Article 6: How the dependence on “charity” was retained in the new market mechanism

Fair deal? The market mechanism for emissions trading comes with great expectations, the fine print though might undermine its real value | Photo: Vajiram IAS

In the first of a four-part series on the finalised Article 6, which refers to carbon market, CarbonCopy analyses how negotiations over proceeds to the Adaptation Fund at COP26 provided a glimpse into the advantage developed countries have and will have over their developing counterparts in future climate talks Read more

Fair deal? The market mechanism for emissions trading comes with great expectations, the fine print though might undermine its real value | Photo: Vajiram IAS

Article 6: How the dependence on “charity” was retained in the new market mechanism

After four years of negotiations, more than 200 countries finalised Article 6 of the Paris Agreement at the recently concluded COP26 in Glasgow. The Article entails global cooperation to curtail rising GHG emissions, including through carbon markets. 

Negotiations over Article 6, however, were shaky from the start and encountered various stumbling blocks before being finalised. Primary among these was the tussle between developing and developed nations over collecting money for the Adaptation Fund. While poorer nations demanded a portion of the money made from carbon trade be mandatorily transferred towards the fund, developed nations remained keen on hanging on to the voluntary status of their contributions. 

The finalised Article 6, however, seems to have worked out in favour of the developed world. This along with the general trajectory of the negotiations over this issue has experts worried that going forward, the developing world might find itself losing more than it gains. 

Main tussle about ‘proceeds to Adaptation Fund’ 

Article 6.2 states that it is not mandatory for parties to contribute money from offsets to Adaptation Fund, but developing countries were demanding that 5% of traded internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) be mandatorily cancelled and the money from this should go to the fund

Under Article 6.4, however, it was agreed that 5% of traded ITMOs would be cancelled with the money going to the Adaptation Fund. 

Under the previous carbon market regime, at least 2% of the share of proceeds from the entire trade would go to the Adaptation Fund. 

In Article 6 negotiations, the demand by developing countries was that a portion of traded ITMOs be mandatorily transferred to Adaptation Fund not only under Article 6.4 but also under Article 6.2. Developed countries, led by the US and the EU, however, were strongly against this. 

This apprehension was reflected in the final decision, in which a mandatory 5% of traded ITMOs for the Adaptation Fund was agreed upon for Article 6.4. Under Article 6.2, however, the contribution remained voluntary with trades and parties only “strongly encouraged” to contribute to the fund.

If developing countries’ demands were heard, the Adaptation Fund would have received a replenishment flow of at least 10% cumulatively from both Article 6.2 and 6.4.

The push by developing countries for higher mandatory contributions from Article 6 to the Adaptation Fund is not new. Under the earlier carbon market regime called the Kyoto Protocol, the lowly 2% mandatory contributions yielded about 20% of the total money that the Adaptation Fund received since its inception. 

The rest of it came from voluntary contributions from developed countries, which the experts say is an unpredictable model and akin to charity.

The main priority in the negotiations on Article 6 was to find a predictable and sustainable source of finance at scale for adaptation and in particular the Adaptation Fund, said Zaheer Fakir, ​​one of the lead coordinators for the African Group of Negotiators on climate change. 

“We recognised that in reality, most of the Article 6 transactions/trades would occur under 6.2 mechanism and hence mandatory contributions from this section was the most viable option of scaled up finance in the absence of an alternative such as a ‘replenishment process,’ Fakir added.

Rajni Ranjan Rashmi, former principal negotiator for India at the UN climate change negotiations and ex-special secretary in the MoEFCC, while speaking to CarbonCopy, agreed with Fakir. Calling the decision on share of proceeds “disappointing” he said, “Article 6.2 mechanism is likely to be a greater source of trading under post 2020 arrangements.”

What are Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs)?

Under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, countries and authorized entities can transfer emission reductions, in which case they’re referred to as “internationally transferred mitigation outcomes” (ITMOs). 

Difference between trading of ITMOs between Article 6.2 and Article 6.4

Article 6.4 entails creating an international carbon market whereas Article 6.2 is ITMO trading between two countries. In the bilateral setting the activity doesn’t necessarily have to be a mitigation activity, it could be a technology transfer as well. It could be a forestation. It could be a circular economy related activity as well. For example, India currently has partnerships with the French government on working in urban areas, which could also lead to ITMOs. To further explain, suppose one city in India under the French government grant or a lone implements a biodiversity related project in their city boundary, which could lead to emission sequestration. So that also becomes an ITMO.

