Verra’s VCS Program Update: Navigating CORSIA and ICVCM Alignment

Verra, a leading non-profit VCM registry in the US has recently released updates to its Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. The latest release, VCS Standard v4.7, introduces enhancements to the existing framework.

The VCM program aims to bolster the credibility and effectiveness of carbon offset projects certified under the VCS Program. However, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) is currently in the final stages of approving it, and they expect to receive the results either later this month or possibly in May.

VCS Program Updates: Alignment with CORSIA and ICVCM

Verra’s 4.7 updates aim to ensure full compliance with CORSIA’s first phase (2024–2026 compliance period) requirements, established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Verra will submit these updates to ICAO for further assessment by the ICAO Technical Advisory Body.
The deadline for submission of the Material Changes form is on or before April 30, 2024

Furthermore, the VCS Program updates incorporate several amendments to its rules aimed at clarifying its alignment with the Core Carbon Principles set by the Carbon Market (ICVCM). As mentioned, the final review and approval process would take at least a month.

The provisions would prevent the double claiming of emission reductions and removals represented by VCUs used for CORSIA compliance. They would also enhance the host country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

Verra’s Diverse Sustainability Initiatives

One of Verra’s most notable contributions is the development and oversight of the VCS program, which provides guidelines and protocols for certifying carbon offset projects.

These projects, ranging from renewable energy installations to reforestation efforts, undergo rigorous assessment to ensure they meet specific criteria for additionality, permanence, and emissions reductions.

In addition to the VCS program,

Verra manages other standards and programs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability and social responsibility. These include the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards.
They further assess projects for their impacts on local communities and ecosystems, and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta). It evaluates projects based on their contributions to sustainable development goals.

source: Verra annual report 2022

MUST READ: Revolutionizing Forest Protection: Verra Introduces New REDD+ Methodology (

Overview of VCS Program Updates (new version v4.7)

The Overview of VCS Program Updates and Effective Dates (PDF) provides a comprehensive list of changes, along with their effective dates and grace periods.

The updated documents mainly highlight the VCS Standard, VCS Program Definitions, the Verra Registry Terms of Use (ToU), and VCS Safeguard.

1. Updates Related to the VCS Safeguard

Mandate thorough risk assessments by project proponents, ensuring mitigation measures are proportionate to identified risks.
Mandates project proponents to identify, minimize, and mitigate impacts, including those stemming from chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Clarifies that project proponents must also safeguard staff and contracted workers employed by third parties.
Specifies that demonstrating no adverse impact extends to areas crucial for habitat connectivity.

The revision is effective for all project requests submitted to the Verra Registry on or after January 1, 2025.

2. Updates Related to Registration under the GHG Program

Requires providing evidence of the project’s inactivity date, where applicable.
Stipulates that projects registered under another GHG program can only join the VCS Program after becoming inactive in the other program.

The revision is effective for all projects requesting registration or crediting period renewal under the VCS Program on or after January 1, 2025

3. Updates Related to Double Selling of VCUs

This section of the update references VCS Program rules on double selling of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs), which are covered in the Registry Terms of Use. Updates to the VCS Program Definitions will be effective immediately.

4. Updates Related to Methodology Development and Review Process

It clarifies that Verra selects a shortlist of eligible validation/verification bodies that meet all requests for proposal and VCS Program criteria. Updates to the VCS Program Definitions will be effective immediately.

5. Updates Related to VCS Standard and Registration and Issuance Process

Verra has updated all project templates to align with the revised requirements in the VCS Standard and Registration and Issuance Process. It’s effective for all project requests submitted to the Verra Registry on or after January 1, 2025.

Disclaimer: We have fetched a revised VCS program update from Verra’s April 2024 program update release.

Image: Verra’s VCM program issues billions of carbon credits.

source: Verra’s annual report 2022

Governments, businesses, and organizations worldwide widely recognize and utilize Verra’s standards as benchmarks for credible and transparent carbon credit exchanges.

In 2022, Verra’s VCS Program significantly issued its 1 billion carbon credit. Verra remains deeply committed to maintaining a high-integrity VCM that contributes to achieving the Paris Agreement goals. This commitment has been assured by Judith Simon, Verra President and Interim CEO, she noted,

“I feel the urgency and importance of all we must do—not just as an organization, but also in support of environmental and social markets. We have an enormous responsibility, and we take it seriously.”

FURTHER READING: Verra Holds Crediting for CDM Rice Cultivation Methodology (

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Mercedes-Benz Reveals First-Ever Electric G-Wagon

As automakers and suppliers invest heavily in electric vehicle (EV) capacity and technology development, the actual demand for EVs has yet to catch up, leading carmakers to adjust their production plans accordingly. The luxury carmaker, Mercedes-Benz, just revealed its first-ever electric truck, the G Wagon, or the G580 with EQ Technology. 

This development is anticipated as the German automaker announced in 2021 that it would make all-electric vehicles by 2030. However, the carmaker had undergone a recalibration in this commitment. 

Mercedes-Benz Adjusts its Roadmap to 2030

Mercedes-Benz is adjusting its electrification strategy, slowing down its timeline to go fully electric by 2030.

Initially, the German luxury automaker had set ambitious plans in motion, committing €40 billion ($43 billion) in 2021 to phase out combustion engines and focus solely on electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of the decade. This strategy aligned with EU regulations aiming to ban new gas and diesel vehicle sales by 2035. 

READ MORE: Mercedes-Benz Q2 EV Sales Up 123%, Aims to Bring New Fleet to Net Zero by 2039

In detail, here are the company’s original climate targets and progress.

However, recent developments indicate a shift in gears.

