Snippets for 13 February 2020

Snippets this week examines the role of nature in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the potential to sequester some 12 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. Working with nature, also means we need to protect it so that it can flourish, thrive and regenerate.


Farming is also in the process of transforming itself, with regenerative agriculture high on the agenda, in an effort to improve soil quality and to grow crops that have long roots to sequester carbon. The corporate company’s Danon and Chipolte are showing responsibility for managing their supply chains regeneratively.


The investment community is also having to adapt to a need to reduce emissions and to cope with the risks posed from climate change catastrophes (Green Swan events). The bank for International Settlements recently sent a report alerting Reserve Banks of these and how they may be beyond financial redress.


Here in New Zealand, discussions are ongoing about the reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme, including whether to make companies publicly disclose their emissions. As you might expect, the reactions by business have been mixed.


We conclude with a couple of articles examining the last mile of freight transport and the future of flight in terms of an equivalent air taxi. And as our cities are always changing, what might they look like in the future?

While reducing fossil fuel use remains the most important action to limiting warming, nature-based solutions could help us meet one-third of Paris Agreement climate goal targets by 2030. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are actions to protect and sustainably manage natural ecosystems and can mitigate some 12 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. At the September 2019 Climate Action Summit in New York, New Zealand and China launched the “Nature-Based Coalition” and are now encouraging other nations to join the initiative. Read more.....





Another way to protect and manage natural ecosystems is to give the environment legal rights. Rights of Nature differ from conventional environmental protection, as communities can determine their legal rights, then enforce those rights through the courts. Globally, communities are adopting legally enforceable rights for ecosystems: the right to exist, flourish, thrive and regenerate. A local example of this is the Whanganui River which was gifted ‘person’ status by the NZ government in 2017.Read more.....






Large marginal farming areas are being abandoned worldwide as people migrate to the cities. These areas could be utilised in a number of different ways, depending on their location – some more marginal areas could be left to regenerate naturally, others could be farmed for carbon storage, either in tree plantations, or grasslands that may be more resilient to some vulnerabilities. Providing subsidies to farmers to farm trees/store carbon, paid for by fossil fuel intensive industries, sounds like a good solution. Read more.....



Using what’s in your own backyard could also help protect nature. There is a movement promoting developing vegetable and fruit gardens by the regular person at home or school, using regenerative farming practices which prioritise soil health. This will help minimise the carbon footprint of the food grown and give people some hope, like there’s something they can do to help. The youth seem to ‘get it’ more than their elders, and the main issue will be scaling it up, so it becomes the norm. Read more.....







We have a couple of examples of big organisations/corporates taking a lead on finding ways of improving farming methods. Danone, the world’s largest B Corp, are trying to identify ways to help regenerate soils and drive long-term economic and environmental benefits to improve the economic resilience of farmer communities. Chipotle has created an accelerator programme as support for entrepreneurs creating innovative solutions to empower the next generation of farmers. They say they must work together to identify farming solutions to overcome its great challenges. Read more.....



A new report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is sending shock waves through the banking and financial industry of the impact of Green Swan events triggered by climate change disasters. Green Swan events are different from a typical ‘Black Swan’ event, in that there is a high degree of certainty that climate catastrophes will indeed happen. And they are even more serious than most systematic financial crisis: they could pose an existential threat to humanity.. Read more.....



Last year the legendary investor Jeremy Grantham decided to devote almost his entire fortune of 1 billion USD to help in the fight against climate change. Grantham, who predicted the tech bubble and financial crisis gives his views on various trends and actions in the fight against climate change. The main takeaway is that “everything is accelerating”, including climate change as well as the actions to tackle it. He also stated that investing in oil or chemical companies would be poor choices. Read more.....

The NZ government is currently reforming the Emissions Trading Scheme (Climate Change Response Amendment Bill), with part of the reforms leading to the requirement to publicly disclose corporate emissions data. Businesses who are part of the Climate Leaders Coalition (Z Energy, Fonterra, Toyota, Westpac, Spark, Carbon EMS, Air New Zealand, Meridian Energy, etc.) support this move, with other sectors opposed, for example the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ and the Meat Industry Association. Why oppose? Perhaps their vested interests are getting in the way…Read more.....





There’s nothing better than getting that on-line purchase, or having piping hot food delivered to your door (all those scooters). But all this ‘last mile’ delivery activity comes at a cost in terms of worsening air quality and emissions. We are now seeing a raft of measures aimed at addressing this. Things like the electrification of vehicles, utilising fleet management software, artificial intelligence and locating distribution centres closer to markets are all in the mix of efficiently tackling the last part of a delivery journey. Read more....





It’s safe to say, ride sharing has been a success. As this service looks to expand, various companies are now looking to take to the air? We examine seven urban air mobility companies that are tackling the challenge and it’s safe to say they all have very ambitious plans. Airbus is the largest name to enter the market, Kitty Hawk (which is being tested in NZ) or the Intel backed Volocopter which is developing an 18-rotor air taxi to one day carry 100,000 passengers per hour at a cost comparable to a taxi ride. Read more.....





We next examine how cities may look in the future. ‘City Villages’ which have everything you need and are, works places, homes, recreational spaces, shops and green spaces. The idea is to utilise building space more efficiently. Currently a highrise office is generally only used during the working week & at daytime, so why not have mixed use and expand building occupancy to 24/7. A better use of space is certainly one advantage. An existing example of this can be found in Singapore’s vertical kampong. Read more...







This week we have two innovation articles we think may be of interest.

  1. A “Frankenstein-like” concrete capable of healing its own cracks and absorbing carbon dioxide could revolutionise construction and defence industries

  2. Scientists at Copenhagen University are fine-tuning a blend of lignin and ethanol that can be used as a "drop-in heavy biofuel" that can be produced for the shipping industry at scale.





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