Europe 2.6°C above pre-industrial temperature in 2023

  • : Electricity, Emissions
  • 24/04/22

Temperatures in Europe stood at 2.6°C above pre-industrial levels in 2023, data from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) show.

Europe last year experienced either its joint-warmest or second-warmest year on record, the WMO and EU earth-monitoring service Copernicus found today, in a joint report, European State of the Climate 2023. The organisations use datasets covering different geographical domains for Europe. WMO includes Greenland, the South Caucasus and part of the Middle East in its dataset. Copernicus put the temperature in Europe last year at between 2.48–2.58°C above pre-industrial levels.

The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to "well below" 2°C and preferably to 1.5°C. Europe is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the world. The global average temperature in 2023 was 1.45°C above the pre-industrial average, the WMO said earlier this year. It confirmed 2023 as the hottest on record. Climate scientists use the period 1850-1900 as the baseline for a pre-industrial average.

Temperatures in Europe in 2023 were above average for 11 months of the year, and there was a record number of days with "extreme heat stress", the report found. The three warmest years on record for Europe have occurred since 2020, and the 10 warmest since 2007, it said.

Electricity generation from renewables in Europe last year reached the highest proportion on record, at 43pc up from 36pc in 2022, the WMO and Copernicus said. Increased storm activity between October-December and above-average precipitation and river flow resulted in higher potential for wind power and run-of-river hydropower generation, respectively.

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and methane — the greenhouse gases (GHGs) causing the most warming — continued to increase in 2023, "reaching record levels", the report found. It put CO2 concentrations at 419 parts per million (ppm) and methane at 1,902 parts per billion (ppb) on average last year.

"Only around half of anthropogenic emissions of CO2 have been absorbed by land vegetation and oceans", the organisations said.

GHGs from human activity are driving climate change, but the El Nino weather phenomenon also typically leads to higher temperatures. The El Nino weather pattern, which started in July 2023, peaked in December, the WMO said previously, but could still affect temperatures this year. There is a 60pc chance of La Nina conditions — which typically lead to lower temperatures — developing in June-August, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said earlier this month.


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24/05/23

US poised to back New Jersey offshore wind farms

US poised to back New Jersey offshore wind farms

Houston, 23 May (Argus) — US regulators could soon approve two offshore wind projects near New Jersey, but with stipulations that would slightly reduce the number of turbines installed in the Atlantic Ocean. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) favors a design for the Atlantic Shores South system that would result in up to 195 turbines, as many as 10 offshore substations and eight transmission cables to ferry electricity ashore to New Jersey, the agency said today in its final environmental impact statement for the project. Atlantic Shores South comprises two separate projects, Atlantic Shores 1 and Atlantic Shores 2, which are 50:50 partnerships between Shell and EDF Renewables. The pair's overall capacity is tentatively set at 2,837MW, with the first phase targeting 1,510MW and a size for the second to be determined. Atlantic Shores 1 has a contract to deliver up to 6.18mn offshore renewable energy certificates each year to New Jersey, with first power expected in 2027. The state selected the project through its second offshore wind solicitation, with the 20-year contract scheduled to begin in 2028. The developers had proposed installing up to 200 turbines, but BOEM decided to favor a modified plan, adopting alternatives put forward by the companies in the name of mitigating impacts on local habitats while limiting turbine height and their proximity to the shore to reduce the project's "visual impacts," a point of contention among New Jersey residents who fear damage to tourism in oceanside communities. The BOEM-endorsed design would have mostly "minor" to "moderate" effects on the surrounding environment, with exceptions including consequences for North Atlantic right whales, commercial and for-hire fisheries and local scenery, which could be "major." The areas potentially hit hardest by the projects would be open to "major" consequences regardless of the project design, according to BOEM's analysis. The preference is not BOEM's final ruling, but it does herald the path the agency is likely to take. Regulators will publish the review in a "coming" edition of the Federal Register, starting a mandatory 30-day waiting period before BOEM can publish its final decision on the project. By Patrick Zemanek Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia’s Origin to keep Eraring coal plant on line