The company’s blueprint outlined a goal for half of its vehicle sales to be electrified (EVs or hybrids) by 2025. Now, this target has been postponed to 2030. This adjustment reflects the current reality where fully battery-powered vehicles constituted only 11% of Mercedes’ sales in 2023, rising to 19% when including hybrids.

This shift underscores the company’s pragmatic approach amidst evolving market dynamics.

Mercedes-Benz’s recalibration aligns with industry trends, as other automakers like Ford and General Motors have also revised their electrification strategies in response to changing consumer demand for EVs in the U.S. and Europe.

RELATED: Lithium Prices and Insights into the EV Market’s Pulse

Even the EV giant, Tesla, reported a dip in profits with lower EV sales for this year’s first quarter.

Other factors in the changing EV landscape include reduced government subsidies, rising electricity costs, and insufficient public charging infrastructure. These factors contribute to a deceleration in customer demand for EVs.

Moreover, governments are reevaluating their timelines for banning the sale of combustion-powered cars. The EU settled on a 2035 cutoff but pledged to explore synthetic fuels as an alternative. Similarly, the UK shifted its ban from 2030 to 2035 last year.

Charging Ahead: Mercedes-Benz’s Electric G580

The company now emphasizes that the pace of the transition to electric will be dictated by customer demand and market conditions. Investors have responded positively to Mercedes’s announcement, coupled with news of a $3.2 billion share buyback, resulting in a more than 5% increase in the company’s stock price.

The carmaker’s current plans for updates suggest a significant evolution. Still, Mercedes-Benz reaffirms its commitment to electrification by continuing to innovate and make high-tech EVs like the electric G-Class Wagon. 

Here are the key features and specifications of the company’s new fully-electric truck:

Design and Development: The electric G-Class, known as the G580 with EQ Technology, maintains the iconic G-Class design while being powered by a battery. It retains the ruggedness and off-road capability of its combustion engine counterpart.
Electric Powertrain: Has 4 electric motors, one for each wheel, delivering a total output of 579bhp and 859lb ft of torque. The motors are paired with a two-speed gearbox for each, developed specifically for the G580.
Performance: Boasts impressive off-road performance, matching or exceeding the capabilities of the petrol-powered G-Class. It features a shiftable low-range transmission and offers up to 100% gradeability on certain surfaces.
Battery and Range: Comes with a 116kWh battery, shared with the EQS, offering a claimed range of 292 miles. The batteries are integrated into the frame, serving as a structural component. The battery pack is protected by an underride guard that acts as a skid plate when off-roading.
Charging: Can be fast-charged at speeds of up to 200kW, allowing for quick charging times.
Sound Experience: Offers a “G-Roar” function providing an emotive sound experience in the cabin, enhancing the driving experience.

Overall, the Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology combines the legendary off-road capabilities of the G-Class with electric power, contributing to clean transportation and reducing emissions.

Joining Forces for Climate

The luxury carmaker has joined the climate protection initiative “Transform to Net Zero” (TONZ). Led by Microsoft, TONZ brings together nine renowned companies from various industries and countries to promote the conditions necessary for the broad decarbonization of the economy and society.

Moreover, through initiatives like Ambition 2039, Mercedes-Benz aims to achieve a “net zero CO2” new car fleet within less than 20 years, extending beyond driving operations to include the entire value chain. 

The commitment to climate protection aligns well with Mercedes-Benz’s new strategic focus on high-margin luxury cars. Today’s luxury car customers prioritize climate protection, seeking solutions that combine fascination with responsibility.

Mercedes-Benz aims to maintain its technological leadership role in electric drives and digitalization as exemplified in G580 with EQ Technology, reflecting its dedication to providing innovative and sustainable mobility solutions.

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Coal Power is Accelerating Despite the Energy Transition

In a significant development for the global energy landscape, China has led a surge in coal-power capacity, driving the world’s total to a record high in 2020, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor. This increase was primarily fueled by new plants in China, which accounted for about two-thirds of the expansion, with Indonesia and India following closely behind.

The Current State of Coal Consumption

The coal fleet expanded by 2% to 2,130 gigawatts, a remarkable increase driven by a decrease in retirements worldwide. This trend was particularly prominent in China, where the country initiated the construction of 70 gigawatts of new coal plants in 2020. That’s nearly 20x more than the rest of the world combined.

The report, titled “Global Coal Plant Tracker 2021: The World’s 1000 Largest Coal Plants,” highlights the significant role China plays in the global coal market. 

The country’s aggressive expansion of coal-power capacity is a stark contrast to the trend of retiring coal plants in many developed countries, such as the United States and the European Union.

The increase in coal-power capacity has significant implications for global energy markets and climate policy initiatives. 

According to Global Energy Monitor, about as many countries opened new coal plant units as shut units down in 2023. Yet overall, more capacity is added than retired.

Here are 8 key points from the coal report:

Global operating coal capacity grew by 2% in 2023, with China driving two-thirds of new additions. However, this accelerated growth in coal capacity may be short-lived, as low retirement rates in 2023 that contributed to coal’s rise are expected to pick up speed in the U.S. and Europe, offsetting the blip.
Heightened capacity additions will also be tempered if China takes immediate action to ensure it meets its target of shutting down 30 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity by 2025. Countries with coal plants to retire need to do so more quickly, and countries with plans for new coal plants must ensure these are never built. 
Otherwise, meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and reaping the benefits of a swift transition to clean energy will be difficult. Coal’s fortunes this year are an anomaly, as all signs point to reversing course from this accelerated expansion. 

