CarbonCure and Invert Sign A Carbon Credit Purchase Agreement For CO2 Storage

CarbonCure and Invert signed the world’s biggest carbon credit purchase agreement for CO2 storage.

The current carbon credit purchase agreement will help speed up CarbonCure’s rapid scaling. It will also be a major step for the firm to reach its CO2 footprint target.

CarbonCure plans to create 500 million metric tons of annual CO₂ reduction and removal by 2030. That is roughly the same as removing 100 million cars from the road each year.

In effect, the carbon credit market may expect to see more activities on CO2 removal pathways. And the new credit purchase agreement formed by Invert, CarbonCure, and Ripple, is one of them.

The Biggest Carbon Credit Purchase Agreement to Date

The partnership worth $30 million is, so far, the biggest investment in permanent CO2 removal and storage.

CarbonCure and Invert are the majority stakeholders in the agreement. Ripple holds a minority investment stake.

The 10-year carbon credit deal centers on permanent CO2 storage through carbon mineralization. It will help increase investment in innovative carbon removal technology research and development.

Also, the agreement will contribute to massive reductions and removals of GHG from the air.

What does it mean for each party to the agreement?

For CarbonCure Technologies: Scale Up

CarbonCure Technologies is a carbon removal tech company. It offers solutions that allow concrete producers to use captured CO2 to make low-carbon mixes.

The firm’s technology injects captured carbon into fresh concrete, locking up the carbon so it doesn’t return to the air.

This process also lowers the amount of cement required in each mix. As such, the concrete producer’s carbon footprint decreases. This is critical as cement production accounts for about 7% of annual global emissions.

Hence, CarbonCure’s permanent carbon storage technology aids the concrete industry in cutting emissions.

The tech firm tracks and measures CO2 from the point of capture to mineralization. This method enables carbon credit buyers like Invert to track the precise date and location of CO2 they paid to store for good.

For Invert Inc: High-Quality Carbon Credit Purchase

Invert is a specialized emissions reduction and carbon offsetting firm. It invests in carbon offset projects that create high-quality reduction and removal credits.

In particular, it focuses on helping businesses to reduce their Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Part of that is investing in carbon reduction and removal credit purchases. Its carbon credit purchase agreement with CarbonCure and Ripple is one of them.

Invert’s Chairman, Mark Zekulin, said,

“We recognize that long-term removals are critical to achieving the world’s net-zero objectives…”

Hence, Invert commits to supporting developers and technologies in the carbon removal space. The firm believes that CarbonCure has the capacity to help them in this matter.

For Ripple: A lot of carbon credits

Ripple provides crypto and blockchain solutions to other businesses. It’s a minority funder to this largest carbon credit purchase agreement.

It invests in return for millions of carbon credits for permanent carbon storage.

All parties agree that concrete offers a global and immediate option for permanent storage of captured CO2.

This agreement suits the concrete industry’s pledge to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2030.

And on its way to net-zero by 2050, the industry plans to cut 36% of its emissions by using CO2 capture and storage technologies.

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GEO, N-GEO, C-GEO – What’s the difference among these carbon markets?

The carbon sector is still in its early stages, but there are already a few different products available in the market.

If you’ve been spending lots of time in the carbon credit space, you may have seen the terms GEO, N-GEO, and C-GEO thrown around before.

These products have been around for a while now, but like much of the carbon sector, have flown under the radar of most investors.

If you don’t know what they are, or if you do but don’t really know what the difference between them is, then keep reading on.

Offset vs. Allowance Credits

 You’re probably already aware of European Union Allowances (EUAs) and California Carbon Allowances (CCAs).

These carbon credits are allowances from their respective compliance regimes in the European Union and the U.S. state of California, respectively.

In essence, they allow their holders to emit a corresponding amount of carbon equivalent pollution every year. Another example of this type of allowance would be the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) allowances.

These allowances are tradable, and a secondary futures market has also been risen up around them. These carbon allowance futures are what many of the largest carbon funds, such as KRBN, hold.

GEO, N-GEO, and C-GEO are similar to those carbon allowance futures, but there’s one major difference.

The big difference is that instead of being based on compliance market allowances, the GEO line of products are based on voluntary market carbon offsets instead.

In fact, it’s even in their names – GEO stands for Global Emissions Offset.

There are the CBL Global Emissions Offset (GEO), the CBL Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset (N-GEO), and the CBL Core Global Emissions Offset (C-GEO) contracts. Those are the three types of offset contracts referred to when GEO, N-GEO, and C-GEO are mentioned.

These three offsets were launched by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group), the world’s largest derivatives marketplace, in order to respond to the growing demand for carbon offset products in the carbon sector.

Now, just like how there’s a difference between the EUA, CCA, and RGGI futures, there’s also a difference between the GEO, N-GEO, and C-GEO offset futures.

However, it isn’t as straightforward as each one simply being based in a different locale, so we’ll go over the major differences next.

