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 discussed.

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 forward them.

     Reviews and Templates for Expression Web

Copyright 2011 Energy and Technical Services Ltd. All Rights Reserved.