SnippETS for 20 September 2018


Welcome to this week’s edition of our SnippETS newsletter.

This issue of Snippets examines progress for many C40 cities and how they are continuing to address climate change despite the USA having already signalled they are withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Perhaps part of it is the lure of a potential $26 trillion economic boost and the creation of cleaner cities.

We also examine progress in establishing the Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’ which must be finalised before the end of 2018. Other articles examine, a bit counter-intuitively, that tree cover has actually gone up over the past 35-years and how introducing renewable generation in the Sahara could actually end up greening the desert.

Our final set of articles examines some really neat technical solutions, how there is now a global war on plastics (coming not a moment too soon) and how little impact the growth of electric vehicles are likely to have on the overall electricity generation market.

At the recent Global Climate Action Summit meeting in California, 4,000 people from all walks of life met. Among them were mayors involved in the C40 climate leadership group, who said that despite the USA pulling out of the Paris Agreement, they will still move forward on climate issues. Members of the C40 said not only are they making headway in reducing greenhouse gases, but that they are adding jobs while doing so. Auckland is a C40 city.

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Backing up this message from the C40 mayors, a recent report says experts have been significantly underestimating the commercial benefits associated with climate action. A $26 trillion economic boost by 2030 for the global economy was possible if global infrastructure investment over the next 15 years is channelled into environmentally beneficial schemes. But action needs to happen rapidly.

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Time is running short for countries to decide the practical details of how the Paris Agreement will be brought to life, known as the Paris ‘rulebook’. A recent meeting in Bangkok has ended with progress made towards defining and refining some of the rules, with completion needed by the end of this year. The rulebook is needed to guide each country in its actions on the ground, and to hold accountable those who committed to the agreement..

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While it may seem counter intuitive, worldwide tree cover has increased over the past 35 years. A recent study of satellite data has shown that while tropical tree cover has decreased, there have been gains thanks to tree planting programs, abandoning agricultural lands and poleward expansion due to climate change. However, this is not all natural forest and much of it can be monoculture plantation. Read more.....


Sticking with the counter intuitive theme, a recent study has theorized that the presence of large scale wind and solar farms could actually help to green the Sahara! Based on climate models, the report states that changes to surface roughness and albedo would create regional climate effects that would further be enhanced with increases of vegetation. What’s not to like about having renewable generation and a more fertile Sahara? Read more.....

In this article you can read about some interesting Eco tech highlighted at Singapore Green Building Week. There are special tree planters for building walls, upside down umbrellas for providing shade and gathering rain, an intelligent urinal that really knows when to flush, and a water tap that also is a hand dryer.

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There is no doubt plastic is a useful product, but it’s got to the point where there is just too much of it (and it never goes away). It’s infiltrated everywhere and everything. There is however now a war on plastic going on, one that we need to win as the outcome will benefit us all. We look at the history and growth along with what you, I, and corporations need to be doing about this plastic infestation.

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As mentioned, everyone has a part to play in the war against plastic. Indonesia is the world’s second worst plastic polluting nation (behind China), and it was therefore pleasing to note that recently 20,000 Indonesians came together at 76 locations, to participate in a massive clean-up. At a popular beach in Bali, 832 people collected 1.2 tons of rubbish in just two hours alone! The purpose of the event was to draw attention to the alarming spread of plastic waste in the oceans, and the need for better approaches to address the burgeoning crisis.Read more.....

With Electric Vehicles (EVs) becoming more popular, there is a lot of concern about how charging them all will affect electricity demand. McKinsey analysis suggests the projected growth in EVs will not drive substantial increases in total electrical-grid power demand in the near to midterm, thus limiting the need for new electricity-generation capacity during that period. Encouraging news for all the EV enthusiasts out there! Read more.....





This week in Innovation, we read about some alternatives to current energy storage, some new technologies based on gravity.

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