We’ll start with the first product, launched in late 2020 – GEO.

GEO (Aviation Industry Carbon Offset)

GEO’s futures contracts are based on carbon offsets from three major registries – Verra, the American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve. Tech-based projects (that is, projects not falling under Agriculture, Forestry, or Other Land Use categories) that follow the International Civil Aviation Organization’s CORSIA standard can be found here.

To put it more simply, GEO futures contracts are based on high-quality carbon credits that adhere to the international aviation industry standard for emissions offsetting. This is why they are sometimes also referred to as “Aviation Industry Carbon Offsets”.

Now, while the CORSIA standard was originally intended for use by the aviation industry, by no means are GEO contracts limited only to airlines and other companies in the aviation sector.

CORSIA is a stringent framework that was carefully devised over several years with guidance from the United Nations, which is why offsets that meet the CORSIA criteria are verifiable and high-quality. This makes them a great choice for any company or individual looking for a tangible means of offsetting their emissions.

N-GEO (Nature Based Carbon Offset)

Following GEO, we have N-GEO, which was launched just a few months after the former was.

N-GEO is comprised of nature-based offsets projects from the Verra registry – projects that fall under the Agriculture, Forestry, or Other Land Use (AFOLU) categories. This is in contrast to GEO, which does not contain any AFOLU projects.

Nature-based solutions have many advantages and disadvantages when compared to tech-based offset projects. For instance, they can provide valuable contributions to biodiversity, but it’s also often considered more difficult to accurately verify the amount of carbon actually offset in nature-based projects.

Because of this, N-GEO includes a large chunk of the offset market that isn’t covered by GEO. This allows more options for companies looking to mitigate their own emissions, particularly those that belong to the AFOLU sector themselves.

C-GEO (Tech Based Carbon Offset)

Last but not least is C-GEO, which was launched at the beginning of 2022. The C in C-GEO stands for Core, which refers to the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets’ Core Carbon Principles (CCPs).

The CCPs are the groundwork laid by the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets for creating a global, large-scale carbon credit marketplace. C-GEO contracts are comprised of tech-based, non-AFOLU offset projects from the Verra registry that align with the CCPs.

Though first established in January 2021, the CCPs are a work in progress and are undergoing further refinement by an independent governance body comprised of a number of representatives, advisors, and institutes for climate action. Further expansions to the CCPs are expected in phased launches through 2022.

As such, C-GEO contracts are still in their infancy. However, it’s quite possible that the CCPs will become the new unifying global standard for offset projects given the amount of expertise and clout backing the standard.

That makes C-GEO futures a great choice for companies looking for high-quality technology-based offset credits that also want to bank on the future of the Core Carbon Principles.

Below is a table from the CME Group summarizing the primary differences between GEO, N-GEO, and C-GEO:

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Stripe, Google and Others to Spend Around $1B on Carbon Removal Technologies

Five of the world’s biggest companies commit to investing $925 million in carbon removal technologies between 2022 and 2030.

The Frontier is an advance market commitment (AMC). Its main goal is to speed up the development of carbon removal technologies. At the same time, building strong future demand for such technologies.

Frontier also aims to help carbon removal startups scale up and lower the cost of sucking in a ton of CO2 from the air. As such, it will benefit firms and people looking to buy high-quality carbon offsets.

Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey provide the funding for it.

Why Risk on Carbon Removal Technologies?

There has been strong evidence saying that companies worldwide have to slash emissions. But cutting down CO2 emissions alone is not enough to hit global climate goals.

Removing carbon already in the air is also a must.

In fact, climate scientists said that we need to remove up to 6 billion tons of CO2 each year until 2050.

Plenty of supply for carbon offsets today involves removal using nature-based solutions. The most common is using forests to suck tons of CO2 but this has a high risk of offset reversal. Fires can reemit the captured carbon back into the atmosphere, making the offset not real.

This is where technological solutions come in but they are not yet scaled up and they’re pricey, too.

Still, if we don’t hustle and learn the real potential of those technologies, we’ll put the earth in a very dangerous warming condition.

In fact, the IPCC report on climate change is clear that we should act now. And that may also mean relying and risking on carbon removal technologies even if we don’t know yet their 100% potential.

Luckily, Frontier comes in and closes this gap using a model fine-tuned by Stripe for over 2 years.

The Frontier Way of Taking Risk on CO2 Removal

Developing and scaling carbon removal technologies is risky. It has the same risk that governments take when developing vaccines.

But governments tend to move slow and they can’t always afford to compromise the public funds on risky ideas.

So, what do private companies do to support critical innovations like this?

Here’s how Frontier does it.

Startups that have carbon removal technologies can pitch to Frontier through RFPs. Then a pool of experts from Frontier will assess those technologies using a set of criteria below.

Once the experts are happy, Frontier then negotiates a price per ton of CO2 captured and delivers them as tons of offsets.

