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Snippets for 2 February 2023



Welcome to another fortnightly edition of SnippETS.


Well 2022 has come and gone. From a climate change perspective, we are now seeing real progress in 2023 on setting policy and investments in a low-carbon future, with global investments topping $US1 trillion for the first time and record investments in renewable energy, energy storage, electrified transport, electrified heat, carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen, and sustainable materials.


Specifically, the renewable energy sector – which includes all the different types of renewable technologies like wind and solar – remained the largest sector in investment terms, achieving a new investment record of $US495 billion, a 54% increase on 2021. Similarly, electrified transport – the sector which includes spending on EVs and associated infrastructure – came impressively close to overtaking spending on renewables, with $US466 billion in 2022, a massive 54% increase.


And given the rapid increases of investment in EVs and associated infrastructure we feature a number of articles discussing how EVs could play a role far wider than just as a transport solution. To this end, as a virtual power plant capable of meeting all the world’s short-term grid energy storage requirements by 2030. We provide a practical example of this in Australia using V2G technology.


A transition to a new EV world will however need to be done with care and consideration, as a one-on-one replacement could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market. Smarter solutions involving the design of our communities and in limiting the number of EVs and capacity of EV batteries will also be required. And of course an EV will need charging from time to time and we are going to have to adopt some rules and regulations around charging to make it fair for all.


We also examine the role of pesticides in climate change and why it is going to be necessary to adopt new ways such as agroecology, which focuses on conservation agriculture, a process that adapts farming to local conditions and reduces the need for pesticides. And such a shift not only cuts down on pesticides and fertilizers, it also promotes soil health and greater profitability.


We wrap up by taking a look at previous human civilizations and how they coped with changing climates. As it turns out, adaptability and cooperation were key to survival, with civilisations having diverse food sources and flexible social structures performing much better, compared to those that lived in rigid, hierarchical societies.





As 2022 increasingly appears in the rear view mirror, we can take a closer look at just how the year panned out. Pretty well as it happens. The period between October and January saw the “strongest quarterly results” in the number and strength of climate-related policy and technology developments around the world since November 2021. Out of 117 climate-related policy and technology pledges and announcements made between October and January, 84 were projected to align with the 1.8-degree goal, while 17 were deemed “evidence of acceleration”. Yay. Read more...


And matching policy ambitions, global investment in the low-carbon energy transition surpassed $US1 trillion in 2022, “a new record and a huge acceleration” from 2021, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF). Maybe more importantly, however, for the first time, investment in low-carbon technologies appears to have reached parity with fossil fuel capital. A number of the investment sectors all achieved new record levels of investment in 2022, including renewable energy, energy storage, electrified transport, electrified heat, carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen, and sustainable materials. Read more....

A recent study has found that EVs equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could supply all the world’s short-term grid energy storage requirements by 2030. Electric vehicles are effectively virtual ‘mini power plants’ and if combined, could provide short term grid relief, with potentially 32-62 terawatt-hours of storage by 2050. Understanding EV user behaviour and creating good public policy to utilise this resource should be of high priority as it helps with the transition away from fossil fuels. Read more....

As an example of V2G in action, Winemaker Joseph Evans has embraced V2G at his Barossa Valley vineyard. Wanting to decrease his reliance on external energy supply and cut back on his ever-increasing energy bills ($6,000 annually) he invested in rooftop solar, met his daytime load, and reduced his bill by thousands. Then using his Nissan Leaf equipped with V2G technology to meet his night time load and exporting any excess meant he’s ended up earning around $50 a week, plus he still gets to drive his car. Read more....

A full transition to EV’s may bring negative consequences if not managed with care and thought. In the USA, a full one on one conversion of ICE to EV’s could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market. In the process, causing likely water shortages, land grabs and ecosystem destruction. But investment in public transport, battery recycling and battery size restrictions, along with walkable towns and cities could lessen these impacts considerably. A paradigm shift in thinking will however be required. Read more....


As the numbers of EV’s continue to increase, rules around using EV charging networks are required. Heading off for a few hours for an excursion, while your vehicle is charging is not really an option, as most fast chargers only require half an hour to get the 80% charge rate (charge times slow after that). Regulations for charger use are essential with costs and even penalties for overstaying charging times all needed and indeed are already in use in some cases. There is always the next EV to consider. Read more....

Another, less well known, contributor to climate change, are pesticides. From their manufacture, to their transport, to their application - pesticides are damaging to the climate. Some pesticides can have 5,000 times the global warming impact of Carbon, when applied. And there is a solution to this issue: agroecology. Agroecology focuses on conservation agriculture, a process that adapts farming to local conditions, to reduce the need for pesticides. A switch of conventional farming practices to agroecology could have massive benefits for the climate. Read more....


One farmer embracing new methods of farming is Matt Brinck. Matt has phased out the use of fertiliser on his Iowa farm, while watching his crop yields improve. Pushed by the increasing price of fertilisers, Matt switched to biologicals. By experimenting with different biological products to boost soil health, Matt landed in a place where he could totally ditch his tillage equipment and fertiliser - while increasing his crop yields. It was a solution that was not only good for the climate, but also good for his pocket. Read more....


You might not think old skeletons can teach us much about climate change, but surprisingly, they can. By looking at thousands of years of human remains from nearly every continent, researchers have obtained a detailed picture of how ancient humans responded to rapid shifts in climate. The take home message is clear: adaptability and cooperation were key to survival. Civilisations with diverse food sources and flexible social structures performed much better during shifts in climate, compared to those that lived in rigid, hierarchical societies. Read more....

A great real world example of when cooperation can trump rigid, conventional thinking, is in the Pacific. Western solutions to climate change are underperforming in Pacific island nations, as they fail to take advantage of indigenous knowledge that is much more suited to specific, local environments. If new policies were to incorporate such indigenous knowledge, money would be better spent on more effective solutions - benefitting both the financers, and the local populations. Cooperation is key to fighting climate change, as we are all in this together. Read more....










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











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