising, because the energy transition is meant to be starting earlier in wealthier western nations, where environmentally conscious consumers may be more likely to pay a premium to fill their tanks.

Few petrol stations offer “carbon-free” fuel, even in Europe. This shipment’s emissions are offset against unspecified emissions-reduction projects in India and Thailand that are verified by Verra, according to the person.

Depending on government policies across the globe and consumer preferences, clean oil may become strongly demanded. Airlines already face a pilot industry-wide carbon program, the Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. That’s also a world first.

Germany is extending carbon pricing to transport and heating, sectors not covered by the EU’s emissions market. The opening price of the tax was lifted to 25 euros a ton for 2021 from 10 euros proposed initially, rising each year to 55 euros/ton by 2025. See this: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/052020-germany-agrees-eur25mt-start-to-co2-tax-for-transport-heating#:~:text=Germany%20last%20October%20decided%20to,off%20a%202030%20climate%20plan.

The Oxy transaction, arranged in conjunction with Macquarie Group, is the energy industry’s first major petroleum shipment for which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the entire crude lifecycle, well head through combustion of end products, have been offset, Oxy said last week.

The shipment isn’t refined yet, the person said.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The shipment is valued at about $100 million at current market levels and it’ll be interesting to see if it attracts a premium. There may also be some public scrutiny of the oil-carbon trade because of its historic nature.

I’ll publish more about the Oxy deal if/when I find out. As of Friday, Feb. 5, details are not available. Key data would include how many tons of carbon dioxide the deal implies for the approximately 2 million barrels of oil, from well to wheel. I’m hearing 1.29 million tons of CO2 equivalent, but that too isn’t verified.

At the Germany carbon tax rate 25 euros ($30), the shipment could attract a premium of about $39 million or 39%, according to approximate calculations from that unconfirmed data — or much less at a voluntary market rate of about $6 a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent.

As the Paris climate deal begins this year, there’s hot debate among policy makers and business about how to apply market incentives to the energy transition to speed it up, while protecting fair claims on the world’s remaining carbon budget. See this: https://carrzee.org/2021/01/28/net-zero-companies-from-google-to-shell-see-a-way-forward-and-want-it/

India is planning carbon markets: https://indiaghgp.org/carbon-market-simulation-india

Another fascinating detail of the Oxy deal is the accounting:
Technology will play an important role in decarbonization of the industry. Occidental and Macquarie both invested last year in Xpansiv, a technology-based environmental commodities platform and exchange, which was leveraged in this transaction. At the same time, Occidental is working with Carbon Finance Labs who has supported this transaction and is developing a differentiated, distributed ledger-based carbon accounting platform for tracking end-to-end lifecycle carbon emissions through commodities supply chains.

I added some emphasis.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

(Updates/corrects to say shipment may not be refined in India, nor used in that nation’s cars; shipment for sale; updates/corrects with possible premium estimate; adds details not immediately forthcoming; updates unverified calculation of premium; note: oil market is notoriously lacking in transparency)

*NOTE: I’m using “net zero” and “carbon neutral” interchangeably; Oxy defines them differently — see below.

Here’s what one of Oxy’s units said: https://carbonfinancelab.com/2021/01/carbon-neutral-crude-oil-shipment/

Release in full:

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV), a division of Occidental (NYSE:OXY) announced today the delivery of two million barrels of carbon-neutral oil1 to Reliance Industries in India. This transaction, which was arranged in conjunction with Macquarie Group’s Commodities and Global Markets group (Macquarie), is the energy industry’s first major petroleum shipment for which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the entire crude lifecycle, well head through combustion of end products, have been offset.

This transaction is a first step in the creation of a new market for climate-differentiated crude oil. It is also a bridge to the development of a further differentiated petroleum product, net-zero oil2, which Occidental intends to eventually produce through the capture and sequestration of atmospheric COvia industrial-scale direct air capture (DAC) facilities and geological sequestration. The transaction is an example of Macquarie’s commitment to innovation in the environmental products space and to being a leader in energy transition.

The oil was produced in the U.S. Permian Basin by Occidental and delivered to Reliance in India. Macquarie arranged and structured the bundled offset supply and retirement. The offsets were sourced from a variety of projects verified under the Verra Verified Carbon Standard meeting eligibility criteria for the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The volume of offsets applied against the cargo are sufficient to cover the expected GHG emissions from the entire crude lifecycle including oil extraction, transport, storage, shipping, refining, subsequent use, and combustion.