As the startups mature, they can use the purchase commitments to raise much more sum. They can then use it to build large-scale plants via debt markets with cheaper capital for less risk.

Frontier fund expires by 2030 but it still welcomes more investors to join and grow the money it can spend on more investments.

Stripe and Shopify have each run a Frontier-like fund that supported 14 ($7) and 22 ($30) startups. Conversely, Meta and Google used nature-based offsets to hit net-zero. But they’re showing interest in carbon removal technologies, too.

When it comes to cost, startups should be able to remove each ton of carbon at around $40 to $140.

The trend in carbon removal technologies seems to go up. Yet, this must not take away the world’s vital task of reducing emissions now.

Spending on emission reductions, in fact, had amounted to about $750 billion in 2021. That huge money went to investing in clean energy projects. In this case, a less than $1 billion investment to support carbon removal by 2030 fades in comparison.

So, scaling technologies that suck in carbon from the air and store it for good need a lot more money.

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Start-up Technology Provides Real-time Airborne Carbon Measurement

GAIT Global, an Australian start-up, claimed that its new technology offers the only real-time carbon measurement right now.

GAIT’s technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) and spatial data to measure GHG in real-time. By doing so, the firm will help catalyze the global effort in fighting climate change.

The startup will start its operation this month. Its name is an acronym for “green artificial intelligence technology” or GAIT.

Its real-time CO2 measure combines atmospheric sensors and spatial data from satellites with its AI engine. The results offer real-time monitoring of GHG in the air.

The Science Behind Real-Time Carbon Measurement

Decades ago, scientists found that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere cause climate change. This increase is due to growing GHG emissions from fossil fuel burning (~75) and land-use changes (~25%).

About half of the emitted CO2 dissolves in the oceans or absorbs by the land’s biosphere. But the rest remains in the air, affecting the Earth’s radiation balance.

Getting an accurate measurement of this atmospheric CO2 was very challenging. In fact, the current method of measuring CO2 still relies mainly on physical sampling or getting soil samples using a shovel and taking it to a lab.

Such technology is very rudimentary, according to GAIT’s CEO and founder, Saurav Bansal. Bansal used to work in a cloud computing firm and a non-profit tech firm as a chief marketing officer.

GAIT’s advanced technology offers a revolutionary carbon measurement that nobody is doing.

GAIT’s Measurement Method: “Carbon Flux”

Bansal explains the accuracy of its real-time carbon measurement method by liking it to a balloon. This balloon holds a certain amount of gas and represents the area where a project measures the CO2 level.

Bansal said, “the existing technology or method calculates carbon inside the balloon subsequently. It gets the value on the 1st day, 1 month later, then after 3 months or 6 months, and so on.”

That’s not the case with GAIT’s technology. It took the science, the sensors, an AI, and a machine learning engine together. The results? It provides accurate and real-time carbon measurement according to Bansal.

Its technology measures the rate of the gas coming in and out of the balloon itself in real-time.

Accuracy + Versatility

The CEO further said that it’s not hard to prove the accuracy of their method as there are plenty of peer-reviewed studies that confirm it. This and the fact that it can get data at a 0.1 second resolution to 99% accuracy.

Also, the technology is very versatile. It’s capable of measuring carbon flux or the amount of net ecosystem exchange of gases between Earth’s carbon pools. This exchange refers to the carbon cycle as illustrated by the image below.

Numbers represent the mass of carbon in gigatonnes (not the molecules, just carbon alone) that is cycled in a year. Yellow text is the natural carbon cycle, with red text showing human effects.

This means GAIT’s technology can measure carbon emissions and sequestration across carbon pools. These include the atmosphere, forests, oceans, soil/land, urban developments, and more.

While current carbon projects use various methods to measure CO2 for each area, GAIT’s method is applicable to all.

Hence, the startup envisions to be the global diamond standard of carbon measurement for all types of green projects.

And once it succeeds, it will earn revenues from percentages in carbon credits. More so it will revolutionize how carbon credit projects are done.

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Issuances from Indonesian Carbon Credit Market Put on Hold by Government

Lack of clarity in regulatory guidelines on the Indonesian carbon credit market led to putting credit issuances on hold.

The issuances of 2021 vintage credits from the South Pole are on hold right now. Meanwhile, Verra, a renowned global carbon credit certifier, clarifies market regulations.

The South Pole is a big developer that creates carbon credits globally. The company said that the credits put on hold by the government are about a hydro project in North Sumatra.

Why Set Indonesian Carbon Credit Market On Hold?

The recent periods of approved Indonesian credit issuances cover vintages from 2017-2020. But the latest issuance for vintage 2021 is currently pending. Developers are waiting for further notice from Verra.

Market sources said that the government asked for Verra’s consent first before approval. Permission from other voluntary market standards is also called upon about credit issuances.

