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Snippets for 2 December 2021

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

Nature is so important to human survival, but not just to us, rather all living things. But we are the most responsible for destroying it. We need to commit to conserving 30% of the planets lands and oceans by 2030 (30x30). Governments, business, communities, and individuals should commit to this target and it’s good value for money.

The EU has acknowledged that their consumer habits may have impacted deforestation, and they are now aiming to curb this with the introduction of a draft law that would prohibit importing beef, palm oil, cocoa and other products linked to deforestation. With a consumer base of 450 million, that should impact suppliers enough to get them to act, one would hope anyway!

We next take a look at food; we are going to need a lot more of it and it will also require more sustainable power options to produce it as the world’s population increases. All options need to be considered for production and power to alleviate damage to nature and reduce emissions. As far as diet is concerned a “flexitarian diet”, may work best!

Right down at the small community levels, we can make efforts that lessen the impacts of climate change and do good things for the community. A Colorado 'solar garden' is doing just that. Currently producing 3,629kgs of produce while the 3,200 solar panels produce enough power to sell to 300 locals.

Smaller business can help alleviate climate impacts and help at the community level. In fact, small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have a big part to play. At a global level, SMEs represent 90% of businesses and provide more than 50% of jobs. Investing in smaller business could help create big changes.

Cities contribute a lot to carbon emissions, more than half the worlds population currently live in cities and are responsible for 60% of global emissions. Emissions need to be addressed, especially as city population numbers increase. But how do we make these changes?

On the construction side, there are many willing cities that would quite happily buy greener steel and concrete to aid in the reduction of emissions as well as looking at alternatives to these materials. “If you make it, we will buy it.”

Cities and urban area can impact surrounding temperatures quite dramatically. So much so that in the case of Sydney Australia they are looking at banning dark roofs as part of environmental planning rules to help the state achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Ditching dark roofing “would have an enormous impact on the urban heat island effect."

We finish this week, with a look at long duration energy storage, which will play an important part of smoothing out the network supply grid as more wind and solar comes into the energy supply mix.

We open this issue with our need to commit to conserving at least 30 percent of our planet’s land and oceans by 2030. This “30x30” goal is the minimum level of conservation needed to prevent a catastrophic loss of nature and to stem climate change.30x30 will not happen by itself and will require time, attention, and money. To meet the 30x30 aspirations would, however, represent less than one-third of the amount that governments presently spend on subsidies to activities that destroy nature. Read more....

And one way of protecting nature is to ban products linked to deforestation. In a recent move, the European Union has banned beef, palm oil, cocoa and other products linked to deforestation from entering the EU. This is the first time the EU has attempted to regulate products linked to all – and not just illegal – deforestation. Nico Muzi, of the Mighty Earth campaign group, said “The EU is sending a clear message to major supermarkets and retailers: that one of the largest economies in the world simply won’t accept agricultural products linked to deforestation.” Read more....

Staying with food, we need a myriad of solutions to ensure that intensive food production to feed a growing global population remains within planetary boundaries by 2050. A “flexitarian diet”, where consumers eat mostly plant-based food and moderate their animal-source food consumption, including meat, could help shield the planet from the more harmful impacts of intensive food production and still meet a growing population. Production also needs to transition to renewable energy and a more sustainable use of water. Read more....

One business implementing its own food system solution, is the focus of our next article. A Colorado farmer has managed to turn around his family’s struggling 24-acre farm. He installed 3,200 solar panels on the farm, which traditionally grew hay, and can now grow a variety of vegetables on the unused land under the solar panels. With the vegetables under the solar panels needing less water, and the electricity produced being sold back to the grid, the farm is now efficient and profitable. This may be a model which many farms could implement. Read more....

It is small businesses like the Colorado farmer’s that are integral to climate change mitigation and adaptation, according to this article. Whilst there has been a lot of focus on the initiatives and investments of large businesses, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are continually being overlooked. With 90 per cent of businesses being SMEs, investment and support in these businesses, many of which are making large strides in combating climate change, is crucial. Climate action needs to come from, and be supported at, every level of the economy. Read more....

Small businesses have an important role in fighting climate change, but cities, where more than half the world’s population lives, will need to make big changes to reach net zero by 2050, to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5C. Masses of concrete, metal & glass warm the environment, and water shortages and air pollution are prevalent. Reducing emissions from transport is a must, along with changes to the way buildings are constructed, heated, and cooled. Cities need very clear plans to entice investors to help with the costs of change. Read more....

Changing the way building are constructed will involve using low carbon materials. A reduction from the 39% of all carbon emissions that building, and construction contribute globally is essential. Steel (7%) and concrete (8%) are huge offenders and alternatives are essential. A new multi government initiative, the IDDI, are pledging to support using low carbon materials in construction, and disclose the carbon embodied in major public construction projects by 2025. Steelmakers are cleaning up their act, and cleaner concrete, and alternatives to these, are discussed. Read more....

Even the colour of buildings, especially their roof, can make an impact. Darker coloured roofing might be great for warming inside during winter, but in summer these buildings may require the use of air-conditioning to reduce the 4-10C possible temperature increase inside. NSW has decided to ban dark roofs, to help reach net zero by 2050. There are some things that you may not have considered when deciding on a roof colour, and even solar panels located there, which are discussed in this article. Read more....

If we are to create green cities, we will need to power them on renewable energy, and due to the fluctuations in generation, renewables require long-duration energy storage (LDES) solutions. Able to store energy during times of excess generation, LDES can then be utilised to fill the gap when generation dips. With investment in LDES technology the world can not only look at having a greener electricity grid, but a more reliable and optimized one. Read more....

This week we have a few innovation articles we hope you enjoy:

Cement is responsible for 8% of global emissions—but it doesn’t have to be

World needs up to 140TWh of long duration energy storage to meet net-zero goals

The third wave of biomaterials: When innovation meets demand

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