This type of transaction, which involves the bundling of high-quality carbon offsets with crude oil, is an immediate executable solution that helps promote investments in longer-term, industrial-scale decarbonization strategies. It is also a step in the furtherance of Occidental’s net-zero ambitions and commitment to addressing climate change today.

Occidental, the first U.S. based international energy company to announce an ambition to achieve net-zero GHG emissions associated with the use of its products by 2050, has been using carbon-dioxide in its enhanced oil recovery operations in the Permian for over 40 years. During this time, it has developed market-leading expertise in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). In 2019, OLCV made an investment in Carbon Engineering’s Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology and announced plans, through its development company 1PointFive, to proceed with engineering the world’s largest DAC and sequestration plant. This project will utilize Occidental’s existing Permian Basin enhanced oil recovery infrastructure and its market-leading carbon management expertise to permanently sequester captured atmospheric carbon-dioxide. OLCV expects net-zero oil from DAC to be available to customers in 2024.

The two companies also recognize that technology will play an important role in decarbonization of the industry. Occidental and Macquarie both invested last year in Xpansiv, a technology-based environmental commodities platform and exchange, which was leveraged in this transaction. At the same time, Occidental is working with Carbon Finance Labs who has supported this transaction and is developing a differentiated, distributed ledger-based carbon accounting platform for tracking end-to-end lifecycle carbon emissions through commodities supply chains.

“We are taking important initial steps to work with our customers in hard-to-decarbonize industries to offer carbon-neutral and other low-carbon products that will leverage our expertise in carbon management to lower their total carbon impact and address Scope 3 emissions,” said Richard Jackson, President Oxy Low Carbon Ventures.

“Macquarie is delighted to have worked with Occidental in developing this innovative solution. We look forward to continued collaboration with the company on realizing their ambitious carbon-neutral goals.” said Ozzie Pagan, Senior Managing Director for Macquarie in the Americas. “Macquarie is working to lead the energy transition through innovation and investments focused on advancing de-carbonization. We seek to develop, along with our clients, actionable strategies today and sustainable innovations for the future.”

The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Sea Pearl containing the carbon-neutral oil finished unloading in India today.

About Oxy Low Carbon Ventures

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV) is a subsidiary of Occidental, an international energy company with operations in the United States, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. OLCV is focused on advancing cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies and business solutions that enhance Occidental’s business while reducing emissions. OLCV also invests in the development of low-carbon fuels and products, as well as sequestration services to support carbon capture projects globally. Visit www.oxylowcarbon.com for more information.

About Macquarie

Macquarie is a global leader in environmental products and the energy transition more generally. It was recently awarded a number of awards at the Energy Risk Awards, including 2020 Environmental Products Bank of the Year, 2020 Oil & Products and Derivatives House of the Year and the 2019 Natural Gas/LNG House of the Year. Macquarie is active in both voluntary and compliance carbon markets globally and continues to innovate in the delivery of environmental commodities products and markets. See here for more information.

1 The term “carbon-neutral oil” indicates that Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Macquarie have engaged in a structured transaction that results in the offset of an amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that associated with the production, delivery and refining of the crude oil and the use of the resulting product through the retirement of carbon offset credits.

2 The term “net-zero oil” indicates that Occidental produced oil through the abatement of atmospheric carbon dioxide in an amount equivalent to the carbon dioxide associated with the production, delivery and refining of the crude oil and the use of the resulting product.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release relating to expectations, beliefs, plans or forecasts are forward-looking statements. These statements are typically identified by words such as “potential,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “may,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “ambition,” “effort” or similar expressions that convey the prospective nature of events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, expectations, projections, goals, forecasts, assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from anticipated results, sometimes materially, and reported or expected results should not be considered an indication of future performance. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. Unless legally required, Occidental does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Material risks that may affect the results of Occidental and its subsidiaries appear in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” of Occidental’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and in Occidental’s other filings with the SEC.

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The U.S. Calls Out (Its Own?) Climate Bullshit

By Mathew Carr

NEWS SUMMARY

Jan. 29, 2021 — LONDON: Special U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is on a roll.

Not only is he invoking “humility” in his country’s newly invigorated climate fight, he’s calling out former President Donald Trump’s stance as “reckless.”

Now, he’s gone even further.