The Indonesian government has been taking steps in dealing with its voluntary carbon credit market.

It is also keen on overseeing carbon pricing and carbon finance activities in the market. This is in connection to its national climate goal.

Presidential Regulation No. 98 of 2021

In particular, Presidential Regulation No. 98 governs the implementation of carbon economic value (CEV).

This regulation was in response to the climate agreement reached during COP26 Conference in Glasgow. President Joko Widodo decided to make necessary tweaks to Indonesia’s climate plan.

Part of that decision is the intention to regulate the Indonesian carbon credit market in the future.

But that future seems to be today when market players are still in the dark about the regulation details.

The Impact of Delay on the Indonesian Carbon Market

The delay in the Indonesian carbon credit market is like the case of PNG’s suspension of credit deals. PNG government suspended new carbon credit projects while it’s still writing new rules.

Likewise, the Indonesian government is putting credit issuances in the country on hold. Though the regulation also covers cross-border trading, implementation details remain unclear.

And so, both project developers’ and buyers’ activities are under temporary constraints.

Some interested groups say that the regulatory adjustments may hamper market confidence.

Others are saying that the timing of changes and market hold-up is not good. It’s too early yet as the Indonesian carbon credit market needs more time to transition.

On the bright side, however, the government emphasized that credits are only on hold and not rejected.

Meanwhile, what project developers like the South Pole should do is continue their reporting to the SRN (national registry).

Once the rule is out and clear, the voluntary carbon market in Indonesia will be active again.

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The Race Among 6 Major Airlines to Net-Zero Carbon Footprint

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) aims to bring the entire airlines carbon footprint to net-zero by 2050.

The IATA thinks that the present airline emissions targets are not ambitious enough. Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General, said that achieving net-zero in the aviation industry calls for a bold commitment. This and the fact that the industry has to bear the $2 trillion cost to transition from fossil fuels.

While other industries are making progress in cutting carbon, development is slower for the airlines.

Still, the race to net-zero is a challenge that US airlines are willing to take on. These include the following six major airlines that have committed.

Alaska Airlines,
American Airlines,
Southwest, and
United Airlines

Some airlines are more ambitious than others when it comes to setting their carbon footprint targets. Yet, all major carriers are in a position to race and win the war on achieving net-zero.

Even so, winning means going beyond having carbon emissions commitments. There are several other factors at play here, affecting each airline’s path to net-zero.

US Airlines and Their Net-Zero Carbon Footprint Plans

Let’s first look at the airlines key financial and performance data and break it down.

Alaska Airlines: Creating lift through sustainability

Alaska Airlines is the 6th biggest airline in the U.S. when measured in fleet size, passengers carried, and the number of destinations served. For 2021 here are some key financial metrics of Alaska:

Market cap = $6.55 Billion
Revenue = $5.49 Billion
Earnings = $0.74 Billion

Alaska earned a positive net income (earnings before interest and taxes) for 2021. Its revenue for the same year represents an 82% change from the prior year.

In its latest ESG report (2020), Alaska managed to handle 37,113 million available seat miles (ASM). The airline is also at par with others in its quest for slashing carbon emissions.

“Caring for the planet led us to set bolder goals for carbon emissions reductions and seek to change the market for sustainable fuels”, it said.

Alaska’s carbon emissions in 2020 (8.3 million tonnes CO2e) were about half of their emissions in 2019 (16 million tonnes CO2e).

In fact, Alaska Airlines is 1 of 2 carriers among the 6 airlines that have an ambitious carbon footprint plan. It aims to decarbonize in 2040 through its five-part strategy, not 2050 as the industry’s goal.

The five-part strategy includes fleet renewal, operational efficiency, novel propulsion, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and carbon offsetting technology.

Alaska Airlines 2020 ESG Report

American Airlines: Science-based approach to carbon footprint

If weighed upon all metrics data available, American Airlines is the largest carrier. It is offering an average of about 6,700 flights daily to 350 destinations in 50 countries. It achieved the following financial performance for 2021.

Market cap = $11.63 Billion
Revenue = $27.37 Billion
Earnings = -$0.75 Billion

American Airlines was able to gain a huge change of (79%) in its revenue from 2020 ($15.28B) to 2021 ($27.37 B). But for certain reasons, it lost money in 2021.

Despite that, the airline achieved a very high available seat mile performance of 119,567 million in 2020. This achievement was at the expense of emitting 29.8 million tonnes of CO2e.

The airline tracks its emissions intensity using revenue ton-mile (RTM) measurement. It shows the amount of CO2 produced per revenue ton-mile flown.

How does American Airlines deal with its race toward carbon goals?

It does so by having a clear path to net-zero with an immediate, science-based GHG emissions reduction goal. This target is then subject to the Science-Based Target Initiative’s (SBTi) review to confirm its consistency with climate science.