No replenishment process, adaptation depends on charity

A replenishment process is necessary, but the determination of such a process is completely objected to by developed countries, Fakir said. “What transpired in Glasgow was again voluntary pledges for the Adaptation Fund, which means continued charity,” he said.  

He added that people need to understand that these charity-like pledges “are meaningless unless they are translated into actual contribution agreements or instruments of commitment”. For example, the US can pledge anything, but in reality, what is received depends on what their Congress decided. 

The US, in fact, has a history of not living up to their climate finance pledges, according to Fakir. In the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the US still has millions of arrears stemming from pledges made many years ago. Similarly, in the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Obama administration’s $3 billion pledge in the fund’s initial replenishment process still has $2 billion in arrears, “which we have been informed by the US will not be fulfilled in the near future,” Fakir said. [GEF and GCF both are financial entities under the UNFCCC.]

“Many of these pledges come with conditions, some of which demand governance changes and seats on Boards,” he added. For example, the US did not pledge anything in the first GCF replenishment, yet they were given a GCF Board seat as well as an alternate seat and two advisor seats. Hence, they have the right to object to GCF projects and determine policies without having to contribute a single dollar. “So in reality we have not succeeded in ensuring a sustainable, predictable and adequate source of financing at scale for adaptation,” Fakir added.

The original idea of how much money is required in the financial entities was supposed to be governed by the needs of developing countries and not by the will of the developed world to contribute voluntarily, Fakir said. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has a provision in Article 11.3 (d) that says, “Determination in a predictable and identifiable manner of the amount of funding necessary and available for the implementation of this Convention and the conditions under which that amount shall be periodically reviewed.” 

This means that the COP should make a determination on financing needed for its implementation and the ‘replenishment process’ of the GCF and GEF should be guided by this number. “We have not been able to get developed countries to agree to fulfil this obligation since the signing and ratification of the Convention, which was some 28 years ago,” said Fakeer. The reality is that Glasgow did not deliver any ambition on finance both for mitigation and adaptation, he added.

Now, with the final decision on proceeds to the Adaptation Fund under Article 6.2 being voluntary, the worrisome question is where will the money required for developing countries to adapt to climate change fallouts come from. Chirag Gajjar, head-subnational climate action, World Resources Institute, India, a global think-tank, says all eyes will be on the finance commitment of $100 billion annually that the developed world is yet to deliver on. 

According to 2019 figures, developed countries were still $20 billion short. Which means between 2020 and 2024, they need to deliver a $100 billion plus the current deficit. And they have to ensure that it is equally split between adaptation and mitigation, Gajjar said. Right now, only about 25% is going towards adaptation needs. Developed countries, therefore, have two important challenges ahead of them. First, delivering the $100 billion per year between 2020 and 2024, and second, to increase the share of adaptation from 25% to 50%, Gajjar added.

Until these challenges are met, developing countries will have to make do with the “charity” offered by their developed counterparts. 

Cold snap: A sweeping cold wave across north India has brought temperatures "markedly below normal" | Photo: India.com

India begins new year with coldwaves, unseasonal rainfall

The new year has brought with it some confusing weather. While parts of India, mostly in the north, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, are battling a severe cold wave, northeast, western and southern India have been hit by some unseasonal rainfall. This week, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported maximum temperatures to be “markedly below normal” (-5.0 degrees or less) in west Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Haryana, Chandigarh, east Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, and Odisha.

The southern states of Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are likely to receive rainfall this week, along with Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. East Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha in Maharashtra, according to the IMD. Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra also recorded unseasonal rainfall in the new year. The city also recorded its lowest temperature in a decade at 13.2°C.

An IMD study also found that deaths in India because of coldwaves were 76 times more than heatwaves. In 2020, 152 deaths were recorded due to cold waves in comparison to just two deaths as a result of heat waves. According to the report, this disparity was the highest it has been in the past 20 years.   

Study maps India’s climate disasters, impacts in past 25 years

India reported a total of 1,058 climatic disasters between 1995 and 2020, a new study found. These events include floods, cyclones, droughts, cold waves and heat waves. The study by GIZ India attempted the spatio-temporal mapping of climatic and biological disaster outbreaks in India in the past two-and-a-half decades. Of the 1,058 climate disaster incidents, floods topped the list and accounted for 33% of the events. Heat waves came in second at 24% followed by drought (22%), cold waves (16%), and cyclones (5%). Cyclones accounted for 48% of India’s overall human life loss due to climate-related disasters, followed by heat waves (26%), floods (18%) and cold waves (8%).

