Effective today, The ROBERT|CHARLESGroup is discontinuing our postings and links to content and news for investing in worldwide cap and trade and sustainable energy markets. This blog will be phased out in the coming days and weeks.
Along a dirt road in Mozambique’s Sofala province, a long line of men on bicycles stretches into the distance, each carrying an impossibly big bag of charcoal strapped to his bike. The journey to town takes two days from where they or their families cut down trees and put logs in earth-covered pits to smoulder, to produce the charcoal. It is a common sight in a country where 80 percent of people rely on charcoal for cooking. Each year the charcoal sellers’ journey gets longer as locals and foreign logging companies chop down indigenous forests, the source of coal in this southern African nation...
China lodged a complaint at the World Trade Organization against US duties on a range of products, including solar panels. China’s envoys in Geneva said the US had acted “inconsistently with WTO rules and rulings in many aspects” and that the US had “repeated its wrongful practice” during its assessment of Chinese solar cells. The US Commerce Department had announced preliminary anti-dumping duties on PV panels from China the previous week, ranging from 31 per cent to as much as 250 per cent for some manufacturers. Together with the relatively modest countervailing duties of 2.9–4.7 per cent determined in March, they stand to make some Chinese modules 27 per cent more expensive in the US market than those from comparable international manufacturers, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts. The two countries will enter into consultations at the WTO for the next 60 days – by which time Chinese solar manufacturers may well find themselves facing a new trade challenge in Europe.
The numbers are just in. At a time when we need to be urgently reducing our CO₂ emissions, we are now emitting more than at any time in human history. However, it’s not too late to turn things around.
Last year we examined the 2010 annual fossil fuel CO₂ emissions report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The news was not good – 2010 saw the largest single-year increase in these emissions, growing 1.6 billion tonnes (gigatonnes [Gt]) from 2009, to 30.6 Gt (the previous record annual increase was 1.2 Gt). Energy intensity (the ratio of primary energy use to Gross Domestic Product) rose in 2010 for the first time since 1990, possibly because of relatively subdued fossil fuel prices and economic stimulus funding for construction projects. For these reasons, the 2010 CO₂ emissions growth may not be repeated. The 2011 IEA estimate is now out, and includes some good news and some bad news. In 2011, global fossil fuel CO₂ emissions set yet another record, increasing a further 1.0 Gt to 31.6 Gt (see figure 1). Last year, we emitted more CO₂ into the atmosphere than any time in human history. However, in a valiant effort to take a glass-half-full approach, we can point out that the increase was smaller than in 2010, as expected, and only the fourth-largest annual emissions increase on record.
Companies in the US and Canada are poised to win the race to build the world’s first large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). A report from the London-based analysis firm predicts that the Port Arthur demonstration project in Texas, under development by Pennsylvania-based Air Products & Chemicals, will be in full operation in 2013, followed closely by state-owned utility SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power plant project in Saskatchewan, Canada, which should be up and running by early 2014.
A vast majority of market participants want intervention in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to boost prices, according to a survey by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) – amid price expectations more than a third lower than last year. According to association’s annual survey on market sentiment, “four out of five carbon markets experts in the €92 billion [$115 billion] global market have called for the EU to intervene to support the price of carbon allowances.” The survey was conducted by carrying out interviews with 27 market participants, 18 of which are IETA board members.
The U.S. Commerce Department set duties from 13.74 percent to 26 percent on imports of wind towers from China used by the energy industry, siding with U.S. manufacturers including Broadwind Energy Inc. (BWEN) The agency released preliminary results yesterday of its investigation into a complaint from the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, which claims its members are harmed by subsidies on products from China. In addition to Broadwind of Naperville, Illinois, the group includes Otter Tail Corp. (OTTR)’s DMI Industries, Katana Summit LLC and a unit of Trinity Industries Inc. (TRN)
Instead of solar and wind power, the rapidly growing telecommunications industry is increasingly turning to energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions, a recent Pike Research report concludes. "The focus of green telecom has swung strongly to energy efficiency," according to Pike Research. "While clean power is not to be discounted, operators (and thus suppliers) are placing much more emphasis today on curbing power consumption than on deploying green base stations."
The global carbon market jumped 11% in value last year, despite a collapse in European emissions prices in the second half of the year, while the post-2012 market grew strongly, according to the World Bank. In its annual State and Trends of the Carbon Market report, released today at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany, the World Bank found that the value of the global carbon market was $176 billion last year, of which $148 billion was contributed by EU allowances (EUAs) – also up 11% year-on-year. “2011 emerged as a turbulent year for the economic markets and commodities in general,” Alexandre Kossoy, a senior financial specialist in the World Bank Carbon Finance unit, and a co-author of the report, told journalists. “Carbon did not remain immune to this ... but despite the fall in prices and the oversupply” of EUAs, the value of the market grew, boosted by the level of transactions.
The value of bilateral carbon trading surged 15 percent last year after thefts of European Union emission allowances suspended prompt trading on exchanges, the World Bank said. EU greenhouse-gas trades that didn’t involve exchanges or brokers surged to $17.3 billion, the bank said today in its yearly report on CO2 markets. ICE Futures Europe suspended prompt trading in January last year after thefts of allowances roiled buyers. BlueNext SA, the Paris spot exchange that also temporarily halted transactions, reopened for trading Feb. 4. The shift to bilateral trading “occurred as exchanges exercised increased scrutiny, which certain market participants viewed as cumbersome,” the bank said in its report. “Some players reported favoring long-term relationships with trustworthy commercial partners.” Security measures introduced by regulators since last year will probably curb prompt trading even after the opening of an EU-wide registry next month, according to STX Services BV, an Amsterdam-based environmental brokerage. Competition from futures markets, where most trades are now carried out, also will soften any spot-market resurgence, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
Iraq failed to attract partners for all three natural-gas blocks it offered on the first day of an auction of exploration licenses, awarding rights to only one of the six oil and gas areas put up for bidding. Kuwait Energy Co., Dragon Oil Plc (DGO) and Turkiye Petrolleri AO won a license to explore for crude in a plot along the Iranian border, Oil Ministry officials said at the auction in Baghdad today, the country’s first sale of energy-exploration rights since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein. The two-day auction of rights to 12 blocks resumes tomorrow.
Carbon market trading rose 11 percent to a record value of $176 billion in 2011 as an increase in secondary trading volumes offset lower prices and slowing economies, the World Bank said on Wednesday. Companies and governments are turning to emissions trading as a tool for fighting climate change, with the European Union by far the most active since its cap-and-trade scheme began in 2005. A record number of emissions products were traded in 2011, even though prices of EU carbon permits and international offsets plumbed new depths well below $10 a tonne late in the year, the bank said in its annual report on carbon markets.
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