REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
6 August 2018
Methane uptake from forest soils has ‘fallen by 77% in three decades’
By Daisy Dunne, CarbonBrief, 6 August 2018
The amount of methane absorbed by forest soils has fallen by an average of 77% in the northern hemisphere over the past 27 years, a new study finds.
The research, which analysed soil data taken from more than 300 studies, suggests that the world is currently “overestimating the role that forest soils play in trapping gas”, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.
Getting landscape approaches off the ground, on the ground
By James Reed and Terry Sunderland, CIFOR Forests News, 6 August 2018
“Landscape approaches” seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, livestock, mining, and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals.
Given the vast range of landscapes on this earth, we have yet to devise a singular definition of the “landscape approach,” but this is how we described the aim and purpose in a research paper back in 2013: The term can be as elastic as the changing and developing environments in which it’s meant to be implemented – a landscape approach is, inherently, a context-based process. As such, we assert there is not a single landscape approach, as is often presumed, but a wide range of landscape approaches that can be applied in differing geographical social and institutional contexts.
Climate change: ‘Hothouse Earth’ risks even if CO2 emissions slashed
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 6 August 2018
It may sound like the title of a low budget sci-fi movie, but for planetary scientists, “Hothouse Earth” is a deadly serious concept.
Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.
Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still lurch on to this “irreversible pathway”.
Fire, more than logging, drives Amazon forest degradation, study finds
By David Klinges, Mongabay, 6 August 2018
The shrieking rip of a chainsaw and the muffled roar of fire: both of these sounds are associated with extensive destruction of Amazon rainforest. But is logging or human-caused fire a larger issue for the fate of the Amazon? And when such activities culminate in a partially degraded forest – rather than complete deforestation – is there much cause for alarm?
7 August 2018
Forests crucial for limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees
University of Exeter press release, 7 August 2018
Trying to tackle climate change by replacing forests with crops for bioenergy power stations that capture carbon dioxide (CO2) could instead increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, scientists say.
Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) power stations are designed to produce energy and store the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) in bedrock deep underground.
Rights in the DRC: Whose rights matter?
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 7 August 2018
“We need change,” says Dorothée Lisenga, indigenous delegate at a Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) workshop on protecting indigenous women’s rights to land and forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in December 2017.
As communities around the world seek to shake off the legacies of colonialism, land tenure is a critical, and controversial, issue. Informed by the Forest Principles that were put in place at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, recent reforms across the globe have sought to return access, management and in some cases ownership rights to indigenous communities living in and around forests.
[Kenya] Sengwer to petition UN over human rights violations in Embobut Forest
By Stephen Rutto, The Star, 7 August 2018
The Sengwer community has threatened to petition the UN to compel the government to stop an operation against bandits in Embobut Forest.
In a strongly worded statement, the community said the operation has resulted in the forceful eviction of the indigenous community, under the guise of a war on armed bandits.
The statement read by community youth leader Philemon Cheptorus said the people will seek intervention by the UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous people, the KNCHR, the NCHRD and Amnesty International if the operation is not stopped.
[USA] California’s Record-breaking Fire Isn’t the Week’s Worst Climate News
By David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 7 August 2018
On Monday night, the Mendocino Complex wildfire became the biggest in California history — and, having burned through 283,000 acres, was just 30 percent contained. “Complex” is because the fire started as two distinct blazes, the “Ranch” and “River” fires, later married in one hellish flame. “It is extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely dangerous,” Scott McLean of Cal Fire told the Los Angeles Times. “Look how big it got, just in a matter of days … Look how fast this Mendocino Complex went up in ranking. That doesn’t happen. That just doesn’t happen.”