Unlike Alaska, American Airlines’ carbon footprint plan is to be net-zero in 2050 by focusing on 6 key levers. These also include flight operations and efficiency, fleet renewal, and air traffic control modernization.

Other levers are SAF, next-generation aircraft, and carbon offsets.

American Airlines 2020 ESG Report

Delta Air Lines: Its ambitious path forward

Delta is one of the world’s oldest airlines in operation. It is also a legacy carrier or a network airline that has been around since the dawn of commercial aviation.

Market cap = $25.01 Billion
Revenue = $23.55 Billion
Earnings = $1.67 Billion

The airline was able to achieve positive financial performance despite financial hardships. So far, it’s the first airline that earned over one billion in net income and a 74% increase (up from $13.49B) in revenue in 2021.

This could be because Delta attained an impressive 134,339 million available seat miles stated in its 2020 ESG. It is the highest ASM for all the six major airlines in comparison.

Interestingly, Delta is not that ambitious in cutting down its carbon footprint. It aims for a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 industry levels.

Other airlines promise to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero either by 2040 or 2050. Delta’s climate goal is this:

“Achieve carbon-neutrality across our global airline operations from March 1, 2020, forward.”

Delta targets going full carbon neutral by 2030 with a $1 billion pledge to achieve its climate goal. In particular, it seeks big carbon reductions through accelerated fleet retirements and SAF.

Delta is also using various carbon offset types to reduce emissions. This includes investing in renewable energy projects, carbon avoidance offsets, and carbon removals.

It has already bought $1.7 million in carbon offsets and plans to reduce its emissions by 16% from 2005 levels.

JetBlue Airways: Innovations for massive carbon footprint reductions

JetBlue Airways is a major American low-cost airline by structure and operation. Financially speaking, the carrier ranks last with the following financial metrics.

Market cap = $4.52 Billion
Revenue = $5.61 Billion
Earnings = -$0.07 Billion

JetBlue managed to earn higher revenue in 2021 (105% more) compared to 2020 ($2.73 billion). But it gained a loss in 2021.

In connection, the airline handled only 32,689 million ASM as reflected in its 2020 ESG report. It is the least operation performance among the major airline companies.

But those metrics did not dissuade JetBlue to join other airlines in their race to carbon neutrality and net-zero.

In fact, the carrier showed remarkable progress in its carbon emissions reduction efforts.

Its ESG report indicated a 50% decrease in total CO2 emissions, from 10.5 million Mt CO2e in 2019 to only 4.9 million Mt in 2020.

JetBlue pledged to reach a net-zero carbon footprint by 2040, which is the same as Alaska Airlines. The airline will achieve it by focusing on six key levers similar to other airlines.

JetBlue will focus on aircraft efficiency, fuel optimization, SAF, and electronic ground ops. Plus, it will also pursue massive carbon offsetting and technology partnerships.

JetBlue Airways 2020 ESG Report

Southwest Airlines: “Reduce, Replace, and Offset”

Southwest is another major low-cost US airline. As a low-cost carrier, it has a lower operating cost structure than its rivals. Yet, it was able to gain the highest earnings for 2021, amounting to 1.75 billion.

Market cap = $25.35 Billion
Revenue = $14.25 Billion
Earnings = $1.75 Billion

The airline also has the biggest market capitalization among the six major carriers.

When it comes to its production performance, Southwest reported handling 103,456 million available seat miles in 2020. Behind that achievement is the company’s modest emissions.

Southwest’s carbon emissions reduction in 2020 is significant same as the rest of the other airlines. It lowered its carbon footprint by almost 40% from 20.6 million Mt CO2e in 2019 to 12.6 million Mt CO2e in 2020.

Southwest plans to be net-zero in 2050 through its “Reduce, Replace, and Offset” campaign. This climate strategy is like the rest of the airlines as it also focuses on fleet modernization, route optimization, SAF, and carbon offsetting measures.

United Airlines: Going 100% Green

United Airlines tops the list by the number of destinations served. It manages to reach over 1,000 destinations in 170 countries across the globe.

In financial aspects, however, the airline comes third in revenue and market cap. It also has the biggest profit loss for 2021 as indicated in the figures below.

Market cap = $14.17 Billion
Revenue = $22.54 Billion
Earnings = -$0.98 Billion

Interestingly though, United was capable of delivering 122,804 million available seat miles in 2020. It is an impressive operational achievement, which may be due to a lot of destinations served.

Another notable thing about United Airlines is its plan to reach its carbon goals. It is the only airline in comparison that decided not to use carbon offsets as a means to net-zero.

Instead, it will be 100% green in 2050 by focusing on carbon capture and sequestration efforts.

United also aims to tackle emissions at their sources by investing in SAF and direct air capture (DAC). Finally, it will continue improving its operational efficiency and aircraft modernization.

As the airlines’ CEO puts it:

“And we’ll get there (to net-zero) not with flashy, empty gestures, but by taking the harder, better path of actually reducing emissions from flying”.

