Snippets for 17 December 2020


This final edition of Snippets for the year starts out with a big announcement from the government. We all know that the government has now declared a Climate Emergency, but along with that the government also launched the Carbon Neutral Government Programme that is aimed at reducing carbon from the government sector to zero by 2025- details in the fine print...


We move from NZ to an update on the Paris Agreement, five years on; and then we have a very good article to get you up to speed on Carbon Offsets.


Moving on to energy, we find that renewable energy came through COVID swimmingly, while fossil fuels appear to be terminally ill! Poor old fossil fuels are getting it from all sides now, with the advertising and PR firms that they work with being called out for helping them to greenwash their images.


We also have articles that ask if ecocide should be considered a crime, as well as discussing the benefits of allowing indigenous cultures to be in charge of conservation of their traditional lands. We have the story of how the Whanganui river gained personship, and we close with a novel approach to nitrate runoff pollution.


We are now officially in a national climate emergency, but what does that mean for government agencies? Well, under the Carbon Neutral Government Program, the public sector will now be required to measure, manage and reduce their emissions down to carbon neutrality. This will require a huge reduction in fossil fuel consumption right across the public sector. Read more.....


Now that the US intends to rejoin the Paris Agreement, the question is whether the targets are sufficient to avert a climate catastrophe. Countries like New Zealand have veered so much from their 2015 commitments that even if all countries meet their current pledges this would still lead to temperature rise of 2.1C. However, there is hope that shorter term commitments could bring us closer to the 1.5C aim. Read more.....

As the public sector looks to reduce their gross emissions, there will be some level of emissions that will not be able to be avoided. For these emissions it will be necessary to purchase (or produce) carbon offsets. But what type of carbon offsets are available? And how do we know if they are of high or low quality? Read more.....


Considering carbon emissions, the good news is growth in renewables is on the increase, and is expected to overtake coal as the main electricity source by 2025 after record growth during 2020. There is a growing acceptance of the need to tackle the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions which has made renewable energy increasingly attractive to investors. Unfortunately, government coronavirus recovery funds are currently going more to the fossil fuel sector than to green projects, which needs to change. Read more.....





Campaigners targeting the PR firms of fossil fuel companies may just be the thing needed to change their messaging around the industry decarbonizing by investing in greener forms of energy, when in reality the overwhelming majority of their capital expenditure still goes towards oil and gas. The campaigners see a need to end to what they regard as “greenwashing and misinformation campaigns that help delay climate action" and targeting the PR Firms own image may be what it takes. Read more.....


Do we need an international law that criminalises acts that amount to “ecocide”? The destruction of nature, killing the environment, is believed by some to merit just such a law that would come under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. If this was added to the current four crimes the ICC rules on, the perpetrators of environmental destruction would suddenly be liable to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. Ecocide is now being discussed at the highest political levels, and is gaining momentum. Read more.....





Can Indigenous people assist with land management? They lived on the land long before colonists arrived and before modern industry started encroaching into their domain. They tend to have a better understanding of the areas they live in, so why can’t they play an important part in the guardianship of important areas, to ensure biodiversity is maintained? Well, it looks like they can and should, according to the United Nations. Read more.....


Looking to NZ next, the Whanganui River legally became a person in 2017. This article looks at the history and importance to local Maori, and issues that impacted the river and surrounding areas when Europeans arrived in the 1800’s. Industrialisation and farming practices changed the river and land, often times for the worse. Now having representation, the river can have a say in its own future. Read more.....




A new reef credit marketplace specifically linked to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, has been created by GreenCollar to address an environmental issue very close to Australia’s heart: the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef. Reef credits are sold by farmers or project developers to organisations and companies looking to offset their environmental footprints (in a similar way to how carbon credits work). Those sales help fund improved land management practices. One reef credit in the system is equivalent to one kilogram of nitrogen, or 538 kilograms of sediment avoided from the ocean. Read more.....



This week we have an article on innovation in solar cell technology, getting so close to the 30% efficiency target. Read more.....













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