By virtue, or by follow-up, the Oil Producing Countries of the Golf are trying to rush into the transition to green development. Here is a good example. Apicorp to allocate $1bn towards green energy as described here extends to also ‘introduce green and sustainability bonds in the coming period with the aim of accelerating the adoption of sustainable business models within the energy sector whilst providing incentives to pursue energy diversification and sustainability practices.’
DAMMAM, The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), an energy-focused multilateral development bank, plans to allocate $1 billion towards green energy projects and sustainable energy companies over the next two years, particularly in the MENA region.
This is with a view to concomitantly measure the ESG footprint of all its assets by end of 2023 through active engagement with its stakeholders.
Unveiling its new ESG policy framework, Apicorp aims to support Energy Transition in its member countries and beyond.
Currently, green assets comprise more than 13% of the multilateral development bank’s overall portfolio – equal to around $550 million in loans and direct investments, a figure which has more than quadrupled over the past five years.
The new framework also includes a robust due diligence toolkit to measure the ESG impact when making financing and investment decisions, with a focus on supporting the proliferation of renewable energy sources and low-carbon technologies as well as forging more strategic partnerships to promote the sustainability agenda.
Additionally, Apicorp will look to introduce green and sustainability bonds in the coming period with the aim of accelerating the adoption of sustainable business models within the energy sector and providing industry players with incentives to pursue energy diversification and sustainability practices.
Commenting on the ESG policy framework, Dr Aabed bin Abdulla Al-Saadoun, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Apicorp, said: “As the world continues to experience unprecedented change, Apicorp recognises the importance of our role, our impact and our responsibility to tackle environmental and climate change challenges within our member countries, partners and wider stakeholders. We want to support a transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy by mitigating risks across our operations, supply chain and client transactions by embedding sustainable principles in our business practices. We embark on this journey with the reassurance that all of our member countries are signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement and participants at COP26 to be held in Glasgow later this year.”
Dr Ahmed Ali Attiga, Chief Executive Officer of Apicorp, said: “At Apicorp, we want to lead by example when it comes to transitioning to more sustainable energy sources. Encouraging other partners in our ecosystem to be more mindful of their environmental, governance and societal footprint is therefore integral to our strategy moving forward. As a multilateral development bank with exposure to myriad industries within the energy space, we have the added advantage of being able to measure the overall impact more accurately across the regions in which we operate. Equally important, we will continue to drive the ESG agenda in our member countries through our research and knowledge sharing activities, as well as our unique position in advising key policymakers within government and regulatory circles.”
Underpinned by three core pillars – Responsible Banking and Investing, Social Inclusion and Partnerships, and Financial Resilience and Governance – the comprehensive framework is a key element of Apicorp’s strategy to formalise and institutionalise its commitment to environmental protection, social responsibility, and robust governance. It also guides how
Apicorp will go about identifying, measuring, managing, monitoring, and reporting ESG risks and opportunities, as well as outlining criteria related to its own infrastructure, ethics and values, diversity and inclusion, and employee empowerment.
Additionally, the institution will also undertake voluntary public reporting on an annual basis drawn from the leading international standards, including the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, The Principles for Responsible Investment, The Principles for Responsible Banking, and The Equator Principles.
Arabian Business‘ post on the GCC of all countries of the MENA region are taking action for a sustainable future because of how humanity having reached a ‘code red’ climate emergency. Here it is.
How humanity has reached a ‘code red’ climate emergency
The good news is that there is still a sliver of hope to help communities respond to this threat through well-informed, solid and sustained actions.
The recently published report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes unprecedented environmental changes as “irreversible for centuries to millennia”.
However, the good news is that there is still a sliver of hope to help communities respond to this threat through well-informed, solid and sustained actions.
Like the rest of the world, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have started experiencing climate change first-hand with sparse rainfall, arid terrain, and high temperatures. Thus, its governments moved to adapt their climate change policies.
For example, Saudi Arabia launched the Saudi Green Initiative which aims to increase the kingdom’s reliance on clean energy, and combat climate change. Bloomberg Green reported earlier this year that Saudi Arabia is building a $5 billion solar and wind-powered plant to be among the world’s biggest green hydrogen makers when it opens in the planned megacity of Neom in 2025.
