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Weekly Highlights | From Chinese cobalt supremacy to the Green Grid Initiative challengesg
Weekly Highlights | From Chinese cobalt supremacy to the Green Grid Initiative challengesg
illuminem
By illuminem
Nov 30 2021 · 4 min read

Illuminem Voices
Energy · Mining & Metals · Environmental Sustainability

1. A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution

By the New York Times

  • Currently, more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt production is coming from Congo
  • The Chinese government has bought two of the country’s largest cobalt deposits over the past five years. Today, 15 of the 19 cobalt-producing mines in Congo are owned or financed by Chinese companies
  • China was able to dethrone US presence in Congo with a $6 billion agreement: China would pay for roads, hospitals, rail lines, schools and projects to expand electricity, all in exchange for access to 10 million tons of copper and more than 600,000 tons of cobalt

2. Energy Transition Support to Strengthen Climate Action

By IRENA

  • IRENA has been engaging with 72 Parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement to support their efforts to enhance their climate pledges, involving 1.8 billion people with a carbon footprint of 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
  • The report projects that if all Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are implemented, the total global greenhouse gas emission in 2030 would range from 50.8 Gt to 56.9 Gt of CO2 equivalent
  • The analysis of the total 194 NDCs submitted by Parties of the Paris Agreement, shows that 124 new or updated NDCs have been submitted to UNFCCC

3. Why Is India Clinging to Coal?

By the Economist

  • Today, 70% of India’s electricity comes from coal, but the government has promised to increase renewable-energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, more than doubling the current output
  • In the last minutes of COP26 India, China and few other countries insisted on replacing a commitment to ”phase out” coal power with a pledge to merely “phase down” its use
  • According to a study, between 10-15 million Indians depend on coal for their livelihood, many of them miners in the country’s poorest states, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh

4. The World Needs to Crack Battery Recycling, Fast

By WIRED

  • As batteries start to pile up, carmakers, battery companies and researchers are trying to save them from ending up in landfills
  • Cobalt is the most sought-after material used in batteries. However, the world’s major electric car manufacturers are already moving away from cobalt, deterred by the human rights abuses, shortages in the supply chain, and fluctuating prices
  • Getting to these materials is complex and dangerous: After removing the steel casing, the battery pack needs to be unbundled into cells. The electrolyte can catch fire or even explode if heated. Only once the pack has been dismantled, recyclers can safely extract the conductive lithium, nickel, copper, and cobalt

5. Trillions in Assets May Be Left Stranded as Companies Address Climate Change

By the Wall Street Journal 

  • Shifts away from fossil fuels combined with increasing impacts of climate change put assets worth trillions at risk of becoming worthless, turning them into so-called stranded assets
  • These range from coal-fired power plants shutting down earlier than planned, to buildings facing increased risks of floods and farmlands suffering from droughts. How to account for them in corporate finance will be a key discussion
  • Following COP26 and the agreement on carbon credits (Article 6 of the Paris Agreement), regulations that put a price on carbon emissions are close by. This could be a game changer, rendering profitable assets suddenly money losing and stranded

6. The Challenges Facing the Green Grids Initiative​

By Energy Monitor

  • One of the big ideas being championed at COP26 in Glasgow was a project to connect the power grids of 140 countries to allow renewable energy to flow across borders
  • Getting the mechanics of the system right may not be the biggest hurdle, as there are here are more questions than answers about how such an ambitious scheme will be financed and ultimately funded
  • As of today, no “concrete funding commitments” have yet been made to the project although “India and the UK are already bearing the costs of operating the programme”

7. New Homes Will Be Required to Have EV Charging Stations From 2022

By SkyNews

  • Electric vehicle charging points will be legally required in new build homes from next year in the UK
  • The new initiative is set to be another part of the current UK strategy to reduce emissions and act as a world leader on green issues
  • The government has already announced that it wants to end the sale of traditional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030

8. 12 Insights on Hydrogen

By Agora

  • There is an emerging consensus that the role of hydrogen for climate neutrality is crucial but secondary to direct electrification
  • Gas distribution grids need to prepare for a disruptive end to their business model, because netzero scenarios see very limited hydrogen in buildings
  • Financing renewable hydrogen in no-regret applications requires targeted policy instruments for industry, power, shipping and aviation

9. Biden Team Debates Whether to Act Fast on Gas Prices or Wait

By Bloomberg News

  • Biden said in a statement, would be addressing rising cost of energy - what he described as “the largest share of the increase in prices
  • An initial effort to reduce oil prices failed when the White House tried to convince OPEC+ most influential members to pump more oil, but they refused and the debate shifted to what the U.S. itself could do
  • The U.S. could arrange a total effective SPR release of 45-60 million barrels by bringing forward next year’s 20 million barrels of mandated SPR sales” said Ed Morse, oil analyst at Citigroup Inc.

10. The Forgotten Oil Ads that Told Us Climate Change Was Nothing

By The Guardian

  • The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multibillion dollar disinformation, propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions
  • As recently as last month, six big oil CEOs were summoned to US Congress to answer for the industry’s history of discrediting climate science – yet they lied under oath about it
  • This article gathers the most relevant and deceptive climate ads from 1984 to 2021

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