SnippETS for 17 January 2019
Welcome to our SnippETS newsletter, the first for 2019. We appear to be entering a year of promise.
In this edition we start with a round-up of environmental progress from 2018. We then move on to an article that discusses how the plight of humanity is actually better off than it ever has been, believe it or not! Next, we have a strong argument for accounting for climate risks and some simple tips to reduce emissions. There are also articles about nature being loved to death, New Zealand’s first electric ferry and topping it all off, some carbon negative cement.
We first look back at what two different sources consider the best environmental happenings of 2018. Here at Energy TS we always look to bring you the positive side of the story with our SnippETS fortnightly newsletter and, as is summarized in these first two articles, there is a lot to be pleased with in progress towards a healthier environment.
Another major event of 2018 was the COP 24 Climate Conference in Poland. One of the big outcomes from the conference is the recognition that the business sector can perform well and be green at the same time, with a slightly larger investment in “going green” up front bringing much larger savings longer term. Around half of the Fortune 500 corporations in the US have now set clear energy targets or greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Some more good news – life expectancy is still rising, and half the world’s population is now “middle class”, indicating improved living standards and prosperity that is more shared across the globe. Here we see 7 charts identifying these and some other ways the world has improved over the last few decades.
Things are truly changing for the better, as evidenced by the recently released paper from the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. The paper calls on the financial sector to be more proactive and informative when reporting on climate change risks. It references the Australian Accounting Standards Board Practice Statement 2 ‘Making Materiality Judgements in determining whether climate-risk related information is material, and should be included in financial statements.’ Great to see the financial sector stepping up. Read more.....
Once those risks have been identified, the next thing to do is to manage them. This article offers up a number of suggestions in how this might be achieved, such as the greater use of video-conferencing, converting a vehicle fleet to electric, diverting waste from landfill into recycling and composting, switching to LED lighting, working with supply chains to reduce their GHG emissions, etc.
Crisis in our National parks, how tourists are loving nature to death. This article covers experiences in the USA, national parks are effectively being overwhelmed by the huge numbers of visitors. As pictures appear online of these special places, more and more people want to get that ‘special shot’ at the very same place. Small towns and facilities just can’t cope and deaths have even occurred. In these natural areas, growth at any cost just doesn’t seem to be working. Read more.....
New Zealand is not immune to the types of issues experienced in the US, with many of these magic spots being overwhelmed by high numbers of tourists. Is unrelenting growth in the tourist industry in the long term interests of NZ and its natural environment? Perhaps not… Having personally experienced this 12 months ago on the Tongariro Crossing, what was a great walk has now turned in a procession of the ‘undead’. Read more.....
Our final tourism article focusses on the 8% of global emissions generated by the sector and how this will have to be reduced if the 2C Paris Agreement target is to be met. As with any addiction, the first step in treatment is to admit to the addiction. With the tourism sector largely still in denial and with tourism only continuing to grow, it is a proverbial elephant in the room. At least it is now being discussed and its emissions increasingly understood. That in itself is a positive.
Again close to home, Wellington's East by West ferry company is set to launch the southern hemisphere's first fully-electric boat, which could be in service by late this year. It will be built by the Wellington Electric Boat Building Company, set up by East by West in the Lower Hutt suburb of Seaview. This is exciting news for those wanting to get around the capital via a low emission transport option.
Although concrete is currently a staple of construction methods, worldwide concrete production accounts for 5.6% of global CO2 emissions. Fortunately, during its lifetime and after demolition, cement naturally captures a significant fraction of the CO2 emitted during its manufacture. When this effect is combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS), energy efficiency technologies and biofuels or electrification, cement can remove more CO2 than it adds to the atmosphere. Read more.....
This week in Innovation, a short video of an important breakthrough for all you "chippie munchers"... you may no longer need to feel guilty about the packaging.
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