Meanwhile, the UAE has been undertaking many steps to control the effects of climate since the late 2000s with the establishment of Masdar in Abu Dhabi, which is currently hosting the International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters. Dubai also inaugurated the third phase of its largest solar park in the world last year, which targets a capacity of 5GW by 2030 to supply homes with clean energy and offset CO2 emissions.
Global funders of science – including philanthropy, the private sector and government agencies – have a vital role in delivering climate pledges. As we have seen with the fight against Covid-19, by focusing investments on supporting much-needed research and technology development, we can improve climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, and influence policy and identify behavioural interventions that support them. This prompts us to examine the role of privately-led science funding in the GCC in supporting climate change combat.
Research indicates that climate change directly impacts nutrition and public health. In the GCC, for example, MIT professor Elfatih Eltahir published a paper in Nature Climate Change, alongside Jeremy Pal of Loyola Marymount University, demonstrating that waves of heat and humidity in the region are likely to lead to temperature levels that are intolerable to humans. This research sounds a warning for the impact of increased urbanisation rates on livability in the GCC in the face of climate change.
The GCC can respond positively to climate change’s direct and indirect effects on communities, whether air pollution, nutrition, disease or even habitability.
With exceptions like Professor Eltahir’s study, there is little research and empirical evidence on the effects of adverse climate events on human health in the GCC region. Such research is urgently needed: Only by examining the most up-to-date and robust scientific evidence and analysis, can we understand how to tackle these challenges most effectively.
To this end, Community Jameel has partnered with AEON Collective, a leading Saudi-based sustainable development research and advocacy group, to bring together a consortium of world-leading international and local researchers in the areas of climate, food and water, and public health to inform policy recommendations in climate and health in the GCC.
This includes scientists from two research centres Community Jameel has founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): the Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS), which catalyses research and innovation at MIT to find solutions to urgent global water and food systems challenges; and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), whose co-founders – Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee – received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their experimental approach to tackling global poverty, and where the J-PAL King Climate Action Initiative is generating evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of technological and policy innovations at the intersection of climate and poverty.
In order to bridge the gap between academia, policymakers and the private sector in the GCC, the consortium will draw on the expertise of researchers at J-WAFS and J-PAL, as well as local and other international institutions, to identify solutions, provide technical guidance, and improve our understanding of the complexity behind the policy changes required to implement science-based solutions in the region.
By strengthening the region’s climate resilience, the GCC can respond positively to climate change’s direct and indirect effects on communities, whether air pollution, nutrition, disease or even habitability. There is also an opportunity to capitalise on the strategic opportunities presented by the shift to a lower-carbon and resource-constrained economy.
We hope that this collaborative effort will galvanise further funding of research in – and for – the GCC and the specific challenges posed by climate change to the health of all of us living in this region.
Before a critical Opec conference, Iraq’s finance minister, one of the founding members of the global oil cartel Opec, issued an unusual plea to fellow oil producers to shift away from fossil fuel reliance and toward renewable energy.
Ali Allawi, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, urged oil producers to seek “an economic rejuvenation based on ecologically sound policies and technology,” such as solar electricity and even nuclear reactors, to lessen their reliance on fossil fuel exports.ADVERTISING
“To stand a chance of minimizing the worst consequences of climate change, the world has to radically transform the way it produces and uses energy, burning less coal, oil, and natural gas,” he wrote alongside Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. Livelihoods would be lost, and poverty rates will rise if oil earnings begin to fall before producer countries have properly diversified their economies.”
Ministers from the 13 Opec member states will meet virtually on Wednesday to discuss possible output cuts as oil prices fluctuate. Opec had agreed to raise output as nations recovered from the Covid-19 epidemic, but sluggish markets have led some to propose that the rise be halted.
Last month, US President Joe Biden made a contentious appeal for Opec to raise oil output, even more, keep oil prices from increasing and help the US economy recover. But, unfortunately, his appeal was turned down.
Fuel Step Up
In an unprecedented step for the fossil fuel companies, the Opec summit may also address the climate problem ahead of the crucial UN climate negotiations, known as Cop26, set for Glasgow in November.
According to Allawi and Birol, current oil price instability, fueled by the pandemic, is merely the beginning of troubles for producers. The climate issue will not only need a shift away from oil, but it will also have a particularly negative impact on the Middle East and North Africa, where increasing temperatures are already causing severe problems.
