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Bigtime investment in carbon offsets needed

At the UN General Assembly this week, US President Joe Biden announced that he was doubling the country’s commitment to overseas climate aid to more than $11bn annually by 2024.

This comes as an influential coalition of investors, representing $6.6trn in assets, is calling for a rapid scale-up of global investment into carbon removal solutions, to the extent that their capacity is more than ten times higher in 2050 than 2025.

The call to action is being made by the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, in a new position paper supported by NGOs WWF and Global Optimism. It warns that unless historic levels of under-investment in both nature-based solutions and man-made technologies is rectified now, they are unlikely to be available at the scale needed in the coming decades.

It recommends investment and action to the level that the global, verified capacity of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) removal solutions – both nature-based and man-made – reach 0.5 to 1.2 gigatonnes of CO2e each year by 2025. This capacity should then reach six to 10 gigatonnes by 2050.

In 2020, the Taskforce estimated that the current market for offsets will need to grow by at least 15-fold by 2030 if the private sector is to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory. By 2050, it may need to be up to 160 times bigger than in 2020.

For context, global emissions in 2020 were 42 gigatonnes. At present, total carbon offsets sold per annum are not much over 100 million tonnes, about 0.2% of total global carbon emissions.

However, the carbon offset market value appears poised for rapid growth. The Institute of International Finance’s task force on scaling voluntary carbon markets predicts that the demand for carbon credits will increase by a factor of 15 or more by 2030, and by a factor of up to 100 by 2050. Also, it says, the carbon credit market could be worth more than $50 billion by 2030.

Carbon offset growth is underpinned by net zero pledges that are proliferating across the globe. For instance, Unilever has outlined plans to help suppliers representing two-thirds of its upstream emissions to decarbonise in line with climate science.

Included in the firm’s Climate Transition Action Plan, which received the backing of more than 99% of shareholders at a vote this May, was a commitment to help suppliers set approved science-based targets and to adopt the systems, processes and technologies needed to deliver them.

Unilever’s headline climate commitment is to become a net-zero business by 2039. There is an interim ambition to halve the impact of products, including their supply chain impacts, by 2030.

Building on these commitments, Unilever’s chief procurement officer David Ingram this week launched a new initiative called the Unilever Climate Promise for Suppliers.

In signing the Promise, suppliers commit to developing public targets to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030. A landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 stated that humanity will have the best chance of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5% by halving global emissions by 2030 and bringing them to net-zero by 2050.

Promise signatories are also required to share their baseline greenhouse gas footprint data with Unilever, that the business will provide more targeted support, and to publicly report on decarbonisation progress.

Any supplier can sign the Promise at any time but, in the first instance, Unilever is hosting a programme that will more closely involve 40 suppliers from early 2022. From 2023 onwards, the programme will be scaled to reach 300 of the suppliers that contribute most significantly to Unilever’s upstream Scope 3 (indirect) emissions. Collectively, these 300 suppliers are accountable for two-thirds of the emissions in this scope.

Ingram said Unilever needs to “radically reduce our greenhouse gas impact at every step of production – from the raw materials we source, to manufacturing, right up to when our products are sold”.

Also announcing fresh measures to tackle emissions beyond its own operations this week is technology and consultancy giant Capgemini.

Building on a commitment to help clients mitigate 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – equivalent to 20 times its own direct emissions – the business has launched a new ‘Net Zero Strategy’ offering for clients.

The offering will support businesses with the target-setting part of net-zero, but also with supporting long-term visions with credible science-based ambitions, and with delivering tangible emissions reductions on the ground.

Capgemini said in a statement that the offering will “support clients on implementing transformative business models and engaging the right talent and stakeholders to achieve low carbon transformation”.

EV News

The list of electric cars rated at 300 miles or more in EPA testing growing rapidly, 400 miles is the new goal for many luxury automakers. But not BMW.