Deforestation tracking in Brazilian savanna to stop due to lack of funds

In a blow to efforts to prevent deforestation in Brazil, officials claimed they would stop tracking the destruction of the Cerrado, which is the world’s most species-rich savanna. The reason is a lack of funds. The news comes days after data revealed deforestation in the region was at a 6-year high last year. The region is crucial in the fight against climate change because of the high amount of carbon that it absorbs. A minimal team will continue tracking deforestation in the region, but will be out of funds in six months, researchers said. 

Deforestation in southern West Africa, meanwhile, has caused the frequency of storms to double in 30 years in the coastal region, according to a new study. While analysing three decades of satellite data over a 300km coastal belt, researchers found the region had very little intact forest left. This late-stage deforestation is leading to more coastal storms because of the increasing thermal contrast between the land and ocean, the study stated. 

Loss of ice in Russian High Arctic doubled in recent years: Study

A new study revealed that the loss of ice in the Russian High Arctic has doubled recently. Using measurements taken between 2010 and 2017, researchers found surface elevation changes in 93% of the glaciers of the archipelagos in the Russian High Arctic. It estimated an overall mass loss rate of 22 billion tonnes of ice per year, which is equivalent to a sea level rise contribution of 0.06mm per year.

Hurricane Ida most financially devastating climate event of 2021: Study

A new report by Christian Aid studied the 10 most financially devastating climate events last year. It found Hurricane Ida in the US topped the list, causing damage of more than $65 billion. The European floods came in second, causing devastation worth $43 billion, according to the report. The two major cyclones that hit India last year, Tauktae and Yaas, were h on the list, causing damage worth $1.5 billion and $3 billion, respectively. Four of the 10 most costliest climate events were in Asia, the study found. 

Grim future: There are 18 coal blocks in the biodiversity-rich Hasdeo Arand region | Photo: Mongabay

Centre gives nod to coal mining in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand

In a major blow to local residents, the Centre permitted mining in 1,136 hectares of land in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand, which is one of the last remaining continuous stretches of old growth forests in the country. The Environment Ministry’s forest advisory committee gave its nod to the extension of mining in the Parsa East and Kente Basan (PEKB) block on December 23. The extension was sought after coal reserves in the previously allotted 762 hectares were exhausted quicker than expected. 

Ken-Betwa river linking project will submerge large parts of Panna Tiger Reserve: Study

A new study found that the Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project (KBRIL), which recently got a go-ahead from the Centre, will submerge a major part of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. This will also lead to a loss of the region’s tiger population as well as prey, which includes chital and sambar, according to the study. 

The project aims to transport surplus water in MP’s Ken river to UP’s Betwa river in order to provide water to drought-prone Bundelkhand. Experts estimated a loss of 58.03 sqkm (10.07%) of critical tiger habitat (CTH) in the reserve due to the project. Last year, the Cabinet approved the funding and implementation of the project at a cost of Rs44,605 crore.

India’s green court orders panel to look into violations at Dadam mine after landslide

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted an eight-member panel to determine the violations and damage caused to the environment after a landslide in Dadam mine killed 5 people on January 1 this year. The landslide occurred only a day after mining had resumed following the lifting of a two-month ban imposed by NGT on any mining activities at the site.  

India brings down average time for green clearance to less than 90 days

India’s environment ministry official brought down the average time for environment clearances to less than 90 days. It was over 150 days in 2019. In some sectors, the ministry said clearance could take less than 60 days. In a statement, the ministry also said it had granted environment clearances to 7,787 projects through environment impact assessment (EIA) notifications in 2021.

Use carbon border tax revenues to boost climate finance, says EU lawmaker

An EU lawmaker proposed to use revenues from carbon border tax to help poor countries decarbonise their polluting industries. Mohammed Chahim, a Dutch centre-left MEP, submitted a draft report to the European Parliament, asking that revenues be shared with low-income countries who will be affected by the proposed levy on carbon-intensive goods imported to the EU. Chahim also proposed introducing the levy earlier than the currently decided 2026 deadline. The report will be debated in Parliament in early February. 