According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) recent global roadmap to net-zero by 2050, global oil demand is expected to fall from more than 90 million barrels per day to fewer than 25 million barrels per day by 2050, resulting in a potential 85 percent drop in revenues for oil-producing economies.
According to Allawi and Birol, economic hardship and rising unemployment risk causing greater discontent and instability in a region with one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations.
Investing in renewables, particularly solar electricity, is an alternative to dependent on increasingly volatile oil prices. They added, “The energy industry might play a role here by utilizing the region’s tremendous potential for generating and supplying clean energy.”
Iraq is a founding member of the cartel, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Nigeria, and several other African oil-producing countries. In addition, Russia and a few minor producers are included in the Opec+ alliance.
Most have been antagonistic to demands for action on climate change, while some have dismissed climate science, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, has often obstructed UN climate discussions.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) cautioned in May that if the world remains below 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, as laid forth in the Paris Agreement – to which all Opec members are signatories – all new oil drilling must end this year.
When asked about the findings, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said at an Opec meeting in June, “I would have to voice my perspective that I feel it is a sequel to [the] La La Land movie…” But, “What makes you think I should take it seriously?”
Saudi officials have toyed with climate action in the past, claiming, for example, that the nation might eventually power itself with solar energy. However, no one has urged that oil shipments be halted.
Some oil producers, on the other hand, have chosen a more dovish attitude. For example, Oman, no longer an Opec member, looks at hydrogen as a future low-carbon fuel. The UAE also focuses on hydrogen and renewable energy and has just opened a new nuclear power plant. Other nations in the area with significant renewable energy programs include Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan.
“More than at any other time in history, significant adjustments to the economic model in resource-rich nations are unavoidable,” Birol, one of the world’s leading energy economists, told the Guardian. Countries in the region have made energy transition initiatives. There are encouraging attempts [among oil producers], but attaining net-zero emissions would need far bolder steps and much larger international coordination, as it has for many other nations across the world.”
A Workplace Insight piece of News stating that the built environment must accelerate decarbonisation to support net-zero goal by Jayne Smith comes yet again as another reiteration of the need for the vital continuation of the urban Environment life as we know it till now. Or an improvement on the existing one. Before the generalisation of the increasingly dominant urban environment throughout the world, building a future for our grandchildren based on clean and renewable energy is not a dream but the goodwill of political leaders if left alone from capitalistic predation. And, it is the sine-qua-non condition to save the earth by agreeing with its natural ecosystems.
While the built environment is going in the right direction, it is still not moving fast enough to decarbonise building stock, according to the latest annual sustainability report produced by RICS and World Built Environment Forum.
The 2021 report, which collates sentiment from over 4000 contributors to the RICS Global Commercial Property Monitor and the RICS Global Construction Monitor, highlights a greater appetite for greener buildings and more sustainable projects but not at a fast enough pace to help reach global net-zero targets.
In 2021, over 40 percent of respondents identify client, stakeholder and customer demand as one of the main driving forces behind the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment boom. Indeed, a net balance of +55 percent more respondents to the survey pointed to an increase in occupier and investor appetite for green and sustainable buildings in the past year, with only 6 percent of respondents reporting a fall in demand for such assets in spite of the challenges posed by Covid.
Other factors influencing the change include increased greater awareness of ESG risks and opportunities and brand image and reputation.
As demand for greener assets grows, there seems to be some evidence to suggest that enhancing the sustainability attributes of a building can command a rent premium. Half of respondents believe green can charge higher rents compared with non-green buildings. For those buildings that aren’t green or sustainable, 30 percent of respondents cited that these buildings are given a ‘brown discount’ – discounted rents to compensate for not being sustainable.
But more can be done. Whilst 40 percent of respondents have seen an increase in the number of green leases – landlord and tenant arrangements that encourage or even contractually dictate that there are standards around sustainability, the majority of contributors have yet to see green leases become a dominant feature of the market.
Looking at the construction sector, two-thirds of respondents say that the top priority for the sector to become more sustainable is through minimising waste, and around half of respondents see more resilient construction products, materials and components as a principal concern. Despite 55 percent of respondents reporting an increase in demand for recycled and reusable materials in the past year, 43 percent have yet to see a change.
With the construction sector responsible for around 40 percent of carbon each year, and to aid reducing the sector’s carbon output respondents were asked about their operational and embodied carbon measurement practices.
