For Tuesday 26 May 2020 provided by Ecoprofit.com.au (#letsfindsolutions)
News for green investors and organisations, stock watch & grant opportunities
Is it possible for a burger to be carbon-neutral? It?s well known that cattle and by extension, beef and milk and cheese and ice cream have a large carbon footprint. A?2018 study?(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown) found that Americans need to eat 90% less beef and 60% less milk to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. But another recent study suggests that if farmers manage grazing using specific techniques called regenerative agriculture, the final stage of beef production could actually sequester more carbon than it produces.
Regenerative agriculture practices?could store carbon on farms growing other crops, and if it happened across the industry, some experts predict that the impact could be substantial. For instance, the European ?4 to 1000? initiative proposes that if the quantity of?carbon in soils on farms increases 0.4% each year, it could offset the 4.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions that humans pump into the atmosphere annually. Another study from the National Academy of Sciences put the figure at 3 billion tons.
The possibilities are especially intriguing to food companies that are trying to lower the emissions that are required to grow their products.
THE CARBON HOOFPRINT
Cows are an issue for the climate in a few ways. When they eat, the microbes in their stomachs also produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which cattle belch at a rate that?s almost as polluting as the natural gas industry. Their manure is another source of emissions. But the cows themselves are just one piece of their total carbon use: In the last stage of life, before cattle go to slaughterhouses, they?re often sent to feedlots and fed grains to fatten them up, and the fertilizer used to grow the grains is also a large source of emissions. And in countries like Brazil, huge swaths of rainforest continue to be cut down to make room for cattle or to grow crops to feed them. Deforestation is one of the largest causes of climate change.
Overgrazing?when too many animals are on the same pasture for too long, eating plants down to the ground and exposing bare soil?is yet another source of emissions. But the argument of regenerative agriculture is that when grazing is well managed, animals can actually help with carbon sequestration. Soils are a natural carbon sink, since plants suck in CO2 as they grow and then push extra carbon into the earth through their roots. The world?s soils currently contain an estimated 2,500 billion tons of carbon. Typical farming techniques, including ploughing land and leaving soil bare between crops, releases that carbon. Overgrazing does the same thing. Farmed soils around the world have lost 50-70% of the carbon they once contained.
But when cattle graze just enough, the regenerative argument goes, they can help plants grow faster, pushing more carbon back into the ground.?Other techniques, like planting trees and shrubs or spreading compost on pasture, can also help farms absorb more carbon.
The techniques employed by regenerative agriculture are mostly just older ones that have been supplanted by modern industrial farming, and the hard science supporting their efficacy, particularly relating to cows and other animals is in the early stages.
A? 2018 study (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X17310338), for example, found that grass-fed beef, produced from cows that grazed in a regenerative way, could be carbon-neutral or carbon negative for the last stage of the animal?s life (from the point after a calf is weaned from its mother until it?s ?harvested?), but it followed?other studies?showing that this isn?t the case. The studies didn?t examine the whole life cycle of the animal and focused on one particular region. It?s not clear what may happen differently in different areas, or how carbon sequestration happens over time. More research is needed. ?The science is completely unsettled,? lead author Paige Stanley wrote in an email. ?There?s some very interesting results set to come out in the next year or two that will add a lot more to the conversation, but we definitely need more research. There [certainly] seems to be enough evidence to suggest that [well-managed grazing]?can?sequester a lot of carbon, but we need to understand exactly how much, under what management, with what soil types, and over what time frames.?
Meat consumption is rising globally, and a UN report estimated that it will?grow 76%?by 2050, the same point in time that global emissions need to approach net zero for the world to limit the worst impacts of climate change. To meet growing demand, farmers continue to cut down forests to expand pastures; if a rancher in Brazil cuts down an acre of rainforest, it won?t matter if the cattle on it graze in a responsible way, because the loss of the trees is significantly worse. ?In most of the world, ?grass-fed? beef means they cleared the forest to produce the beef,? says Searchinger.
Despite this debate, some food companies are beginning to ask the farmers that supply their ingredients to shift practices, buoyed by the prospect that it could potentially make a meaningful difference in their carbon footprint. Mention is made here of Everlution?s share watch update (later in the newsletter) of Australian company, Wide Open Agriculture (WOA:ASX) that is grasping the opportunity of regenerative agriculture in its meat production and seeing the results in its rising share price.
Grants/Subsidies/Funding ? 2020 NSW Community Building Partnership Program
?The 2020 Community Building Partnership (CBP) program opened on 4 May and closes on 12 June. It is a program for not-for-profits community organisations and councils to assist them to deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes while promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion. More than $300 million has been awarded to over 15,000 projects through the Community Building Partnership (CBP) program since 2009.
Our Sunshine Project for Community Inc (sunshineproject.com.au) has been successful on two occasions in obtaining CBP grants to acquire and install solar systems on the roofs of NFP local charities that cater for people in need. The solar systems allow the NFP to divert much needed resources from paying energy bills to their core missions.
