In this issue:
1.5C losing impetus
It appears more and more people are giving up on constraining temperature increases to 1.5C. New research data from over 1,300 executives across the globe’s 100 largest companies (by revenue), from Impact and Influence, indicates only 5% of the companies included keeping 1.5C alive as a key priority for COP28. This compares with 20% mentioning clean technologies and 30% mentioning increased private sector engagement as key at the global gathering. In a ranking exercise, sticking to the 1.5C target received the least number of 1st rankings and was consistently at the bottom of the rankings.
Offset pricing to skyrocket
There seems a general consensus on the price trend of carbon offsets over the next 30 years. A report from PWC this week predicts UK companies may struggle to achieve carbon zero commitments because of the cost of offsetting, which it expects to increase by 256% by 2030 if avoidance offsets continue to be accepted, by over 1,000% if only removal offsets become acceptable. It further predicts prices will continue to rise to 2050 if avoidance continues to be accepted but peak in 2037 if avoidance offsets are discontinued. Meanwhile Statista projects a similar trend under a removals only scenario with prices increasing significantly by 2030 and then falling away under its SBTI (Science Based Targets Initiative) scenario. However, Statista suggests if offsetting continues under voluntary markets, prices will remain low but will continue to increase out to 2050.
Renewables widen the gap
On a more positive note, the IEA is reporting new investment in solar is now, for the first time, exceeding that in oil and gas. It is predicting energy investment in 2023 will total around US$2.8trn (NZ$4.7trn), 61% of which will be into renewables.
BREEAM getting an update
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is not extensively used in NZ but is one of the world’s leading building certification protocols. BREEAM is soon to get an upgrade and the BRE is inviting submissions on how it can improve its framework, with particular emphasis on improving the assessment of embodied carbon. Consultation closes on 30th June.
BREEAM in action
An example of BREEAM in action is the “Excellent” rated Matrix One building in Amsterdam. The 13,000 sqm Matrix One can easily be reconfigured, can be 90% dismantled and reused, is highly energy efficient and has 120,000 components databased for reuse when needed. We’d love to show you a picture but they are copyright. You can see a gallery via the link.
Hydrogen to save the coal industry
It’s not as far fetched as it sounds. While hydrogen can be expected to replace coal in high temperature applications, one of the hurdles to be overcome for that renewable future to unfold is the difficulty of storing hydrogen. Step up coal. Scientists at Penn State University are currently working on using coal as a hydrogen storage medium, claiming it the best of the geological storage options. It’s probably no coincidence that Pennsylvania is a major coal producing area and the black stuff a significant contributor to the local economy but, nonetheless, safe and economic hydrogen storage would be a major breakthrough.