Good Tythings - November
A summary of good news from our grantees last month
5th December 2022
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Air Task Force’s Magnolia Tovar and Jonathan Lewis appeared at COP27 discussing global hydrogen hubs. Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier considered by many to be a critical piece in the effort to decarbonisation of heavy industry. While the International Energy Agency (IEA) wants hydrogen from low-carbon sources to make up 10% of energy consumption globally by 2050, this ambition is still a while off. Hydrogen still faces many barriers and overall demand for low-emission hydrogen remains low. Further investment is needed to accelerate the production and use of hydrogen infrastructure. Following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the U.S. Congress invested $8 billion into the creation of Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs). These regional networks essentially model what an end-to-end hydrogen consumption model would look like, engaging production, connective infrastructure, and energy storage.CATF anticipates that hydrogen will play a critical role in key sectors such as long-haul trucking and shipping. To be successful on a global scale, countries will have to engage with one another to develop infrastructure and transportation corridors as part of global hydrogen hubs.
Last month we discussed Carbon 180’s new ‘high accountability MRV’ framework, which helps build trust with regard to carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Peter Minor from Carbon180 just appeared on The Carbon Curve discussing the framework, its importance, and its methodology in greater detail. Minow thinks the framework will both drive confidence and innovation. The CDR industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, and McKinsey estimates that voluntary carbon markets will grow 15 times to $50 billion by 2030. As we discussed in our last blog, many people are concerned that CDR and carbon capture offsetting schemes, unless regulated and monitored, might allow heavy consumers of fossil fuels to manipulate their carbon statistics to look better than they really are.
Blue Marine Foundation
On Wednesday 16th November, Blue Marine Foundation hosted The 2022 Crab and Lobster Symposium. The Symposium aimed to share current knowledge and support ongoing work to safeguard the long-term health of UK crab and lobster populations and sustainable fisheries. BMF invited over 29 speakers including representatives from Fishing News, The University of Southampton, The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, as well as general registration participants to discuss possibilities for collaborative management and sustainability. Earlier this year, brown crab and European lobster caught off the west of Scotland were declared “fish to avoid” in the Good Fish Guide published by the Marine Conservation Society. This was the first time British crab and lobster were given this label, and was thought to be the consequence of overfishing as well as nets getting entangled with cetaceans, sharks, and turtles.
Surfers Against Sewage
Feargal Sharkey appeared on Channel 5 news discussing Surfers against Sewage research into water companies release of raw sewage into seas and rivers during dry weather. Sharkey described this as ‘complete abandonment by the government’ of the water industry, and a ‘failure of regulators and regulation’.
"Another example in a very long litany of the complete abandonment by government"— Channel 5 News (@5_News) November 24, 2022
Water companies released raw sewage into rivers and seas almost 150 times during the dry weather, says report. @mrdanwalker speaks to environmental activist @Feargal_Sharkey about this.#5news pic.twitter.com/2Svo3L92Ec
Surfers Against Sewage also released their End Plastic Pollution Report. Aimed at policymakers, the report calls on the government to put an end to the flow of plastic into the ocean. Current estimates project plastic production to double by 2040. The WWF believes this will cost society $7.1 trillion. One of the suggestions Surfers Against Sewage makes is that the Government should stop exporting waste to other countries and instead take greater responsibility for waste treatment and management. They also believe a ‘piecemeal’ approach will never be enough, and cohesive governance (that is implementing plastic production and consumption policies across multiple departments) will help delivery more transformative change.
Rainforest Trust UK
A rare and critically endangered parrot, the wild Blue-throated Macaw appears to be slowly making a comeback. Once thought extinct, 50 birds were found in northeastern Bolivia in 1992. In 2018, Rainforest Trust’s local Bolivian partner Asociación Armonía created the Laney Rickman Reserve in the southeast portion of the Beni Savanna to protect the largest known group of nesting critically endangered Blue-throated Macaws in the world. As of 2021, Asociación Armonía has successfully fledged 105 Blue-throated Macaw chicks, a significant step for the conservation of the species.
Meet the Blue-throated Macaw! It's native to Bolivia & spends most of its time in the treetops, where it might be spotted roosting or foraging for fruit. Unfortunately it’s critically endangered & faces threats from the illegal pet trade & habitat destruction. [📸:Clément Bardot] pic.twitter.com/sdNeoZ15V5— American Museum of Natural History (@AMNH) October 18, 2019
World Land Trust
Thanks to conservation work from the World Land Trust’s Keepers of the Wild and the Conservação da Mata Atlântica no Brasil/Conservation of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, brilliant footage of wild Pumas like this is increasingly possible. Reserva Ecologica de Guapiaçu (REGUA)have been protecting remnant areas of Atlantic Forest and forests within the Guapiaçu Watershed.