“There’s no room for BS anymore — from anyone in the debate,” he told Amanda Little (I think oyster-mushroom steaks are great, fame), in a story published by Bloomberg News.

Call ME reckless, but I’m taking BS as bullshit, and I’m also taking it as a reference to Mr Trump (although there’s plenty of climate bullshit about). Forgive me if I’m wrong.

I’ll let you read the full article below, but here are a couple of other choice Kerry comments (emphasis added) from the report:

JK: Obviously I’ve been a longtime advocate of putting a price on carbon. That’s what Lindsey Graham and I were trying to do in the Senate in 2009 and 2010. I credit the activists who have pushed to say any pricing would have to be progressive so it doesn’t dump the costs on low-income workers and families. I also credit the voices from the private sector who are elevating climate as a priority in boardrooms, in general.

AL:  Is carbon pricing politically feasible?

JK:  I can’t tell you today what’s ultimately politically feasible. The debate has shifted before, and I think it may change this year in the right direction — or going forward from Glasgow [site of Nov. 1 United Nations Climate Change Conference]. There are Republicans, including former Secretary of States George Shultz and Jim Baker, who support carbon pricing, but I haven’t seen that translate to Congress yet.

AL:  How hard will it be to repair the diplomatic damage on climate?

JK:  Trump led an assault on science without understanding that when you mess with global ecosystems, you’re messing with forces that literally have the ability to do what nuclear weapons and cyber warfare can do, which is destroy nations. I’m approaching our allies with humility, as is President Biden, because we’re embarrassed and we’re angry about what happened these last four years.

Here’s the complete Bloomberg story (subscription may be required if you’ve used up your free article allocation):

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-28/kerry-aoc-and-bernie-find-a-new-path-in-climate-change-fight?sref=fcMjhrdB

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

U.S. to Scale Back Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Among Slew of Climate Orders: Biden-Harris (1)

By Mathew Carr

Jan. 27, 2021 — LONDON: U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issued a slew of executive orders to help protect the climate at home and across the world.

They ordered federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies “as consistent with applicable law and identify new opportunities to spur innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure.”

The orders direct the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a
“National Intelligence Estimate on the security implications of climate change,” according to a statement from the White House.

The U.S., China and the EU are seen cooperating on climate action if only they can resolve their differences about trade and protectionism.

The U.S. reaffirmed that the President will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

The U.S. would reconvene the Major Economies Forum, to tackle emissions from the world’s biggest countries. China’s President Xi is seeking to boost the G20 effort on climate action, according to a speech this week to the World Economic Forum..

“It will be a U.S. priority to press for enhanced climate ambition and integration of climate considerations across a wide range of international fora,” the Biden-Harris statement said.

They asked the State Department to prepare a “transmittal package to the Senate for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their international work.”

That protocol, which protects the ozone layer, also tackles some of the world’s most heat-trapping gases.

The U.S. is seeking to mend climate injustice in many of its proposed measures.

CONTEXT: https://carrzee.org/2021/01/20/as-trump-wanes-the-eus-gambit-to-link-trade-and-climate-action-pays-off/

Here is the full text of the U.S fact sheet:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/27/fact-sheet-president-biden-takes-executive-actions-to-tackle-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad-create-jobs-and-restore-scientific-integrity-across-federal-government/

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government

JANUARY 27, 2021 • STATEMENTS AND RELEASES

Biden-Harris Administration Commits on Climate Change – Creating Jobs, Building Infrastructure, and Delivering Environmental Justice

Today, President Biden will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good-paying union jobs and equitable clean energy future, building modern and sustainable infrastructure, restoring scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking across the federal government, and re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

These Executive Orders follow through on President Biden’s promise to take aggressive action to tackle climate change and build on the executive actions that the President took on his first day in office, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and immediate review of harmful rollbacks of standards that protect our air, water, and communities.

President Biden set ambitious goals that will ensure America and the world can meet the urgent demands of the climate crisis, while empowering American workers and businesses to lead a clean energy revolution that achieves a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050. Today’s actions advance those goals and ensure that we are tapping into the talent, grit, and innovation of American workers, revitalizing the U.S. energy sector, conserving our natural resources and leveraging them to help drive our nation toward a clean energy future, creating well-paying jobs with the opportunity to join a union, and delivering justice for communities who have been subjected to environmental harm.