Blowing smoke: The 79 power plants are located in Delhi, Chennai, Kota, Greater Mumbai, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada | Photo: NS Energy

Only 79 coal plants asked to install emission reduction tech, 517 get breather

The Centre asked 79 coal power plants to install equipment to cut sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions by the end of December 2021, but 517 coal plants have been allowed extensions in deadlines. According to the revised categorisation of thermal power plants by the Central Pollution Control Board, the 79 coal power plants fall near million-plus cities, which are already polluted. The cities include Delhi, Chennai, Kota, Greater Mumbai, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. They have been marked in category A of the revised categorisation of thermal power plants.

The 79 coal plants will have to pay a penalty of 10 paise per unit of electricity generated upto 180 days of non-compliance, 15 paise between 181 days to 365 days and 20 paise per unit after 366 days, as per the new norms issued by the environment ministry in April 2021. Earlier norms required closure of coal plants over non-compliance. Category A are plants within the 10km radius of the National Capital Region and cities with a million plus population; category B plants are in the 10km radius of critically polluted areas or non-attainment cities; the remaining power plants are category C.

Not much improvement in air quality three years post NCAP launch: Study

According to CarbonCopy and Respirer Living Sciences findings, even after three years of the launch of the National Clean Year Programme, the air quality in most of the 132 non-attainment cities (those cities who failed to attain national clean air target of 40ug/m3) have either improved marginally or in some cases PM levels increased compared to levels before the NCAP was launched. The study found Ghaziabad as the most polluted city in India followed by Delhi.  

Based on the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) data, its PM 2.5 levels dropped from 108 ug/m3 in 2019 to 102 ug/m3 in 2021 and its PM 10 levels reduced from 217 ug/m3 to 207 ug/m3 during the same period, it said. It added that Delhi’s PM 2.5 level continues to be more than 2.5 times the CPCB’s safe limit of 40 ug/m3 and 20 times the WHO’s safe limit of 5ug/m3.

The data shows there has been little or no progress on ground. An analysis of the government’s air quality data shows that not only have most non-attainment cities reduced PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels only marginally, but some have also recorded an increase. According to the three-year comparative analysis, Ghaziabad, with an annual PM 2.5 level above 100, remained at the top of the table in the most polluted cities, except in 2020, when Lucknow ranked first with an annual PM 2.5 level of 116.

Pollution rising again in Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha: CSE

Air pollution is rising again In the east Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, according to an analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Durgapur, a big industrial hub of West Bengal, had the most polluted air in the region in 2021, with an annual average PM2.5 level of 80 microgram per cubic metre (µg/m3), followed by Muzaffarpur and Patna, with annual average PM2.5 levels of 78 µg/m3 and 73 µg/m3, respectively.

The CSE report said Durgapur needs to reduce annual average PM2.5 by 50% to meet the annual PM2.5 standard, followed by Howrah (34%), Asansol (32%), Siliguri (32%), and Kolkata (28%). Haldia met the standard in 2021, the study stated. In Bihar, Muzaffarpur needs to cut annual average PM2.5 levels by nearly 50% to meet the standard, followed by Patna (45%), Hajipur (33%), and Gaya (18%).

China makes “extraordinary progress” in achieving clean air targets?

Chinese authorities claimed they have “fully met” all their air quality targets for the first time in 2021, which is almost 10 years ahead of expected time, Climate Home reported. A decade ago, Beijing witnessed widespread protests over air pollution. Experts said China has achieved “extraordinary progress” following measures to curb coal smoke from heavy industry and home heating.

China claimed to have cut the toxic particles (PM2.5) in the air by 63% to 33 micrograms between 2013 and 2021. The official figures are in line with those recorded from the US embassy in Beijing and progress reported by the UN Environment Programme. While a huge improvement, the average pollution level is still more than double the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit of 15 micrograms.

Maharashtra to complete air pollution analysis for 19 cities by 2023: Govt

The government said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will complete mandatory source apportionment studies by March 2023 for 19 non-attainment cities where air quality does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Maharashtra currently has a total of 25 non-attainment cities and five cantonment boards. The state pollution control board said the bulk of source apportionment studies is nearly complete, with final reports due by January 2022 for the first 10 cities, including Mumbai, HT reported. 