In 2020, there is a maximum of $300,000 to allocate in each electorate. Eligible organisations can apply for grants of between $2500 and $300,000. Funding requests over $300,000 will not
be considered. As a guide, the average grant awarded is around $20,000. Projects with contributions from their own or other sources will be considered favourably (i.e Everlution suggests applicants go for dollar-for-dollar funding). Local councils, including their section 355 committees, must provide matched funding to the CBP grants.
Eligible projects will be assessed against four equally weighted program criteria:
- Enhancing facilities ? the project develops a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive community through the enhancement or construction of community infrastructure
- Meeting community needs ? the project supports activities and services needed by local communities.
- Increasing community participation ? the project encourages participation in activities or services needed by a broad section of the community.
- The organisation?s capacity ? the applicant has the capacity to deliver the project on time and within scope.
Carbon Training International online education series
Carbon Training International runs online webinar courses which include Carbon Offsetting, Carbon Accounting, Applied Energy Efficiency, Reducing Fleet Emissions and Strategic Carbon Management. They are designed to give participants theoretical and practical understanding of essential carbon and energy management concepts.
Choose your preferred course and course start date at co2ti.com and advance your Learning and Development. Extra course dates can be arranged.
Eco-tip for the day ? Embedded emissions in food (Part 3)
In the editorial above the positive impacts of regenerative agriculture in meat production were considered. It would appear though, that a reduction in per capita meat consumption would be a necessary accompaniment to achieve the best environmental outcome.
At 305.81kg a year, Argentina tops the league tale for the highest levels of CO2 per person due to animal product consumption, while Liberia takes last place in the rankings with just 11.06kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per person per year from livestock.
Australia comes in second with 270,79kg of CO2 per person per year from livestock. The UK ranks 25th in the study, with the average CO2 emissions per person per year from animal product consumption amounting to 172.46kg. In comparison, the average carbon impact of plant consumption per person per year in the UK is just 8.6kg.
The graphic above highlights the carbon emissions from different sectors in the food chain. The graphic below highlights the carbon emissions per kilogram of food product and beef production is the outright winner (or is that loser?).
For those who find the idea of completely giving up meat a challenge, the index highlights some realistic and achievable alternatives. Healthier fish and poultry have a far lower CO2 emission rate than fattier red meats such as lamb and beef, while eggs produce significantly lower emission rates than milk products and cheese.
Share watch ? Hazer Group Ltd (HZR:ASX) ? Thank you Philip
HAZER Group was founded in 2010 to commercialise technology originally developed at the University of Western Australia. The Company listed on the ASX in December 2015. The graphic shows the Hazer process:
Unlike the steam methane reformation process, commonly used to extract hydrogen, the Hazer process cracks the methane molecule. The process produces high quality, low cost synthetic graphite which is highly crystalline and compares excellently to high-end commercial forms of graphite used in lithium-ion batteries.
Importantly, there is less environmental damage, as Hazer does not need to excavate mass areas of land like natural graphite extraction and does not require the use of harsh chemicals like petroleum coke used to create current synthetic graphite.
In 2013 the global graphite market totalled over 2.5 million tonnes per annum. Graphite has an increasing demand worldwide in many industrial applications; developments in the energy field, particularly in the lithium-ion battery market is a key driver for ongoing graphite demand.
Last September, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA approved up to $9.41 million in funding to?Hazer?for the construction and operation of its $15.8 million 100 tonne per annum facility to demonstrate their proprietary hydrogen production technology using?biogas?from the sewage treatment works at Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant as its methane source (another huge benefit to the process).
Hazer?s 1-year share price graph is shown above.
Share watch update
In our 1 May newsletter we profiled Australian company, Wide Open Agriculture (WOA:ASX). Since then the company?s shares have doubled in value to $0.32 after it signed an option to an
exclusive global licence to create a novel plant-based protein (derived from lupin) for human consumption. The licence has been signed with Curtin University which has proven experience in legume innovation and commercialisation. Lupin is a super high protein, regenerative legume. 60% of global production occurs in Western Australia.
The plant-based protein market is growing at 14% p.a. and forecast to reach USD$40.6 billion by 2025. Plant-based proteins are the key ingredient of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods and other plant-based alternative meat, dairy and egg products. The licence provides WOA with first mover advantage to launch a lupin-based protein for human consumption into a high growth sector. This completes WOA?s trilogy of regenerative products including livestock, oats and lupins.
The VIX fear gauge down slightly by 1.37 points since Friday EST to 28.16.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average down since last Friday EST by 6.96 points or 0.03% to 24,474.12, the STOXX 600 up 4.92 points or 1.45% to 345.18 and the Shanghai Composite index down 49.95 points or 1.74% to 2,817.97.
Gold steady on 1,725.00. US 10-year Treasury Bonds down to 0.661 and oil steady on 33.72. Cryptos Bitcoin down 222.07 points since Friday or 2.44% to 8,884.40.
ASX 200 up 65.20 points or 1.17% since Friday to 5,615.60. The Aussie dollar steady on 65.44 US cents.
Eco Market Spot Prices
Sources:?RenewEconomy, demandmanager,? Reuters, SMH, Market Watch, greenglobaltravel