RELEVANT: Global Team Develops World’s First “Coal-to-Clean” Carbon Credit Program

The data for the report comes from GEM’s Global Coal Plant Tracker, an online database updated biannually that identifies and maps every known coal-fired generating unit and every new unit proposed since January 1, 2010 (30 MW and larger). This data serves as a vital international reference point used by organizations including the IPCC, IEA, and the UN.
According to the IEA, global coal demand is predicted to decline by 2.3% in 2026 compared to 2023 levels. And that’s even without stronger clean energy and climate policies. This decline is driven by the major expansion of renewable energy capacity coming online in the three years to 2026. 
More than half of the global renewable capacity expansion is set to occur in China, which currently accounts for over half of the world’s demand for coal. As a result, Chinese coal demand is expected to fall in 2024 and plateau through 2026. 
The shift in coal demand and production to Asia is accelerating, with China, India, and Southeast Asia set to account for three-quarters of global consumption in 2023, up from only about one-quarter in 1990. Consumption in Southeast Asia is expected to exceed that of the U.S. and the EU in 2023. 
The three largest coal producers globally – Indonesia, China, and India – are expected to break production records in 2023, pushing global output to a new high. However, to decrease emissions at a rate keeping with Paris Agreement goals, relentless coal use would need to fall much more quickly. 

China’s Pivotal Role and the Shift in Coal’s Global Leadership

China’s growth in coal capacity highlights its focus on fulfilling energy needs for economic and industrial expansion, despite global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The interplay between increasing coal capacity and the shift toward cleaner energy will significantly influence the worldwide energy scenario.

The role of China and other key players in this process will be crucial in determining the pace and scope of the shift towards a more sustainable energy future. 

The report further highlights a significant shift in global leadership regarding coal policies, particularly within the G7 and G20 nations. The G7 countries, which accounted for 23% of the world’s operating coal capacity in 2015, have reduced their share to 15% in 2023. 

The reduction is underscored by the completion of new units in Japan. This marks the end of coal construction within the G7, although proposals still exist in Japan and the U.S. 

READ MORE: G7 to Stop Funding Coal-Fired Power, Promises $100 Billion

Meanwhile, the G20 nations hold 92% of the world’s operating coal capacity, with Brazil, the current G20 chair, witnessing a decrease in pre-construction capacity, leaving only two projects remaining in Latin America. 

This geographical shift in coal policies and projects underscores a broader global trend toward reducing reliance on coal. Moreover, it will have significant implications for international energy markets and climate policy initiatives.

Coal Plant Proposals and Retirements

The dynamics of coal plant proposals and retirements provide a nuanced view of the global coal industry’s future. In 2023, while 69.5 GW of coal power capacity was added, only 21.1 GW was retired, leading to a net increase in global coal capacity. 

This trend is particularly pronounced outside of China, where new proposals totaled 20.9 GW, led by countries like India, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. 

Despite a general trend toward decommissioning, these developments indicate a complex global landscape where certain regions continue to explore new coal projects

This ongoing activity suggests that while the global momentum is towards reducing coal dependency, achieving this goal requires concerted efforts across all nations, particularly those with significant new proposals.

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Copper and the Need to Meet the World’s Rewiring Demand for Energy Transition

Avoiding a climate catastrophe and reducing carbon emissions poses significant technical and societal challenges. Transitioning power and transportation systems, in particular, to rely on renewable energy sources will necessitate a considerable increase in copper use, far beyond what current production levels can accommodate.

But the critical question remains: Is the traditionally cautious mining industry committed to producing more copper to meet the world’s rewiring needs? 

Copper’s Crucial Role in the Energy Transition

Copper plays a pivotal role in the energy transition due to its exceptional conductivity, second only to silver. While more cost-effective alternatives like aluminum exist, they come with efficiency compromises. 

Copper is found in a diverse array of products, from toasters and air conditioners to microchips. The average car contains around 65 pounds (29 kilograms) of copper, and the typical home boasts over 400 pounds. 

The construction of more complex grids capable of managing electricity generated by decentralized renewable sources and stabilizing their intermittent supply requires millions of feet of copper wiring. Solar and wind farms, often covering expansive areas, demand more copper per unit of power generated than centralized coal- and gas-fired power stations. 

Electric vehicles (EVs) use over twice as much copper as traditional gasoline-powered cars, as per the Copper Alliance.

This electric metal is ideal for making various decarbonizing technologies. Taken together, these clean energy technologies can potentially abate around 2/3 of global GHG emissions by 2050.

Meeting net zero carbon emission targets by 2035 would likely require doubling annual copper demand to 50 million metric tons, as estimated by an industry-backed study by S&P Global.

READ MORE: Copper’s Price Breakout and Big Role in a Net Zero World

Even more conservative projections foresee a one-third increase in demand over the next decade, driven by increased investments in decarbonization by governments and businesses. It could grow to almost double by 2035, however, the availability of such significant quantities of copper remains uncertain.

While there is an increase in copper recycling, it’s unlikely to meet the rising demand, leaving mining as the primary source. Although there’s an ample supply underground, boosting output significantly faces several challenges.

Copper’s fluctuations mirror those of the global economy, rising and falling with industrial production. This makes miners cautious about expanding capacity, fearing a downturn in demand. 

Additionally, there’s a fundamental challenge: extracting copper from new deposits is becoming more difficult and costly as ore grades decline, requiring more mining to yield the same amount of metal. Heightened scrutiny of the environmental impacts of copper mining further dampens investment enthusiasm.

Supply Crunch Looms as Demand Soars

A recent copper price rally has sparked speculation among traders and executives about a potential supply crunch. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates that addressing an expected annual supply shortfall of 8 million tons over the next decade would require the industry to invest $150 billion. 

