Welcome to our 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 articles to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
With important climate talks in Paris rapidly approaching,
we first take a look at four issues that could make or break
these important talks. Should we aim for 1.5 or 2 deg C? Will
this agreement require anyone to actually do anything (actions
not words are required). And an important aspect - where's the
budget coming from to limit output? While outright budgets in
regards to GHG emissions seem unlikely, IPCC recommendations
of 40-70% reductions below 2010 levels by 2050 are firm
targets to aim for. Finally, are we seriously not going to
update our emissions targets until 2025? We certainly hope
they will be reviewed prior to this.
Why do we need Paris to be successful? – a question we are
sure is in the back of people's minds. ‘Greenhouse Gases Reach
Record Highs in 2014', surely a good reason! Carbon dioxide
levels averaged 397.7 ppm in 2014 but briefly breached the 400
ppm barrier in the northern hemisphere in early 2014, and
again globally in early 2015. We will soon see 400 ppm as a
permanent reality. The other two major man-made greenhouse
gases, methane and nitrous oxide, also continued their
relentless annual rise in 2014, reaching 1,833 parts per
billion (ppb) and 327.1 ppb, respectively. Both increased at
the fastest rate for a decade.
Speaking ahead of the Paris summit, Lord Stern says Europe
must step up to combat climate change. “In human history it's
a one-off … and what we map out in the next two decades will
be absolutely critical,” he said. “Whether we can live in our
cities – breathe in them, move in them – all of this will be
defined by the decisions we take.
In 2008 The United Kingdom, wrote into law the 2008 Climate
Act. This required it to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
If the UK doesn't meet its climate action obligations it could
well end up being sued. Hopefully they approach the climate
talks with this in their minds. Hard to imagine if their
performance in 2015 is anything to go by!
Some governments may not be approaching the Paris talks
with a completely open mind, but what's happening in the
financial sector? CDP released the latest figures in its
annual report on corporate carbon emissions disclosure. The
report highlights that corporates have passed an important
tipping point, with 89% of companies having activities to
reduce greenhouse gases. For example, Goldman Sachs, recently
announced it was going to increase investments in clean energy
to US $150 Billion, “It is our job to accelerate and lead this
trend of allocating capital in technologies responsible for
less carbon in the atmosphere,” Great words from chairman and
CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs, and those other open minded companies, must
have the right idea, as nothing can complete with renewable
energy. Take, for example, India, where they aim to deliver
350GW of renewable energy in the next 10 years, the equivalent
to 300 nuclear power stations. That's a lot of investment in
clean energy. Imagine the jobs, better air quality etc.
Just to confirm sustainability is the right path, we next
look how profit can save the planet. There still seem to be
arguments about the benefits of ‘business as usual'practices
versus “going green” in business. Should and could the two
work together? Most definitely, and our next article looks at
better working environments, job creation and investor returns
the green industry is making in the American market. Seems to
be ticking a lot of the right boxes. Simply put, the biggest
and most incredible business opportunity of the 21st century:
Green Building. Who would have thought?
We turn our attention now to food, and the big question –
how do we save the global food system? With climate changes
and increasing populations, we need more awareness of
conservation and efficiencies in this area. Our next article
gives 5 ideas on how to do this – ideas that we would probably
already know about, but great to see them listed, and
We need to save the global food system if we are to feed
the projected 10 billion people the earth will have in the
near future. This next article reinforces some of the points
of the previous one – people, producers and retailers all need
to reduce food waste, water needs to be used more wisely, and
the health of soil needs to be improved.
Improving the soil health is also a key point in our next
article. Manmade substitutes for natures free ecosystem
benefits, i.e. fertilisers, are only good for a short while, and
mask the fact that there is a long term decline in the soils
quality. Compounded with natures increasingly severe weather
patterns, both drought and floods, the impact on businesses is
becoming more and more evident. This article looks at a few
types of farming and industry around the world including palm oil, rice and beef,
and analyses the impacts of these on the soil. The message
that sustainable farming can be profitable needs to be heard
before the cost of inaction becomes overwhelming.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we 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