Snippets for 13 October 2022



Thanks for reading our Snippets newsletter this week. We have once again included a mixed selection of articles we hope you find interesting.


A new report suggests that the Climate Economy is about to explode, and the US Inflation Reduction Act could be even bigger than Congress thinks, spending close to $1.7 Trillion to fight climate change over 10 years, turning the US into a world leader in renewables in the process. And S&P 500 companies can see the value in taking climate action, with the financial benefits 15 times higher than the risks in not transitioning to a low carbon future. An example - an Australian billionaire turned philanthropist, who made his fortune in mining and minerals, is turning his vast iron ore extraction operation into a zero carbon business using renewables rather than offsetting.


Our next few articles look at carbon emissions and offsets, where more regulations and robust review processes need to be put in place to ensure the market is actually doing what it’s supposed to. Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) wants to establish a set of 10 “Core Carbon Principles”, to ensure the market delivers. Also, better reporting along with digitising everything and better accounting through climate warehousing will ensure no double counting. And methane emissions rapid growth has alarmed scientists, but their short lifespan (10 years) means cuts would rapidly reduce the gas’s contribution to warming and may cost less than expected.


Humans create a lot of waste and associated emissions, but if managed better waste sector emissions could be reduced by an average of 84%, or more than 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. We waste a lot of food; an estimated $600 billion worth of food is lost during or just after harvest. Research shows that food manufacturers and retailers are uniquely positioned to lead global efforts to reduce food loss, possibly by 50-70%, through better management. Human waste, poo, is another ‘waste’ stream that could be better managed. It is a potent, nutrient-rich fertiliser which can help plants thrive. Composting rather than flushing it also brings down water use, and it could be used instead of synthetic fertilisers.


We finish this week with an opinion piece around mining. It most cases mining is seen as environmentally damaging. But this industry seems vital as we transition to renewables and green economies, providing many of the minerals we need to power EV’s, solar panels or wind turbines.


Our first article takes a look at a research note published by investment bank Credit Suisse, that highlighted the Inflation Reduction Act is more important than it seems. Far from the estimated $374 billion to fight climate change, and thanks to uncapped tax credits, the total investment in climate spending will be more like $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Indeed, much like tech start-ups circa 2010, we can expect to see the climate space explode in the near future. Read more....


Corporations are viewing the climate economy as a massive, profitable opportunity. A Carbon Disclosures Project questionnaire sent to 80% of the companies listed on the S&P 500, found companies see a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity in shifting to low-carbon products, services, and markets. More than half of the companies align with the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework - a marked increase. Time will tell if these perceived money-making opportunities translate to real work climate action. Read more....

At least one billionaire is looking beyond profit, to tangible, carbon-lowering action: Andrew Forrest. Australia’s richest man, who made his wealth in mining with Fortescue Metals Group, is committing the company to a “real zero” target by investing heavily in renewable technology to make operations zero carbon by the end of the decade. Forrest argues net-zero relies too heavily on dubious carbon credits, and thus is taking a more stringent, reduction approach. Hopefully other companies follow suit. Read more....

Moves from the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), a coalition of climate and finance experts tasked with bringing discipline to private carbon offsetting market has met with resistance from the non-profit organisation Verra, responsible for issuing 83% of the registered carbon credits in 2021. The ten core principles proposed by ICVCM, such as ensuring offsetting projects deliver actual emissions cuts, are enduring, and care for local communities seem very worthy. So why then would Verra object to them? Read more....


Of course, measuring Carbon offsets is only as good as the data that is used to verify them. This article discusses the importance of using dynamic baselines, which utilise global satellite monitoring, light detection, cloud penetrating radar, machine learning and AI to actually create more accurate baselines based on accurate data and analysis. All of this data needs to be kept in a digital format, and collected and stored in centralised data warehouses, so double counting can be avoided. Read more....


Until recently, the focus of climate change mitigation has overwhelmingly been on carbon dioxide, but awareness of Methane has come to the fore. Methane matters because over a 20-year period, it is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere. The good news is that it only lives in the atmosphere for a decade or so, as opposed to the 300 to 1,000 years for carbon dioxide. Scientists now see methane mitigation as one of the best chances to limit warming this decade. Read more....


Speaking of methane, a new report by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) states that reforming the waste sector could cut global emissions of methane by 13%. This article discusses the negligence showcased by many countries’ current climate plans by not including the waste sector. GAIA’s report modelled potential waste emissions reductions from eight cities around the world. Waste management will be a key topic of discussion at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November. Read more....


This article talks about how each company must fundamentally change how it interacts with other stakeholders in the food ecosystem, to minimise waste. The in-depth examination of the farm-to-retailer food supply chain by McKinsey reveals where and how the food is either lost or wasted. They selected a particular fruit as an example for this study. The logic behind this is that the lessons learnt from this study can be extrapolated to other fresh-produce categories. Read more....

And a slightly different waste stream that most people prefer to not think about, human waste…poo. It has nutrients that are essential to keeping our soils healthy, but most goes down the toilet without a second thought, ending up fertilising our waterways that really don’t need or want it. Applying it to land would reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers, which require fossil fuels to make. It is increasingly being seen as an important step in circular sanitation and economy. Get the low down on some opportunities this natural resource offers. Read more....

Mining – some of us consider this an “evil” industry, but maybe some further thought on this is necessary. In this opinion piece, we are asked to consider how we will reach net zero without mining, the products of which are essential to many of the solutions to global warming. It does make you think, and there are no easy answers. Read more....











This week we have a couple of innovation articles we hope you find interesting:







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