SnippETS for 31 January 2019


Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter. This week we take a look at what could happen if we quit fossil fuels immediately, and the ‘Climate Action Barometer’, which indicates that we have a lot of work to do to meet our targets.


Other articles ask the questions… is continuing GDP growth good? What is more important to executives - economics or sustainability? Also, what simple diet change could reduce the negative environmental impacts of the food industry?


Have you ever thought about renting out that drill that you own but never use? PocketDolla has just started in Australia and they believe that the shared economy could reduce waste.


There is hope for our terrestrial forests as mangroves store far more carbon than we initially thought. Next, we look at how Australia is speeding towards 100% renewables, driven by economics rather than climate initiatives, and we finish off with a win for small farmers everywhere.


Our opening article examines research, led by Dr Christopher Smith of the University of Leeds, which concluded that it may technically still be possible to limit warming to 1.5C, if drastic action is taken now. The study also found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, vehicles, ships and planes were replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is still a 64% chance of staying under 1.5C. It is therefore societal choices, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal. Read more.....


So how are we progressing in terms of meeting the 1.5 C target? As this next article discusses, not particularly well. But as discussed above, it is societal choices that are holding us back. This article’s climate action barometer provides 12 charts, setting out where we are today and where we need to be in 2020, along with a roadmap to follow in terms of transforming energy, transport, land use, industry, infrastructure and finance to meet our 1.5 C goal. Read more.....

One of the quickest ways to reduce emissions would be to stop all economic growth. But the world is addicted to maintaining a positive GDP, even though it is impossible to get infinite growth out of a finite world. Sooner or later GDP growth has to end and faced with this certain future, surely we need to be carefully managing how we deal with it. Systematic coordination right across governments, societies and by business is required if we are to avoid going cold turkey or face disaster.

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Which leads us into pondering what is more important – economics or sustainability? A new report conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, found that from a survey of senior executives in 250 manufacturing and retail organisations across the US, Latin America, EMEA and APAC regions, that 67% of C-suite respondents said sustainability comes before profitability. With growth opportunities, cost savings and the importance of responsible business practices being the top drivers for supply-chain sustainability. Read more.....

Could a simple adjustment in how much meat is currently consumed by humans annually make a difference to global emissions, personal health and animal welfare in general? It could make a big difference, and becoming a Flexitarian, while still enjoying a reduced meat intake certainly seems to be a good first step. Read more.....




Who out there has a cupboard full of power tools that rarely get used, or a surfboard that spends most of its time leaning against a wall? Renting your gear out to those that need it may be the answer. More practical use and also helping others avoid ‘investing’ in something that only gets minimal use, while you pocket some money; it’s a small step towards a more sustainable life. PocketDolla, which has just started in Australia has done just that. Read more.....


Trees do a fantastic job in carbon sequestration and generally make our lives that much more pleasant. Deforestation is an on-going issue but there are some positive reasons things are changing. People are starting to ask questions and expect more from suppliers, it’s getting easier to check what’s good or bad. Most importantly, more people understand the important role trees play in our lives. Read more.....

When we think of carbon sinks, the first thing we generally think of is forests. Research indicates that mangroves are actually capable of sequestering more carbon than a tropical forest. It is estimated that mangroves currently hold 3 billion tons of carbon and sequester an additional 24 million tons a year. With this in mind, it is imperative that we take action to protect mangroves!

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While Australia is notorious for its pro coal, anti-climate change stances; there is irony in the fact that the Australian electricity supply is rapidly transitioning to renewable energy. What makes this more interesting is that it is not because of climate change or the desire to be “green”; but rather simple economics.

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In an effort to protect peasant farmers from corporate agriculture’s efforts to control all aspects of world agriculture, the UN General Assembly recently voted to approve the “Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas”. This is aimed at preserving the right to save their own seeds, and to prevent the loss of local crop diversity. Sadly, NZ was one of only 7 nations that voted against it. Read more.....


This week in Innovation, we look at some record breaking solar cells, technology which may be able to integrate with cars in the near future.


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