The others include Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Amravati, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Chandrapur, Solapur and Navi Mumbai. While a similar study for Mumbai has previously been done by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in 2010, the remaining cities have not yet been studied to identify the sources of their air pollution. The newspaper reported that Interim analysis reports for these 10 cities have also been submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Big plans: The scheme will add about 10,750 circuit kilometres of transmission lines, for projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, among other states | Photo: NS Energy

India to invest $1.61 billion to link 20 GW of RE to grid by 2025

The Cabinet approved a plan to build transmission lines costing $1.61 billion over 5 years to link 20 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects from seven states with the grid, Reuters reported. The Centre will provide financial assistance equal to about a third of the overall Rs120-billion investment required for the expansion of transmission lines in the second phase of the so called green corridor project. 

The scheme will add about 10,750 circuit kilometres of transmission lines, for projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. India  is building 9,700 circuit kilometers of transmission lines in the first phase of the project to be completed this year.

ICRA: India to add 16GW of RE by FY 2023

According to ratings agency ICRA India’s RE capacity is expected to touch 16 GW in FY 2023 which the country will achieve with 55 GW of projects in pipeline with highly competitive tariffs. RE capacity addition may increase from 7.4 GW reported in FY’2021 to 12.5 GW in FY 2023.

Solar energy will drive the capacity additions in 2022-23 with 12.5GW coming from PV projects. Wind projects may add 2.2GW and hybrid plants 1.4GW, PV Magazine reported. Experts pointed out that developers are able to secure solar modules within budget and a cost of debt funding of less than 8.5% remained important to make new clean power projects viable.

According to Bridge to India report India may add 10 GW renewable energy capacity in 2022 down 10% year-on-year.

Rajasthan invites bids to solarise 17 agricultural feeders under KUSUM scheme

Rajasthan DISCOM Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JdVVNL) has finvited bids for the solarization of 17 agricultural feeders of the Nosar and the Dera substation. The first tender of 8.57 MW of solar power projects and the associated 33 kV line is for the solarization of 12 agricultural feeders of the Nosar substation under Component C of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) program. The projects will cover 262 agricultural consumers. The project’s estimated cost is ₹299.95 million (~$4.05 million).

The winner will have to furnish an amount of ₹4.285 million (~$57,808) as a performance bank guarantee. The developer will get central financial assistance at 30% of the estimated cost of installing  The  second  tender includes bids to solarize five 11 kV feeders of the Dera substation in the Jodhpur for 188 agricultural consumers. The project’s estimated cost is ₹120.75 million (~$1.63 million). As a performance bank guarantee, the successful bidder will have to furnish ₹1.725 million (~$23,272).

Solar imports to face Basic Custom Duty from April 1;  Rajasthan regulator orders refund

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said India will impose basic custom duty (BCD) on solar imports from April 1, 2022, according to Indian Solar Manufacturers Association and industry body NIMMA. The members of domestic manufacturers groups recently met the minister to raise concerns over the current duty-free window.

Meanwhile, The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission ruled that the increase in rates of basic customs duty (BCD) on import of solar inverters along with integrated Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Social Welfare Surcharge is a ‘Change in Law’ event which, therefore, amounts paid towards BCD is refundable to solar project developers at the rate they have secured long-term capital loans.

The state regulator directed Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and distribution companies (DISCOMs) to make monthly annuity payments for 15 years. The discount rate of annuity payments should be 9% towards the solar power developer’s incurred expenditure due to the ‘Change in Law’ event.

Bringing the future home: Ola's e2W chargers will be installed at residences as well to make them ever more accessible as the firm expands its pan-India Hypercharger network | Photo: indyablog.com

Ola to create world’s densest network of e2W chargers, will add 4,000 units in 2022

Indian shared mobility firm Ola will install 4,000 e2W chargers across India in 2022 as it expands its “Hypercharger” network, with an aim to install a total of 100,000 charging points in 400 cities. The firm’s CEO tweeted that Ola’s aim was to create the world’s largest and densest two-wheeler chargers, and the locations will include BPCL petrol pumps as well as residential spots. Also, the decision comes after its S1 and S1 Pro e2W models posted record online booking in late 2021, and the chargers are reportedly capable of re-charging the EVs by 50% in just 18 minutes to top them up with 75km of driving range. 

