Blog

OECD/NEA Nuclear Energy in the Circular Carbon Economy: A Report and Recommendations to the G20 and COP26

Nuclear Energy in the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) A Report to the G20 and COP26

 Fusion Reactor Image

This report by OECD/NEA highlights the potential role of nuclear (especially nuclear fusion reactors) in contributing to the circular carbon economy as a low-carbon source of electricity, but also as a source of heat and system integration services.

The OECD/NEA report on Nuclear in the carbon circular economy highlights the potential role of nuclear in contributing to the circular carbon economy not only as a low-carbon source of electricity, but also as a source of heat and system integration services. Nuclear energy offers unique opportunities to deliver valuable non-electric applications, ranging from district and industrial heat applications, desalination, and large-scale hydrogen production.

These applications also offer competitive value propositions: for instance, coupling nuclear power plants with hydrogen electrolyzers allows to operate them with a high load factor, which is critical for the cost-competitiveness of low-carbon hydrogen. Nuclear energy could also play a significant role in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors, such as high temperature industrial heat applications.

Full text of the OCED / NEA report can be found here: Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) - Nuclear Energy in the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) (oecd-nea.org)

COP26 Opens Path to International Carbon Trading

U.N.-certified carbon credit could be used by regulated markets and standardize more informal ones

A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas (tCO₂e). Carbon credits and carbon markets are a component of national and international attempts to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). One carbon credit is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide, or in some markets, carbon dioxide equivalent gases. Carbon trading is an application of an emissions trading approach. Greenhouse gas emissions are capped and then markets are used to allocate the emissions among the group of regulated sources.

Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell already buys carbon-offset credits, which can be certified by third parties.

PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

 (WSJ) 

International carbon markets got a shot in the arm in Glasgow on Saturday after governments agreed on long-stalled rules for how countries, and companies, can trade carbon-emissions credits across borders.

Negotiations over the carbon agreement were overshadowed at the United Nations climate summit by a higher-profile deal on emissions cuts and climate-change funding. That broader deal asks its 190-plus signatories next year to revisit emissions-cutting plans that fell short of what scientists say is enough to prevent the worst possible effects of climate change. The deal, though, left big questions about how governments will follow through.

The carbon-trading agreement, while narrower in scope, provides businesses with one of the most concrete outcomes of the conference, called COP26. Governments from almost all of the world’s countries endorsed a set of preliminary rules over how governments and companies can create, value and swap credits to drive their net emissions lower in a global trading system.

“It is unquestionably good news that an agreement has been reached that allows everyone to move forward,” said Thomas Lingard, global climate and environment director at Unilever PLC.

Supporters say the broader Glasgow deal—struck Saturday evening after two weeks of negotiations—signals new determination among the world’s governments to shift away from burning fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gases that scientists say are causing the earth to warm. The agreement, though, features weaknesses that have hamstrung U.N. climate talks over the decades.
 

It has no enforcement mechanism, relying instead on the good faith of the world’s governments to adhere to its rules as best they can. In key areas, it doesn’t require nations to act, but merely urges or requests them to do so, reflecting wiggle room that was needed to achieve consensus among all governments.

At COP26, investors steal the stage from diplomats

Weeks of negotiations in Glasgow came to a close Saturday as diplomats agreed to a deal to guide humanity away from a worst-case climate trajectory.

Despite incremental progress, the summit has left activists with little to celebrate.

Every G20 government has failed to meet their Paris Agreement targets, according to watchdog group Climate Action Tracker. A global commitment to funnel $100 billion worth of climate finance from rich countries to poor ones each year has fallen short. The US and China announced a collaborative agenda that, while notable, lacks both firm targets and reliable enforcement.

But behind the political stage, a powerful force is taking shape. The signifigance of this announcement is NOT that the the financial world has woken up and appears willing to supply much of the capital that will be needed to transition to a net-zero economy.  Instead, the signifigance is that global business networks are beginning to be activated to solve problems important to people and the planet.

It is estimated that existing technologies combined with sufficient climate finance can reduce up to 65% of the emissions needed to reach the UN's net-zero target by 2050. The emissions reductions that need to occur before 2030 can largely be achieved by existing technologies such as solar, while the post-2030 emission reductions depend on innovative technologies, along the lines of improving energy efficiency, hydrogen fuels, and carbon technologies. A report from the World Economic Forum notes that to successfully expand and deploy these climate solutions in the 2030s, emerging climate technologies need to be validated at commercial scale in the 2020s.

IoT OT Cybersecurity Adobe Stock

Image supplied by Adobe Stock

 

Why Financing the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Transition to Net Zero May Not Be That Hard

Funding for a carbon-free economy is infinite if there’s a revenue stream, says Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan

shutterstock 555106231 Feature 2048x561

(WSJ) The world needs $4 trillion a year to transition to a carbon-free economy.

Sound like a lot? It’s not.

Every year, the global financial system channels trillions of dollars from people who have capital to people who need it without breaking a sweat. Doing the same to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is well within its means. It just needs something to invest in.

As Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan says: “If there’s a revenue stream, then the funding is infinite.”

That Wall Street’s interest in sustainable finance is motivated by profit isn’t good or bad, it’s necessary. Converting a massive chunk of the economy’s installed capital from fossil fuels to renewables cannot be achieved through public works or acts of charity.

“Government doesn’t have the money, it has to come from the private sector,” Mr. Moynihan says in an interview. “The role of government is to create revenue streams or demand signals or even mandates that open up the markets so that the money comes in.”

Climate Promises by Businesses Face New Scrutiny

Emissions pledges from U.N. Glasgow conference will be closely watched.