However, reaching this level of investment would necessitate copper prices reaching record highs, as noted by Trafigura Group and BlackRock Inc.

Just as oil shaped geopolitics in the last century, access to copper is becoming a crucial economic concern in the present one, prompting governments to vie for limited future supplies. The majority of copper ore is mined in Latin America and Africa, processed locally into a more concentrated form, and then exported to other nations for smelting into pure copper.

China, lacking sufficient domestic reserves, has compensated by acquiring mines abroad and expanding its smelting capacity domestically. While China’s surplus capacity has driven smelting fees to historic lows, the US and its allies are uneasy about Beijing’s influence over such a critical industry.

Consequently, they seek to increase sourcing and refining of essential metals for the energy transition domestically or in friendly nations.

Trends Shaping Copper’s Demand and Future Market 

In the event of severe copper shortages, prices would soar, potentially jeopardizing the economics of EVs, smart grids, and renewable energy, thereby impeding their adoption. Clean energy technology manufacturers could mitigate this risk by finding ways to reduce copper use in their products.

Higher prices would incentivize miners to increase production, but developing a new mine takes several years. Even if a surge in demand prompted miners to invest heavily in new projects, it would take about a decade to significantly impact output projections.

Market experts noted that while demand is projected to increase globally, there are variations in growth rates across different regions. They further emphasized that regional macroeconomic conditions often drive demand for copper, but the supply of natural resources needed to meet this demand is often disjointed.

A study delineates this regional variation, highlighting significant growth in copper demand in India, forecasted to grow at 7%, closely followed by the ASEAN region with a projected growth rate of 6%. However, the researchers predict more moderate demand growth in North America (3%), South America (2%), and less than 1% in both China and Europe.

The research also shows a similar pattern for copper cable demand, with green-related applications counterbalancing the slower growth in traditional demand sectors.

While copper demand in conventional applications will increase by only 0.5%, there will be significant growth from various green energy sectors. This includes an 11% increase in demand from EVs and chargers, a 19% growth from grid expansion, and a 7% increase from renewable energy technologies.

Overall, wire and cable use related to the green energy transition could surge from 0.8 million metric tons (Mt) to 6.7 Mt between 2020 and 2040.

All these underscore the pivotal role of copper in facilitating the transition to clean energy sources and electric mobility. It’s now up to miners to embrace this shift and produce more of this essential electric metal.

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Rimba Raya REDD+ Project Revocation Rattles Carbon Market

The project developer of the prominent Rimba Raya REDD+ initiative expressed surprise over not being notified about the revocation of its forest license in Indonesia, as reported recently in the local media.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry has reportedly suspended and revoked the operating license for the Rimba Raya Conservation project. This project could potentially be one of the largest nature-based projects in the voluntary carbon market (VCM). The reason cited is “carbon trading violations”.

Rimba Raya’s Carbon Regulatory Rift

Rimba Raya is situated on the southern coast of Borneo and plays a vital role in providing, preserving, and safeguarding hundreds of endangered mammal species. It’s also implementing community programs for nine villages.

Rimba Raya REDD+ project generates carbon credits by conserving High Conservation Value (HCV) tropical peat forests, housing over 350 million tonnes of carbon stored in its peat domes. The project holds the distinction of being:

The first validated REDD+ project ever under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS),
The first REDD+ forest-carbon project globally to achieve triple-gold validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard (CCBA), and
The first REDD+ initiative to achieve the highest possible rating of contributing to all 17 UN SDGs.

The revocation poses a significant challenge to the Rimba Raya REDD+ project, which was the first to be listed under Indonesia’s new carbon registry, the Sistem Registrasi Nasional (SRN), in late 2022. The SRN carbon credit system adheres to internationally accepted standards (UNFCC guidelines).

However, it has not yet undergone full verification due to delays at the government level.

The status of numerous REDD+ projects in Indonesia has been uncertain for the past two years, as the government formulates its policies regarding carbon trading. In April 2022, the Indonesian government suspended validating some of the carbon projects as they failed to meet regulations. 

Though some of these initiatives are compliant, others still need to make necessary adjustments. The forestry ministry is firm about its rules and would take action against projects that don’t abide.

READ MORE: Indonesia Government Confirms Suspension of Validating Carbon Projects

As of now, no voluntary carbon projects have received full verification under SRN. Developers are hopeful that a new environment minister, following this year’s presidential election, will address this issue. However, if the reports about the license revocation are accurate, it could further hinder VCM projects.

Why the Indonesian Government Revoked the Project

The Director of Forest Utilization Business Control, Khairi Wenda, was quoted by news site It states that the primary reason for revoking Rimba Raya’s permit was the transfer of the permit to a third party “without approval” from the Minister of Environment and Forestry, referred to in Indonesia as LHK.

According to the article, Rimba Raya engaged in carbon trading transactions that extended beyond its licensed area. Thus, it violates the cooperation agreement with Tanjung Puting National Park. 

Additionally, Rimba Raya was criticized for not paying Non-Tax State Revenue (PNBP) in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

The revocation of the license is seen as an enforcement of regulations related to carbon trading in Indonesia. The move aimed at preventing double counting and double claims between countries in efforts to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Indonesia initiated a carbon credit trading market in September last year. This is in line with its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and reaching net zero by 2060.

As the largest emitter in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has chosen the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) as the platform for trading carbon credits. This exchange will facilitate carbon trading and also encourage the transition to cleaner energy sources, thereby mitigating the climate impact of the country’s heavily coal-dependent power sector.