Critically, 70 percent replied that there is no operational carbon measurement taking place in the lifecycle of their projects. Also, more than half of the respondents say that they don’t measure embodied carbon and for those that do, less than 14 percent use it to select the materials they use in their project.
As the impact of climate change intensifies, companies are looking for solutions, such as International Construction Management Standards. Around 18 percent of respondents did say that if there was a standardised approach for measuring their carbon, they would use it, with the greatest appetite (over 30 percent) being seen in New Zealand, Singapore, and Philippines.
“More occupiers and investors look for buildings that contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.”
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, commented: “As countries strive to achieve net-zero, the rising awareness in how integral ESG goals are to our future is coming through in our survey, as more occupiers and investors look for buildings that contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.
“The data also shows the impact this demand is having on rents and lease terms with encouraging statistics coming through about how green buildings are achieving higher returns.
“Construction firms, who are at the forefront of dealing with some of the major consequences of climate change, still believe more can be done to achieve net-zero. It is clear from the feedback that respondents have a willingness to improve but currently only a third of respondents are measuring their operational carbon output. As material prices rise across the globe, and building supplies become scarcer firms are looking for new solutions that will help make a measurable impact when it comes to tackling climate change.”
Oil and Gas posted in itsENERGY TRANSITION section, a snapshot about how Renewables surge in the MENA region as energy transition accelerates. A good question would be that relating to earnings. Would the renewables bring in any revenues, and how would they compare with those of the oil and gas exports.
The image above is for illustrative purposes
Middle East renewables surge as energy transition accelerates
Renewable energy project contract awards in 2021 have eclipsed deals for conventional power plant projects in the Middle East
Renewable energy project contract awards in 2021 have eclipsed deals for conventional power plant projects in the Middle East as the region’s energy diversification agenda gathers pace, according to GlobalData’s MEED.
According to the company’s latest report, ‘Middle East Energy Transition’, there were no contract awards for oil-powered or gas-fuelled power stations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the first half of 2021. However, in the same period, there a number of renewable energy project contract awards in the region, worth roughly $2.8bn.
From 2017 to 2020, the average value of contract awards for oil – or gas-fuelled power stations in the MENA region was around $4.8bn a year, with $6.2bn of conventional thermal power plant contract awards made in 2020.
Richard Thompson, Editorial Director of GlobalData’s MEED, comments: “The stalling of the development of conventional power generation plants in the region is one consequence of an acceleration of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to diversify the energy sources away from oil and gas. Doubts about long-term demand for oil products and growing confidence in the cost effectiveness of renewable energy are also fuelling the region’s energy transition.”
Renewables on the rise
Some $104bn-worth of renewable energy projects are planned, of which roughly $21.5bn are at the contract tendering stage and are likely to lead to contract awards in 2021 and 2022.
Thompson adds: “Of the remaining $82.4bn of planned projects, only around $4.1bn are at an advanced stage of design, with the vast majority, some $78.3bn of projects, still under study. Many of these may not go ahead or could change substantially in scope.”
According to MEED’s report, Saudi’s $18bn renewables projects pipeline offers the best prospects, with some $13bn of renewable energy projects at or close to the tendering stage. The UAE, which far outstrips Saudi Arabia in terms of installed renewable capacity, has only $370m of renewables projects at the bidding stage.
The report identifies hydrogen fuel as an important emerging element in the Middle East’s energy landscape. The use of hydrogen fuel in electricity generation emits only water vapour and no carbon dioxide. Moreover, hydrogen can help decarbonise traditional gas-fired power plants.
Thompson notes: “The hype surrounding hydrogen, and in particular green hydrogen, has become increasingly hard to ignore as it dominates industry discussions of oil and gas, renewable energy, mining and climate change. The opportunity to pivot to green hydrogen is particularly strong in the MENA region.”
An estimated $42bn-worth of green hydrogen-related projects are being planned across the MENA region – and project announcements have become increasingly frequent over recent years. These announcements include both high-level memorandums of understanding (MoUs) comprising studies that are expected to lead to concrete project opportunities in the future, and agreements related to a specific project with general details on the type, location and capacity of the planned facilities.
Thompson adds: “Energy transition is now among the highest policy priorities for the Middle East’s oil producers, which have been hard hit by low oil prices since 2015 – a knock that may be exacerbated by the decline in oil demand growth that is predicted by 2040.”
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