SnippETS for 18 July 2019

Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter.

This issue we again revisit the urgency of reducing GHG emissions, how the transformation towards a renewable energy future is imperative and that we quickly reduce fossil fuel consumption.

How a renewable, distributed generation could lead to the end of what were regarded as energy wars and how electrification, especially around transport shows great promise.

We also examine the importance of nature in our fight against climate change and that trees are our friends in this.

We end with a glimpse of also using nature to produce bioplastics and biomaterials and that our reliance on fossil fuels is lessening on a daily basis.


By 2040, solar & wind power will make up a third of the world’s electricity supply, a third of on-road vehicles will be electric, and the global economy will achieve a third more gross domestic product (GDP) from every unit of energy. Although these projections are encouraging, more still will be required to meet the Paris Agreement. As Michael Liebreich states “People, businesses, investors, governments, everyone has to start to think about what they can do now to cut their emissions. We can’t wait until 2030.”

Read more.....





Valid information or fake news? Even with all scientific data accessible for everyone to see, there is still a frustrating vocal and extroverted minority who feel that they know best and dispute the scientific consensus on the topic of climate change. Whatever their reasons, they can only cause uncertainty unless rebutted. Here are some of their mal-informed arguments you are likely to come across in comment sections and some suggested counter arguments if you elect to respond. Read more.....




According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unsubsidised renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation. The report finds that the cost of installation and maintenance of renewables, which was an important stumbling block to mass adoption, continues on a downward trajectory. Now seems to be a good time for New Zealand to expand its renewable generation, especially if we can use any excess to generate hydrogen for export.Read more.....

and for some more reading on this, click here





Could the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy mean the end of energy wars? Renewable energy — because of its comparative abundance and potential for decentralization — probably won't have the same power to spark large-scale military confrontations, especially in the Middle East. In fact, renewable energies may even inspire increased cooperation among states by encouraging regional grid integration. Electric grids, given their flexibility and speed of deployment, are harder to use as a political weapon than are natural gas pipelines.Read more.....

Are you wondering what your city or region can do to start to tackle Greenhouse Gas emissions and climate change? This article sets out twelve ways that are tried and tested and can get them on the way to reducing emissions. Some of the methods are quite easy to start, while others take more planning. The best thing is that most of them also result in lower running costs through better efficiencies. Read more.....





Not only is the Chinese city of Shenzhen making most of the batteries that power world-wide electric vehicles (EV), but it is also the city moving fastest towards electrification of transport. With nearly all of its public transport running on electrons, in the past three years alone, it has also deployed nearly 60,000 electric delivery vehicles. Read the Rocky Mountain Institute report to find out how they did it and the learnings we can take from it. Read more.....




Here in New Zealand we are only taking our first baby steps into converting our road transport fleet to EVs. With no domestic EV production, the focus is on imported vehicles. The recent government announcement has set out a series of feebate based subsidies, to help move into more efficient vehicles (including EVs). Some may say that it is not going far enough, but there is more incentive than there ever was before. Read more.....





Planting trees, and plenty of them can bring with it big benefits as far as carbon capture is concerned. No need to geo-engineer our way out of this issue or develop new-technological ways to capture carbon, just plant more trees. Most nations, including New Zealand, seem to be understanding the opportunities presented by reforestation. Time to get our hands dirty, as there is plenty of planting going to be required. Next is to try and figure out how to reduce the average global loss of 10 billion trees per year. Read more.....

Based on the preceding article, we know planting trees is beneficial, however from a New Zealand context, are we best planting exotics or natives? And it’s not just trees that make a difference, how you set up your garden also counts. Four months into the One Billion tree programme, NZ has planted more than 60 million and only 13% of these are native. Do we have the balance right? Perhaps not, but the programme is still finding its feet. Or roots.Read more.....








Sticking with nature, we now examine bioplastics and biomaterials. And there seems to be no end of natural materials that can be used in their production. Plastics and biomaterials can be made from Algae, Corn, Food/Agri waste, grasses, hemp, potatoes, soy, sugar and wood. Approximately 2.11 million metric tonnes of it was made in 2018, still some way to go to match petroleum based plastics of 335 million tonnes, but it’s a start. And as we have seen with the trend towards the ban on single use plastics, transformation can be very quick.Read more.....






A device that could bring both solar power and clean water to millions

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