8 August 2018
Comprehensive REDD+ tool ID-RECCO is updated and now hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research
CIFOR, 8 August 2018
The innovative REDD+ monitoring tool, International Database on REDD+ Projects and Programs Linking Economic, Carbon and Communities Data (ID-RECCO), is now hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Launched in 2013, ID-RECCO highlights 467 subnational REDD+ initiatives from around the world. It includes 110 variables, such as carbon certification, sources of funding, and expected socio-economic and environmental impacts, in a format that can be used for research purposes and analysis. ID-RECCO was the first tool to gather such a large amount of information on subnational REDD+ initiatives in a comprehensive way, and it continues to evolve.
Tech start-up, IBM partner to turn carbon credits into Blockchain-based tokens
CNBC Africa, 8 August 2018
Carbon credits are mostly traded through bilateral agreements resulting into conflicts between involved parties. Veridium, a tech start-up has partnered with IBM to turn carbon credits tradable instruments into digital tokens. Jim Procanik, Executive Director of Veridium Foundation joins CNBC Africa for more on this.
Dimming sunlight to slow global warming may harm crop yields: study
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 8 August 2018
Spraying a veil of sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to slow global warming could harm crop yields in an unintended side-effect of turning down the heat, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.
Some researchers say a man-made sunshade, perhaps sulfur dioxide released high in the atmosphere, could limit rising temperatures and the after-effects like the wildfires that have ravaged California and Greece this summer.
Ten ways climate change can make wildfires worse
AFP, 8 August 2018
As out-of-control wildfires ravage large swathes of Portugal, Spain and northern California, AFP talked to scientists about the ways in which global warming can amplify the problem.
Other factors have fuelled a sharp increase in the frequency and intensity of major fires, including human encroachment on wooded areas, and dodgy forest management.
“The patient was already sick,” in the words of David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania and a wildfire expert.
“But climate change is the accelerant.”
Brazil’s indigenous groups go mobile to protect the forest
By Ciara Long, DW, 8 August 2018
Brazil’s indigenous groups are struggling to protect their land from cattle ranchers and loggers. Now, some are turning to their phones as a weapon in the fight against land-grabbing and environmental destruction.
When a small cluster of houses appeared on the outskirts of the remote Serra da Moça in northernmost Brazil, Jabson Nagelo da Silva was alarmed.
“They had just put themselves there,” said Nagelo. “They were taking advantage of our lands.”
Protected areas could help boost Brazil’s national economy, study finds
WWF, 8 August 2018
Brazil’s protected areas (Pas) such as the Amazon and Caatinga are known globally for the incredible biodiversity treasures they hold. In 2016, there were approximately 17 million visitors in Brazilian protected areas and according to a new study published this week, greater investment in the environmental management of these areas could help yield even more economic gains for the country.
[USA] We won’t stop California’s wildfires if we don’t talk about climate change
Washington Post, 8 August 2018
California, the nation’s most populous state and the world’s fifth-largest economy , is on fire. In a state already known for monster conflagrations, the past month has been unusually destructive. The Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco is now officially the largest in California’s history, having burned an area about the size of Los Angeles, and it is just one of the major blazes the state has had to face since last October.
9 August 2018
Hothouse Earth Is Merely the Beginning of the End
By Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 9 August 2018
“Our future,” scientist James Lovelock has written, “is like that of the passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly above the Niagara Falls, not knowing that the engines are about to fail.”
I thought about Lovelock the other day as I drove across Idaho, watching plumes from a forest fire rise in the distance. My mom and two of my kids were texting me about their experience driving through Redding, the city in Northern California where a “firenado” had devastated the region and accelerated a wildfire that killed six people. Not far away, in Mendocino, the largest fire in California history was burning an area the size of Los Angeles.
Soil microbes speed up global warming
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 9 August 2018
As the world warms so does much of the planet’s basic matter, thanks to its subterranean citizens, the soil microbes, intent on putting more energy into the important business of decay and recycling.
As a consequence, everywhere, more carbon dioxide escapes into the atmosphere, according to a new study. And since there is at least twice as much carbon in the soil – mostly in the form of plant detritus – as there is in the atmosphere, the discovery is ominous.
