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Weekly Highlights | From the steel industry decarbonisation to the Donbas mining treasure

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. Transforming the Steel Industry May Be the Ultimate Climate Challenge


  • The steel indsutry is responsible for about 7% of all manmade carbon emissions, which puts it in the cross hairs of new regulatory restrictions emerging in part from commitments made at the COP26 in December 2021
  • BCG models predict that implementing carbon capture in Europe and the UK would reduce CO2 emission to 0.4 metric tons per metric ton of steel in 2030, while green hydrogen would help reducing emissions to about 0.1 metric tons in 2030 - starting from a value of 1.8 metric tons
  • Steel manufacturers should follow a three-step strategy: help shape both the overall regulatory discussion and the definition of green steel, develop the market, and implement large-investment projects on time and on budget

2. IRENA and China State Grid Pave Wave Towards Smart Electrification


  • Future power grids will be very different from the current ones and will require smart electrification solutions as renewable energy is growing faster than ever,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, at a joint workshop by IRENA and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC)
  • “We plant to invest $350 bn between 2021 and 2025 to upgrade our power grid and build new power systems with improved voltage regulation capability and better compatibility with renewable energy”, said Xin Baoan, SGCC Executive Chairman
  • Kristian Ruby, secretary general, Eurelectric, said smart electrification is a giant opportunity for China as it already has a strong value chain in wind and solar energy

3. Ukraine crisis prompts Germany to rethink Russian gas addiction

By Politico

  • “There has been too much confidence in the reliability of gas supplies form Russia because the experience of the Cold War was that, even under difficult conditions, gas was supplied anyways”, said Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesperson of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
  • Germany's economic and climate ministry it was looking for ways to "strengthen the precautionary mechanisms" for the coming winter — in other words, finding more ways to make sure it has enough energy
  • "The moment Russia realizes that we can get supplies in a different way, things would be taken to a whole new level in terms of both pricing and security of supplies" from Russia, said Hardt

4. Germany puts a stop to Nord Stream 2, a key Russian natural gas pipeline

By The New York Times

  • Last year, Russian gas accounted for nearly 27% of the energy consumed in Germany, according to governments figures, an increase that was expected to continue after the country shutters its last three nuclear power plants
  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that Germany would halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that would link his country with Russia, to punish the Kremlin for recognizing two separatist regions in Ukraine
  • The pipeline, which is owned by a subsidiary of Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy behemoth, has been filled with natural gas but had not gone online, pending approval from a German regulator

5. Green Growth 50: Learning From Companies Boosting Profits While Cutting Emissions

By Forbes

  • Customers want to be associated with corporations that tale their environmental responsibilities very seriously. Those that do will continue to drive loyalty from their customer base”, said Steve Priest, eBay CFO
  • “We look at everything we do through a sustainability lens”, declared Stephan Tanda, CEO of Aptar - which ranked first in Forbes Green Growth 50 list
  • But green growth is harder than it looks — both Weyerhaeuser and Edison International, ranking no. 21 and no. 10 on Forbes Green Growth 50 list, grew earnings less than 2% since 2017

6. Green investing: the risk of a new mis-selling scandal

By Financial Times 

  • Investors globally poured $142.5bn into sustainable funds in the fourth quarter of last year, 12% up on the previous quarter, according to financial data provider Morningstar
  • Last year, US law enforcement authorities and German regulator BaFin began investigating DWS after the firm’s former head of ESG, Desiree Fixler, alleged it had misled clients about how much of its assets were invested along sustainable lines
  • In August, a report by climate think-thank InfluenceMap found that 421 out of 593 ESG equity funds it assessed has portfolio that were not aligned with the Paris climate targets

7. As Russian Forces Roll into Eastern Ukraine, Putin Grabs Yet Another Prize: Ores And Energy

By Forbes

  • “Donbas” is short for the Donets Coal Basin - one of the largest mining regions in Europe, with coal reserves under its rolling plains covering approximately 23,300 square km2
  • Donbas’ coal deposits are joined by significant methane gas reserves estimated in excess of 59 trillion cubic feet and 1.6 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • USGS ranks Ukraine as the world’s 5th largest holder of crude iron ore reserves, and the Donbas area accounted for 40% of Ukraine’s steel production, in 2013

8. Major corporations fail net-zero climate test

By Energy Monitor

  • The new Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor - a new annual publication released on 7 February 2022 by climate policy think tank the NewClimate Institute - has just been released
  • The headline findings are that just 13 out of 25 net-zero pledges made by the world’s largest companies set out explicit emission reduction commitments, and those 13 companies only commit to reducing emissions by 40% from 2019
  • “As pressure on companies to act on climate change rises, their ambitious sounding headline claims all too often lack real substance, which can mislead both consumers and the regulators that are core to guiding their strategic direction,” said Thomas Day, lead author of the new ranking

9. Oil and gas facilities could profit from plugging methane leaks, IEA says

By The Guardian

  • Governments have been underreporting their emissions of methane to a dramatic extent, and those emissions are still rising fast, according to the Global Methane Tracker report from the IEA published on Wednesday
  • Putin has deliberately hidden Gazprom’s massive methanle leaks for decades, fooling a complacent Europe” said Paul Bledsoe, a fromer Clinton White House Climate adviser
  • The IEA’s findings show that there are few excuses for countries to stall on plugging leaks, which come from poorly maintained pipelines and badly managed production facilities, where the gas can be vented or burned – known as flaring – instead of captured and used

10. Extreme Wildfire Impacts to Rise Dramatically by 2100, UN Says

By Bloomberg Green

  • “The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes, while more extreme weather means stronger, hotter, drier winds to fan the flames,” claimed a report released on Wednesday by the UN Environment Programme
  • The report forecast that the risk of cataclysmic wildfires could increase as much as 57% by the end of the century, depending on temperature rise
  • The United Nations recommended that nations invest more resources into reducing fire risks and making communities more resilient to wildfires and the health effects of smokes
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