The automaker is targeting 600 kilometres (372 miles) of range, but feels no need to aim higher than that, David Ferrufino, project leader for the 2022 BMW i4, said in a recent interview with Australia’s WhichCar.

Ferrufino indicated a reason why: that a continually expanding public charging infrastructure makes further range increases unnecessary.

He also said that only certain models will achieve the 372-mile maximum. That amount of range won’t be necessary for smaller city cars, like the current BMW i3.

BMW is also targeting 100 kilometres (62 miles) of electric range for plug-in hybrids, Ferrufino said. That would be a big increase from, say, the current BMW 330e sedan, which gets an EPA-rated 22 miles of electric range. It’s also in line with what California is asking for starting in 2026: a minimum of 50 miles on the EPA cycle, free of tailpipe emissions.

It’s not clear which cycle Ferrufino is referring to. Australia uses a version of the very optimistic NEDC standard for range, while Europe and other parts of the world have shifted to WLTP, which is still optimistic compared to the EPA procedure.

At any rate, both the i4 and the 2022 BMW iX SUV will target up to 300 miles of range in their U.S.-spec forms. Both are scheduled to arrive in the USA in the first quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, BMW has been targeting drastic CO2 reductions per vehicle by looking at emissions related to production as well as propulsion. And the size of the battery used certainly has a big role in that, which may explain why chasing more range isn’t a priority for the German automaker.

In other news, Hyundai Australia have finally released pricing for the much-anticipated Ioniq 5 SUV – the first of its new generation of electric vehicles that are built on a dedicated platform, unlike the petrol conversions of its previous offerings.

The Ioniq 5 will come initially in two variants of the long-range version – both with a 72.6kWh battery – a rear wheel drive priced at $71,900 and an all-wheel drive at $75,900, before on road costs.

Unfortunately, that makes these models ineligible for the $3,000 rebates in NSW, which is capped at $68,750, but they will qualify for the stamp duty exemption ($78,000). They will also miss out on the Victoria rebate of $3,000, which is capped at $67,000.

A lower cost version with a smaller battery (58kWh), and lower range, and a basic trim could be brought to Australia in 2022.

For many, the lack of a rebate will be a moot point. Hyundai says it has been swamped by an unprecedented level of interest with more than 10,000 would be customers registering their interest. It says 100 paid a deposit and will have priority when bookings open for them on September 27.

The other 10,000 will get an opportunity to make a firm order (with a $2,000 deposit) on October 12, before others get the opportunity on October 13.

But there will only be 400 available until the New Year (including the 100 who have already made a deposit), and they will go on a first come, first serve basis. Any excess orders will be met at a later time.

Both variants of the Ioniq 5 will have 72.6kWh li-ion polymer batteries, charging rates of up to 350kW, and ranges of 451km (2WD), and 430km (4WKD).

One of the key attractions of the Ioniq 5 is its vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, which allows customers to charge electric devices, such as electric bicycles, scooters, camping equipment, appliances in the home, or even another electric vehicle.

The “charger-on-wheels” also allows customers to charge high-power electric equipment via the vehicle’s charge port, where the vehicle can provide up to 3.6kW of power.

It will come in five different colours and three different trims. Gravity gold matte paint in the photo above will not be available at the launch in the first offering.

CTI courses hosted by Ecoprofit

As climate change events increase in number and ferocity, so does climate change risk for businesses and organisations. To remove or control this risk, organisations need to be equipped with the right practical knowledge.

Carbon Training International (CTI) offers courses that give clear direction to understand how to deal with climate change risk, including a comprehensive understanding of the term net zero.

CTI courses include Strategic Carbon Management, Carbon Accounting, Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Accounting/Offsetting combined, Applied Energy Efficiency and Reducing Fleet Emissions.

You can easily enrol in one of CTI’s online webinar courses here.

Just choose your preferred course and course start date. Extra course dates can be arranged.

The good news: carbon emissions and business costs are linked. The more an organisation reduces its carbon emissions the more it reduces its costs.

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