So, Which Airline Wins the Race to Zero?

The quest of the major airlines to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint reflects the industry’s climate goals. But each airline has its own emissions reduction target to achieve by using varied means.

So, which among the major carriers would be the winner?

Will it be Alaska Airlines or JetBlue Airways that set their net-zero target the earliest in 2040? Or it might be United Airlines that is bold enough to refuse to use carbon offsets.

It seems hard to tell by now. But investors can take a closer look at the companies’ financial and operational performance. Or better yet, they can use the airlines’ carbon emissions reduction plan for guidance.

More information on the airlines emissions plan to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint is available here.

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Canada Reveals $2.6B Carbon Capture Tax Credit, The Biggest Climate Item

The Canadian federal government recently announced that it will assign $2.6 billion of its Budget 2022 to carbon capture tax credit.

The carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) investment tax credit will be available for over 5 years. The tax credit is for companies or projects that permanently store captured CO2.

The allowed technology is either storing CO2 in concrete or injecting it underground. Enhanced oil recovery (using captured CO2 to get more oil) is not eligible for such tax credit.

Carbon Capture Tax Credit Components

According to Budget 2022, firms can apply for and claim a tax credit of up to 60% for direct air capture (DAC) projects. Other eligible carbon capture projects may also do so for up to 50%. Examples of these are the capture of CO2 from oil and gas production and steel industries.

Moreover, a 37.5% tax credit is open for investing in carbon capture equipment and technology. These include carbon use, transportation, and storage.

Those tax credit rates will drop to 50% in 2031 to prompt the energy sector to act immediately.

The key intention of having this carbon capture tax credit is to cut emissions by 15 megatonnes by 2030.

Financial modeling from CCUS projects shows that they will cost below $1.5 billion in their fifth year. After that, their projected cost per year is around $1.5 billion until the end of this decade.

The Opposing Views on Tax Credit

Ottawa urges the energy sector to act fast and take advantage of this major climate tax credit before it expires.

Proponents said that carbon capture plays a vital role in reducing Canada’s emissions. Without expanding this technology, the country won’t meet its climate goals.

The country aims to achieve the biggest reductions in the oil and gas sector as stated in its recent Emissions Reduction Plan. It seeks to cut down emissions from 191 million tonnes in 2019 to 110 million tonnes by 2030.

Believers in CCUS said that it could be the means for Canada to meet its net-zero targets. They view tax credit as a collaborative model where governments are co-investing with the industry, helping to speed things up.

The energy industry leads the lobby for this carbon capture tax credit to cover up to 75% of project capital. Some of the major companies that have current carbon capture project proposals are:

Enbridge Inc.
Atco Ltd.
Capital Power
Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance

Despite the big promise of carbon capture and storage technology, opponents argue that the tax credit is not a good idea.

They said that instead of using public funds the government should have regulated the industry and gotten the same results. Others claim that giving the tax credit is like creating another fossil fuel subsidy.

The government should have put the money into proven and cost-effective climate solutions. These include renewable energy, efficient homes and buildings, and electrification of transportation.

Other Important Climate Investment

Budget 2022 includes two other big-ticket climate items. It proposes $1.7 billion as tax incentives for zero-emission vehicle programs.

Likewise, a 30% tax credit is available for projects that explore minerals needed for electric cars like cobalt and lithium.

The budget also includes investments in charging infrastructure. $500 million of this comes from the Canada Infrastructure Bank for urban and commercial charging.

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A Guide to Compliance Carbon Credit Markets

Compliance Carbon Credit Market Overview

The carbon market can be complex and a simple way to understand it is to
separate the two major sectors – Voluntary Markets and Compliance Markets.
This guide focuses on Compliance Carbon Markets, also known as Emissions Trading Systems (ETS).

After reading this, you’ll gain a basic understanding of how Compliance
Markets function, and how to invest within the space.

Compliance carbon credit prices are largely driven by government policy.

Government strategy will dictate maximum emission limits (otherwise known
as allowances, or credits).

Carbon emitters buy or sell carbon credits based on emissions generated in
relation to their allowance limits.

If they are under their emissions limit, they sell their excess allowances.
If they are over their limit, they buy to cover the shortfall.

Compliance Carbon Market Landscape

The value of the global carbon credit market reached ~$850 billion in 2021,
a 164% increase from 2020.

Currently, there are three major Emissions Trading Systems around the
world. They are:

European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU)
The California Global Warming Solutions Act (USA)
The Chinese National Emission Trading System (China)

The picture below is a global ETS map that shows the current landscape of
the compliance credit market.

Figure 1: Global ETS Map of Current Compliance Credit Market Landscape

So, let’s break down each major compliance credit market…

Starting with the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) –
which accounted for 90% of the global compliance market.

The European Union ETS

The EU ETS was the first ETS created in the world, operating since 2005. It
is the most liquid carbon futures exchange globally.

