Unphased by market pressure, the German regulator BNetzA is holding back approval for Nord Stream 2 – one of Europe’s most controversial gas pipelines. BNetzA “preliminary halted” the certification process until Swiss-based Nord Stream AG has founded a subsidiary under German law to own parts of the pipeline – a request set to delay matters until summer 2022.
Brussel has given EU member states time until January 21 to react to the contested Taxonomy, which labels fresh investment into gas and nuclear power as “climate friendly.” The scheme can only be stopped if at least 20 EU countries oppose it, which is unlikely as France and Poland want new small-scale nuclear reactors and Germany more flexible gas generation.
Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz has spoken out against linking the operational permit for the Russian-German gas interconnector Nord Stream 2 to efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. “Nord Stream 2 is a private sector project,” he said, stressing it is up to regulators to decide how far Nord Stream 2 must meet EU unbundling criteria.
Germany’s new government struggles to align the financial sector with more stringent emission reduction targets while adhering to European guidelines. The EU taxonomy on sustainable finance is meant to clarify investment standards but implementation is held up as Germany and France disagree of over the sustainability rating of natural gas and nuclear power.
Legislation has been passed in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) that allows to feed blends of hydrogen and biomethane into the natural gas pipeline network. The aim is to have a 10% hydrogen blend in the gas grid by 2030, and export substantial amounts of green hydrogen to power producers in Japan and wider Asia.
The government of South Korea is working towards turning hydrogen into the country’s biggest energy source by 2050 by expanding H2-based power generation, and replacing all fossil fuel used by the steel and chemical industries with blue or green hydrogen. To tackle transport emissions, over 2,000 hydrogen charging stations will be installed nationwide.
World leaders have reached a historic deal at the COP26 Climate Summit: At least 23 countries – excluding China and India – committed to phase out coal-fired power generation, while international banks will end public financing of new unabated coal power by the end of 2021. Germany’s incoming government hence needs to exit coal earlier than planned.
An unexpected climate declaration between China and the US has sparked cautious optimism that "1.5°C remains within reach." Addressing issues like cutting CO2 and methane emissions and reigning in illegal deforestation, the two sides declared they will "expand individual and combined efforts to accelerate the transition to a global net zero economy."
German chancellor Angela Merkel has made a plea for more widespread carbon pricing, targeting hard-to-abate sectors, at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Progress made so far is “insufficient,” she said, noting Germany just tightened targets and now aims to cut emissions by 65% by 2030 from 1990-levels, and reach Net Zero by 2045.
Britain’s new Net Zero Strategy claims up to £80 billion of additional private green investment needs to be raised to reach the government’s 2030 emission target. “Renewables, particularly offshore wind deployment already reached £100 billion in 2020,” the UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC this morning, saying it would be “realistic” to raise sufficient funds to meet targets.