RELEVANT: Indonesia Launches Carbon Credit Market In A Leap Toward Net Zero

Legal Limbo: InfiniteEarth’s Response to the Revocation

However, InfiniteEarth, the developer behind the project, stated that the legal framework for carbon projects in Indonesia remains uncertain. It mentioned that its business partner and concession holder, PT Rimba Raya, has not informed them about the alleged suspension.

InfiniteEarth clarified that the allegation of permit transfer is incorrect, asserting that PT Rimba Raya remains the concession holder. And InfiniteEarth has been the project proponent and owner of the carbon rights since the project’s inception. It highlighted its reaffirmation through audits and validations by SRN.

Regarding the project’s obligations, InfiniteEarth stated that some are beyond their control and are the responsibility of their partner, PT Rimba Raya Conservation. Expressing disappointment, InfiniteEarth affirmed its commitment to resolving the concession rights matter to ensure the project’s continuity.

Rimba Raya is anticipated to generate around 2.7 million carbon credits per year, according to one of its contracted offtakers, Canadian credit aggregator Carbon Streaming. 

In August 2021, Carbon Streaming’s agreement with Rimba Raya REDD+ developer aims to generate revenue from carbon credit sales. The income contributes to various initiatives, such as local community development, infrastructure projects, and the protection of the project area. 

But the recent news will largely impact the project activities and the benefits it brings to the community and the sector. 

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Methane Offsets Provider Zefiro Methane Goes Public on Cboe Canada

Zefiro Methane Corporation announced that its common shares started trading on the Cboe Canada Exchange under the ticker symbol ZEFI. This milestone follows Zefiro Methane’s successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), as revealed in its April 11 press release.

Zefiro Methane is a private methane offsets originator dedicated to decommissioning orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States.

Why Plug Wells?

Zefiro’s primary mission revolves around mitigating methane gas emissions, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide. Leveraging its expertise in asset retirement and environmental markets, Zefiro stands as the sole fully integrated provider dedicated to addressing the pervasive issue of methane leaks across countless sites throughout North America. 

Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas (GHG) globally, trailing only behind CO2. It contributes to about 20% of total GHG emissions. Remarkably, its heat-trapping potency surpasses CO2 by at least 25 times, scaling up to over 8x.

Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have surged significantly. This prompted concerns among scientists who view escalating methane emissions as a formidable obstacle to maintaining global temperatures below the 1.5°C threshold. The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) forecasts that methane emissions from human activities will increase by 2030. 

The surge in methane pollution largely comes from human activities, with one prominent culprit – the abandoned oil and gas wells.

Recent estimates paint a troubling picture, indicating the existence of over 4 million orphaned oil and gas wells scattered across 26 U.S. states. A study sheds light on the distribution of these wells in Canada and the U.S.

These abandoned and unplugged wells serve as potent sources of methane leakage, posing grave threats to air quality. Government assessments equate the volume of leaking methane to the combustion of over 16 million barrels of oil, underscoring the magnitude of the environmental challenge posed by neglected well sites.

By decommissioning these wells, Zefiro Methane generates high-quality carbon offsets available for sale in voluntary carbon markets.

Zefiro’s Strategic Expansion in Environmental Services

Notably, a substantial federal allocation of US$4.7 billion has been earmarked for well site plugging, remediation, and restoration efforts, aiming to combat methane emissions. Throughout 2023, Zefiro expanded its operational framework as an environmental services leader through strategic acquisitions. These include Plants & Goodwin, Inc. based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and Appalachian Well Surveys, Inc. in Cambridge, Ohio. 

RELATED: Methane Offsets Originator, Zefiro, Buys Plants and Goodwin

These acquisitions have positioned Zefiro as a fully integrated entity. Further underscoring its commitment, Zefiro secured a presale agreement for certified carbon credits with Mercuria Energy America, LLC, a significant player in the global energy and commodities landscape. 

Additionally, Zefiro played a pivotal role in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, hosting a noteworthy event within the “Blue Zone.”

Reflecting on the bell-ringing ceremony, CEO Talal Debs expressed excitement for Zefiro Methane going IPO and its trajectory as an emerging environmental services powerhouse. He emphasized the company’s unique position as a comprehensive provider tackling the methane emissions challenge head-on, remarking:

“By leveraging our team’s decades of operational experience both in the field and in the boardroom, Zefiro is forging an innovative toolkit to reduce methane emissions and help remediate critical air, land, and water resources…and we will continue working with key public and private sector stakeholders to achieve these goals.”

Zefiro’s Public Debut Opens Doors for Green Trading

With Zefiro’s listing, institutional and retail investors alike gain access to the Active Sustainability movement. Looking ahead, Zefiro anticipates a dynamic future as a publicly traded entity on the Cboe Canada exchange.

Erik Sloane, Global Head of Corporate Listings at Cboe Global Markets commented on this celebratory event, saying:

“As governments across the world take steps to monitor and manage commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Zefiro Methane is positioning themselves with an expert management team, access to capital, and creating an interesting opportunity for investors.”

The company’s strategic partnerships with industry stakeholders, state bodies, and federal agencies are poised to bolster revenue and EBITDA growth for its shareholders. 

Investors keen on trading shares of ZEFI can do so through their usual investment channels, including discount brokerage platforms and full-service dealers.

Cboe Canada boasts over 270 unique listings, including some of the most innovative Canadian and international growth companies. It also trades ETFs from Canada’s largest ETF issuers, and Canadian Depositary Receipts (CDRs). The exchange facilitates over 15% of all volume traded in Canadian-listed companies and over 20% of all volume traded in Canadian ETFs.

