Bennett - Editor
Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
This week we open with the news that much of the mainstream media has already carried and that is the world population has reached 7 billion. What they haven’t included in their coverage is that the world population was 6 billion as recently as 1999, meaning that over that 12 year period, 260,000 additional mouths were added each day – all requiring feeding.
So how are we going to feed this 7 billion without ruining the planet? Well as it turns out we are not exactly efficient in the way we distribute crop production, with only 62% going towards food we actually eat. The other 33% goes to livestock and around 3% to biofuels, fibre or seed production. So if we eat less meat and put less food (i.e. ethanol) into our vehicles, we really could feed a lot more people. This however, sadly appears unlikely to happen as people and corporations who control food production don’t really want to change.
And we all know how doctors keep on stating, eat healthy and stay healthy – and by and large we endeavour to do so. Except round Christmas and New Year time, when the wheels can often tend to fall off. Well, according to our next article doctors are now warning us that climate change is the “greatest threat to public health”. Slowly the clamour for change in behaviour grows.
Which leads us neatly into our next article. With a touch of irony, a study part funded by the oil industry Koch Brothers has found that global warming is real and that there are no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns. The study undertaken by the University of California, Berkeley concluded that all previous research, including that of the University of East Anglia, the source of hacked emails behind Climategate was accurate and substantive.
Not that this latest study has done much to placate sceptics as our next article discusses. Or as Joe Romn put it “We would be told these results would be accepted and it goes to show there is nothing that will derail the deniers”.
On a more practical note, whether you are a climate sceptic or not, sustainability is all about efficiency. And a more efficient operation is a more effective operation in terms of economic returns, not to mention in being able to protect a brand and relate positively to stakeholders. Simply put, why are we even debating it?
It turns out that investors are also seeking sustainability; in their case from their investments. A group of 285 investors, representing $20 trillion are calling on all governments to create short, medium and long-term greenhouse gas targets, with enforceable legal mechanisms and timelines for delivering these reductions.
Not that these targets will always have to be delivered in the country that has jurisdiction over it, as a significant amount of greenhouse gases tend to be in countries other than where the goods or services are consumed. That makes it trickier to monitor and manage, but not if a global set of rules governing how greenhouse gases are measured and managed are reached.
Talking of monitoring and managing greenhouse gases, we next look at opportunities in the trucking industry. Not only can trucking companies realise savings through reductions in fuel consumption and optimised use of vehicle fleets, they can now earn carbon credits, which in themselves can be traded on the international market.
Our final article takes a look at the part Earth’s forests have to play in limiting the increase in atmospheric carbon levels. And how these very forests which are key to absorbing CO2, are in turn themselves under threat. The threat is in the form of increased attacks from beetles which can survive the now less harsh winters or from wildfires arising from the increased number of droughts. I hope the cherry trees are unaffected as I need something sweet to look forward to.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.