President Biden will also sign an important Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity to send a clear message that the Biden-Harris Administration will protect scientists from political interference and ensure they can think, research, and speak freely to provide valuable information and insights to the American people. Additionally, and in line with the scientific-integrity memorandum’s charge to reestablish scientific advisory committees, President Biden will sign an Executive Order re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS AT HOME AND ABROAD EXECUTIVE ORDER

Today’s Executive Order takes bold steps to combat the climate crisis both at home and throughout the world. In signing this Executive Order, President Biden has directed his Administration to:

Center the Climate Crisis in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Considerations

  • The order clearly establishes climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security. 
  • The order affirms that, in implementing – and building on – the Paris Agreement’s objectives, the United States will exercise its leadership to promote a significant increase in global ambition. It makes clear that both significant short-term global emission reductions and net zero global emissions by mid-century – or before – are required to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory. 
  • The order reaffirms that the President will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021; that the United States will reconvene the Major Economies Forum; that, to underscore the administration’s commitment to elevating climate in U.S. foreign policy, the President has created a new position, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, which will have a seat on the National Security Council, and that it will be a U.S. priority to press for enhanced climate ambition and integration of climate considerations across a wide range of international fora.
  • The order also kicks off the process of developing the United States’ “nationally determined contribution” – our emission reduction target – under the Paris Agreement, as well as a climate finance plan.
  • Among numerous other steps aimed at prioritizing climate in U.S. foreign policy and national security, the order directs the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on the security implications of climate change, the State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their international work.

Take a Whole-of-Government Approach to the Climate Crisis

  • The order formally establishes the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy – led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor and Deputy National Climate Advisor – creating a central office in the White House that is charged with coordinating and implementing the President’s domestic climate agenda.
  • The order establishes the National Climate Task Force, assembling leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable a whole-of-government approach to combatting the climate crisis.

Leverage the Federal Government’s Footprint and Buying Power to Lead by Example

  • Consistent with the goals of the President’s Build Back Better jobs and economic recovery plan, of which his clean energy jobs plan is a central pillar, the order directs the federal agencies to procure carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles to create good-paying, union jobs and stimulate clean energy industries.
  • In addition, the order requires those purchases be Made in America, following President Biden’s Buy American executive order. The order also directs agencies to apply and strictly enforce the prevailing wage and benefit guidelines of the Davis Bacon and other acts and encourage Project Labor Agreements. These actions reaffirm that agencies should work to ensure that any jobs created with funds to address the climate crisis are good jobs with a choice to join a union.
  • The order directs each federal agency to develop a plan to increase the resilience of its facilities and operations to the impacts of climate change and directs relevant agencies to report on ways to expand and improve climate forecast capabilities – helping facilitate public access to climate related information and assisting governments, communities, and businesses in preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
  • The order directs the Secretary of the Interior to pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters to the extent possible, launch a rigorous review of all existing leasing and permitting practices related to fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, and identify steps that can be taken to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030. The order does not restrict energy activities on lands that the United States holds in trust for Tribes. The Secretary of the Interior will continue to consult with Tribes regarding the development and management of renewable and conventional energy resources, in conformance with the U.S. government’s trust responsibilities.
  • The order directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law and identify new opportunities to spur innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure. 

Rebuild Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Economy

  • The order catalyzes the creation of jobs in construction, manufacturing, engineering and the skilled-trades by directing steps to ensure that every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution and that steps are taken to accelerate clean energy and transmission projects under federal siting and permitting processes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Advance Conservation, Agriculture, and Reforestation

  • The order commits to the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030 and launches a process for stakeholder engagement from agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, Tribes, States, Territories, local officials, and others to identify strategies that will result in broad participation. 
  • The order also calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation, increasing carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protecting biodiversity, improving access to recreation, and addressing the changing climate.
  • The order directs the Secretary of Agriculture to collect input from farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders on how to use federal programs to encourage adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices that produce verifiable carbon reductions and sequestrations and create new sources of income and jobs for rural Americans.

Revitalize Energy Communities

  • The order establishes an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, to be co-chaired by the National Climate Advisor and the Director of the National Economic Council, and directs federal agencies to coordinate investments and other efforts to assist coal, oil and natural gas, and power plant communities. 
  • The order tasks the new Interagency Working Group to advance projects that reduce emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from existing and abandoned infrastructure and that prevent environmental damage that harms communities and poses a risk to public health and safety – such as projects to reduce methane emissions, oil and brine leaks, and other environmental harms from tens of thousands of former mining and well sites.
  • In addition, the new Interagency Working Group is also directed to explore efforts to turn properties idled in these communities, like brownfields, into new hubs for the growth of our economy.

