Snippets for 17 March 2022






Welcome, once again, to our fortnightly newsletter.


This issue of Snippets examines the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the role that fossil fuels have had in providing both the leverage and funds for Russia to aggressively target Ukraine. As it turns out, Putin may have miscalculated the way the European Union would react. When the Russian army rolled into Ukraine, climate science and geopolitics fused, heralding what might be the last energy war and certainly the end of Russia being an energy superpower. And a world reliant on fossil fuels is a world in conflict. Renewables on the other hand, where the fuel is free (wind, water and sunlight), is both local and unable to be used to the same extent as a global bargaining chip.


This week we also examine our need to live within our planetary boundaries, and introduce the term 'Degrowth’ which is not austerity, but a deliberate set of strategies aimed to reduce the material footprint, including energy use, of wealthy nations. Degrowth is a rebuke of ‘growth for growth’s sake’ and instead puts people and the planet firmly at the heart of the economy. We examine ways in which we, as individuals, can change our values and lifestyles to reduce GHG emissions, through actions like flying less, buying less new clothing and hanging onto our electronic devices for far longer.


This same process of examining our business practices can also lead to emission reductions. We take a look at how this is already happening in the apparel industry, how thinking is already advanced in reducing embedded emissions in our automotive industries and even in how we can make reductions in emissions from international shipping.


We wrap up this week with some compelling statistics regarding regenerative agriculture and how effective it might be increasing soil health and the presence of essential vitamins. And let’s not forget that everyone has an important part to play on our emission reduction journey, including the small farmers who despite multiple crop failures from droughts and floods, can still plant and tend trees. And get paid for doing so from their local ‘tree bank’.


With Europe importing 40% of its natural gas from Russia, Putin has long used this reliance as political leverage. That, however, is all about to change as the European Union has released a far-reaching plan to massively reduce their dependence on Russian gas. By accelerating the transition to renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and diversifying sources of gas, the EU could decrease their dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds. Perhaps this totally barbaric and brutal war may have some unintended environmental benefits. Read more....


Continuing in this vein, our next article looks at how the West’s historical addiction to fossil fuels, gave Putin the war chest needed to carry out his egotistical invasion of Ukraine. The Rolling Stone article muses that the war marks the end of Russia as an energy superpower, driven by an increased transition to renewables by their customers, therefore disabling any future ability from holding nations hostage over oil/gas. When the Russian army rolled into Ukraine, climate science and geopolitics fused, heralding what might be the last energy war. Read more....

Taking a step back, our next article takes a more holistic view of the role fossil fuels play in our societies. The author, a UN high level climate action champion, argues a world reliant on fossil fuels is a world in conflict. Given our previous two articles, that’s a hard point to deny. The security, cost, and employment benefits alone make renewables and energy efficiencies the only sensible choices moving forward – and that’s not even accounting for the obviously massive benefits to the environment. Read more....

People in well-off countries can help avert climate breakdown by making six relatively straightforward lifestyle changes, according to recently released research from three leading institutions. Making the six individual commitments could account for a quarter of the emission reductions required to keep global heating within 1.5C. Some of these “commitments”, such as only flying once every three-years, to only buying three new items of clothing a year, may appear challenging, but do we really have many alternatives before these changes are enforced on us. Read more....


Degrowth of our society/economy – not to be confused with austerity is a deliberate set of strategies aimed to reduce the material footprint, including energy use, of wealthy nations. It only applies to nations with lifestyles that require more than one planet to sustain them. Degrowth is a rebuke of ‘growth for growth’s sake’, instead putting people and the planet firmly at the heart of the economy. Degrowth aims to ensure the needs of all global citizens are met and we can sustainably remain within our planetary boundaries. Read more....

Recognising the implications of climate change for the apparel sector value chains and business models, a growing number of apparel companies are making commitments and taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They are committing to change and aiming for zero emissions using science based targets, and if a recently published “roadmap” is followed, over 60 percent of the emission reductions needed to stay on a 1.5C pathway for the industry can be achieved. Read more....

Globally, sales of electric cars hit 6.6 million in 2021, more than tripling their market share from two-years earlier. As EV adoption hits a tipping point, the automotive industry recognises it needs to speed up its decarbonisation efforts and reduce embedded CO2 from vehicle manufacture to combat the 10% of emissions the industry currently generates. Achieving fully recyclable cars and circularity in EV design is seen as a crucial strategy, from sourcing alternatives to exteriors, floor mats, upholstery and everything in between. Read more....


International shipping is responsible for 3% of global GHG emissions and an important sector for reductions. We examine a partnership between the Port of Shanghai, which is the world’s busiest port and the Port of Los Angeles, the world’s 17th busiest, to create the world’s first green shopping corridor. The two ports have set a joint goal to begin transitioning to zero-carbon fuelled ships by 2030. Participating partners include two of the world’s three largest shipping companies: A.P. Moller – Maersk, of France, and CMA CGM, of Denmark. Read more....

Taking a look at regenerative agriculture, practices such as no-till farming, cover crops and diverse crop rotations produced crops with higher levels of certain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals than farms using conventional practices, according to a recent study. When compared to crops from conventional farms, they boasted 34% more vitamin K, 15% more vitamin E, 14% more vitamin B1 and 17% more vitamin B2. Even though the study sample is small in size, it certainly indicates the potential benefits of regenerative farming practices. Read more....



We finish this week with a look at ‘tree banking’, which is a scheme where some Indian farmers get paid to tend trees on their farm. Whilst the payments are not large ($67 US dollars a year), it makes a difference with farmers being paid for every year that the trees are not cut down until 2031. It proves to be a reliable source of income when other crops fail in the face of droughts and floods. And this bank does not foreclose, with the farmer owning the trees after 2031. Read more....









This week we have five innovative ideas we hope you find interesting:

  1. A potential breakthrough for production of superior battery technology

  2. These solar panels pull in water vapor to grow crops in the desert

  3. Fortescue starts work on world-first “Infinity Train,” a regenerating battery on rails

  4. Powerful New Magnet May Lead to a Fusion Energy Future Sooner Than Later

  5. What Should Farmers Grow in the Desert?







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