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New report suggests fossil fuel demand in the energy sector has already peaked



Welcome to another issue of SnippETS, where we again showcase a number of interesting developments in the sustainability and climate change space.


In this week’s edition we explore some positive changes that can benefit the planet and our wellbeing. Starting from the first of January 2024, gas connections in new homes and government businesses will be banned in Victoria, Australia. This move is part of Victoria's commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045. Victoria will become the second state in Australia to introduce such a ban, following the ACT's lead. Renewable energy sources are also making significant progress in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The report discusses the developments and challenges in the renewable energy sector's transition to a sustainable future.


New research indicates solar PV in the form of Agrovoltaics can reduce ground moisture loss and has minimal impact on grasslands and the ecosystem, whilst providing livestock with much needed shelter from the harsh conditions. Further research suggests that improving our soil could keep the world within 1.5-degree Celsius global heating target set by the Paris Agreement, with sustainable farming practices being key to this effort.


We take a closer look at how dietary shifts and reducing food waste can positively impact reducing carbon emissions. Scientists estimate that if people eat less meat, equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road, it would substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. China also has reported needing to replace meat with meat substitutes that would account for nearly half of their protein intake by 2060 to decarbonise the food sector. And here in New Zealand we are investigating food waste and potential solutions to address the problem.


To Save the Planet, Should We Really Be Moving Slower? This thought-provoking piece questions whether slowing down and reducing consumption is the most effective strategy to combat climate change.


With all of these pressing climate issues happening around us, how do we deal with our climate emotions? This opinion piece from The New Yorker explores the emotional toll of climate change and the importance of finding ways to cope with the feelings that it can evoke. Returning to nature, once again studies show individuals residing near green areas experience a biological age reduction of approximately 2.5 years, positively impacting human health and happiness. So for everyone’s benefit: find a green space, stay positive and eat less meat.



The Australian state of Victoria has called time on gas connections for new homes from 1 January 2024. Planning permits for new homes and residential subdivisions will only connect to all electric networks. This is not just a government decree, but comes with financial support and incentives, for solar, and switching gas hot water cylinders to electric. As well as reducing emissions from fossil fuel use, it could save households money on heating, up to 75% by switching from gas to efficient electric appliances. Read more...



Looking at the bigger picture, renewables are on track to meet net zero by 2050. And a new report suggests fossil fuel demand in the energy sector has already peaked, and "will be in freefall" by 2030. While only about 12% of global electricity generation is sustainable today, the report forecasts solar and wind alone reaching one-third of global generation capacity as early as 2030. As a result, the current fossil fuel demand of the electricity sector is expected to drop between 16-30% by the end of the decade. Read more....



A new study shows that farming and solar photovoltaics can coexist, with more data proving yet again that panels reduce the loss of valuable ground moisture. Panels blocked 38% of sunlight from reaching the ground, but thanks to plant adaptations to make the best of the shaded environment productivity fell by only 6-7%. Solar farms take up significant space and agrivoltaics could circumvent anger about solar farms locking up productive farmland, while bringing benefits such as reduced exposure to extreme weather, better ambient temperatures, and shade for animals. Read more....



Improving farming practices to enhance soil's capacity as a carbon store, could contribute to keeping the world within 1.5C of heating. Sustainable farming methods, such as agroforestry and reduced tillage, can increase soil carbon sequestration and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This will require investing in regenerative agriculture and incentivising farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices. The good news is many of these practices are already well understood, we now just require the resources and education to implement them. Read more....



Another simple step many of us could take to reduce our carbon footprints, is to eat less meat. Researchers have found that reducing daily meat intake from 100g to 50g, can cut your personal emissions nearly in half. The benefits are further enhanced by those switching to vegetarian or vegan diets. Eating less meat also uses less land and less water. It doesn’t have to be a major change, just a few less meat-heavy meals a week can make a substantial difference. Read more....



With livestock accounting for about half of global food emissions, and a sixth of total manmade greenhouse gases, eating less meat is critical to meeting our climate ambitions. This means meeting our protein requirements will require supplementing meat with novel meat substitutes. China, the world’s top food consumer, needs alternative proteins to comprise 50 per cent of its protein intake by 2060 to have a credible trajectory towards eliminating food emissions. The figure rises to at least 85 per cent for fast-growing India and Pakistan. Read more....



New Zealand which produces enough food each year to feed a country of 40 million people, presently wastes one third of this. Across NZ, food rescue organisations rescue on average 20 tonnes of quality food that would otherwise go to waste and distribute it to people in need, with a measured social return on investment of $4.50 for every $1.00 invested. Food waste includes item like milk still with a future best by date and tomatoes that didn’t weigh as per their food label. Read more....



Consume less. Travel less. Build less. Eat less wastefully. While it is true that an electric vehicle can cut emissions, so can a four-day workweek. Degrowth activists argue that we can cut emissions by moving slower, or even backwards by reviving some of the living standards of the 1960s. However, our man-made climate catastrophe has forced us to accelerate a resource-intensive green technological transition. We must ensure that we are mindful of how this is undertaken, so that we don’t trade one crisis for another. Read more....



When faced with multiple impending crises, there are generally two approaches to climate change: denying how bad things are; or believing that our fate is doomed. Climate therapists have suggested a healthy middle ground of sustainable distress. Accept that climate catastrophe is frightening but become more comfortable with the uncertainty of the world and take individual action where you can. Regardless, we should be grateful that we have the time and resources to address our climate emotions, unlike some who are experiencing climate emergencies first hand. Read more....



It can be easy to grow grey hairs thinking about how we will tackle catastrophic climate change. If you’re searching for a fountain of youth, a new study has found that having access to parks and community gardens in your neighbourhood can slow biological ageing by 2.5 years on average. This is partly due to a higher number of social interactions, increased physical exercise, and reducing the negative health impacts of urban environments. Green spaces are also becoming increasingly important in the face of global boiling. Read more....





This week we have the following innovation articles we hope you find interesting:










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