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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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Carbon: Trading, Offsets, and CCS as a Service – It’s All Coming!

If CCS has enough momentum to become a large part of the path to net-zero, there will inevitably be a role for those offering end-to-end solutions.
Smaller footprint carbon emitters cannot resolve their carbon issues as cheaply as those servicing many in the same geography – cost will dictate behavior.   
Carbon offset prices hit a record high with the Iceland DAC facility – showing how much consumers are willing to pay for a concrete audit-proof offset.
Attempts by the oil majors to show their greener ambitions get no reward from investors and, as the news increases, valuations reflect investor skepticism.
Otherwise, we talk about the run-up to COP26 – the hopes for the meeting and the likelihood that grand ambitions will not materialize – small victories only.

New (Polymer) Kids On The Block: The Challenges Of Adolescence

New production routes, including renewables, to conventional polymers, are complicating an already opaque picture of the best course for the plastics industry
New and low carbon polymers do not address plastic waste issues unless large sub-sectors can switch to compostable polymers with consumer buy-in
Most new technologies are largely untested, and almost all untested at scale, and for several, feedstock availability may challenge reaching scale economics
In some cases, valuations already factor in success and not much risk, and we question whether some can deliver on their promises and on time
Otherwise, we talk about hydrogen, carbon offsets (and the possible value of direct air capture), aviation fuel, ESG activism, & the geopolitics of climate change

Fossil Fuel Use Will Not Simply Vanish: Accepting This Will Lead To More Balanced Climate Policy & A Greater Chance Of Success

Our analysis quickly debunks the idea that fossil fuel use will fall abruptly due to climate initiatives – climate policy priorities need to be set with this in mind.  
Some fossil fuel use decarbonization is much easier than others – e.g. power generation vs transport fuels  – different approaches & goals are required
Even with a priority focus and aggressive EV roll-out, transport fuel demand is unlikely to fall materially until the early 2030s. Natural gas could peak much later
Regardless, price inflation around renewable power is more likely than the expected deflation and could be out of control without common-sense policy 
Otherwise, we focus on chemical recycling, hydrogen transport, and CCS in the US Gulf.  Battle lines are being drawn in ESG investing and accountability.

Chemistry, Engineering, Project Management, and Accounting: The Often-Missing Ingredients In New Ventures That Fail

As we look for solutions to climate and other sustainability initiatives, critical evaluation of new technologies will be essential – many will over-promise.
It is not just the likelihood of success of a new or adapted technology but also its commercial viability, the speed with which it can advance, and its impact.
Today, we see too much focus on solutions with uncertainty/risk and not enough emphasis on large-scale practicality – in energy, plastics, and emissions.
We discuss whether a divided US Congress and the IPCC study conclusions will empower activists and litigators – the cost to the consumer could be high.
Is a US plastic tax on the horizon? Legislators are suggesting it as a means to make recycling more lucrative, unlikely to pass into law, perhaps not the best way.

Too Much Debatable Science!  Not Enough Accounting

As we approach COP26, the stream of “studies” and press releases likely to emerge promising the best (or only) way forward will be difficult to ignore.
Our analysis in this report strives to qualify some of the science and accounting linked to views receiving the most coverage. Our efforts in this area are ongoing. 
Many “influencers” continue to either push partisan agendas or focus on a specific geographic application. Local options and economics matter.
We also discuss wellhead methane emissions and how these are being bundled into inaccurate and misleading critiques of blue hydrogen/methanol/ammonia etc. 
Separately, we question whether the plastic waste issue will be sidelined in light of an increasing level of focus on climate change and related agendas.