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Major growth of clean energy limited the rise in global emissions in 2023

Our latest selection of articles from New Zealand and around the world on environmental management and sustainability. Click here to subscribe.


The continued growth of renewable energy & EV use has lessened the impact of extreme droughts in China and America, which created a shortfall in hydropower. Emissions increased, by 1.1%. But the deployment of clean energy technologies in the past five years has limited overall increases. The increase in renewal energy is good, but the world must spend more than Australian $18 Trillion over the next 6 years to meet climate targets! Fuel lobbyists still have the ear of many governments, that could be about to change, and they could end up being treated like the tobacco industry (bad for everyone’s health).


Staying with fuel, some towns in California are banning new gas stations. Big oil doesn’t like it. And just to confirm any climate related issues are all on us, according to Exxon CEO Darren Woods. Darren points the finger at everyone except Exxon and the fossil fuel industry in general. According to independent watchdog Consumer NZ, New Zealand is “rife with greenwashing”, with many companies positioning themselves as “sustainable”. Consumer NZ and others are currently seeking a High Court declaration that Z Energy has breached the Fair Trading Act with its advertising!


Staying with advertising, The financial backers of the world’s biggest advertising agency groups should rethink their investment strategies and stop working for highly polluting brands. 6 advertising firms, have 39 clients with an emissions footprint of 530 million tonnes of CO2!


Voters in Australia are becoming more policy oriented when it comes to voting, These days, the environment and other traditionally left-leaning issues are more likely to be front of mind when Australians – young and old go to the polls. The electorate is more fluid, motivated more by issues than by traditional party ties.


We have covered off the benefits of creating sponge cities in previous Snippets, now Los Angeles has proved how spongy a city can be. Replacing impermeable surfaces, like concrete, with permeable ones, improvement to water runoff and capture, “sponge” infrastructure helped gather 8.6 billion gallons of water—enough to sustain over 100,000 households for a year, when 9 inches of rain fell on the city over 3 days earlier this year.


We finish with a look at comedy and how it can help get the climate change message across, while hopefully providing a good laugh.


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Here is the full list of articles...


New analysis from the International Energy Agency shows major growth of clean energy limited the rise in global emissions in 2023. Without clean energy technologies, the global increase in CO2 emissions in the last five years would have been three times larger. And last year was the first in which at least half of electricity generation in advanced economies came from low-emissions sources. Deployment of clean energy has substantially limited increases in demand for fossil fuels, providing the opportunity to transition away from them this decade. Read more…


The world needs to spend at least $US12 trillion over the next six years on renewables and grid infrastructure if it is to meet the climate targets set out at last year’s COP28 conference. Hitting those targets would require renewables to grow 70 per cent faster over 2022–2030 than they did over the last eight years. This would achieve a key Paris-compatible milestone and help keep 1.5°C within reach. It sounds like a big ask but experts believe it is feasible.  Read more…


Following the precedent applied to the tobacco industry, the European Parliament hosted a hearing to decide if interests of fossil fuel lobbyists conflict with environmental protection. The increasing influence of oil and gas lobbyists has raised the question of whether their democratic participation may sabotage the Parliament’s approach to energy issues. With parallels drawn to the conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health, the February 14th hearing may have changed the course of Europe’s energy transition.   Read more…


The tenacity of Californian climate activists has invoked a response from the oil and gas industry in the form of foreboding advertising campaigns. The risk? That banning gas stations will lead to higher fuel prices. Whether it’s a warning or a threat is up for debate, as grassroots climate activism only seeks to ban the expansion of oil and gas infrastructure. The ban is mostly pursued by teenagers and youth activist groups who question the implementation of soon redundant technologies in the cleaner, greener future they fight for. Read more…


Like a drug lord blaming everyone but himself for drug problems, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil has said the public is to blame for climate failures. This is an example of the fossil fuel industry’s gaslighting technique – here’s the playbook. Sell consumers a product that you know is dangerous, while publicly denying or downplaying those dangers. Then, when the dangers are no longer deniable, deny responsibility and blame the consumer. So even though Exxon spend billions on fossil fuels and on influencing public opinion, you are to blame! Read more…


Between gaslighting and greenwashing, it begs the question of whether New Zealand should ban fossil fuel advertising outright. 40% of New Zealanders believe that fossil fuel companies should not be allowed to do any advertising, with the logic being if advertising drives fossil fuel consumption, then ending the promotion of fossil fuels should be part of our climate solution. This is already happening overseas and if the Z Energy greenwashing court case says anything, it’s that fossil fuel advertising will only become increasingly scrutinised on our own shores. Read more…


This article advocates for the world’s largest advertising companies to be held responsible for the pollution of their clients. More specifically, that advertising firms should “actively work to transition their clients to sustainable business models” or deny service to major polluters. Reluctance of the advertising industry to make these changes could lead to disillusionment from staff and risk to investors. The article warns of a shift in the industry toward greener independent agencies, rather than the 6 biggest firms -whose portfolios involves much of the oil and gas industry. Read more…


The demographics of Australian voters have shifted with generational turnover. Today’s novel political landscape involves a growing Millennial and Gen Z cohort who continue to uphold their progressive ideologies. This challenges the conventional belief of conservatism increasing with age and has brought a culture of policy-motivated voting over rigid party affiliation. With this comes greater openness to engaging with and voting for smaller parties who offer more radical solutions to priority issues such as the environment and climate change. Read more…


Los Angeles recently experienced heavy rains, showcasing the effectiveness of its "sponge" infrastructure. The city's innovative approach, including permeable surfaces and spreading grounds, captured 8.6 billion gallons of stormwater—enough for 106,000 households for a year. With climate change increasing extreme rainfall, cities are rethinking traditional drainage systems, opting for solutions that treat stormwater as an asset. LA's efforts include greening urban spaces, utilising aquifers, and even recycling water. This approach not only addresses water scarcity but also improves urban resilience and residents' well-being. Other cities like Pittsburgh are following suit with similar strategies.  Read more…


Comedy is emerging as a vital tool for grappling with climate change, offering a means of connection, emotional processing, and making complex issues more accessible. From satirical sketches to late-night humour, comedians like Alice Snedden use laughter to confront the anxiety and futility many feel in the face of climate crisis. By poking fun at hypocrisy and weaving pro-environmental messages into their content, comedians engage audiences who might otherwise tune out of discussions on climate. As climate impacts intensify, humour becomes an essential coping mechanism and catalyst for action.   Read more…





This week we have the following innovation articles we hope you find interesting:




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