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Weekly Highlights | From the surge in H2 and EV investments to the coal demand upside

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Hydrogen on the Horizon: Ready, Almost Set, Go?

By World Energy Council

  • Confusion over H2 ‘colours’ is stifling innovation, with colour prejudice risking the premature exclusion of some technological routes that could potentially be more cost- and carbon-effective
  • The current hydrogen conversation focuses heavily on supply, but more demand-centric hydrogen perspectives are needed to advance the demand-driven agendas
  • We have to eliminate the one size fits all mindset, enabling different technologies and use cases to be explored across different countries and regions

2. Forget About Peak Oil - We Haven’t Even Reached Peak Coal Yet 

By Forbes

  • The ongoing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic proves that the world still heavily relies on fossil fuels, with a sudden and unexpected growth in coal demand
  • China and India’s enormous demand for coal this summer has caused commodity prices to spike (e.g. Australian coal - China’s main supplier - hit $150/ton in July, the highest level since 2008)
  • Coal-fired power usage was also spiking in European countries like Germany and France, while the US has cut its own carbon emissions by replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas power

3. 'Greenflation' Threatens to Derail Climate Change Action

By Financial Times

  • The world is currently facing a paradox – greenflation; the harder it pushes the transition to a greener economy, the more expensive it becomes, and the less likely it is to reach its goal of limiting the worst effects of global warming
  • Crucial materials for the transition to a green economy, such as aluminium or copper, are becoming ever more difficult to produce, as tightening mining and production regulation standards are rolled out
  • Though mining and producing these materials can be environmentally and socially damaging, not doing so could potentially cause more damage as it hampers the green transition

4. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Investment Trends to Watch

By WoodMac

  • Infrastructure investment is diversifying as the EV market matures: from the initial focus on chargers producers and operators to the current shift to consumer software and services providers (e.g. smart charging software; charging navigators and operations management)
  • Vendors (e.g. car automakers) and utilities have been the most active strategic investors in EV infrastructure companies
  • At least 33 EV charging infrastructure and related companies have gone public through a SPAC merger since the beginning of 2020

5. The Amazon Is Fast Approaching a Point of No Return

By Bloomberg Green

  • The Amazon is now close to a tipping point, at which it will pump GHGs into the atmosphere and the so-called flying rivers will dry up
  • At the Leaders Summit on Climate Bolsonaro praised Brazil’s work in protecting the Amazon, pointing a finger at the world’s addiction to fossil fuels as the key culprit in climate change
  • Between 1980 and 2019 Ibama (the Brazilian federal regulator) issued $14 billion of deforestation related fines but collected only 3.3% of the total

6. We Have to Pay the Price’: Oslo’s Plan to Turn Oil Wealth into Climate Leadership

By The Guardian

  • The City of Oslo wants to transform Norway from being a large fossil fuel exporter to a global green pioneer
  • At the heart of the plan advanced by Oslo’s Mayor is the adoption of CCS technologies in waste incinerators plants, as they account for 15% of the city’s emissions
  • Addressing concerns of having these plants delaying climate mitigation measures and seeing waste production increase, the Mayor claims his plan needs to go in hand with a more global decarbonisation of Norway’s economy

7. Why Extreme Weather is Putting Renewable Systems in the Spotlight

By Energy Monitor

  • Renewables’ share of UK power generation fell from 22.4% (July 2020) to 15.2% (July 2021) showing how the reliance on high amounts of wind energy can become problematic due to different weather conditions
  • Building out huge amounts of batteries, where energy can be stored, is only part of the solution. Fluctuations have to be managed with the help of natural gas and cross-border cooperation
  • Therefore, aiming for 100% renewable energy systems is the final aim, but in the shorter term some form of fossil fuel back-up remains necessary for periods of extreme weather

8. Nikola Founder’s Bombshell Fraud Charges May Hold Warning For Tesla’s Elon Musk

By Forbes

  • Federal prosecutors indicted Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton for fraudulent statements in public appearances and on social media that misled investors about the market-readiness of the electric truck startup’s products and technology
  • Milton’s behaviour has been compared to Elon Musk’s tendency to make overly optimistic or unrealistic statements about Tesla’s business and plans (which cost him in 2018 a $20 million SEC fine and his role as company chairman)
  • Gerbir Grewal, SEC enforcement director, has commented: “Corporate officers cannot say whatever they want on social media without regard for the federal securities laws.”

9. What is Driving an Almost 200 per-cent Growth in Sustainability-linked Debt Financing

By South China Morning Post

  • Sustainability-linked instruments need to set predetermined sustainability performance targets; if not met, the debtors will have to bear a penalty in the form of a higher coupon or interest rate
  • Globally, sustainability loans almost quintupled YoY to US$293 billion in the first half of this year, while green bonds nearly tripled and sustainable bonds grew 160%
  • 3 factors are driving the growth: favorable government policies; the publication of updated standards and guidelines by the ICMA; better quality disclosures on non-financial performance metrics, such as ESG performance data

10. Critical Measures of Global Heating Reaching Tipping Point, Study Finds

By The Guardian

  • A recent study found that 16 out of the 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gases, acidification and deforestation set worrying records; it also found that despite the Covid-19 crisis, vital signs only become worse
  • Only a few positive trends came out of the study, such as declining fossil fuel subsidies and increasing fossil fuel divestments
  • The authors highlight that the only way to halt climate change is a profound redesign of our system; treating the symptoms will only make matters worse, and the root of the problem, i.e. the overexploitation of the Earth, needs to be tackled
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