Land loss threatens indigenous communities worldwide
By Amanda Coulson-Drasner, DW, 9 August 018
Global hunger for resources is driving the destruction of indigenous land. On World Indigenous Peoples’ Day, campaigners warn that, without action, we risk losing a key part of what makes our planet and humanity diverse.
Deforestation and land grabbing are major challenges confronting many of the 370 million indigenous people worldwide.
AI Has Its Sights Set on America’s Oil and Gas Fields
By Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund, 9 August 2018
Large swaths of Wyoming are being developed today by extractive industries eager to tap into the state’s rich deposits of coal and natural gas.
These energy developments have picked up pace in recent years, raising questions over how people and natural resources will be affected by rising pollution and habitat changes. And soon, new technology coupled with artificial intelligence could provide some more answers.
UNDP Joins Consortium to Develop Safe AI for SDGs
By Ana Maria Lebada, IISD, 9 August 2018
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has joined a consortium of companies, academics, and NGOs working to ensure that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developed in a safe, ethical and transparent manner. Through the partnership, UNDP’s Innovation Facility will support the testing and scale-up of AI for the SDGs.
The Partnership on AI was founded in 2016 by Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft. It has since been joined by Accenture, Intel, The Oxford Internet Institute, eBay, as well as UNICEF and Human Rights Watch. Through the Partnership, UNDP intends to harness data to inform risk, policy and program evaluation, as well as utilize robotics and the Internet of Things to collect information with a view to ‘leaving no one behind.’
Caucasus and Central Asia Ministers Commit to Forest Restoration
By Catherine Benson Wahlén, IISD, 9 August 2018
The First Ministerial Roundtable on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge in the Caucasus and Central Asia adopted the Astana Resolution, which commits the region to restore more than 2.5 million hectares of forest landscape. The commitment is in line with the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030.
EU Carbon Accounting System to Measure Forest Impacts on GHG Emissions
By Catherine Benson Wahlén, IISD, 9 August 2018
The European Union (EU) has adopted a carbon-based accounting system for measuring how forest management practices can help mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The EU will use the approach as the scientific basis for integrating the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector in its climate strategy.
[Kenya] Respect rights of Indigenous forest people – Amnesty tells government
By Gilbert Koech, The Star, 9 August 2018
The government must respect the rights of Indigenous forest people who are being forcibly evicted from their homes, Amnesty International has said.
The human rights organisation said this during the International Indigenous Peoples’ Day that was commemorated today.
Observed on the August,9, every year, the day promotes the rights of the indigenous people across the world.
It was first declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1994.
Kenya: Indigenous peoples targeted as forced evictions continue despite government promises
Amnesty International, 9 August 2018
The Government of Kenya must not break its promise to respect the rights of Indigenous forest peoples who are still being forcibly evicted from their homes, having their property destroyed and seeing their traditional way of life trampled upon, Amnesty International said on International Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In April of this year President Kenyatta, responding to a question on evictions of Indigenous peoples from forests said, “Ours is not to interfere with traditional communities who have lived there. We have done a lot to allow people in those areas, who use those areas for traditional rights, to continue enjoying their practises.”
Bewani Oil Palm Mill in PNG May Supply the Palm Oil Leakage Market
Chain Reaction Research, 9 August 2018
In June 2018, the Bewani Oil Palm Plantation (BOPPL) in West Sepik, Papua New Guinea confirmed that its mill, Vanimo Green Palm Oil Limited, was due to be commissioned. When the BOPPL mill is commissioned, deforestation-linked crude palm oil could enter international supply chains. Currently, BOPPL is not compliant with the No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policies that cover 74 percent of Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s refining capacity. The BOPPL refinery could supply the ‘palm oil leakage’ market.
