Snippets for 28 January 2021


Welcome to this week's edition of Snippets.


This issue, we herald the start of the US Biden Administration and how the US looks set to resume a leading role in taking action on climate change as part of the Paris Agreement. It is all part of reversing the Trump administration’s deregulatory legacy and setting ambitious new goals for decarbonizing the U.S. economy.


And it is not just decarbonizing the economy, it is also using FEMA funds to start adapting the US to deal with rising sea levels and more extreme weather events; which according to the McKinsey report ‘Global Energy Perspective 2021’ predicts we are on track for a 3.5C warming.


Also in this issue we discuss whether greenhouse gas emissions should be accounted for using production-based accounting, consumption-based accounting, or if in fact we need a hybrid of the two.


One thing for sure is we need to be reducing emissions. And one of the most effective ways is through absorption by our forests. Which means we drastically need to stop deforestation and start planting more trees, including Bamboo which is technically a grass and not a tree. But anything that can grow at a rate of up to 1.2 metres a day has our attention. That is an extremely quick way to sequester carbon.


We wrap up this week, with two New Zealand themed articles, the first of which is producing oat milk from NZ oats, in NZ, followed up by another examining whether end-of-life cotton garments should be repurposed into our roads.


Unless you have been hiding under a very large lump of coal, you will know that Joe Biden is no Trump… That is to say that he believes in science. He has certainly hit the ground running, and in his first day signed executive orders to re-join the Paris Agreement and to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline. More of a challenge though, will be reversing the Trump administration’s deregulatory legacy and setting ambitious new goals for decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Read more.....



Also announced was that US Federal officials, aim to free up as much as $10 billion at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to protect against climate disasters before they strike. The agency, best known for responding to hurricanes, floods and wildfires, wants to spend the money to pre-emptively protect against damage by building seawalls, elevating or relocating flood-prone homes and taking other steps as climate change intensifies storms and other natural disasters. The money will piggyback on COVID stimulus projects, much like the NZ shovel ready projects. Read more.....



This Global Energy Perspective 2021 article examines the future of energy and climate change, painting the picture with some powerful graphs. Among the predictions is that the COVID downturn will last from 1 to 4 years, coal peaked in 2014, oil peaks in 2029 and gas in 2037. It also predicts fossil fuel consumption will not decrease fast enough to remain below 1.5C warming, and that the future will be dominated by renewables and green hydrogen. A very interesting and informative article. Read more.....



Each year, close to $20tn worth of traded goods are driven, shipped and flown across the world. But who is responsible for the emissions associated with the production, transportation and consumption of these goods? Is it fair to allocate these emissions to the country to which they were produced (production-based accounting)? Or should they be allocated to the consuming countries (consumption-based accounting)? This article looks at both sides of this debate and suggests that a hybrid of production and consumption based accounting might actually be the fairest. Read more.....



One of the key methods to slowing climate change is to bring an end to deforestation. Although it won’t happen overnight, it should be a top priority for 2021 and there is mounting public and investor pressure for organisations to make progress on their ‘no-deforestation’ commitments. This article discusses how purchasers can demand transparency from suppliers and bring to an end the commodity era, where materials are sourced from largely unknown origins and bought purely for price on a transactional basis. Read more.....



Plans are afoot to build a green wall over 8,000 kilometres in length, from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, to hold back the Sahara desert. Development banks and states have pledged a total of $14.32 billion over the next four years. They're expecting 100 million hectares restored, 10 million jobs created, and many tonnes of carbon captured. This project has many benefits, returning land to a useable state, getting people out of poverty, on-going jobs and avoiding the need for people to migrate to other areas. Read more.....



Staying with the green theme, the case for growing huge swaths of Bamboo is strong and perhaps could be used in some instances in the Saharan green wall. Bamboo is a fast going versatile plant, that can be used to provide natural barriers against dust and replace forests that have been burnt down due to wildfires. Bamboo grows so quickly - in some cases by as much as 1.2 metres a day. Bamboo can also be used for pipes or even some steel products. A super plant, that once nurtured and controlled can bring many benefits. Read more.....




More than 50 countries have committed to protect 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans. More good news for our green spaces, although nothing has been signed to make the agreement concrete. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, welcomed the pledge but cautioned: “It is one thing to commit, but quite different to deliver”.It’s likely that this commitment will be negotiated at COP15 in Kunming, China, in May this year. Read more.....



We are all for Kiwis stepping up to reduce carbon emissions, and the owners of Otis Oat Milk are doing just that. Having previously sent their locally grown oats to Sweden to get made into milk, they are now working towards making the milk in the South Island, where the land is well suited to the production of oats and the plan is to build a carbon-neutral plant-based food processing factory. Read more..... (or use this link...)



Wellington roads could be paved with recycled materials from cotton tshirts, should a new collaboration between The Formary and Wellington City Council go ahead. The material was shredded, extruded, and then mixed with the bitumen, to stop the bitumen seeping out of tarmac. It is part of a wider push by The Formary, and parent company Usedfully, for the textile industry to adopt a circular model, rather than the linear factory-to-user-to-landfill model commonly seen today. Read more...




For our innovation section this week, we have an article "Breakthrough Allows Inexpensive Electric Vehicle Battery to Charge in Just 10 Minutes" Read more.....













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