The RethinkX group have published their report (download below) in which they look at - "How Humanity Can Choose to Reduce Emissions 90% by 2035 through the Disruption of Energy, Transportation, and Food with Existing Technologies."
They claim "Technology disruptions already underway in the energy, transportation, and food sectors have extraordinary implications for climate change. These three disruptions alone, driven by just eight technologies, can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide within 15 years. Market forces can be leveraged to drive the bulk of global GHG emissions mitigation because the technologies required are either already commercially available and competitive today, or can be deployed to market before 2025 with the right societal choices. The same technologies will also make the cost of carbon withdrawal affordable, meaning that moonshot breakthrough technologies are not required to solve the ‘Last Carbon Problem’ and go beyond net zero from 2035 onwards. Our previous research has shown that disruptions of the energy, transportation, and food sectors are inevitable. Solar, wind, and batteries (SWB) will disrupt coal, oil, and gas. Autonomous electric vehicles (A-EVs) providing transportation-as-a-service (TaaS) will disrupt internal combustion engines and private vehicle ownership. And precision fermentation and cellular agriculture (PFCA) will disrupt meat, milk, and other animal products. The three disruptions are already unfolding simultaneously, and their implications for climate change are profound. Yet it will be up to us to decide whether or not we deploy these technologies worldwide rapidly enough to avoid dangerous climate change."
DETA Consulting, an engineering consulting firm in Christchurch, recently conducted a survey of process heat users in the South Island and reported the findings in a webinar presented on 26 August. Budyong and Tom attended the webinar, which is recorded and can be viewed at: https://carbon.deta.global/webinar-recordings .
The survey looked at process heat sites of greater than 500KW, which would include most industrial users but exclude small users, such as schools. Users were asked what they had installed and what plans they have to convert from fossil fuel to renewable sources. Due to the low cost and availability of coal on the South Island, most process heat is from coal.
Some of the key findings were:
1. The great majority of respondents claimed to have plans to shift fossil fuel use (coal or oil) to renewable sources (biomass or electricity) by 2030, before the government date to phase out coal use by 2037. The predominant shift will be from coal to wood chip to fire boilers. Very few respondents planned to switch to wood pellets, presumably due to the higher cost of pellets. Some sites with low temperature needs (<85°C), such as for space heating, planned to switch to high temperature heat pumps (HTHPs).
2. The shifts will significantly increase overall electricity demand on the South Island and will greatly increase the demand for wood chip to fire boilers. In the two example regions presented, anticipated wood chip demand represents a significant portion of the local production forestry estate, suggesting the need to expand wood chip production from mill and forestry residue into export grade wood fibre. A small survey of wood chip suppliers suggests wood chip prices will rise as demand grows, as wood chip production consumes logs otherwise planned for milling or export. Wood chip from residue has been cheap but prices are rising as demand increases and wood waste becomes recognised not as “waste” but as an important renewable energy source.
3. Overall South Island process energy use is projected to decline by 100MW (from 1450MW today to 1350MW) due to efficiency gains. 350MW of process heat will be shifted to HTHPs and the other 1000MW will be converted to biomass or electric boilers. It is suggested that this is perhaps a ‘largest demand scenario’ because process heat demand will decline if dairy and beef demands decline, as anticipated.
4. The principal barrier to the shift to renewable process heat is economic and not technological. In other words, the renewable resources are anticipated to be available but companies will likely struggle to raise the money for the capital investment for the shift. Another important barrier will be people and industrial capacity, because the shift will require a factor of five increase in the production of new boilers and HTHPs, for example.
5. The recommended next step in this transition is to organise workshops between government (EECA, MBIE), renewable energy suppliers (electricity generators, Transpower, lines companies, forestry companies, industrial suppliers, etc.) and process heat users to foster business linkages and develop a coordinated transition strategy.
A declining trend in Wairau Aquifer levels has been observed at western Wairau Plain MDC monitor wells since 1973, which pre-dates the Marlborough wine industry. While the declining trend of around 1 metre over 50 years may not appear large at an average of 20 mm/year, the risk is if it continues over the very long-term, groundwater springs may dry up and ultimately there could be seawater intrusion of our coastal aquifers. Given the depleted storage volume of the Wairau Aquifer after a series of dry summers since 2014 and minor Wairau River activity through the past winter recharge period, current levels of consented abstraction are also compounding the issue. Identifying the drivers via the Gravel Bed Rivers Project (GBR) is a priority project for MDC, given the longer term regional scale implications for flood control, reliability of consented water consents, wetland health and security of coastal groundwater supply.
The causes of the decline are known to be incremental and long-acting. These drivers have been actively investigated over the past decade, but research is challenging because most of what goes on is hidden beneath the surface with measurements often indirect in nature.
You can learn more about this project by downloading these two files from the MDC website. The original report from June 2020 is available here (Agenda item 5) and the update from April 2021 is available here (Agenda item 4).
An excellent report was prepared by NIWA scientists for the MDC Councillors and staff. It was presented to the Environment Committee by Gregor Macara on April 22nd, 2021 and updated them on the latest information on climate change projections and impacts for the Marlborough region. It's well worth looking at just to see the the Executive Summary. Drought potential is projected to increase across Marlborough, with annual accumulated Potential Evapotranspiration Deficit (PED) totals increasing with time and Climate change projections and impacts for Marlborough 9increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. By 2040, PED totals are projected to increase by 50-150 mm. By 2090, PED totals are projected to increase by 50-200 mm (medium concentration pathway) or 75-250 mm (high concentration pathway). Another significant projection is that mean annual low flow (MALF) magnitudes are expected to decrease across both
greenhouse gas concentration pathways and future time periods for most catchments. A decrease in MALF is expected to exceed 50% for most of the river systems in the region with increased greenhouse gas concentration and time.
The full pdf file can be downloaded here -