Puma enjoying the forest at @REGUABrasil. Thanks to the brilliant job by WLT’s Keepers of the Wild Ranger, Rildo da Rosa Oliveira, we can witness positive outcomes in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Part of Rildo’s work is monitoring fauna and prevent hunting. pic.twitter.com/0IMiojXLIL— World Land Trust (@worldlandtrust) November 29, 2022
Sand Dams Worldwide
As the organisation prepares a new fundraising campaign in Zimbabwe, Sand Dams Worldwide have been featuring recent success stories from their work in the Sifanjani community. Speaking to Varies Banda, a mother in the community, overcoming water scarcity means that she no longer needs to leave her home and children several times a day for long periods. According to Varies, the struggle for water also had led to divisions between community members — once, one of her goats was severely injured after it was attacked by another community member, frustrated after the goat tried to drink from one of the scoop wells they had dug for their own livestock.
Both Solar Aid and Sand Dams Worldwide were encouraged to see a focus on adaptation and access to finance for energy access at COP27. Sand Dams Worldwide Chairman David Jordan was pleased to see water security, agriculture/food systems and biodiversity emerge as important themes at COP27. These inextricably linked areas are vital to the work Sand Dams Worldwide does. SolarAid had already called on world leaders at COP27 to recognise that the worlds’ most vulnerable populations are already being hit hardest by the climate crisis — and were happy to see this issue given due recognition at the conference.
Food & Agriculture
Sustainable Food Trust
New research from the British Ecological Society shows that pasture-fed livestock systems can be ‘particularly beneficial’ for grassland and wider ecosystems. Grasslands play a vital role in anchoring stable and productive soils in the British landscape, as well as storing carbon, absorbing and filtering water, and cycling nutrients. Unfortunately, Livestock farmers have been put under pressure by various economic pressures and environmental events to consider alternatives to grasslands. This research provides new evidence for the Sustainable Food Trust’s mission to encourage society to transition towards sustainable food and farming systems, and complements a study published last month in Science Advances that found that destruction of forests and grasslands was the biggest cause of biodiversity loss.SFT CEO Patrick Holden recently appeared alongside Allegra Stratton and Clara Rowe with RE:TV at COP27 to explain how working more closely with nature, as with regenerative agriculture, can transform global food systems, restore degraded land, and encourage biodiversity. https://www.re-tv.org/articles/retv-at-cop27-day-6
Good Food Institute
Emma Ignaszewski from The Good Food Institute appeared on an NPR podcast segment focusing on how droughts, and their increasing prevalence, might permanently alter how we live and eat. “Communities have been forced to adapt to increasing droughts, floods, fires and crop failures, all while the demand for meat is set to double by 2050,” she said. “Cultivated meat could really be part of an effort to adapt to climate change.”A thought provoking article from Hannah Ritchie, a researcher at the University of Oxford, challenges the stigma against processed food, and argues that there’s no way to sustainably feed 8 billion people without it.
Education & Advocacy
Action for Conservation
The Penpont Project, from Action for Conservation was recently featured in The Ecologist. Youth Leadership Group (YLG) members Esther and Emily wrote a piece on the Penpont Project and ‘Young leaders restoring nature in Wales’. The article makes quite a profound point — working in or for nature recovery doesn’t have to be as glamorous as reintroducing bison, but rather it can be something as simple (and yet powerful) as encouraging conversation between young people and landowners, farmers or foresters.
ClientEarth has withdrew its lawsuit against the Belgian National Bank after the EU made welcome changes to the policy at the centre of the case. Last year, ClientEarth took the Bank to court for directing cheap finance toward some of the worst polluters in Europe. The central bank was buying bonds issued like fossil fuel and utility giants Eni, EDP and Schlumberger under an EU-wide scheme known as the Corporate Sector Purchase Programme (CSPP). Through this, ClientEarth argued that the bank was indirectly supporting polluting industries by providing favourable lending conditions that allowed them to continue expanding harmful business activities. In September, the European Central Bank (ECB) updated its policy, making a ‘huge step forward’ in addressing EU central banks’ role in driving climate breakdown.