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Snippets for 27 February 2020

February 26, 2020

 

 

Thanks for reading Snippets this week. Initially we look at risk and how assessing climate change investment and insurance risks is becoming more high profile, and likely to be ever more so, for businesses and countries. China is an example, with its coal plants, and what to do with these to minimise the country’s emissions?

 

Maybe hydrogen will solve the problem of having to move away from coal, as it is doing in a Norwegian steel plant. Kiwis may soon have access to hydrogen fuel with the refuelling network being proposed. Nuclear power wouldn’t be a good solution – expensive compared to most energy efficiency measures. Solar panels will help too, and they may appear in places you wouldn’t expect.

 

Finally, 3 individual articles – what happens when humans leave nature to its own devices for a while; helping kelp rejuvenate after being decimated; and what milk is best for the environment?

We hope you enjoy the read today.

 

 

We open with an article examining how the banking and insurance industries now realise they need to assess their climate change investment risks. Research by the European Central Bank found that weather-related catastrophic losses accounted for 80% of all insured losses in 2018, with almost 60% of companies in the S&P 500 holding assets at high risk of physical climate change impacts. New reporting such as the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are likely to be required so these risks may be best understood and managed. Read more.....

 

 

 

 

And in managing its risks, it is going to be essential for China to shift away from coal. Researchers from the University of Maryland’s Centre for Global Sustainability studied over 1,000 Chinese power plants and have proposed a three-pronged strategy to manage the coal phase-out. This includes a halt to new coal plant construction and the rapid shutdown of some of the oldest and most polluting plants. The third part of the strategy would provide a guaranteed lifetime to coal plants, helped by gradually shifting coal use to times of peak electricity demand only.Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another good news item, Swedish Steel are going to be producing fossil-fuel free steel by 2026 - 10 years earlier than it thought was possible! Steel production is currently one of the world’s most emissions intensive industries but now it looks as though renewable hydrogen can be used to replace coal in the smelting process. It would be great to see NZ steel manufacturers transitioning to hydrogen too. Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of hydrogen, two Kiwi energy companies - Taranaki-based Hiringa Energy and King Country-based Waitomo Group - have teamed up to develop New Zealand's first nationwide hydrogen refuelling station network. Hiringa Energy will produce the “green” hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced by renewable electricity, and the Waitomo will retail the fuel at their fuelling stations. Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

A new report states that Nuclear-power is in terminal decline worldwide and will never make a serious contribution to tackling climate change. The good news is that money used to improve energy efficiency saved four times as much carbon as that spent on nuclear power; wind saved three times as much, and solar double. Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sharp decline in the cost of solar has also opened up a new opportunity for land use, ‘agrivoltaics’. In search of more productive uses for their farmland, The Kominek family in Colorado have their plants growing beneath, between, and around their 3,300 solar panels. Now their income is diversified as they sell electricity as well as tomatoes, peppers, kale, and beans.Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

We next look at what can happen when humans stop interfering with nature, whether it’s an irradiated nuclear zone or and overfished reef turned into a reserve. Almost a decade after the Fukushima disaster, scientists using remote cameras unexpectedly found over 20 species of animals to be thriving. And a Mexican village, Cabo Pulmo, decided to abandon fishing and create a marine reserve. 15 years later, a study found fish biomass had increased by 463%. Imagine if more of the planet was protected from human interference?

Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just humans that have an impact on the environment, there are also various invasive species that can create untold destruction. Sea urchins (kina) are one and this article discusses a possible solution to the issues they create. These creatures destroy vast swaths of kelp forests, which are crucial for carbon storage whilst nurturing various other sea creatures. How about using the urchins in sushi? Urchinonics is looking to do just this.Read more.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finish Snippets with a look at various milks: dairy, nut-based offerings and everything in between. So, what’s best for you from an environmental impact point of view? Dairy is out, but some vegan options aren’t great either. The best options are made from soy, oat, hazelnut or hemp. The bottom line is… not dairy ….which is quite an issue for anyone that likes dairy milk on their cereal or a drop in their coffee! Read more....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. A New catalyst recycles greenhouse gases into fuel and hydrogen gas

  2. The paper bottle project - a quartet of companies that are collaborating to develop containers for liquids from paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright of all featured articles lies with the original authors

                     

 

 

 

 

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