In the last 5 years, the EU carbon allowance futures are up over 1,400%,
and up ~270% in the last 3 years alone. As such, it’s one of the
top-performing asset classes worldwide over that period.

Figure 2: European Union Allowance (EUA) Futures Price Chart

EU ETS jurisdiction covers the 27 EU states and 3 European Free Trade
Association states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

The total GHG emissions in this jurisdiction amount to 3,893 mega-tons
(Mt) per year, making it the second-largest ETS in the world.

The sectors regulated under the EU ETS during its first compliance phase were:

Power stations and other combustion installations with >20MW thermal
rated input
Industries including oil refineries, coke ovens, and iron/steel plants
Operations that produce cement, glass, lime, bricks, ceramics, pulp,
paper, and cardboard

But there’s only one additional sector regulated during the EU ETS’s second compliance phase:

Aviation (>10,000 tons CO2/year for commercial aviation; >1,000
tons CO2/year for non-commercial aviation)

Lastly, under its third compliance phase, the additional sectors
regulated under EU ETS were:

Carbon capture and storage installations
Production of petrochemicals, ammonia, nonferrous and ferrous metals,
gypsum, aluminum, as well as nitric, adipic, and glyoxylic acid

In total, there are 10,569 power plants and manufacturing facilities that
participate in the EU ETS. These entities have a commitment to:

(1) Reduce GHG emissions to at least 55% below 1990 GHG levels by 2030

(2) Achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050

As for the price, carbon on the EU ETS is priced at USD ~$80 per ton.

The EU ETS has collected USD $80.7 billion since inception, with USD
$21.8 billion in 2020 alone.

The California Global Warming Solutions Act

This ETS has been operating since 2012 and its jurisdiction covers
California only.

The overall GHG emissions in this jurisdiction amount is 425 million tonnes (Mt) per year.

There are several sectors regulated under the California ETS during its first phase. They were:

(1) Large industrial facilities (cement, glass, hydrogen, iron and steel,
lead, lime manufacturing, nitric acid, petroleum and natural gas systems,
petroleum refining, and pulp and paper manufacturing)

(2) Electricity generation

(3) Electricity imports

(4) Other stationary combustion

(5) CO2 suppliers

While the following sectors were added during its second phase:

(1) Suppliers of natural gas

(2) Suppliers of certain distillate fuel oils

(3) Suppliers of liquid petroleum gas

(4) Suppliers of liquefied natural gas

There are 330 registered entities participating in the California ETS,
which equates to more than 550 facilities. They commit to:

(1) Return to 1990 GHG levels by 2020

(2) 40% reduction from 1990 GHG levels by 2030

(3) Achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

The current price for carbon under the California ETS is USD ~$30 per ton.

The California ETS has collected USD $14.24 billion since inception,
including USD $1.7 billion in 2020 alone.

China’s Carbon Compliance Markets

Contrary to popular western narratives, the Chinese are serious about
growing their climate-related ambitions. The China National ETS began its operation in 2021.

Its jurisdiction covers all of China. This national ETS expanded on
successful pilots in eight major regions between 2013 and 2016. It operates
on the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange (SEEE).

The overall GHG emissions in this jurisdiction amount to 12,301
mega-tons (Mt) per year.

This dwarfs the EU ETS, which has been operating for nearly 20 years.

The only sector regulated in the China ETS is the power sector. However,
the sector scope is expected to expand to cover seven additional sectors.
These are petrochemical, chemical, building materials, steel, nonferrous
metals, paper, and domestic aviation.

There are 2225 registered entities that participate in the China ETS, with
a commitment to:

(1) Reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18% compared to 2020 levels
by 2025

(2) Reach peak CO2 emissions and lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by
over 65% compared to 2005 by 2030

(3) Achieve carbon neutrality by 2060

The current price for carbon on the China ETS is USD ~$9 per ton.

Other compliance credit markets (ETS) that exist today are the Korean ETS,
the Kazakhstan ETS, the New Zealand ETS, the Japan ETS, the Canada ETS, and
the Mexico ETS.

These ETS were not covered because they are not liquid, and are very
difficult for a typical investor to gain exposure to.

Analysis of Risks / Challenges to Major ETS

The risks to compliance carbon credit markets for an investor are two-fold.

The first risk is tied to policy change/error. Policymakers aim to hold carbon prices
relatively stable. If the price is too low, investors are not incentivized
to finance ‘green projects’ which generate credits. If the price is too
high, entities regulated on the compliance side may experience a slowdown
in growth, which is generally bad for the economy.

The second risk is tied to geopolitical tensions and their spillover impacts on various
commodity markets. Here is one example of each risk.

Example #1: Policy Change / Error and Market Response

During the Shanghai Emissions Pilot, the Shanghai government did not
provide policy detail about the next compliance cycle following 2015.

As a result, the price of carbon fell more than 50% from ~10 yuan down
to ~5 yuan.