Zefiro Methane Corporation’s IPO listing on the Cboe Canada Exchange represents more than just a financial milestone—it marks a significant step forward in the global effort to combat methane emissions. As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change, Zefiro’s mission to decommission orphaned oil and gas wells and mitigate methane leaks stands at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

READ MORE: Study Shows Landfill Methane Emissions Are 1.4x More Than EPA Estimates

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EU Commission Backs Germany’s Renewable Hydrogen Plan with $380M Funding 

The EU Commission made history by approving $380M (€350m) German scheme to bolster renewable hydrogen production in Germany. The scheme was released this month under the EU state aid rules. It would be operated exclusively through the European Hydrogen Bank’s “Auctions-as-a-Service” tool.

REPowerEU and The European Green Deal have set a concrete plan to move away from fossil fuels and embrace the EU’s industry for the net zero age. The scheme aligns with the objectives of these two entities. Most significantly, aiming to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels while transitioning to the green future.

Unleashing the Potential of the German Green Hydrogen Scheme

The Background 

The “auctions as a service” model encourages EU member states to support domestic renewable hydrogen production. It allows countries to subsidize hydrogen production within their borders by leveraging the existing system set up by the EU Commission.

The EU Commission’s 2022 Climate, Energy, and Environmental State Aid Guidelines (CEEAG) establish a flexible and useful framework to assist Member States. It offers the necessary support to achieve the Green Deal objectives efficiently and cost-effectively.

Media reports revealed that last year in December, Germany topped up the EU’s €800m ($876m) pilot auction for the European Hydrogen Bank. It secured €350m as a domestic fund under the “auctions as a service” model.

Yet, a forthcoming auction of €2.2 billion is set to launch in the spring of next year, i.e. 2025. This could amplify the new capacity’s budget and scale with the support of more member states.

Image: The Europe Green Hydrogen Market is expected to record a positive CAGR of ~40% during the forecast period (2022-2030)

Project Capacity and Future Goals 

The German scheme will power the establishment of up to 90 MW of electrolysis capacity, incentivizing the production of approximately 75,000 tons of renewable hydrogen.

Currently, Germany has less than 100MW of electrolyzer capacity. With this funding, it aims to achieve approximately 10 GW of domestic electrolysis capacity by 2030.

It would also contribute to the EU target of producing a minimum of 42.5% renewable energy by 2030, and scale up to 45% later.

MUST READ: EU Approves Almost $1B State Aid for Northvolt’s German Gigafactory (

Fund Allocation: Role of CINEA and REPowerEU

The European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) is overseeing the competitive bidding process to allocate the aid. The bidding concluded on February 8th, and the Agency is currently evaluating and prioritizing project bids from all Member States. Companies aiming to build new electrolyzers in Germany can apply for support through this German scheme.

CINEA manages energy, environment, climate action, and transport programs under the EU. The agency monitors funding and project management to promote green initiatives, like decarbonization, green fuel, and other sustainability initiatives across the continent.

A snapshot of CINEA’S funding and responsibilities 

Source: European Commission Annual Report 2022

The European Commission’s vice-president for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič expressed his pleasure in this deal, stating that,

 “We will only achieve the transition to a climate-neutral EU and a decarbonized energy system if we join forces. I am very pleased to see Germany become the first Member State to use the Innovation Fund’s hydrogen pilot auction to support renewable hydrogen projects nationally.”

Moving on, the REPowerEU plan has necessitated substantial investments and reforms in the form of loans and grants. Priority allocations include ~ €10 billion for gas and LNG infrastructure to ensure energy security for all Member States. They would deploy approximately €2 billion to phase out Russian oil shipments.

Most importantly, the bulk funding- 95%, will be dedicated to driving the clean energy transition. The key focus would be on implementing a modern regulatory framework for hydrogen and establishing a hydrogen accelerator.

Beneficiaries of the German Scheme  

Companies planning to build new electrolyzers within Germany will qualify for assistance. Furthermore, beneficiaries must adhere to the EU standards to produce renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs).

Additionally, the companies will receive the grant directly for 1 kilogram of renewable hydrogen generated, with a maximum duration of ten years.

Germany has further established sufficient measures to minimize the scheme’s influence on competition and business within the EU.

The European Green Deal and REPowerEU Lead the Green Hydrogen Mission

Since its inception, the Commission has effortlessly aimed to reshape the EU into a sustainable, resource-efficient, globally competitive economy, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s goals.

The EU crafted the European Green Deal to guide it towards these aspirations. Its primary aim is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world.

The EU has actively backed the establishment of infrastructure and technologies to curb emissions. One such initiative is such as supporting the shift to green hydrogen production.

In March 2022, EU leaders in the European Council unanimously decided to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy imports. Thus, the concept of REPowerEU came into existence.

EU’s press release mentions,

“REPowerEU is about rapidly reducing their dependence on Russian fossil fuels by fast-forwarding the clean transition and joining forces to achieve a more resilient energy system and a true Energy Union.”

As per the latest reports, the two initiatives: REPowerEU and the European Green Deal have helped the EU to achieve the following outcomes: 

Reduced its dependency on Russian fossil fuels
Saved ~ 20% of its energy consumption
Introduced the gas price cap and the global oil price cap
2x additional deployment of renewables (clean hydrogen)

source: EU Hydrogen Strategy

With this analysis, we hope the EU Commission aptly uses the German Scheme funding to magnify its renewable hydrogen capacity and take the lead to a sustainable future.

FURTHER READING: First Hydrogen Track Day with Europe and UK’s Largest Companies (

The post EU Commission Backs Germany’s Renewable Hydrogen Plan with $380M Funding  appeared first on Carbon Credits.