India: Country’s first lithium refinery to come up in Gujarat 

India’s first lithium refinery is set to come up in Gujarat after an MoU was signed by Manikaran Lithium Pvt. Ltd. with the state government. The raw material for the plant, spodumene concentrate, will be imported from a number of countries and will be used to manufacture battery-grade lithium hydroxide for use in the cathodes of li-ion batteries. The facility is expected to be set up by 2025-2026 and is likely to create 1,000 direct and indirect jobs. 

Sony to foray into EVs, Audi invests €18 billion 

Consumer electronics giant Sony announced that it would set up its own EV division, Sony Mobility Inc., as it prepares to enter the EV space. The firm also showcased its electric car prototype at the 2022 iteration of the very well known Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Dubbed the Vision-S 02, the concept SUV will sport a host of high-end electronics, such as a 360 degree suite of sensors, 5G connectivity, LiDAR and high-resolution image sensors that will possibly be employed for self-driving. 

Meanwhile, Audi will invest €18 billion in its switch to e-mobility and the VW-owned carmaker intends to manufacture only EVs by 2033. The luxury brand is one of the most popular carmakers in Europe and together with VW and Porsche, is investing €700 million into the IONITY fast charging network across 24 European nations by 2025. The network will be open to all EV users, and Audi is at the same time will open 2,90,000 charging stations across 26 EU countries under its proprietary e-tron charging network. 

Very poor: Repeated breakdowns and the facility being offline for weeks a time made the Boundary Dam coal-CCS plant capture only 43% of its targeted emissions in 2021. Photo: powermag.com

Poor carbon capture record throws doubt on world’s first coal-CCS plant

The poor performance and multiple breakdowns at the Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan, Saskatchewan (Canada) have flagged concerns about the reliability of using CCS (carbon capture and storage) at the first of its kind facility for coal plants. Built in 2014, the CCS plant managed to capture 43% fewer tonnes of CO2 in 2021 (over 2020), and the problem was traced back to failures in the CO2 compressor motor which forced the plant to go offline for weeks at a time. While the issue is reportedly resolved, critics have pointed to the perils of investing in a technology that had so far fared as poorly as CCS. Interestingly, one of the critics included US Senator Joe Manchin — who has been in the news lately for perhaps having derailed Joe Biden’s climate plan

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell signed an MoU with Malaysia’s Petronas to build an offshore CCS facility in the country. 

USA: Biden govt. to quash Trump-era permits for drilling in Alaska 

The Joe Biden government announced that it would rescind Trump-era permits for oil and gas drilling across vast swathes of protected land in Alaska, or at least reduce the area okayed for exploration, including the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The permits were hastily awarded by the previous administration, including in protected areas such as the Teshekpuk Lake, which is an important site for local wildlife and migratory birds. Also, these regions were protected by governments going as far back as the Raegan administration in the 1980s, and the new announcement comes as part of the Biden government’s efforts to “ensure balance on America’s public lands and waters to benefit current and future generations”. 

As for oil and gas drilling in Alaska itself, the activity has reportedly dwindled in recent years and most drillers are said to be focusing on the Permian Basin in the very south of the US. 

India: Adani wins contract to supply overseas coal to NTPC 

Adani Power won the contract to supply India’s largest power producer, NTPC, with 1 million tonnes of coal a year, imported from overseas — likely from the Carmicheal mine in Australia. The contract was awarded despite India’s efforts to achieve energy independence and despite the country announcing its plans to phase down coal at COP26. However, India’s coal shortage at numerous plants in late 2021 is reportedly behind the decision, as domestic supply chains faced a bottleneck in a repeat of incidences from 2019 and 2020. Adani Power is also reported to be discussing supplying the same quantity of coal to Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). 

Danish domestic flights to be fossil fuel-free by 2030, Easyjet targets net-zero flights

The Danish prime minister Mette Fredericksen announced that Denmark would target fossil fuel-free domestic flights starting 2030 as part of the country’s plan to cut emissions by 70% over 1990 (by the end of the decade). However, she acknowledged that the goal would be difficult, since the quantity of biofuels needed for commercial aviation are not adequate at the moment. Yet the national flag carrier (SAS) has partnered with Airbus to gradually switch to aircraft that can run on biofuels. 
Also, in the UK, low-cost carrier Easyjet announced that it was working on developing a hydrogen fuel cell-based propulsion system for its new line of electric aircraft, and would pursue net-zero aviation as part of the UK’s larger goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.