Snippets for 3 June 2021
Welcome to this week’s edition of Snippets and get ready for some exciting international climate cooperation announcements, visions for the new sustainable economy and some interesting forestry and biodiversity updates.
We start by covering a large announcement regarding the future of the global coal industry and then follow this by discussing the macroeconomic shifts relating to decarbonisation and sustainability. Additionally, we look at how Finland is showing the world what real climate and sustainability ambition looks like.
Finally, we discuss different ways of removing GHG emissions with natural technology and cover some exciting reforestation and conservation efforts from all over the globe.
Could this be the beginning of the end of coal? At the recent G7 (virtual) meeting, the world’s richest nations have agreed to “the absolute end of new direct government support for international coal power generation”. All attendees reaffirmed their commitment to limiting global heating to 1.5C, phasing out coal and fully decarbonising energy sector by 2030. Agreement is fantastic, but actions need to be seen too, and time is running out. Read full article here.
A report by International Energy Agency explains that energy supply from renewables should overtake coal and meet two thirds of requirements within 5 years to secure 1.5C goal. The 200 odd page report, Net Zero by 2050 (NZE), calls for a total transformation of the energy systems, and sets out 400 milestones showing how this transformation should happen. The NZE will bring many benefits too. Read full article here.
Our next article introduces a global shift from clean tech to climate tech as the climate becomes the dominant force in macroeconomics. New forms of sustainability are set to disrupt virtually all industries: from manufacturing, the production and use of energy, food, fibre and material resources, to the expansion of transport options and consumer choices. Over the last seven years, climate tech investment has grown at five times the venture capital market rate and will be the defining factor for companies, governments and societies.Read full article here.
This shift is mirrored in the bond market, with no signs of slowing. Global sustainable bond issuance reached a new quarterly record of US$231 billion in the first quarter of 2021, more than three times higher than the first quarter of last year and 19 percent higher than the US$195 billion issued during the final quarter of 2020. There is also greater willingness from borrowers to change how they do business, putting environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations at the core of their business. Read full article here.
And to echo these themes, we have the Prime Minister of Finland – Sanna Marin providing her own comprehensive vision. Finland’s climate targets are among the most ambitious in the world, aiming to be climate neutral by 2035 and a leader among advanced economies, not just in terms of emissions reductions, but also by ushering in a circular economy focused on sustainability and the elimination of waste. The bottom line is that global emissions must peak soon if they want to achieve their emissions-reduction targets and avert future climate disasters. Read full article here.
A major £30m (approx. $60 million NZ) project in the UK will test trees, peat, rock chips, and charcoal as ways of removing climate-heating emissions. The project will test ways to do this effectively and affordably on over 100 hectares (247 acres) of land, making it one of the biggest trials in the world. The new trial will consider not just how effectively carbon is removed or not, but also the social, ethical, and legal issues related to removing carbon. Read full article here.
Closer to home a 1.6 hectare wetland is being planted with 24,000 native wetland and riparian plants. This project involves a number of parties, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council working with Niwa, Fonterra and the Tukipo Catchment Group. At a cost of $350,000 it is being constructed on suitable farmland. The wetland will treat water from around 180 hectares of the catchment, letting nature do what it does best. Read full article here.
Next, we look at a new initiative to preserve tropical rainforests. During the recent international Climate Summit, the UK, US, and Norway governments and nine giant corporations, including Amazon, Unilever and Nestle, announced a ground-breaking coalition, called LEAF (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance). They are mobilizing to raise at least $1 billion this year alone, for large-scale forest protection and sustainable development. The goal is for governments, businesses and NGOs to pay for high-quality emissions reductions from tropical forests, verified against an independent standard. Read full article here.
The tiny nation of Belize is punching above its weight when it comes to conservation efforts. A recent purchase by a group of conservation organisations will see a 950 square kilometre area of forest be protected and become a national forest that will connect a bio-diversity corridor that spans three nations. Combined with other adjacent national parks, this protected area makes up 9% of the nation’s land mass…pretty good for such a small country! Read full article here.
In a move that has taken many by surprise, Sri Lanka plans to start reducing palm oil plantations. There are good reasons behind the decision - Oil palm absorbs a lot of water, is not a good host for biodiversity, and it is actually self-seeding and becoming a weed. On top of that and possibly one of the biggest reasons is that the industry employs fewer people than other traditional crops that are environmentally better. This looks like a win for both environment and people! Read full article here
In our innovation section this week, we have an interesting variety of recent ideas:
Clothing recycling: the first automated plant for textile waste is in Sweden
First-ever test with a 30% natural gas/hydrogen blend in steel forging
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