New VCMI guidance, COP 28 updates, and a breakthrough in sustainable aviation fuels
The Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) has released updated guidance for organizations purchasing carbon credits to offset their Scope 3 emissions. The new guidelines, featuring the Carbon Integrity Claims branding, allow companies to make Silver, Gold, or Platinum claims, with reduced thresholds to incentivize more companies to take climate action. Additionally, VCMI introduced the Scope 3 Flexibility Claim, enabling companies to use high-quality carbon credits to close the gap between its target reduction level and actual Scope 3 emissions, subject to certain guardrails, with the aim of fostering greater corporate climate ambition.
The VCMI’s adjustment of thresholds, particularly lowering the Silver claim from 20% to 10%, is designed to encourage a broader range of companies to engage in climate action, increasing the number of eligible companies by around 30%. The Scope 3 Flexibility Claim is introduced to provide an ‘on-ramp’ for companies to work towards net-zero goals, addressing challenges some companies faced in meeting the Scope 3 requirements within science-based target goals. The guardrails on the use of carbon credits aim to prevent the claim from being a substitute for genuine decarbonization efforts. Overall, these changes are positioned to enhance the credibility of voluntary carbon credit purchasing and stimulate private sector climate ambition.
The COP28 climate summit this week in Dubai is set to address critical issues surrounding global warming, with a focus on the contentious debate over whether to phase out fossil fuels or prioritize technologies like carbon capture. The host country, the UAE, and other major oil-producing nations advocate for a low-carbon future inclusive of fossil fuels, revealing international divisions. The summit will also grapple with the challenge of assessing countries’ progress towards the 1.5-degree Celsius goal and launching a pioneering climate damage fund to assist nations already impacted by climate change.
While expectations are high for global renewable energy commitments and the potential for a climate deal between the U.S. and China, this year’s conference is marked by significant uncertainties and tensions among participating countries. Despite the challenges and divisions, there is hope for meaningful outcomes that address the urgency of climate change and its profound impacts on nations around the world.
Canadian officials are optimistic about a breakthrough at the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai, where they anticipate the announcement of a new fund to address the impacts of climate change. The ‘loss and damage’ fund, whose name is still under negotiations, aims to assist countries and communities coping with both the economic and non-economic effects of climate change such as reconstruction costs, humanitarian assistance, and displacement due to rising sea levels. The fund would be voluntarily funded by the international community, beginning with pledges at COP28.
The potential launch of a loss and damage fund at COP28 reflects a significant step in global efforts to address the consequences of climate change. If established, the fund could play a crucial role in assisting vulnerable nations and communities. Additionally, Canada’s emphasis on setting new financing goals aligns with the increasing recognition of the substantial financial support required for developing countries to meet climate investment needs, highlighting the ongoing commitment to international collaboration on climate action.
Virgin Atlantic has successfully completed the first transatlantic flight powered solely by sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), using a Boeing 787 filled with 50 tonnes of SAF derived from waste fats and corn production byproducts. While hailed as a significant achievement by industry figures and politicians, concerns persist about the limited availability and higher cost of SAF, with experts emphasizing the need for additional technologies to meet emissions targets in the aviation sector. The successful flight highlights the potential of SAF but underscores the challenges and the urgent need for further investments and innovations to decarbonize long-haul flights.
The milestone transatlantic flight by Virgin Atlantic showcases the feasibility of sustainable aviation fuels in reducing carbon emissions from the aviation industry. While other potential solutions exist, they don’t appear to be gaining as much traction as following the flight, Rolls Royce, maker of the jet engines used in the Virgin Atlantic flight, announced it would be moving away from developing electric propulsion systems for air travel.