Snippets for 7 May 2020

Welcome to our latest Snippets newsletter.


In this edition of Snippets we look at how we can come out of the virus lockdown in a better place – globally and locally, with help from governments, business and nature.


We look at what the IMF and World bank suggest, with their understanding that the world must radically change its relationship with nature and work together as never seen before. This is backed up by a review of a paper in journal Nature Communications - that if we renege on commitments to the Paris Agreement, any respite we have seen from the virus crisis will only be temporary. Germany’s Angela Merkel understands this, and is showing the world a way forward that will help economic recovery from the virus, while keeping carbon emission reductions in mind.


Noted environmentalist David Suzuki sees the climate crisis as a threat orders of magnitude larger than the coronavirus, and says civil society needs to step up and demand governments deal with it by responding to the Covid-19 crisis in a different way. A letter from the SBN to our own government sets out a way to our own economic recovery with sustainability at the fore.


One area that needs consideration urgently around the world is flood protection. A new evaluation tool for flood prone areas will show how interventions may work, and we have articles on how mangroves, and architectural design for the longer term can both give economic benefits as well as flood protection.


We finish with articles on Microsoft’s Planetary computer that it’s building to protect biodiversity, and some corporate climate actions recently announced.


Keep safe and well.




At a recent “virtual” meeting of the World Bank and IMF, they identified that the current global shutdown is causing a huge economic downturn which will require the world to come together to deal with it. Economic recovery packages need to make us more resilient, and nature based solutions should be prioritised. Investment in both human and planetary health must be top of the list to achieve recovery and prosperity. The virus caught us all off guard, but we need to be prepared for another. Read more.....










A study has shown we should strengthen worldwide climate commitments to improve the global economy, making every country economically better off if all could agree to strengthen their climate emission commitments through international cooperation. On current emissions targets the global economy would lose out by as much as $600tn by the end of the century, compared with if countries meet their Paris goals. As with everything, early and quick action has firm benefits. So, as we come out of Covid 19, lets get cracking on improving where we live. Read more.....







Germany’s Angela Merkel agrees with the study's findings, and wants a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis. She says governments should focus on climate protection when considering fiscal stimulus packages to support an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. While individual governments will look at ways to stimulate their economies, why not work on projects that reduce emissions and improve the daily lives of the nation’s inhabitants. Germany will hold the EU presidency in the second half of this year, so Merkel is well placed to shape recoveries. Read more.....








The pause of human activity, due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, has allowed nature to rebound. The concern is that this rebound is only temporary, and environmentalist David Suzuki warns that we must prepare to fight climate change with the same vigour we have fought Covid-19 with, if we are to solve the climate and biodiversity crises.

Read more.....












Back home, the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) has submitted a letter to the Prime Minister and other Ministers to ask that sustainability is at the centre of every investment decision in the post-Covid-19 economy. The letter incorporates the views of the 600 businesses and social enterprises representing every size and sector of the economy and gives specific policy ideas in order to encourage sustainable business outcomes and create a more resilient New Zealand. Read more.....








A great example of sustainable investments is in flood protection. With sea level rises already locked in for the next sixty years, these would be prudent investments. By 2030, 15 million people and $177 billion in urban infrastructure could be affected by coastal floods each year. Since 1980, flooding has cost the world more than $1 trillion in losses. Some New Zealand cities are at risk due to the low-lying nature of their infrastructure. There is a new tool that helps identify flooding risks and how any interventions may work. Read more.....












The investments to prevent flooding need not just be in man-made structures. Research has shown that mangrove conservation can pay for itself in flood protection benefits. The natural coastal defences provided by mangrove forests reduce annual flooding significantly in critical hotspots around the world. Without mangroves, flood damages would increase by more than $65 billion annually. Pelayo Menéndez, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz says "Mangroves provide incredibly effective natural defences, reducing flood risk and damages". Read more.....






And then we can combine the two. Architects are now increasingly seeking to integrate natural solutions with tiers of man-made and stylish structures to defend against rising seas and storm surges. Some solutions propose adding coral reefs in deeper waters and mangrove forests in shallower waters, with man-made multilayered systems on land. These may include a seaside dike designed to slow waves, reduce erosion and protect sea life, a second dike further inland to minimise storm surge, and a third dike further afield to channel rainwater into gardens, parks, forests and wetlands.. Read more.....







Microsoft has announced that it plans to create a “Planetary Computer”, to act as a central repository of environmental and biospheric data. The aim of this project is to provide an in depth look at the multitude of environmental data sets and combine them with AI and a GIS, in order to provide a powerful tool to scientists and other professionals. Read more....










It has been 50 years since the first Earth Day, yet three quarters of all of the GHG emissions ever released by humans have happened in the past 50 years and thus we may ask ourselves if anything positive has been happening? This article highlights a few recent corporate environmental initiatives, and leaves us with hope that the tide is turning on a movement that should have caught on long ago.

Read more....












Low-carbon grids need longer-duration storage, but few technologies have succeeded at scale. Here’s the current roster of best bets. Read more.....





















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