Snippets for 3 December 2020


Change is in the air.


The NZ government has just announced a Climate Emergency, and the US Federal Reserve and President-elect are now acting to minimise the risks of climate change. General Motors are also turning from their previous support of Trump’s anti California Clean Air standards case, and in another report GM are predicting price and distance parity for their EV’s in 5 years. And Unilever is heading full on into the meat alternatives market.


There are various things that could be done to help with the move to a more circular society and lower emissions. We look at a request that would make broken stuff more easily repairable; labels that help recognize food emission levels; and possibly legislating that consumers help fund regenerative agriculture.


We finish with some good news around honey bee populations in the USA.




Yesterday New Zealand became the 33rd nation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. In a motion supported by Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party, it cemented in place what Jacinda Ardern had previously labelled her government’s nuclear free moment. The government also committed to making the public sector carbon-neutral by 2025, meaning each agency or department will be directed to either reduce its own emissions, or buy offsets to reduce them within the next five years. Read more.....



In anticipation of the Climate Emergency declaration, the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) wrote to Jacinda Ardern and four other government ministers including the Minister for Climate Change – James Shaw, and Minister of Finance – Grant Robertson, urging more government investment to make it easier for businesses to act. The letter also set out how the work SBN is engaged on, such as managing out plastic packaging and planting hundreds of thousands of native trees, needs support, in what must be a just transition. Read more.....

Normally news about the US Federal Reserve Bank is pretty boring, unless you are a finance boffin that is. However, in a sign of changing times and a changing of the guard, the FED has signalled that, unlike the rest of the Trump administration, it is on board with acknowledging the risks of climate change. This is a big turnaround from the largest reserve bank in the world that had, until now, not even been at the table.Read more.....


Another big announcement is that Joe Biden has named a non-climate denier, who has been known to stand up to Wall Street, as the Secretary of the Treasury of the USA. While Janet Yellen was not the first pick of climate concerned voters, she certainly has the potential to put the rubber to the road to Green the US economy. Cross your fingers folks! Read more.....





In yet one more example of how a change in leadership is signalling a dramatic change in direction, Joe Biden’s announcing that he planned to expand electric vehicle use has prompted GM to drop their support for a Trump lawsuit to do away with California clean air standards. GM urges other auto makers to do the same. This conveniently coincides with GM announcing new breakthroughs with EV batteries. Read more.....


Developments are continuing at pace in the EV world. A pending breakthrough by GM in battery chemistry will cut the price of electric vehicles and bring range on a single charge to levels comparable with petrol cars - up to 724km! Price and range parity in just 5 years, for a wide range of vehicles types not just high end products, could be a game changer. Read more.....





We have covered developments in meat alternatives before, but that has generally been smaller start-up businesses. Now Unilever has set itself a $1.2 billion sales target for its meat and dairy alternatives, all within the next 7 years. With a predicted expansion in this market by more than 1000% over the next 10 years, it’s easy to see why Unilever has set such a sales target and wants to be part of a market expected to reach $140 billion by 2029. Read more.....


In the good old days, people were much better at repairing things. But as throw away consumerism, legal issues and intellectual property rights became more prevalent, instead of repairing it was easier to replace. Is it now time to add legislation that would make it easier to repair things by compelling manufacturers to make their products more fixable and by a wider range of people? In a world with limited resources, climate change and an ever growing population, we think so. Read more.....




One way to reduce your impact on the planet is to select low emissions food choices and a US-based restaurant chain is helping their customers do just that. Panera Bread is now adding a carbon label next to each item on their menu that quickly and easily tells you the emissions intensity of your food choice. Hopefully these labels catch on and become the norm. Read more.....



But adding carbon labels to menu items isn’t the only way restaurants are looking to reduce their impact. In San Francisco a restaurateur has proposed it be legislated that a 1% surcharge is added to restaurant bills to raise funds for regenerative agriculture. This would allow consumers to help farmers implement techniques that boost soil fertility and store carbon. Read more.....


There has been a lot of concern about the decline of honey bees in recent years. However, the US Department of Agriculture has released some encouraging data that shows a healthy growth in honeybee colony numbers of up to 70% or more in various States. Overall, the increase in the number of honeybee colonies in the US was 14% in 2019. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue long-term. Read more.....




This week we have a new selection of innovative ideas:

  1. How a breakthrough material could supercharge our homes and cars

  2. Biodegradable plastics from palm oil waste

  3. Unlimited, on-demand renewable energy anywhere in the world — is Eavor-Loop climate change's holy grail?













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