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.

An area that has always seemed to have room for improvement, in regards to climate change and sustainability, is government. In previous snippets we have highlighted some communities who, due to lack of leadership by government, have taken it upon themselves to implement climate friendly solutions. However, it seems the tide is slowly turning.

More than 1,200 climate laws have been introduced since 1997, with a majority being introduced since the 2015 Paris Agreement. On top of this, the number of countries introducing these policies is increasing, with over 164 countries currently legislating climate change policies, up from 99 in 2015. This increase is showing a positive trend that we love to see. [1]

Climate policy can be extremely complicated; specifically in regards to carbon accounting for forests and land. The EU is currently negotiating these rules in a piece of legislation known as the ‘Land use, land-use change and forestry’. Being one of the most complex areas of climate change, the outcome will set the example for rest of the world. With 65% of renewable energy produced in the EU coming from biomas, and almost ¾ of that being wood, it is no surprise that the debate is being closely followed by all around the globe. [2]

Next we look at Australia, specifically the mayor of Sydney. Each year the mayor hosts a new years' party at the Sydney opera house, with a major fireworks display and festivities. However, this year he plans on doing something a little different. This year, the $750,000 budget will be put towards ramping up the city's actions on climate change. Mentioning the C40 network of cities, the mayor noted that cities have a large role to play in meeting our Paris commitments and this money could be put towards carbon reducing activities instead. [3]

Investment in infrastructure is necessary for the pick up of EVs to continue and grow. Shirley Rodrigues, the deputy mayor of London, tends to agree; with the announcement of a £18 million investment in rapid charging stations in London. The spend will involve installing 75 charging stations by the end of this year, and 300 by 2020. The infrastructure spend will aid in the uptake of EVs, especially with legislation coming into effect at the start of 2018 requiring all taxis to be zero-emission capable. [4]

We next take a look the quickly advancing clean energy revolution. There are 3 phases in a sustainable revolution. Phase 1: large growth of clean energy such as wind and solar (2000-2020). Phase 2: energy needs predominately met by renewable energy sources, rather than fossil fuel (2020-2050). Phase 3: clean energy becomes the dominate energy mix, surpassing fossil fuels (2050-2080).

It’s hard to imagine at times these 3 phases coming to pass, however, we are already well into phase 1. New Zealand has been lucky enough to have a head start on the renewable energy front with hydro based energy supply, but wind farms are now a common feature and provide energy needs as well.

Vehicle changes will play a big part in any journey to renewable energy. It’s almost been two decades since the Toyota Prius hit the roads and there’s not often a day goes by where an EV (usually a Nissan leaf) doesn’t drive by. The revolution has begun and no doubt these 3 phases will come to pass. [5]

Staying with the vehicle theme, we next look at ‘Petrol cars will be obsolete in 8 years, says US report’. While we think 8 years is a touch optimistic, the electrification of the world’s vehicle fleet is increasing at a steady pace. With advances in battery technologies and obligations to the Paris agreement, the world’s journey away from fossil fuels has begun. It only takes a significant breakthrough of battery technology and a reduction in costs comparable to current vehicles fleets, and we have a winner! [6]

Whatever the vehicle type, it’s still going to need tyres. We next look at GM’s (General Motors) move to source only sustainable tyres, which improves supply chain risk. GM is working directly with suppliers that support the goal of using only sustainable natural rubber tyres, including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin. Together, the groups will work on solving the challenges of transparency and traceability in a complex value chain. GM is taking a long term approach to business and supply chains that can only be beneficial. [7]

Transport can take many forms; and with electric powered vehicles opening up many options, we next look at the Motochimp. The Motochimp is a tiny, foldable, retro electric motorbike that should be able to cover 40 miles (approximately 60km) and better still it looks really cool! At a cost of close to US$2,000 it could be a real winner for cross town jaunts. [8]

We have windows that open at home, so why not at work? These days it seems like most office buildings rely on air conditioning to keep the working/living conditions just right. However, opening a window can have many benefits. If done right, with the appropriate controls and safety features in place, it actually makes for a better, more productive working environment; with some organisation reporting up to an 11% increase in productivity. [9]

We finish up with a look at another type of ‘tarian’, this time a ‘Reduceatarian’. The term ‘reducetarian’ was coined by Brian Kateman, a New Yorker who spent years advocating for recycling, composting, and other environmentally-friendly practices before realising reducing meat consumption was the single most effective action he could take to help the climate. He tried to cut meat out of his diet completely but was tempted back to the dark side (Bacon!). Now he takes a more balanced approach while still enjoy meat in his diet. If we all make a small change in the way we eat and of consume various products, it can make a positive difference on a global scale. [10]

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.


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