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September 9, 2020

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Snippets for 4 June 2020

June 3, 2020




Thanks for reading our fortnightly Snippets newsletter. We start this week with a look at carbon emissions and ways to reduce them. What might the path to a low carbon planet look like? Our first article examines a number of ways this shift could happen, from electrification of everything to changes in the agricultural sector - nothing is off the table. This is a ‘big’ read, but well worth it.


The construction industry (which relies on concrete), and airlines, are examples of sectors that are energy intensive with high emissions outputs. How can improvements be made to these sectors?


Carbon Capture processes seem to be developing at pace, and a study by the Imperial College London suggests that 2,700 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 storage space would be sufficient to achieve the goals put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


San Francisco based tech startup, Stripe, made a commitment that it would spend $1 million annually on emerging carbon removal technologies. We take a look at 4 emerging carbon removal companies they have started backing.


Rice is also a heavy carbon emitter. Emerging technologies, along with better farming practices, will hopefully bring emissions down along with better crop yields.


We next look at carbon reduction in our own backyard. Wellington’s Mayor, Councillors  and Victoria University experts give their thoughts. Plus, the NZ wine industry is actively seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions and place that industry in a resilient position with a clear point of difference.


Finally, plastic, and how improvements can be made to stop this and other pollutants entering our oceans. This, and effective recycling/repurposing, are ideas explored in our final two articles.





Our lead article this week is an in depth look at several possible pathways to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. It is not a light read by any means, but it does give a good insight to many scenarios and it does the math well. The article discusses energy sources, food and forestry, electrification of industry and daily life as well as carbon capture and storage. It leaves no stone un-turned and is a good primer for those who are keen! Read more.....







Last year the airline industry was at its peak and it was all growth and upwards forecasts. This year, thanks to COVID-19, it has reduced by 75% and is struggling to survive. Rebuilding will not be easy because there is an even larger spectre looming on the horizon - climate change. If this industry is to survive and thrive, it will have to do so in a way that is low carbon, and rebuilding provides opportunity for that transition. Read more.....







Laying the foundation for zero-carbon cement. This article is the perfect accompaniment to the previous article, due to the fact that concrete production is one of the largest sources of GHG emissions at 7% of the total globally. The article looks at the problem and discusses several opportunities that might be able to reduce emissions from the industry by as much as 75% through efficiencies, substitutions and alternatives. Read more.....







As GHG emissions keep increasing worldwide, it looks as though carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies will be necessary for any pathway to limit warming to below 2C. The good news is that scientists are now saying that there is sufficient storage space globally to achieve this. However, the authors warn that CCS is not a silver bullet for stopping climate change, stating that we need to accelerate both actions – carbon capture and emissions reductions. Read more.....







The online payment provider Stripe is going one step beyond its peers when it comes to climate action. Not only are they reducing their corporate emissions and offsetting what remains, but they are also spending $1m (USD) per annum to buy carbon removals from CCS projects. The carbon removal technologies Stripe chose are early stage, and currently remove carbon at a cost of between $75 and $775 per ton. Read more.....







Rice is the most polluting grain, but demand for the staple food is growing. In addressing climate change, rice production needs more attention and urgent action. Enter - the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), where farms are sharing information and farming methodologies to reduce water and fertiliser and increase yields. Alongside the climate change aims, the platform also hopes to reduce child/slave labour and reduce air, water and soil pollution. Read more.....








Being proud Wellingtonians we are always interested in our vision for the future. In this case, what we should be doing is investing in climate friendly projects. WCC has submitted a $1.3 billion plus wish-list to the Government that includes cycleway safety improvements and CBD wastewater upgrades. Amongst others, this article includes comments from Wellington City Council Mayor Andy Foster, VUW’s Sustainable Energy Systems chairman Alan Brent and VUW’s climate change professor James Renwick, also a member of the Climate Change Commission. Read more.....







NZ exports of wine account for nearly $2 billion in value and not only is it continuing to grow, it is also becoming more sustainable. New Zealand Winegrowers sustainability manager Ed Massey, says going carbon neutral by 2050 will be key to maintaining the industry's success overseas, and that being able to prove your green credentials is a powerful marketing tool. The wine industry has two key sources of carbon emissions - packaging and transport. Initiatives include shifting to lighter bottles with recycled content and plastic-free and fully recyclable packaging. Read more.....





We wrap up this week with a look at plastic. There are numerous ways we can reduce plastic use, and by implementing some of these solutions the other pollutants entering our oceans – things like antibiotics, heavy metals, pesticides, oil and gas and nutrients that cause algal blooms - will also be diminished. A new Blue Paper commissioned by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy highlights seven of these solutions. Read more.....









We need to recycle more plastic rubbish, and there are some innovative companies that are taking the task back to basics – they are finding ways to not just shred and pelletise used plastic, but chemically recover the building blocks, removing impurities, creating “virgin plastic” indistinguishable from new. Some examples are detailed here, such as turning nylon carpet and nylon fishing nets into virgin econyl nylon through chemical depolymerisation and turning PE bottles and bags into 3D printing material. Read more....








We have three articles that may interest you this time:

1. This Electric Jet Engine Could Lead to Carbon-Neutral Air Travel


2. This Car Is Powered By Salt Water: 760HP, Top Speed 186 MPH, 621 Miles/Tank


3. This Solar Panel Just Set a World Record for Efficiency





















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