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This weekly report covers all aspects of the major changes facing industry, from climate change initiatives through ESG investing, and includes regular work on recycling, renewables, energy transition and hydrogen, and carbon capture and use.  It is included as part of our comprehensive research/consulting subscription, but can also be purchased separately. 

  

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Cluster F***ed: The Dangerous Scale Component of CCS

As carbon values rise, carbon sequestration plans also rise and a “cluster” trend is developing – good for those who can participate – quite bad for the rest.
Teaming up to get real scale in CCS could create a very steep abatement cost difference among companies in the same end markets based on proximity to CCS.
Other offset options might be available at disadvantaged locations, but the cost difference would still be very high and create sizable advantages for the lucky ones.
We discuss the regulatory waiting game and how it is more important in some areas of energy transition than others – largely dependent on capital risk.
Otherwise, the call for more renewable power grows ever louder and we look again at the risk of inflation, as supply tries to keep pace.

Global Divisions Widen On Climate Policy: US In A Tough Spot

As the rubber hits the road on real climate change action and investment, divisions are widening and not just between the believers and the deniers.
If different agendas today lead to very different actions taken by 2025, divisions will be wider still and the US, in particular, could find itself lagging & more isolated
CCS may be the only big win available to the Biden Administration – it is not a perfect solution but it has bipartisan support and it will work
We make a case for a dramatic increase in the chemical recycling of plastics as it is likely that this initiative will be less painful for consumers than the alternatives
Otherwise, we talk about carbon offsets, more blue hydrogen, ESG pressure on the banks, and more political compromises that will be necessary

Carbon Copy: Could We Get a Virtual Global Tax – For Some?

A large, coordinated investor group calls for carbon accounting as a framework for valuing climate risk – it could be global but only for public companies.
Meanwhile, litigation is on the rise and while it should not discriminate, public versus private, it is also focused on holding governments accountable.
Carbon accounting and auditing are complex: process & chemistry backgrounds may be more important than finance – will this be another skills gap?
We launch a new major multi-client initiative on carbon abatement in conjunction with the Power Research Group. Contact us for details.

Too Little Money And Too Little Time – Funding and Scale Issues

There is not enough focus on the scale-up of technologies and processes to provide alternatives to fossil fuels – aviation fuel is one of the most pressing issues.
It is not only the production scale that could fall short, but it is also questionable where the money and expertise will come from – the same is valid with CCS.
A very immature carbon offset market will likely become increasingly important, and offset shortages would be one of the very few reasons to invest in DAC.
New incentives for CCS and possibly a virgin polymer tax in the US could drive step changes in investment around renewables, recycling, and carbon capture.
We also discuss a few of the consequences of Shell accepting the Dutch ruling.

Investors Are Driving The Sustainability Bus – Governments Are Arguing In The Back Row

Government-level disagreements over who pays for what could derail broad agreement at COP26 and, thus, limit any meaningful action post the event.
The general reluctance to tax carbon and a similar reluctance to use private money suggests that overall global net-zero funding will be too low.
Activist investors, ESG managers, and possibly litigators will likely step in to fill any government void, leading to erratic behavior and unintended consequences.
PR firms are getting rich as the press release seems more important than the project today. We discuss recycling and other initiatives through this lens.