Snippets for 22 April 2021


Welcome to this weeks Snippets newsletter.


Mandatory reporting of how big business will manage the risk climate changes poses to their organisations will soon become law in NZ. A global first. The USA also looks to be requiring similar reporting, with the preparation of an executive order from Joe Biden instructing federal agencies to take sweeping action to combat climate related financial risks to government and the economy. Hopefully this will become the norm globally, and soon.


As we know, significantly lowering carbon emissions is required, but as this is not actually happening(!), more stringent action, in the form of a carbon price, may be necessary. A “Call on Carbon” initiative may be the way forward.


Focusing on climate change and human rights separately no longer makes sense. To get transformational change in both areas, working together against the overlapping causes that affect each must be the way to go. And listening to those indigenous communities who are most affected by climate change, not just the business friendly West, is imperative at this time when Covid-19 is making consumerism less dominant, and well-being more important.


Greening of cities is a growing movement, adding nature to buildings and small “leftover” spaces. It creates better well-being and helps negate emissions. Green roofs can also help negate emissions, and we look at some details of how they work.


France is leading the way with some interesting new laws to help the environment– one bans flights for distances you can travel by train in 2.5 hours or less, and the other requires the phasing out of plastic and the provision of food refill stations in large supermarkets. Possibly easier to implement in France than NZ!


Finally, NASA has shown that human activities, and fossil fuel emissions, are causing radiative forcing which is heating the planet. There’s no longer any doubt. Finally!



A new bill requiring climate-related disclosures for around 200 organisations, including most listed issuers, large registered banks, licensed insurers and managers of investment schemes has just passed its first reading in parliament. The bill is being heralded by some as New Zealand’s ‘most significant’ climate policy as it will impact all financial and business decision making moving forward. Many believe that it "will lead to more concrete action and change and investment" than the Zero Carbon Act. Read more.....



Although New Zealand will be the first in the world to implement this policy, the Biden administration have also drafted an executive order mandating climate-related financial disclosures. The executive order is a starting gun for agencies to begin delivering on the president’s sweeping climate agenda. This is much more in the planning stage than the NZ bill, however given the size and influence of the U.S. economy, this could be a catalyst for large scale climate action. Read more.....




We would hope that once decision makers have more information on climate-related risks that this would be enough for systemic change to occur. However, this article makes the case that in addition we will need to have effective carbon pricing. This is because large scale investment is needed for us to decarbonize, and unless there is effective carbon pricing that forces organisations to invest, decisions makers will continue to delay the necessary investments. Read more.....





Over the past decade there has been a great deal of movement in the areas of human rights and climate change. Although these areas are inherently connected, for some reason they have been marching to the beat of their own drums. Both have made real progress on their own in that time, but if we are to see truly transformational change, those movements must start working together. Read more.....





Staying with human rights & climate change, until now the discussion around social and climate justice has been dominated by Western cultural and business perspectives. But we should not just assume that everyone defines happiness by the same consumption-based metrics. Indigenous cultures and those in the east and global south often carry more risk, yet they have had no voice. Those voices must be heard. Read more.....




Buildings covered in plants do more than just make the cityscape attractive – they also contribute to human wellbeing and action on climate change. As more of us live in urban areas and our cities grow, bringing nature into our cities is a key part of establishing and rebuilding that connection. A regenerative design approach, one that creates opportunities for people and nature to thrive together, is emerging as part of the growing (pun intended) biophilic cities movement. Read more.....



And green roofs are a great example of bringing nature back into our urban areas. Whilst green roofs capture carbon, how much varies between the different roof types and vegetation. For a plant to efficiently store carbon long-term, it must produce biomass that is not broken down by microorganisms. As most roof’s substrate is too shallow for trees or bushes to thrive, plants like grasses are used instead. Depending on the species, extensive green roofs have an approximate carbon payback time of 6.4-15.9 years. Read more.....



The French government is making a big change under their climate action bill, banning domestic flights for distances that could otherwise be taken by train in under 2.5 hours. Imagine that in the context of NZ, with our (slow) trains. And how does a 2,500 Euro (NZ $4,000) grant sound, to trade-in your aging high emissions car for e-bike as part of a scrapping scheme. Both are actions that will make a difference. Read more.....



Staying with France, legislation is being looked at that would require retailers with a storefront larger than 400 metres squared to dedicate 20% of their space to food refill stations, and phase out plastic packaging, by the end of the decade. It would apply to dry food products and customers could bring in their own reusable containers. The plastic crisis is so severe that a study shows even if there was an 80% reduction in plastic use, over 710 million tonnes of plastic waste would remain. Baby steps. Read more.....





Finally, if you didn’t already know it, ‘NASA study finds direct proof of Greenhouse Effect’. NASA has managed to achieve something that has so far eluded scientists: provide direct, global observations that fossil fuel emissions are heating the planet. We already knew what 97% of climates scientists thought, so hopefully this study closes the last link between rising CO2 levels and planetary warming for any naysayers out there. Read more.....





In our innovation section this week, we have an interesting variety of recent ideas:








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