SnippETS for 18 October 2018
Welcome to our SnippETS newsletter.
In this edition of SnippETS we kick things off with the most important current topic in climate news: the latest IPCC report on climate change. The news is that it is a mammoth task, but if we take action now, we can still have a positive impact.
We follow with a story about how citizens are suing their government to get action on climate change.
Next, we move into forest conservation and restoration; blockchain chickens and differences between dietary choices.
We finish with a couple of articles that discuss actions that China and Indonesia are taking to crack down on illegal fishing.
Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Special Report on Global Warming (SR15). The report warned that serious action needed to be taken in order to reach the UN’s target of limiting warming to 1.5 ºC. It’s a very long and exhaustive report on the topic but luckily we have come across and concise slideshow summary that covers the report in 10 pictures and charts.
Looking at the IPCC report on a global scale can be dizzying, so you’re probably wondering what it all means for back home here in New Zealand. In this next article the author covers New Zealand’s emissions profile and what we will need to do to fulfil our commitments under the Paris Agreement.
During the IPCC press conference, world leaders have been told by the UN they have a ‘moral obligation’ to ramp up their action on the climate crisis, as the report (SR15) shows that even half a degree of extra warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, decimate coral reef systems and intensify heat extremes. This article discusses some of the political challenges that we are facing in order to overcome this existential threat.
However, it’s not only political challenges that we as a society face in addressing climate change. There is also the challenge of getting the business community on board to transition to a low emissions economy. In this article the author explains that investors are beginning to demand more climate action from the companies they own and discusses the reporting and compliance requirements that businesses will soon face. Read more.....
In many developed nations emissions targets have either been missed, or were met but were set too low in order to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC. Now that the public is becoming aware of the world’s governments lack of action in response to climate change, many activist groups are pushing legal action. The latest ruling is a case in the Netherlands where a court in The Hague has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts. This historic ruling puts “all world governments on notice”! Read more.....
A 600km2 area in northern Scotland has been chosen as one of 8 sites where projects are underway to restore the most threatened environments in Europe. Caledonia’s ambitious reforestation project is aiming to restore the ancient forest, connecting areas that remain, providing more natural habitats and corridors for native wildlife including many threatened species.
In Hambach, Germany another ancient forest, with some trees over 350 years old, is under threat, this time from coalminers. The search-engine Ecosia, has offered to buy the remaining 200 hectares of forest to save it. Germany is heading towards using more renewables for its energy, last year producing more renewable energy than brown coal energy, and the Hambach local government has ordered the coal company to temporarily stop felling the forest.
With the recent calls to drastically cut down on our red meat consumption, this article examines the balance of nutrients available from plant-based foods, compared to meat based foods. It turns out that whilst there are lots of vitamins in plant-based foods, there is only a very small amount of protein. And if we did move to an exclusive plant-based protein diet, many of us could become quite ill. Animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids, while plant protein does not. Read more.....
So assuming we heed the need to reduce red-meat consumption, where is this animal protein going to come from. Most likely from more poultry and fish. As the carbon footprint of a chicken per kg of consumed food is only 10% that of lamb or beef, it makes sense to consume more chicken meat which gives us a 90% emissions reduction. This article examines how the use of Blockchain is now being used to trace chicken supply chains in China and how it has been received positively.
As fish will be an even greater source of meat-based protein, we need to ensure we fish sustainably in order to preserve stock numbers. With the world’s largest distant water fishing (DWF) fleet, the proverbial penny seems to have dropped for China’s fishery authorities, as they have now launched a crackdown on their DWF. Penalties for over fishing include loss of fuel subsidies, fines, loss of licences and even prison time. Read more.....
Indonesia has also taken steps to reduce over fishing by illegal fleets. Since 2014, 300 illegal fishing vessels have been seized and sunk. And it appears to be working, as foreign fishing activity in Indonesian waters has declined by more than 90%, and total fishing by 25% since 2014. Also, since Indonesia introduced legislation in 2016 setting catch sizes and quotas, fish stocks have been recovering.
This week in Innovation, gasoline made of carbon sucked from the air - a carbon neutral reality, and a process that can even be carbon negative if desired.
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