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Snippets for 8 December 2022

Welcome to another fortnightly edition of SnippETS.

We start with an article that talks about the International Energy Agency identifying the demand for fossil fuel to peak by the mid-2020s and the curtain call for coal oil and gas. Europe’s heavy reliance on energy imports from Russia explains the marked response of local energy prices to the war in Ukraine. This heavy reliance and dependence have the potential to hasten the transition to green energy. The next article is based on a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It goes on to explain how the 1.5°C aspirational target is out of reach and the only real hope of capping average global warming is 1.77°C. This would require investing $194 trillion USD over 30 years in EVs and new green energy along with the world’s big coal-dominated economies playing their part.

Innovations are always needed to develop new solutions that can provide a step-change in emissions reductions. We examine the pros and cons of 7 different technologies that are available to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Along with planning for the future, we should stand up, act and take the necessary measures and contribute our part in the fight against global warming right now. A new report by Consultancy firm Sapere paid for by Electricity Networks Association reviews how embracing electrification by Kiwis right now will be beneficial in the long run.

George Monbiot’s article on precision fermentation is exactly what we should be adopting. Monbiot goes on to talk about what precision fermentation is (It involves turning microorganisms into mini-factories producing specific products ) and the useful benefits of this green technology. We then move on to New Zealand's national icon, the Kiwi bird! Kiwis have been absent for more than 100 years and for the first time in generations, wild kiwis are roaming Wellington’s bushland. This successful community conservation project sees a cohort of 250 kiwis that will be introduced to the wilds around the capital over the next six years.

With the festive season upon us, we thought this would be a good time to talk about the pros and cons of using either an artificial or natural Christmas tree.

In a world first, the International Energy Agency has identified fossil fuel reliance as almost entirely responsible for the past year’s energy price hikes. This reliance was brought to the forefront of the world stage when Russia invaded Ukraine and the key lesson to be learned is clear: shifting to renewables provides energy security. Hopefully, this is a lesson that will not need to be learned again, as the world shifts away from fossil fuels to greener, more secure, renewable energy sources. Read more....

It looks like wind and solar will have to lead the charge on the renewables front. Hopes of limiting warming to 1.5°C have faded. However, modelling by Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicates the world can stay on track to 1.77°C, as well as global net zero by 2050 targets, with rapid deployments of wind and solar generation. It won’t be cheap, requiring quadrupling investment in the coming years, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the potential harms of not investing. Read more....

Wind and solar are needed to achieve the Paris agreed target of 1.5C, but so is carbon capture and storage, and here are seven technologies that are recognised as negative emissions technologies. This article details what they are about, and some examples of each. Read more....

Something that we could do ourselves, is switch to driving an EV and swap our appliances from gas to electric ones. Doing so may cost a bit more upfront, but a recent report to NZ’s electricity industry states that the cost equation will flip in consumers' favour by 2026. That’s just 3 years away. And if you install solar panels too, the savings will be even bigger. There are quite a few assumptions made, so it may take a bit longer than 3 years, but the good news is it’s happening, and soon. Read more....

After energy, the next biggest challenge will be in feeding an increasing world population. If we are to avoid the prospect of future food wars, then food production will need to be based on localised systems. One option might be through the use of precision fermentation, which is a refined form of brewing, a means of multiplying microbes to create specific products. The microbes they breed feed on hydrogen, which can be made from renewable electricity, water, fertilizer and CO2 to produce a highly protein-rich flour. No land is required. Read more....

Kiwis have returned to the wild on the south coast of Wellington for the first time in 100 years. The arrival of kiwi in Wellington represents years of hard work by conservationists, the establishment of the country’s biggest intensive stoat trapping network, and, importantly, enthusiastic buy-in from the community. That broad buy-in from people is likely a significant reason why Wellington is one of the few capital cities that is successfully reversing its biodiversity loss and can boast a booming native bird population. Go Kiwis! Read more....

It’s the Christmas season, so the age-old question can finally be answered, are real or artificial Christmas trees better for the environment? Although an American-based article, we are sure it’s a question many of us ask at this time of year. Which do we go with? One that takes several years to grow but is replaced by seedlings or one, produced of plastic that may last several years but will probably end up in a landfill. Let's hear what the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) has to say. Read more....

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

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