Xpansiv Chosen To Open Carbon Credit Exchange in Saudi Arabia

The Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Company (RVCMC) announced its partnership with Xpansiv, a leading market infrastructure provider in the global energy transition. The goal is to facilitate the technological backbone for RVCMC’s forthcoming carbon credit exchange in Saudi Arabia. It will launch later this year. 

RVCMC and Xpansiv Forge Path to Sustainable Trading

Established in October 2022, RVCMC was founded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Company. PIF holds an 80% stake in the company, while Tadawul Group holds the remaining 20% stake. 

With a shared vision, RVCMC is swiftly and ambitiously building a credible voluntary carbon market with global significance. Central to its mission is the prioritization of high-quality carbon credits and proactive climate action.

RVCMC is spearheading the development of an ecosystem that encompasses various components essential for effective climate mitigation. This ecosystem includes the following financial vehicles and services:

An investment fund dedicated to financing climate mitigation projects,
An exchange tailored for the trading of carbon credits, and
Advisory services aimed at assisting organizations in navigating the complexities of decarbonization.

The decision to enlist Xpansiv stems from RVCMC’s endeavor to furnish traders with institutional-grade infrastructure, ensuring swift and secure transactions.

Xpansiv, renowned for operating CBL, the world’s largest spot carbon credit marketplace, will furnish the new exchange with its open-access market infrastructure. This includes a fully automated, same-day settlement platform and a portfolio management system, both seamlessly integrated with leading global registries.

RVCMC will impose stringent criteria for the exchange to exclusively list high-integrity carbon credit projects. All of them are validated by independent standard setters, thereby fortifying the global energy transition. 

Contracts will be meticulously crafted to align with industry best practices, incorporating a gradual transition towards carbon removal initiatives.

Fueling Climate Action: RVCMC’s Role in Global Carbon Markets

To fulfill the objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement and attain global net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets, emerging markets, and developing nations necessitate an annual investment of $2.4 trillion in climate action by 2030. 

The global VCM, forecasted to reach $3 billion by 2024’s end, plays a pivotal role in bridging this funding gap. Projections indicate that the market could grow to $100 billion by 2030, underscoring its significance in advancing climate mitigation efforts.

RVCMC’s past voluntary carbon credit auctions have significantly spurred demand in the region. They saw the sale of 1.4 million tonnes in 2022 and 2.2 million tonnes in 2023,

The forthcoming launch of the new RVCMC exchange will help amplify carbon credit trading in Saudi Arabia and beyond. 

Such development aligns with the Kingdom’s commitment to fighting climate change as outlined in the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030. This initiative aims to direct climate funding to regions where it’s most urgently needed. It addresses climate concerns sustainably in three ways: reducing emissions, expanding forestation, and safeguarding land and sea areas. 

RELEVANT: Saudi Arabia Powers Up its Green Energy Evolution With Carbon Capture

Riham ElGizy, RVCMC CEO, emphasized the importance of a carbon credit trading exchange in achieving their goal to be one of the biggest VCMs worldwide by 2030. He further added that:

“Our work with Xpansiv will help us build the infrastructure the market needs for a thriving, transparent and increasingly liquid market, one that can maximize the role of carbon offsets in tackling climate change across the Global South.”

John Melby, CEO of Xpansiv, echoed this sentiment, stating:

“We look forward to supporting the company’s mission to develop a marketplace that will channel carbon finance at scale, which is essential to realizing the global energy transition at an accelerated pace.”

Xpansiv is at the forefront of advancing the world’s energy transition through its robust market infrastructure. The company’s Platform Solutions group operates the largest spot exchange for environmental commodities, encompassing carbon credits and renewable energy certificates

Xpansiv Registry and Energy Solutions stands as the premier provider of registry infrastructure for energy, power, and environmental markets. Additionally, Xpansiv Managed Solutions is also the largest independent platform for managing and selling solar renewable energy credits across North America.

RELATED: Xpansiv Bolsters Renewable Energy with Evident Partnership

With a shared vision of promoting high-quality carbon credits and proactive climate action, RVCMC and Xpansiv commit to foster a transparent, liquid market that accelerates the global energy transition. As the world moves towards achieving net zero emissions, initiatives like RVCMC’s exchange play a vital role in mobilizing investment and driving impactful climate mitigation efforts.

The post Xpansiv Chosen To Open Carbon Credit Exchange in Saudi Arabia appeared first on Carbon Credits.

Microsoft Teams Up with Aker Carbon Capture and CO280 to Boost CDRs

In a recent announcement, CO280 and Aker Carbon Capture are partnering with Microsoft to supply considerable amounts of cost-effective and high-quality Carbon Dioxide Removals (CDRs) to the market. This brand-new collaboration aims to expand the entire carbon removal value chain by capturing and permanently storing biogenic CO2 at pulp and paper mills. 

Aker Carbon Capture, previously a division of Aker Solutions, carries all the 20 years of Aker Solutions’ CCUS experience, experts, technology and project references.

Microsoft-Aker Carbon Capture- CO280 Partnership: Leveraging Expertise for Efficient Carbon Removal 

The three companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to investigate possibilities for boosting the “physical and digital value chain of carbon removal” in the US and Canada

The trio will powerfully leverage their cutting-edge technologies, robust knowledge, and ample resources to accelerate the transition to global net zero.

Furthermore, they plan to ramp up the market by creating scalable models to implement large-scale carbon removal projects. 

Notably, the main aim of the partnership is to utilize the advantages of each to uplift the carbon ecosystem. The joint effort would inevitably boost high-quality carbon credits in the voluntary carbon market.

