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REDD in the news: 12-18 November 2018

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

12 November 2018

Sowing New Ground for Forests at the Global Climate Action Summit
By Emelin Gasparrini, WWF, 12 November 2018
For people who work in the REDD+ and forest and climate space, the importance of forests in climate mitigation and adaptation is a familiar truism. But venture into the wider climate community and that vital contribution is less widely known. Indeed, some claim that forests garner less than 1% of the overall climate conversation.

[Australia] Historic deal: timber stakeholders bury hatchet
By Matthew Denholm, The Australian, 12 November 2018
A historic, nation-first deal has been struck uniting timber companies, unionists and green groups on how forestry should be conducted in Australia.
To be announced tomorrow, the first Australian certification standard for forestry under the global Forest Stewardship Council promises to help reduce conflict over logging.
It can allow timber companies to charge a premium for paper and wood products that meet the new standard and helps consumers identify the most sustainably produced local products.

Participation key in forestry legal reforms, Brazzaville conference hears
Client Earth, 12 November 2018
Participation and political will have been highlighted as key for reforming laws around forest governance, a forum in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, has heard.
ClientEarth legal experts were invited to chair a discussion panel on legal reforms at this year’s Forest Governance Forum, which included 300 participants from across the world.

From research to action to protect the Congo Basin forests
By Robert Nasi, CIFOR Forests News, 12 November 2018
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country central to the work of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). It hosts over 60 percent of the world’s second largest swathe of tropical forest, the Congo Basin, which is home to endangered gorillas, okapis, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants, as well as thousands of species of birds and trees. It is also home to millions of people, many of whom depend on forests for their livelihood and energy needs.

EU states call for tough action on deforestation to meet 2020 UN goal
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 12 November 2018
The UK, France and Germany have called on the European commission to launch tough new action to halt deforestation by the end of the year.
A long-delayed EU action plan should be brought forward “as soon as possible”, says a letter to the commission sent by the Amsterdam Declaration group of countries, which also includes Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.
To help meet a UN goal of halting deforestation by 2020, the EU should show “a leadership role, mobilising its political and market leverage, and promoting broader international dialogue and cooperation”, the letter says.

[France] BNP Paribas launches voluntary climate offsetting platform
BusinessGreen, 12 November 2018
French banking giant BNP Paribas has launched a new voluntary carbon offsetting platform to help connect investors with on-the-ground projects to cut carbon emissions.
Launched by the bank’s Securities Services’ arm on Friday, ClimateSeed is already host to 19 project developers selling carbon credits for the reduction of eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Guyana’s Future in Black and Green
By Emelin Gasparrini, WWF, 12 November 2018
It is, without a doubt, the most prestigiously attended graduation ceremony I have ever seen.
It’s the rainy season on the Amazonian savannah, so the proceedings are periodically interrupted by the drum of rain on the open-air building’s metal roof. The Bina Hill Institute Youth Learning Centre’s ceremony features familiar elements – speeches from the valedictorian and the school principal, caps and gowns in bright school colors, songs performed by the students – and some that are less common – like remarks from four Ministers of the Government of Guyana.

[New Zealand] Turning pollution into profit
By Iulia Leilua, Maori Television, 12 November 2018
Māori landowners are seeking new opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. At the same time, they are finding ways to turn pollution into profits by planting trees.
The move comes amid new international warnings that rising temperatures driven by greenhouse gas emissions will worsen climate disasters by 2030.
Pastoral farms account for half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, much of it methane from cows and sheep flatulence. However, farms are also one of our largest export sectors and vital to the Māori economy.

PNG: REDD+ Stakeholders Mapping in Three Provinces for a Better Engagement Plan
UNDP Papua New Guinea, 12 November 2018
To ensure better planning, engagement and participation of all relevant stakeholders, workshops on Review of REDD+ Stakeholder Engagement were conducted in three pilot provinces from 5-9 October in Papua New Guinea (PNG) under the PNG REDD+ Programme.
These review workshops were held following by the completion of REDD+ stakeholders mapping assessment in the previous month in those pilot provinces, including East New Britain (ENB), West New Britain (WNB) and Madang.