[UK] Aldi aims for ‘carbon neutral’ status by 2019
By Madeleine Cuff, BusinessGreen, 9 August 2018
Aldi is set to secure ‘carbon neutral’ status in the UK and Ireland next year following investments in green technologies and energy efficiency.
The supermarket revealed yesterday it is on track to hit net zero emissions by 2019, following the installation of 388 solar panel systems since 2012 and a £20m inventment to upgrade its fridges, freezers and other appliances with greener equipment.
10 August 2018
Climate Weekly: Who will rescue the Green Climate Fund?
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 10 August 2018
Its supporters say the Green Climate Fund is too important to fail; the glue that holds the Paris Agreement together.
Privately, though, many are questioning whether it is fit for purpose. A turbulent board meeting last month brought its dysfunctions into focus.
Frank Rijsberman, head of the Global Green Growth Institute, shared with us a candid assessment of the institution’s problems. They run deep.
Climate strategy needs tailoring to poorest
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 10 August 2018
An effective climate strategy to protect everyone on Earth, and the natural world as well, is what the planet needs. But Austrian-based scientists have now confirmed something all climate scientists have suspected for more than a decade: there can be no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the twin challenges of climate change and human poverty.
That catastrophic climate change driven by “business as usual” fossil fuel energy reliance will by 2100 impose devastating costs worldwide, and drive millions from their homes and even homelands, has been repeatedly established.
Brazil cuts deforestation emissions below 2020 targets
Reuters, 10 August 2018
Brazil cut its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in 2017 to levels below its internationally agreed 2020 climate change targets, the country’s Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
Brazil reduced its emission from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 610 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), compared to its 2020 target of 564 million tonnes. In the Cerrado savanna, emissions were reduced 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide versus a target of 104 million tonnes.
China to target emission monitoring in steel, coal-fired power in 2018-2020
Reuters, 10 August 2018
China will work to improve the monitoring of emissions from heavy industries like steel, coal-fired power generation, coke and chemicals in key regions over the coming three years, stepping up an already-intensive campaign to tackle smog.
“There remain some outstanding problems in environmental monitoring, such as repeated data forgery and illicit administrative intervention,” the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) said in a statement on Friday.
ALERT blasts Indonesian firm pushing ape-killer project
By Bill Laurance, ALERT, 10 August 2018
In a worldwide press release, researchers from ALERT and Indonesia today strongly criticized an Indonesian corporation — for using “deplorable” tactics to promote a project that would imperil the world’s rarest species of great ape.
The corporation, North Sumatera Hydro Energy (NSHE), is “pressuring and cajoling scientists, throwing money around to buy influence, making false statements, and now has hired a public relations firm specializing in corporate crisis management,” said ALERT director Bill Laurance.
11 August 2018
Ancient Amazon farming methods offer lessons for rainforest conservation, scientists say
By Augusta Dwyer, CIFOR Landscape News, 11 August 2018
Ancient peoples sustainably farmed the Amazon more than four millennia ago, according to a new study by researchers from Britain’s University of Exeter (UOE). Their paper, recently published in Nature Plants, provides a glimpse into past practices that could offer solutions to deforestation for today.
A multidisciplinary, international team carried out their study in the Brazilian Amazon, near the confluence of the Amazonas and Tapajos rivers. The region supported sizable populations throughout the pre-Colombian era and is now the location of many archeological sites. The main research focus was a shallow lake, archeological soil profiles, and botanical surveys in the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, a swathe of rainforest of just over 500,000 hectares, protected since 1974.
Sengwer oppose move to relocate livestock from Embotut Forest
By Stephen Rutto, The Star, 11 August 2018
The indigenous Sengwer community has opposed a state order to move livestock out of Embobut Forest as police intensify efforts to smoke out bandits.
State officials have given herders 48 hours to vacate so that at least 500 police officers to do their work smoothly.
Kapyego Deputy County Commissioner Andrew Mugambi said any livestock found in the forest after the deadline elapses will be presumed to have been stolen and hidden by bandits.