24/05/23
24/05/23

Australia’s Origin to keep Eraring coal plant on line

Perth, 23 May (Argus) — Australian utility firm Origin Energy and the New South Wales (NSW) state's Labor government have agreed to keep the nation's largest single power facility open for at least two more years. The deal involves Origin shelving plans to close the 2,880MW Eraring coal-fired power plant near the NSW city of Newcastle next year, and operating the generator until 19 August 2027 and potentially until April 2029. A generator engagement project agreement has been signed, under which Origin will receive compensation covering the cost of running the 40-year old plant, while aiming for the plant to generate at least 6TWh for the two additional fiscal years it will run. Eraring produced 12.15TWh last year, Origin's 2023 annual report showed. The firm must decide by 31 March in 2025 and 2026 whether it will enter the underwriting arrangement for the following financial year. If Origin profits from its Eraring plant during these years it will pay NSW 20pc of the proceeds, capped at A$40mn/yr ($26.5mn/yr), but no compensation will be paid after 30 June 2027. Origin can claim no more than 80pc of Eraring's financial losses each year from NSW and the compensation is to be capped at A$225mn each year, if it does opt in. Origin spent A$147mn for generation maintenance and sustaining capital on Eraring in 2023, with A$69mn owing to costs associated with the facility's ash dam. Eraring provides around 20pc of NSW's delivered electricity and was scheduled to be replaced by the 2,200MW pumped hydro scheme known as Snowy 2.0 — which has experienced significant delays and will not be on line until 2029 — and the 750MW Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station also being developed by federal government-owned Snowy Hydro, which is to be commissioned later this year. Coal-fired power generation The viability of coal-fired generators has been declining for some time as Australia's renewable power generation grows to nearly 40pc of the total grid capacity. Widespread rooftop solar is driving electricity prices into negative territory during daylight hours and disrupting the profitability of large-scale generators. Origin has committed to a 460MW battery energy storage system (BESS) at the site of Eraring, which it says will provide two hours of firming capacity to the national electricity market. Australia's Clean Energy Council said the announcement must be backed by measures to integrate new renewable generation and storage into the NSW grid with "clear signals and support" to rapidly transition to renewables. Planning issues and rising costs have stymied the federal and state governments' plans to increase Australia's dependence on large-scale wind, solar, pumped hydro and BESS projects to replace coal generators. Canberra is aiming for an 82pc renewables share for Australia's electricity production by 2030. Coal-fired generation increased on the year for January-March because of a warmer-than-average summer and increased availability. By Tom Major Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

UK general election set for 4 July


24/05/22
24/05/22

UK general election set for 4 July

London, 22 May (Argus) — A general election will take place in the UK on 4 July, prime minister Rishi Sunak said today. The announcement coincides with official data showing that UK inflation has fallen to its lowest level in nearly three years. Labour, the country's main opposition party led by Keir Starmer, has held a substantial lead in polls in recent months and performed well in local elections earlier this month. It won nearly 200 seats on local councils, as well as several regional mayoral contests, while the ruling Conservative Party lost almost 500 council seats. The Conservatives have been in power since 2010 and have fielded five prime ministers during that time. The two main parties are likely to release more detailed manifestos once the election campaign begins, but their current respective energy policies have many similarities. Both back a windfall tax on oil and gas producers and support nuclear power. They both also support offshore wind and solar power, although Labour has incrementally more ambitious targets for those renewables and has plans for more onshore wind. Labour also wants a zero-carbon power grid by 2030 , while the Conservatives are aiming for that in 2035. The Conservatives have rolled back some climate policy since Sunak became prime minister, while Labour in February backed down on its pledge to spend £28bn/yr ($35.6bn/yr) on the country's energy transition, if it wins the election. For a general election to take place in the UK, the prime minister must request permission from the British monarch — King Charles III — who then dissolves parliament. A general election must take place at least once every five years in the UK, although a prime minister can call one at any point. The UK's last general election was held on 12 December 2019 and Boris Johnson was elected prime minister. There have since then been two prime ministers — Liz Truss in September-October 2022 — and Sunak. Truss was selected by Conservative Party members and Sunak became prime minister in October 2022 after the only other candidate withdrew from the leadership contest. The Conservatives hold 344 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons, the UK's lower house of parliament. But 105 members of parliament have said that they will not run at the next election, 66 of whom are Conservatives. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Q&A: Over 100 entities trading Australia's ACCUs