Secure Environmental Justice and Spur Economic Opportunity

  • The order formalizes President Biden’s commitment to make environmental justice a part of the mission of every agency by directing federal agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.
  • The order establishes a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to prioritize environmental justice and ensure a whole-of-government approach to addressing current and historical environmental injustices, including strengthening environmental justice monitoring and enforcement through new or strengthened offices at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Health and Human Services.  The new bodies are also tasked with advising on ways to update Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994.
  • The order creates a government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities and tracks performance toward that goal through the establishment of an Environmental Justice Scorecard.
  • The order initiates the development of a Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool, building off EPA’s EJSCREEN, to identify disadvantaged communities, support the Justice40 Initiative, and inform equitable decision making across the federal government

SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM
The Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking directs agencies to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data. Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of effective and equitable programs. Improper political interference in the scientific process, with the work of scientists, and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the public trust.

The memorandum charges the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with the responsibility for ensuring scientific integrity across federal agencies. The OSTP Director is directed to review the effectiveness of agency scientific-integrity policies and assess agency scientific-integrity policies and practices going forward.

In addition, agencies that oversee, direct, or fund research are tasked with designating a senior agency employee as Chief Science Officer to ensure agency research programs are scientifically and technologically well founded and conducted with integrity. Because science, facts, and evidence are vital to addressing policy and programmatic issues across the Federal Government, all agencies – not just those that fund, conduct, or oversee scientific research –must designate a senior career employee as the agency’s Scientific Integrity Official to oversee implementation and iterative improvement of scientific-integrity policies and processes.

EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Leaders across the Biden-Harris Administration, including the President himself and his senior advisors in the Executive Office of the President, will seek input, advice, and the best-available science, data, and scientific and technological information from scientists, engineers, and other experts in science, technology, and innovation.

To that end, and in alignment with the scientific-integrity memorandum’s charge to reestablish scientific and technological advisory committees, this order re-establishes the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The PCAST– co-chaired by the President’s Science Advisor – will advise the President on policy that affects science, technology, and innovation. The Council will also advise the President on scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.

Shanghai Strives to Hit Carbon Dioxide Peak before 2025, as China Considers Ambition; Biden Tackles Oil, Gas

By Mathew Carr

Jan. 26, 2021 — LONDON: China continues to slowly turn the screws on greenhouse gas, saying Shanghai is to peak its emissions before 2025, according to China Daily.

Having the city begin cutting emissions soonish indicates the most populous country is looking closely at what it can do as nations are meant to be boosting the ambition of their climate targets before the Glasgow UNFCCC talks in November.

It comes as John Kerry, special U.S. climate envoy asks China to try to reach net zero by 2050 instead of 2060. The U.S. has only 4% of the world’s population yet has the most historical responsibility for climate change.

China and U.S. are seen cooperating on climate action, yet tensions apparently remain: https://carrzee.org/2021/01/24/while-trumps-exit-from-the-paris-climate-deal-was-reckless-chinas-net-zero-target-for-2060-is-not-soon-enough-kerry/

U.S. to limit oil and natural gas: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/biden-oil-gas-trump-federal-land-b1792889.html

Tate Britain — Kumari Singh Burman

****************

Here is the full text of China Daily story on the China govt website:
http://english.mee.gov.cn/News_service/media_news/202101/t20210126_818596.shtml

Shanghai is aiming to hit its peak in carbon dioxide emission before 2025, five years ahead of the country’s timeline, according to a five-year plan being reviewed at the ongoing municipal people’s congress.

The draft of the Shanghai’s 14th-Five-Year Plan and development vision for 2035 stated that the city will push forward energy saving and emission reduction in key industries such as electricity, chemicals and steelmaking to ensure that carbon emission peaks before 2025.

By 2025, the annual amount of coal consumption in the city is expected to be under 43 million metric tons, and the ratio of coal in primary energy consumption will be reduced to around 30 percent, while the use of natural gas, which produces less greenhouse gases than carbon or oil, will be raised to 15 percent.

In the past five years, Shanghai has been developing its renewable energy sector as it seeks to increase the use of new energy to 8 percent of the city’s total electricity consumption.

Source: China Daily