The tri-party has signed a MoU agreement that defines the significant elements related to the development and execution of carbon projects.  

Supporting this landmark move, Egil Fagerland, CEO of Aker Carbon Capture, said,

“It’s time to move past the first-of-a-kind and the demonstration projects for carbon removal. The deployment rate needs to be accelerated by the hundreds to deliver the ‘net’ in net zero. We have demonstrated the strength of working together in the past, and we are excited to expand our collaboration with Microsoft and CO280 to further deliver impact.”

Unlocking the Key Areas of the Partnership as per the MoU

Aker Carbon Capture has rolled out the tri-party MoU that has highlighted the following areas they would be working on: 

1. Exploring Biogenic Projects

Developing biogenic carbon capture projects, including projects currently in CO280’s development pipeline, as well as additional projects. Biogenic carbon projects include the C02 which is absorbed, stored, and emitted by organic matter like soil and trees. Hence, the pulp and paper industry is given priority. 

2. Leveraging Joint Efforts of CO280 and ACC

CO280 will apply its expertise to develop a standard and efficient screening process for evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of carbon capture in pulp and paper mills. Subsequently, they will deploy Aker Carbon Capture’s hallmark “Just Catch” series.

Just Catch modular solutions facilitate rapid and large-scale deployment of capture technology. According to media reports, ACC currently delivers seven carbon capture units: five Just Catch 100 units to Ørsted, one Just Catch 100 unit to Twence and a Big Catch delivery to Heidelberg Materials at Brevik. 

3. Utilizing Microsoft’s Premium Technology and Digital Solutions 

Darryl Willis, Corporate Vice President of Energy and Resources Industry at Microsoft, noted, 

“By leveraging the power of technology to create a digital value chain for carbon tracking and reporting, we can equip the market for high-integrity carbon removal credits and further enable the industrial sector to decarbonize.”

The collaboration aims to standardize lifecycle assessment (LCA) and measurement, verification, and reporting (MRV) systems for capture projects in pulp and paper.

It ambitiously seeks to leverage Microsoft’s digital capabilities, cloud computing platforms, services, and solutions. The MoU also defines creating a digital tool to compare CO280’s planned projects against Microsoft’s Criteria for High-Quality Carbon Removal.

4. Driving the Change through Leadership 

Microsoft, the tech giant, along with ACC and CO280, the pioneers of carbon capture, have immense potential to kickstart this massive project.

The initiative promotes policies and displays bold leadership to boost the carbon capture market in the pulp and paper industry. This would automatically help create and utilize high-integrity carbon removal credits.

MUST READ: Microsoft to Purchase 95,000 Biochar Carbon Removal Credits from The Next 150 • Carbon Credits

Harnessing North America’s Paper and Pulp Industry for CDR Projects 

The pulp and paper industry in North America holds significant potential for carbon removal. It opens a window to remove up to 130 MT of CO2 annually. Furthermore, the paper and pulp industry has a unique emissions profile, where the average mill emits CO2 that is 80-90% biogenic in nature.

Biogenic CO2 emissions, originating from organic materials like wood, fiber, etc. offer a distinct advantage in carbon removal efforts.

By capturing and permanently storing these emissions, the industry can achieve negative emissions. This means that more CO2 is removed from the atmosphere than is being emitted during the production process.

This opportunity for negative emissions presents a pivotal pathway in combating climate change. Through advanced CCS technologies, the pulp and paper sector can play a crucial role in mitigating GHG emissions and contributing to global efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Pulp and paper emissions intensity in the Net Zero Scenario, 2018-2030

NZE= Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.

source: International Energy Agency (IEA)

Partnership Commitments: A Call to Action for Net-Zero Transition

Microsoft’s Ambition 

In 2020, Microsoft announced ambitious carbon goals: to become carbon negativity by 2030 and eliminate its carbon footprint by 2050. The journey began with minimizing carbon emissions, transitioning to carbon-free energy, and actively removing remaining emissions. Since then, the company has been dedicated to establishing a robust market for carbon dioxide removals. Being powered by a digital value chain, it can accurately track carbon and generate credits efficiently.

source: Microsoft

CO280’s CDR Initiatives

CO280, the Vancouver-based company is a top developer of CDR projects within the pulp and paper sector. Through strategic partnerships within this industry, CO280 leads the development, financing, ownership, and operation of large-scale CDR initiatives.

Currently, the company boasts a robust pipeline of projects, with more than 10 million tons per year of permanent CDR under development. These projects signify a step forward to carbon neutrality and bring a meaningful change within the pulp and paper industry.

Jonathan Rhone, Chief Executive Officer of CO280, said,

“This commitment on the part of three best-in-class companies is exactly the kind of bold move the industry needs to unlock the enormous removal opportunity in the pulp and paper industry and scale up the CDR market. Together, we are developing the largest scale, lowest cost, permanent carbon removal projects in the world.”

ACC’s Unique CC technology

On the other side, Aker Carbon Capture (ACC), the Norway-based company offers its blueprint carbon capture (CC) technology to reduce and remove CO2 emissions from industrial plants. Their solution uses a mixture of water and organic amine solvents to absorb CO2. It is useful for various sectors such as gas, coal, cement, refineries, bio- and waste-to-energy, and hydrogen. Notably, this technology would be immensely beneficial in decarbonizing the paper and pulp industry.

To keep a strong foothold in the decarbonization race, Microsoft believes in collaborating with like-minded companies. All considered, this partnership with Aker Carbon Capture and CO280 holds great significance in realizing their vision of a net-zero future.

RELATED: SLB to Acquire 80% of Aker Carbon Capture: A Massive Boost for CCUS • Carbon Credits

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