Speaking Fijian in Peru
By Karen Petersen, WWF, 12 November 2018
The urgency of acting on climate change is clear. We know what must be done to slow global temperature rise. Yet endless questions remain with regard to how we can turn this knowledge into action and lasting emissions reductions.
This is one of the primary goals of the Talanoa Dialogue, a global conversation designed to spur discussion around how to increase ambition to act on climate change.

13 November 2018

Scientists Highlight Forests’ Critical Role in Climate Mitigation
By Catherine Benson Wahlen, IISD, 13 November 2018
The Climate and Land Use Alliance released a statement from 40 scientists that argues that the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests is critical for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. In response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15), the scientists highlight five reasons why limiting global warming requires protecting and sustainably managing existing forests and restoring lost forests.

Dying for a cookie: How Mondelēz is feeding the climate and extinction crisis
Greenpeace International, 13 November 2018
In 2010, Mondelēz and other members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) recognised the global climate impact of deforestation and agreed to work towards zero deforestation by 2020.
Despite its weak standards and weaker enforcement, consumer companies have pinned their hopes on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to help them meet their zero deforestation commitments.

Oreo maker linked to destruction of orangutan habitat for palm oil in Indonesia
Greenpeace International press release, 13 November 2018
Palm oil suppliers to snack food giant Mondelez have destroyed almost 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat in Indonesia in just two years, new mapping analysis by Greenpeace International has revealed.
Mondelez is one of the world’s largest buyers of palm oil, which it uses in many of its best-known products, including Cadbury chocolate bars, Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers. A Greenpeace International investigation discovered that between 2015 and 2017, 22 of its palm oil suppliers cleared over 70,000 hectares of rainforest – an area bigger than the city of Chicago.

It’s time for a New Deal for Nature and People
By Marco Lambertini (WWF), Thomson Reuters, 13 November 2018
Still need a reason to answer nature’s SOS? Here are over seven billion of them.
Three years ago, global leaders made a promise to present and future generations. Together, the world committed to deliver ambitious targets on poverty, health, education, economic growth and many other pillars by 2030 to create a just and cohesive society for all. And today as these efforts get underway, there is something fundamental we seem to be ignoring.

[Australia] Emissions reduction fund contracts worth $24m cancelled after failure to deliver cuts
By Lisa Cox, The Guardian, 13 November 2018
The Clean Energy Regulator has cancelled six contracts from the government’s emissions reduction fund because they did not deliver the necessary cuts to carbon emissions.
Labor and the Greens say the move is a sign the policy should be abandoned.
The projects, worth a total of $24m, were cancelled at the end of October and should have delivered 2 million carbon credits.
Under the emissions reduction fund, bidders nominate how cheaply they think they can deliver emissions reductions.
The government buys carbon credits from successful projects only after they have verified the cuts to emissions have been delivered.

EU to cut Britain from emissions trading system in no-deal Brexit
By Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters, 13 November 2018
Britain will be excluded from the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and all other legislation to help limit the impact of climate change, if it leaves the bloc in March 2019 without a deal, the EU executive said on Tuesday.
In order to safeguard the cap-and-trade system, the European Commission said it may temporarily suspend permit auctions and free allocation linked to the UK market.

Instant forest? ‘Tree hopping’ takes off in Kenya
By Kagondu Njagi, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 November 2018
The sun beat down on Samuel Rono’s farm in Kerita, a village in southern Kenya, as six young men struggled to load one of several large trees into a waiting truck.
“They (the trees) are not for making timber,” Rono explained. “They are being moved to a new location to be planted there.”
By removing a few trees from his 10-acre (4-hectare) farm, Rono can make more space for his livestock to graze and for him to grow more maize.

Honduras Leads Central American Response to Climate Change
By Jeremey Radachowsky, Widlife Conservation Society, 13 November 2018
By now, we recognize that deforestation and fossil fuel emissions impact polar bears in the Arctic and raise sea levels around the world. But climate change also hits in ways and places less publicized.
Climate change has hit Central America hard. In the past several years, hotter, drier, and more variable weather has wrought havoc on the region, sparking severe drought, forest fires, hurricanes, floods, mudslides, crop failure, and disease.

