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.
In this week’s Snippets we start with an overview of global environmental policy updates, share some positive news on the renewable generation front and then we ‘go bush’ with a look at deforestation and fighting climate change with super plants!
We open with a wrap up of the Bonn COP23, which overall was a mix of encouraging commitments, helpful momentum and a reminder of the need to accelerate progress towards the goal of capping global temperature increase at safe levels. Find out more about the policy updates here.
And recently the world’s largest retailer Walmart and the World Wildlife Fund gave a joint statement outlining their commitment for change. This article also highlights that 1,700 businesses and investors with a combined GDP of $6.2 trillion have committed to reducing their environmental impact.
This next article reports that since the Paris Agreement was adopted, 47 new climate laws have been ratified around the globe, and 620 companies have committed to cut 2.31 gigatons of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions via the ‘We Mean Business Take Action’ campaign.
The global transition to 100% renewables is happening now, and is fully achievable by 2050, according to a recent report, with lower system costs and a big reduction in losses compared with the current situation. There are political challenges to switching from fossil fuels, but the momentum towards renewables is growing….
One example of this move - The latest Mexican Government energy auctions just achieved a low 1.77c/kWh price – which is a much lower rate than the current fossil fuel generation. Because of the structure of this Power Purchase Agreement it works out to be low risk for everyone involved – a true win-win situation!
Another example of the change in thinking - a lot of big funds are moving out of coal investments, and the Commonwealth Bank in Australia is the latest. The risks that the coal industry presents to investors are too high, and this Australian finance giant wants out! But - will they also remove all investments in other fossil fuels?
And the Norway Fund – the biggest fund in the world, controlling 1.5% of global stocks – is proposing selling off all its oil and gas stocks, and it has already sold off most of its coal stocks, as it sees them as a big financial risk. This shift shows that investors’ confidence in the future of the oil and gas industry is falling.
Forests (trees, plants etc.) play a key role in life of earth. Estimations have been made that the planet lost 73 million acres of forest last year. That’s equal to the size of New Zealand - and it needs to stop! As a start, 23 leading global businesses have pledged their support for the Cerrado Manifesto to halt deforestation.
Scientists aim to fight climate change with super plants. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is looking at ways to improve a plants ability to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This will help to remove the 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide that scientists are saying needs to be taken out of the air.
Sticking with the green stuff, Scientists plan to map a ‘safety net’ for Planet Earth. Setting aside at least half of the world’s land mass as off-limits to human enterprise is necessary if we are to conserve our planet’s biodiversity.
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 forward them.