Snippets for 17 June 2021
This issue of Snippets discusses the release by the Climate Change Commission of their final advice to the Government around changes needed to decarbonise New Zealand in line with meeting carbon reduction targets. Some real changes ahead for us all if the advice is adopted, but as Jacinda says - it might be tough at times, but “It’s a safer, smarter and cheaper choice to act now.”
And transport is a key area for New Zealand in reducing emissions. It seems like the world’s automotive industry must be listening. Jaguar plans to sell only electric cars from 2025, Volvo from 2030 and last week the British sportscar company Lotus said it would follow suit, selling only electric models from 2028. General Motors says it will make only electric vehicles by 2035, Ford says all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and VW says 70% of its sales will be electric by 2030.
But probably the biggest news item internationally, was the ruling by the Dutch Court in the Hague that Shell Oil is forced to take responsibility for emissions from their products and processes. Shell not only has to clean up emissions from extracting oil and gas, but also has responsibilities in relation to emissions produced by burning them.
Also carried in this issue is the news that Nasdaq is now operating in the verifiable and tradeable industrial carbon removal services market. We also examine the need for long-term investment sentiment when it comes to climate-tech.
Other areas of interest include guidance on the best way to go about planting trees and how regenerative agriculture through deploying Holistic Planned Grazing seems to have a lot of merit. And how using seawater coupled with solar PV could have the potential to not only grow food, but also transform desert areas. We wrap up with a look at a novel artwork called Mount Recylemore promoting the importance of e-waste recycling at the recent G7 conference in a strikingly visual way.
The Climate Change Commission have released their final advice to the Government around changes needed to decarbonise New Zealand in line with meeting carbon reduction targets. The article summarises this report well, showing what the commissions roadmap means for cars, homes, at work, energy bills and farmers. It's tough reading, but as Jacinda says - it might be tough at times, but “It’s a safer, smarter and cheaper choice to act now.” These are just recommendations; the government is expected to release their Emission Reduction Plan in December 2021. Read full article here.
One of the recommendations from the Commission is to ban petrol and diesel cars in the near future. And the recent announcement by our government around car imports is a start. Electric cars will need to be available for this to happen. These electric vehicles may take over sooner than we think. The reasoning behind this is explained and the author predicts that only electric cars will be made by 2040. Read full article here.
Internationally, a world first, Shell Oil has lost its fight in the Hague, finally being forced to take responsibility for emissions from their products and processes. The court found that Shell’s emission reduction policy is inadequate to meet the requisite standard of care under Dutch law, and ordered that the carbon emissions of the Shell group’s global activities be reduced by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019. Wow! This is huge. Shell not only has to clean up emissions from extracting oil and gas, but also has responsibilities in relation to emissions produced by burning them. Read full article here.
Nasdaq this week announced it has snapped up a majority stake in Puro.earth, an online marketplace that offers verifiable and tradeable industrial carbon removal services. Puro.earth currently provide services to Microsoft and Swedish bank SEB. Bjørn Sibbern, executive vice president and president of European markets at Nasdaq, said the addition of Puro.earth to its growing stable of environmental, social and governance (ESG) technologies and services would further support its more than 4,000 corporate clients worldwide. Nasdaq clearly sees the value. Read full article here.
While venture capital investments in clean technologies aimed at slowing the climate crisis have increased from $418 million in 2013, to $16.3 billion in 2019, an increase of 3,750%, it’s important to note that climate-tech investments take longer than clean-tech investments such as software to show a return. Something that a few long-play investors understand, for example Bill Gates’ $2 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund invests on 20-year cycles, MIT’s "tough tech" incubator, The Engine, assumes it will not see a return for 12 to 18 years. Patience is necessary. Read full article here.
We next examine how Tasmania is addressing reducing emissions. As it turns out, the Australian State reached net zero emissions back in 2015, mainly due to its vast forests and other natural landscapes sequestering more carbon than the State emits. In November 2020, Tasmania also became fully powered by renewable electricity, thanks to their wind and hydro-electricity projects. The government has also legislated a target of 200% renewable electricity by 2040. A comprehensive approach and a vision that New Zealand, too, could adopt. Read full article here.
To help store carbon, trees are sure to play are big part. But just not any tree and in any location. There are around 60,000 tree species in the world, spread out across myriad ecosystems. As this article discusses, there are 10 golden rules for planting trees that could help save the planet, such as protect existing forests first, work together, maximize biodiversity, select the best areas for reforestation and of course make it pay in the long run. Read full article here.
Holistic Planned Grazing is a fancy way of saying that animals should be allowed to do what they would do if living in the wild. Humanity, in all of its wisdom and in the name of efficiency, has long treated natural systems like a factory process. It turns out that this is not always the best way to do things, and we are starting to look to nature for solutions. By imitating nature we allow nature to regenerate, and have better outcomes all around. Read full article here.
A large portion of the world’s population lives in areas where fresh water is in short supply. Often there are competing needs for drinking water and water for crops; and with growing populations, this trend is not reversing. Well, some very smart people had the idea to use sea water to farm produce in the desert… and it actually works. Not only can food be grown but re-vegetation of the surrounding area, drinking water and even lithium for batteries are potential co-benefits of the technology. Read full article here.
What do you find at the junction of politics, refuse and art? You find Mount Recylemore of course… At the recent G7 summit in the UK, artists took it into their own hands to try to educate world leaders and the public about the importance of recycling e-waste. When you consider that 47% of Britons do not recycle and 4 out of 5 do not even know what e-waste is, you must tip your hat to these folks for such a creative demonstration. Let us hope it made an impact. Read full article here.
In our innovation section this week, we have an interesting variety of recent ideas:
Cement-Based Batteries May Turn Buildings Into Massive Power Storage Facilities
4 seaweed startups combating food insecurity and climate change
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