24/05/22
24/05/22

Q&A: Over 100 entities trading Australia's ACCUs

Cairns, 22 May (Argus) — The Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) market has developed significantly in recent years, with demand moving away from the federal government to the private sector. Argus spoke with the country's Clean Energy Regulator's (CER) chair and chief executive David Parker and executive general manager Carl Binning about that transformation. Edited highlights follow: Demand for ACCUs had been typically driven by the federal government through carbon abatement contracts awarded in auctions but the market is becoming more diverse with rising volumes cancelled for voluntary purposes and an expected increase in surrenders under the safeguard mechanism . What's the approximate number of participants actively trading ACCUs now? Parker: There's more than 100 entities trading actively in the market. That's both on the demand side and the supply side. Some of them are in both. How does that compare with a few years ago? Binning: It's growing year on year. Parker: Around 20-30pc growth in successive years. What's the role of the government in purchasing ACCUs now? Parker: We no longer do the purchasing side [through auctions]. The government now has that function through the Department [of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water] but they can do other things. Binning: The government transferred the ERF [Emissions Reduction Fund] funding to the Powering the Regions Fund and that fund has a mandate to purchase ACCUs. But at this time there is no government direction to purchase . The CER still has a purchasing function to build up volumes under its cost containment reserve, which can only be accessed by safeguard facilities that exceed their annual emissions baselines and are unable to buy ACCUs from other sources. In that case, they would need to pay more than A$75 during the next fiscal year . This is more than double the current prices for ACCUs but how would that cost containment reserve work exactly if spot prices reached that triggering level? For instance, would a single company be able to buy all or most volumes if it bid first? Parker: Good question, we don't know the answer. Binning: The government is currently consulting on the design of the cost containment measure. One of CER's main works is the implementation of a new registry replacing the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units (ANREU). Is this going to solve some of the transparency limitations of the current registry? Parker: I'm very much in favour of transparency. We'll do as much as we possibly can in terms of putting out data, subject to the legal constraints. Binning: The Chubb review has been implemented in three stages. That created the capacity to make a rule under the legislation which enables more data to be published. And the government has accepted the recommendation, so we would expect some time over the next 12 to 18 months for some rules to be made to make that data available. And as David said, as a regulator, we welcome the shift towards greater transparency. What sort of data should we expect to see publicly available for the first time? Binning: I think some project level data. One of the challenges with the integrity debate is that we have data that is not accessible to the marketplace. So where there are on-ground checks being done, for example, making some of those checks more transparent and visible to the marketplace will give it confidence. Should we expect to have access to individual ACCU transfers between accounts, as we currently have for large-scale generation certificates in CER's REC registry or even ACCU holdings of individual account holders? Parker: We hope so. We do publish some information on that but it's aggregated information. Binning: One of the challenges with the ANREU registry is distinguishing between intermediaries in the marketplace that are holding ACCUs to further sell them versus entities that may be holding ACCUs to pass on to safeguard facilities for compliance purposes. Safeguard entities are large corporations, so they often have quite a significant number of related entities. Over time — and you'll see in the next quarterly market report — we're trying to get better at understanding those holdings that are held by related entities for the safeguard mechanism, so we get a stronger sense of how much of the demand has been taken up through the new safeguard mechanism. I think progressively we'll get better at that, but it's not as simple as it might be said. Is the new registry still expected to be operational in the second half of 2024, with the new carbon spot exchange coming online by the beginning of 2025 ? Parker: We hope so. We are about to put out a consultation paper on what the market wants to see in the exchange traded platform. Binning: Our consultation is about understanding the role of an exchange traded fund in complementing all the other markets that are emerging — including futures markets and secondary markets — whilst we still progress the registry, which underpins the whole thing. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

G20 seeks to ease climate funding to cities


24/05/21
24/05/21

G20 seeks to ease climate funding to cities

Sao Paulo, 21 May (Argus) — Climate funds need to make it easier for countries and especially individual cities to access resources, a G20 working group said in Brazil today. Experts, representatives of G20 member countries and financial organizations gathered in Rio de Janeiro to discuss ways to leverage financing to face extreme climate events. The two-day event was hosted by the G20 — which Brazil presides over this year — the country's finance minister, global network Finance in Common (FiCS) and the Brazilian NGO climate and society institute (iCS). Delegates agreed that climate funds — especially the green climate fund, the adaptation fund, the global environment facility fund and the special climate change fund, which will hold a combined $30bn in the next five years — need to allow better access for cities to combat climate change. That means easing bureaucracies and identifying bottlenecks, according to Ivan Oliveira, deputy secretary for sustainable development at Brazil's finance ministry. Guaranteeing funding for climate projects can take many years, Oliveira said. But "climate change requires climate funds to deliver quickly," he added. FiCS' chairman Remy Rioux — who is also the chief executive of France's development agency — pointed to the different accreditation processes for different climate funds as hindering climate financing. A single accreditation process would ease access, he added. "We will do our best to find innovative financial solutions for climate resilience and resilient infrastructure," he said. Climate projects should also be able to tap into multiple funds more easily, Oliveira said. Rioux also called for the creation of an international guarantee fund to back individual national banks should they need resources to combat climate change. Additionally, local governments should be able to deal directly with climate funds, instead of having to work through the federal government, he added. The director of Brazil's development bank Nelson Barbosa also noted that a lack of financial guarantees and exchange rate volatility hinder banks and country's ability to access climate funds. The G20 working group will present a report with suggestions to address these issues in July, in Belem — the capital of northern Para state — Oliveira said. The city will also host Cop30 in 2025. Rio Grande do Sul Brazil's federal government is discussing a line of credit to southern Rio Grande do Sul state, which has been hit by heavy rainfall and historic flooding since late April, Barbosa said. "A special line of credit will be needed for reconstruction," he said. "We already have lines for adaptation and mitigation and now we have to think about lines to take care of losses and damages. Reality has arrived, and development banks have to deal with the effects of the climate." But he did not give further specifics on the measures. On Monday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for the creation of an international fund backed by "people that pollute the planet" to aid Rio Grande do Sul. He has in the past called on rich nations to fund global efforts to mitigate climate change. Rains in Rio Grande do Sul have left 161 people dead, 85 missing and over 581,600 people displaced, according to the state's civil defense. Rebuilding the state will cost over R19bn ($3.7bn), according to the state government. By Lucas Parolin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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