Pollution from factories

(WSJ) The United Nations conference on climate change in Glasgow has been full of promises by companies to reduce their carbon emissions. How many will live up to them and how will anyone know if they are complying?

Two-thirds of S&P 500 companies by the end of last year had set a carbon target, up from less than half at the end of 2017, and the tally is continuing to rise rapidly, according to data provider Refinitiv.

These targets have been hard to track, much less enforce. A survey of big companies published last month by Boston Consulting Group found that just 11% had met their emission-reduction goals over the past five years.

That is changing as regulators, investors and activists scrutinize corporate disclosures to make sure businesses aren’t going back on their promises.

Targets are becoming increasingly standard, and more businesses are aiming for them. That allows the commitments to be more easily verified.

The Securities and Exchange Commission may require companies to report progress against their goals under new climate rules it is drafting, officials have said.

Investors and activists are also ramping up their scrutiny of targets, putting pressure on high-emissions companies and their banks to set more demanding benchmarks.

COP26 Negotiators Make Progress on Carbon-Trading Rules

Companies hope a U.N.-backed framework for cross-border carbon markets will kick-start trading

(WSJ) Some companies have already started to use a hodgepodge of voluntary markets where they trade so-called carbon offset credits.

 LA Smog LA Times

Smog in Los Angelas.  Picture source: LA Times

GLASGOW—Climate negotiators have made progress toward a deal aimed at establishing the foundation of an international carbon-trading system, according to people familiar with those talks, putting within reach a long-stalled agreement that many businesses hope will kick-start a global carbon market.

Formation of New International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Will Deliver Transformative Change

IFRS Foundation announces International Sustainability Standards Board, consolidation with CDSB and VRF, and publication of prototype disclosure requirements.

We believe this announcement will be strongly welcomed by businesses, investors and others that have called for global sustainability disclosure standards and consolidation in the disclosure landscape.

ISSB

As world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26, the UN global summit to address the critical and urgent issue of climate change, the IFRS Foundation Trustees (Trustees) announce three significant developments to provide the global financial markets with high-quality disclosures on climate and other sustainability issues:

  • The formation of a new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to develop—in the public interest—a comprehensive global baseline of high-quality sustainability disclosure standards to meet investors’ information needs;
  • A commitment by leading investor-focused sustainability disclosure organisations to consolidate into the new board. The IFRS Foundation will complete consolidation of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB—an initiative of CDP) and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF—which houses the Integrated Reporting Framework and the SASB Standards) by June 2022;
  • The publication of prototype climate and general disclosure requirements developed by the Technical Readiness Working Group (TRWG), a group formed by the IFRS Foundation Trustees to undertake preparatory work for the ISSB. These prototypes are the result of six months of joint work by representatives of the CDSB, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the VRF and the World Economic Forum (Forum), supported by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and its Technical Expert Group of securities regulators. The TRWG has consolidated key aspects of these organisations’ content into an enhanced, unified set of recommendations for consideration by the ISSB.

Together, these developments create the necessary institutional arrangements, set out in the Foundation’s revised Constitution, and lay the technical groundwork for a global sustainability disclosure standard-setter for the financial markets. They fulfil the growing and urgent demand for streamlining and formalising corporate sustainability disclosures.

These developments are not happening in a vacuum. They are a reflection of a changed world in which sustainability and long-term thinking are increasingly at the heart of business and investor decision-making – a transformation that, through your support, the Value Reporting Foundation (and its predecessors the IIRC and SASB Foundation) helped lead.

The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the World Economic Forum’s initiative on stakeholder capitalism metrics and TCFD are also integral to today’s announcement as we advance more harmonized sustainability disclosure requirements.

Biden to announce coalition of key companies to combat climate change

Biden acknowledged that the US and other energy-gulping developed nations bear much of the responsibility for climate change

QVOQYIPQOVEA3JTQVBUME3HLYY

(Associated Press) President Biden, who is attending the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow, is expected to announce Tuesday the first mover’s coalition, which is comprised of 25 influential companies committed to clean energy and innovation to tackle climate change.

The initiative was described as a platform intended to help spur clean energy innovation by employing major companies with big spending power.

Strengthening the Philanthropic Supply Chain

Optimizing the path from funder to fundee isn’t something philanthropy has thought about systematically, but the sector should take this moment to build some muscle into it, with an eye toward racial and economic justice.

Philanthropy Supply Chain 592x333

(Photo by Unsplash/boris misevic)

(Stanford Social Innovation Review.) Among COVID-19’s most startling revelations has been the centrality of supply chains to everything: One link breaks down, and suddenly we’re hoarding toilet paper, turning T-shirts into masks, or paying over top dollar for a used car. Philanthropy’s supply chain—the path from funder to fundee—has shown its vulnerability too, as foundations and other major donors, especially in the pandemic’s early months, have scrambled to get money quickly yet thoughtfully to grassroots organizations serving the hardest-hit communities.

For philanthropy, though, the revelation hasn’t been the shocking breakdown of a seemingly high-performing supply chain, but the underdevelopment of the supply chain’s midsection. The sector’s supply chain isn’t something it’s thought about systematically, and we should use this moment to build some muscle into it.

When is a Toothbrush a Tool for Sustainability?

The amazing story of a sustainable toothbrush enterprise based in South Korea is reducing environmental waste and poverty, providing social services, building a healthy organizational culture, and making a profit, with the hope that other companies will follow suit.

Hotpressing Technology of Dr. Noah 592x333

The South Korean company, DR Noah developed a new hot pressing technology for use in making more environmental friendly toothbrushes. (Image courteousy of Dr Noah)