Top Stories

December 01, 2021


EU to start measuring embodied carbon emissions from buildings

The European Commission is considering a new EU-wide requirement to measure the carbon emissions associated with construction materials throughout their whole lifecycle but is expected to stop short of regulating industry emissions. The Commission is aiming to introduce minimum energy performance standards for all buildings by 2035. It is under pressure from building industry coalition the #BuildingLife project, which has published a letter aiming to persuade the Commission to consider a “Whole Life Carbon” (WLC) approach to tackling building emissions from the whole supply chain, including the construction and demolition sectors. While the Commission has shown interest in the approach, it has opted for a more cautious regulatory stance for now, focusing first on standard measurements before considering the introduction of environmental targets at the EU level. (edie)


Bank of Canada to work with Indigenous groups on reconciliation

The Bank of Canada will work with Indigenous groups to understand the wounds caused by decades of discrimination and determine how reconciliation can create a more inclusive and prosperous economy, with the aim of correcting some past wrongs. In partnership with the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics and Te Pūtea Matua (Reserve Bank of New Zealand), the Bank of Canada hosted the inaugural Symposium on Indigenous Economies. The goal of the bi-annual conference is to share research, engage in meaningful discussion, and enhance collaboration among central banks and Indigenous partners. This year’s event brought together hundreds of Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts, researchers, and economists to discuss challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous economies today – including access to capital, resource development, and Indigenous businesses and labour markets. (Reuters)


Last-minute bid to stop Shell’s oil exploration in whale breeding grounds

A last-minute bid has been launched to try to halt Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to explore for oil in vital whale breeding grounds along the Wild Coast of eastern South Africa. Campaigners filed an urgent legal challenge against the energy giant’s exploration plans in a bid to prevent it harming whales, dolphins and seals in the relatively untouched marine environment. The intervention is expected to delay Shell’s plans to explore for oil in the sensitive marine environment, which will include firing loud shockwave emissions through 1.8 miles of water and almost 35 miles into the seabed to create a seismic survey of the area. The decision to allow Shell to move ahead with its plans was taken using an approval process which has since been replaced by stronger environmental protections. (The Guardian)


Rate of energy efficiency improvements needs to double for net-zero

Despite global improvements in energy efficiency in 2021, the rate of progress needs to at least double to align with net-zero by 2050, according to analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA’s 2021 Energy Efficiency Report reveals that while progress is now back on track after the Covid-19 pandemic, much more needs to be done.   According to the Agency’s scenario for net-zero by 2050, global energy intensity is due to fall by at least 4% each year in the 2020s. The IEA is urging other nations to follow in Europe’s footsteps to: implement stricter standards and regulations for energy-using products; consider tax incentives for energy efficiency; increase public spending on building and retrofitting; and streamlining planning procedures to make efficiency projects more attractive to private finance. (edie)


EDF and Google ink deals to buy power from offshore wind farms

Google has secured a 12-year power purchase agreement with Danish offshore wind developer Orsted, as the tech giant aims to power all its data centres and offices using solely carbon-free electricity by 2030. The company will take 50 megawatt (MW) of output from Orsted's planned 900 MW Borkum Riffgrund 3 wind farm in the German North Sea. In related news, French energy company EDF has signed a major deal to directly buy all the electricity generated at RWE's 1.4GW Sofia offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The 15-year power purchase agreement will see EDF offtake all the 6.5 terwatt hours of electricity produced each year by the Sofia project, which is set to be one of the world's largest offshore wind farms when it begins generating power from 2025. (Reuters; Business Green)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021