In May 2016, the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission
issued detailed clarifications, specifically around the allowance carryover
policy from the previous compliance cycle.

The carbon price on the Shanghai ETS ballooned to nearly 30 yuan per ton
over the next 7 months once the market gained this policy clarity. Below
you’ll see the month-over-month price trend during this policy change.

Figure 1: Carbon Price during Shanghai Emissions Pilot 2013-2015 (Yuan
per ton)

Example #2: Geopolitical Tensions and Market Response

KRBN, the largest Carbon ETF in the world, experienced substantial price
volatility between late February and early March 2022.

The Russia / Ukraine conflict forced markets to price at the risk of a
geopolitical landscape that would decrease the availability of critical
energy resources.

As a result, commodities such as oil experienced a drastic price increase.

The EU energy markets are tight on supply and they are heavily dependent on
Russian oil/natural gas exports.

The scramble to secure critical ‘dirty’ energy forced the EU ETS market to
price in the potential for non-enforcement of the ETS for some
participating entities.

Additionally, the EU carbon border tax on emissions produced from exports
is set to begin in mid-2022. If Russia/EU trade were to continue as normal,
Russian entities could hedge their EU carbon border tax bill by holding EU
ETS carbon credits.

EU sanctions on Russian assets/exports would eliminate trade between the
countries. This particularly includes the ability or need for Russian
entities to hold EU ETS carbon credits.

Investing in the Compliance Carbon Credit Markets

Diversification is critical to investing in carbon markets. Some of the
opportunities to diversify in this market are:

Internationally (California ETS vs EU ETS)
Across compliance cycles within an ETS (EU ETS 2022 futures vs EU ETS
2023 futures)
Compliance vs Voluntary credits (carbon allowance futures vs company
who generates credits)

Diversifying amongst compliance / voluntary credits is the most important.

If you were bullish on gold, would you only buy physical gold?

Of course not.

You’d buy physical gold and a basket of gold miners who had stronger
outlooks for growth relative to their competitors. Carbon credits are no

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EC Grants €1.1bn to Clean Energy Projects from EU ETS Revenues

The European Commission (EC) granted €1.1 billion to support clean energy projects from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) fund.
The EC signed agreements to grant 7 projects that support the EU’s climate transition. The funding is from the Innovation Fund, sourced from the EU ETS. This Fund comes from 450 million allowances from the current EU ETS in 2021/30.
Under the EC’s Fit for 55 proposals, 50 million allowances more will be added to the fund from the revised ETS. There will also be 150 million allowances more from transport and buildings emissions.

The 7 Clean Energy Projects Financed by EU ETS

The projects aim to reduce emissions by over 76Mt of CO2eq during the first 10 years of their operation.
These projects are using innovative low-carbon technologies at an industrial scale. They span various major sectors like hydrogen, biofuels, solar energy, cement, steel, and chemicals. The carbon capture and storage are also covered.

Here is a sneak peek of the clean energy projects granted by the EU ETS Fund:

[email protected] in Belgium. This project aimed to avoid emissions of 14 Mt of CO2eq. It intends to make the first and biggest cross-border carbon capture and storage.
BECCS at Stockholm. This other one plans to avoid 7.83 Mt of CO2eq. It will create a Bio-Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) facility at a heat and power biomass plant. BECCS will use both CO2 capture and heat recovery.
Hybrit Demonstration in Sweden. This project will replace fossil-based technology with green alternatives like hydrogen use. Thus, it will revolutionize the iron and steel industry in Europe, avoiding about 14.3 Mt of CO2eq.
Ecoplanta in Spain. Among the clean energy projects supported by EU ETS, this one will hit the smallest CO2 avoidance of 3.4 Mt of CO2eq. It will use waste to deliver a first-of-a-kind commercial plant in Europe, recovering 70% of CO2 in waste.
K6 Program in France. Meant to avoid 8.1 Mt of CO2eq, this program will produce the first carbon-neutral cement in Europe. It will do so by using an airtight kiln and cryogenic carbon capture technology and will store CO2 in the sea.
The TANGO project in Italy. This one avoids the highest 25 Mt of CO2eq by producing high-performance PV modules and multiplying capacity by 15x more (200 MW – 3 GW).
SHARC Project in Finland. This Sustainable Hydrogen and Recovery of Carbon project aims to avoid over 4 Mt of CO2eq. It will reduce emissions by using renewable hydrogen and carbon capture technology.

EU’s Transition to Green

According to the European Green Deal, funding those clean energy projects via EU ETS is “… a smart investment into the decarbonization and resilience of Europe’s economy.
Also, it raises Europe’s stance on clean technology while helping speed up its green transition.
Better yet, the shift to renewable energy is the key to reducing emissions and reaching the EU’s net-zero goal in 2050. And the funding from the EU ETS to support those clean energy projects is one step toward that.

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