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 Snippets we share articles that range from highlighting the fact that renewables are a better investment than coal and how heavy industry can switch to renewables; to agricultural innovations and efficiencies in food production/distribution, and we top the whole thing off with a glacially cold beer!

Don’t be dismayed by the news. There is reason for hope when it comes to global warming. This article looks at Seven Megatrends that could beat global warming. From increasing renewable energy generation to plant-based alternatives to meat, it details several positive trends that could change the way we live in the future.[1]

Now for a more sobering look at Australia’s energy mix. This article dissects the negative implications on Australia’s reliance on coal. The author explains that for Australia to make any reduction in carbon emissions they need to move away from coal fired generation. Not only that, but he stresses that the sooner they transition to low carbon technologies and renewable sources the bigger the positive impact on our climate.[2]

Going green makes sense for this steel manufacturer in South Australia. In contrast to the federal government, this UK based investor sees that investment into renewable energy sources actually makes good financial sense. He plans to build 1 gigawatt (1000MW) of solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management to meet the energy demands of his steel plant.[3]

Shell is not wasting time when it comes to meeting the charging demands of the increasingly electric vehicle fleet in the UK. Shell is opening their first wave of electric vehicle charging points at its UK petrol stations. This move is spurred by the swift growth in battery-powered cars, which now number more than 115,000 in the UK, up from almost zero a decade ago.[4]

Times are changing and one major question is how will we feed the world? Around the world this is being tackled in a variety of ways and we present a few here. Holland has been working at this for 2 decades and seems to have found some good solutions, increasing output, reducing water use, pesticides, antibiotics and other resources needed. People are regularly brainstorming ideas, and it seems to be working.[5]

Singapore has also been working on a solution to maximise food production. Their approach is a novel one of moving skyward by building huge, 100 storey towers, as they don’t have the vast areas of land needed for traditional food production. This is a great concept, not quite happening yet, but hopefully not too far away.[6]

New ways of thinking are needed in order to feed the world in the future. An organisation determined to change the mind-set that we must eat meat, has been working with scientists, entrepreneurs and investors to create some plant based alternatives that may surprise you, and possibly change your view.[7]

Being more efficient with food is also important as we try to feed the world. We can help reduce the amount of food wastage that happens by buying “wonky” food that does not look perfect. So much wastage of this type happens that re-distribution of “wonky” food has become an important part of feeding the underprivileged. Some nations like France have even made it law to redistribute unsold food, in order to combat the wastage and help to alleviate poverty.[8]

In New Zealand alone, 7,000 tonnes, representing 10 million loaves, of white bread goes to landfill every year. A University of Waikato lecturer in collaboration with Goodman Fielder has begun working on reutilising unsold bread by fermenting it and producing a product with a taste similar to sourdough and a shelf life of seven days.[9]

Now for some quirky humour. A Scottish craft brewer – BrewDog has launched a beer made from melted polar ice caps, sending a case of “Make Earth Great Again” to the White House to highlight climate change denial. Labels on the bottles depict a cartoon robot, resembling Donald Trump, battling a polar bear. Whilst Trump himself refuses to touch alcohol (his brother died from alcoholism), the rest of us could sure use one. Or two.[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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