Singapore Launches A Blockchain Based Renewable Energy Marketplace
By Arshmeet Hora, Kryptomoney, 13 November 2018
Singapore is now home to a blockchain-based marketplace in renewable energy certificates (RECs) which will assist local and international organizations to meet their sustainability goals. Launched by the electricity provider SP Group, the platform already has its first users on boards, namely, a Singapore-based real estate company City Developments Limited and DBS Bank.
SP Group owns and operates electricity and gas transmission and distribution businesses in Singapore and Australia. The Chief Digital Officer, Samuel Tan stated:
“Through blockchain technology, we enable companies to trade in renewable energy certificates conveniently, seamlessly and securely, helping them achieve greener business operations and meet their sustainability targets.”

14 November 2018

The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 14 November 2018
It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by climate activists Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the organisers on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for UK carbon emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims?
A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We had no answer.

Natural solutions reduce global warming: Clark University + The Nature Conservancy
Clark University press release, 14 November 2018
Christopher A. Williams, an environmental scientist and associate professor in Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography and postdoctoral research scientist Huan Gu, Ph.D., worked with The Nature Conservancy and close to two dozen institutional partners to produce the most comprehensive national assessment to date of how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands, and wetlands; their peer-reviewed study “Natural Climate Solutions for the United States,” published November 14 in Science Advances.

International Airlines Are Shaping Up As Big Force In Carbon Offsetting
By Melissa Gallant, Ecosystem Marketplace, 14 November 2018
Global climate talks are set to begin two weeks from now in Katowice, Poland, but quieter talks have been taking place out of the limelight, in Montreal, Canada, where negotiators from 192 countries are meeting under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to design a global carbon market for offsetting emissions from international flights, which aren’t included in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

‘Apocalypse Now’ for Amazonia: Devastating promises by Brazil’s president-elect
By Philip Fearnside, ALERT, 14 November 2018
Brazil’s election two weeks ago of Jair Bolsonaro — known by many as the “Tropical Trump” — is clearly a catastrophe for Amazonia.
Despite Brazil’s incredible natural values including the world’s greatest rainforest, environmental issues were of little significance to most voters during the recent campaign.
What was really on voters’ minds? An April 2018 poll found three-quarters of the population worries about Brazil being invaded by a rich country bent on stealing its natural wealth.

[Brazil] Bolsonaro’s deforestation of the Amazon has already begun
By Fabiano Maisonnave, Climate Home News, 14 November 2018
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jumped almost 50% during the three month electoral season that brought Jair Bolsonaro to power, according to preliminary official figures.
That means the forest lost 1,674 sq km from August to October, an area more than double the size of New York City.
The main culprit was the conversion of forest to pasture. The largest increase was in the border area between Acre and Amazonas states. The deforestation increase there, compared with the same period in 2017, was 273% and 114%, respectively.

EU must not blindly sign up to a weak aviation carbon market
By Gilles Dufrasne and Andrew Murphy, Climate Home News, 14 November 2018
The future of the aviation sector’s impact on the climate is a hot topic on both sides of the Atlantic this week.
In Montreal, countries are negotiating the design of a global carbon market for airlines at the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao). In the European Union, member states are battling over whether or not to relinquish their power to regulate aviation emissions to make space for the global system. Both decisions are critical to the environmental integrity of efforts to decarbonise flying.

France sets out plans to tackle deforestation
By Simon Carraud and Sybille de La Hamaide, Reuters, 14 November 2018
France set out plans on Wednesday to tackle deforestation around the world, saying it would look to curb imports of products such as palm oil, soy, and beef which it said contributed to the problem of forest areas disappearing.
Palm oil, a type of vegetable oil used in confectionery and other goods, is controversial because of the environmental impact of clearing forests to make way for plantations.
The majority of the world’s palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia, where deforestation has threatened orangutan populations.

US could meet Paris emissions pledge with ‘natural climate solutions’, study says
By Robert McSweeney, CarbonBrief, 14 November 2018
The US could meet its pledge to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement through “natural climate solutions” (NCS), a new study suggests.
NCS comprise a group of techniques – such as reforestation, seagrass restoration and fire management – that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or boost carbon uptake from land and wetlands through changes to the way they are managed.
While the US has already made progress towards its Paris pledge, NCS has the potential to provide the remaining emissions reductions needed by 2025, the researchers say.
However, this would require a carbon price of around $100 per tonne to incentivise the use of NCS, the researchers estimate.

