The Africa Planet Index reveals a decline of nearly 40% in biodiversity on that continent over the past 40 years – not only have the natural systems degraded but the rapid population growth, increasing prosperity and changing consumption patterns have increased the population’s ecological footprint – pressure on biodiversity is also coming from other nations, such as China, which is depending increasingly on Africa’s resources. Source EcoNews 01/06/12.
The question of how bad global warming will get has long been cast in terms of how hot the world will get – but perhaps more important will be how much rising greenhouse gases crank up the water cycle – models predict that a strengthening greenhouse will increase precipitation where it is already relatively high and decrease it where it is already low. Source Science 27/05/12.
The prevailing view has been that the world’s supply of oil is running out and global production will peak possibly as soon as the end of this decade – now a new theory suggests that oil production will start to fall by 2020 – but not because we’re running out, we just won’t need it. Source New Scientist 19/05/12.
If electric vehicle charging is unmanaged and about 50% of drivers charge at peak periods, then the cost of meeting the additional peak demand in the National Electricity Market could be $1.8 billion by 2020. Source CE Daily 31/05/12.
NSW has become only the 2nd place in the world to trial the idea of social benefit bonds – private investors buy bonds in community programs – dividends are paid by the government when the social goals are met. Source ABC 040612.
Personal wealth across Australia increased by just 0.3% in 2011, compared with 1.9% globally as wealth rates in major developed economies declined – the growth globally came from emerging markets, where wealth jumped by 10%, with China leading the way with wealth up almost 20% in one year – Australia was again ranked 17th country in terms of number of millionaire households SmartCompany 050612.In the most recent quarter, the ACT led in the productivity gains with 6.6% – Victoria 3.7% – NT 3.1% – SA 2.7% – Tas 1% – NSW and WA 0.5% – Qld minus 1.9% DT 120612.
Manufacturers are increasingly moving from the concept of supply chains to supply circles – minimising the use of inputs whether they be materials, energy or water – repairing, recycling and reinventing products, components and materials – reducing costs and increasing productivity while reducing their environmental foot print McKinsey Quarterly 160612.
Australia’s food manufacturing exports are worth up to $17 billion a year – bigger than education or tourism – but now Australia risks becoming Asia’s farm rather than an exporter of quality foods – supermarket wars, rising input costs and a high dollar have been crunching manufacturers – Heinz and McCains have closed factories in Victoria and Tasmania and shifted production to lower-cost New Zealand – Anzac biscuit maker Unibic has collapsed SMH 160612.
Kraft Foods Australasia has seen its earnings drop by two-thirds between 2008-10 but it is maintaining a focus on the opportunity to reach the Asian middle class market which will swell to 1.6 billion consumers by 2020 – a Prime Ministerial Taskforce will be recommending that Australia create a food innovation centre built around collaboration of multinational and small-to-medium sized enterprises, the CSIRO and universities to address the opportunity SMH 160612.
Glass half full – Economics commentator, Ross Gittins, points out that there have been 17,000 jobs lost in a list of 25 recently reported layoffs – and that this is comparable with the number of people leaving jobs voluntarily every month – as well, 46,100 full-time jobs were created in May and average weekly wages rose 4% in 2011-12; official interest rates are 3.5%; inflation is 1.6%; GDP growth is 4.3%; house prices have dropped an average of 5%; and WBM 030612.