[USA] My evacuation from the California wildfires gave my climate work new urgency
By Jennifer Andreassen Burke, EDF, 14 November 2018
At 4 am on Friday, Nov. 9, I got the emergency alert I’d been dreading: We were under a mandatory evacuation order.
I live in Thousand Oaks, a city that until last week was known for its low crime rate and expansive space – until a tragic mass shooting and destructive wildfires hit our area within the span of 24 hours.
Emergency officials were projecting that the extremely dry Santa Ana winds, which cause so much destruction during California fires, would push the catastrophic Woolsey Fire our way. These winds, coupled with a seven-year drought linked to climate change, have turned much of our state into a tinderbox.

[USA] California’s Tropical Forest Standard could be the state’s most important climate action
By Steve Schwartzman and Christina McCain (EDF), Mongabay, 14 November 2018
This week, the California Air Resources Board will meet to decide if it will adopt a set of comprehensive requirements for large-scale programs to reduce tropical deforestation emissions, known as the Tropical Forest Standard. Approving this Standard, with its robust social and environmental safeguards, is the most important thing California can do right now for the climate (including its own climate), for the Amazon and other tropical forests, and for the people who live in them.

15 November 2018

Climate change, capitalism and the military
By Nick Buxton, The Ecologist, 15 November 2018
Attributing climate change to capitalism is hardly mainstream thinking, but it is also no longer taboo.
Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein certainly helped popularise this argument, but it is being echoed now in more unusual quarters. In August 2018, a group of Finnish scientists commissioned by UN Secretary General warned that the current economic system cannot address the multiple unfolding social and ecological crises.

WWF rallies behind the call for a New Deal for Nature and People
WWF, 15 November 2018
The High Level Segment for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference (CBD CoP14) concluded today with the adoption of the Sharm-El-Sheikh declaration by the 196 Parties.
However, it is clear we are failing to address nature loss; WWF’s recent Living Planet Report showed that biodiversity continues to decline, having devastating consequences for people and planet. Furthermore, it is now evident that most of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, set in 2010 to address some of the biggest environmental challenges we face and due in 2020, will not be achieved.

Climate Solutions: Is It Feasible to Remove Enough CO2 from the Air?
by Elizabeth Kolbert, YaleEnvironment360, 15 November 2018
Is there still time to avoid runaway climate change? To a large degree, the answer depends on the feasibility of “negative emissions” — techniques or technologies that suck CO2 out of the air. In the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), all scenarios for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius depend on negative emissions technologies, or NETs. Most 2-degree scenarios also rely on negative emissions; many call for removing billions of tons of CO2 per year by mid-century.

Land laws worthless without proof of ownership – experts
By Zoe Tabary, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 15 November 2018
Land laws mean nothing unless communities can prove their ownership, researchers said on Thursday, calling for better tools to map the land and stave off conflict over property.
From South Africa to the Amazon rainforest, battles over land and who owns it are unleashing unprecedented conflict and labyrinthine legal cases as governments and companies seek to exploit ever more of the world’s natural resources, from trees to minerals to rubber.

Bhutan’s forest resources under pressure: Villagers adapt to change
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 15 November 2018
Tshewang Dorji is a forestry researcher. When he is in Bhutan, he usually works in the city – but on his days off, like many Bhutanese people, he makes time to go to the forest, to visit sacred sites, and offer prayers.
“I feel more relaxed, happy and content after every visit,” he says. “It simply boosts your peace of mind and spirituality. People from all walks of life in Bhutan go and visit these places.”

[Brazil] Saving the Amazon has come at the cost of Cerrado deforestation: study
By Claire Asher, Mongabay, 15 November 2018
Impressive past reductions in the rate of Amazon biome deforestation in Brazil have been counteracted by major increases in deforestation and native vegetation loss in the neighboring Cerrado savanna biome, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Geographical Sciences.
Two multilateral zero deforestation agreements – the voluntary 2006 Soy Moratorium and the 2009 Brazilian Federal Prosecutors’ Terms of Adjustment of Conduct (TACs) – disallow commodities traders from purchasing soy and cattle raised on newly deforested land. Both, while imperfect mechanisms, have been linked to significant reductions in Amazon deforestation in the 21st Century.

Brazil’s new foreign minister believes climate change is a Marxist plot
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 November 2018
Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has chosen a new foreign minister who believes climate change is part of a plot by “cultural Marxists” to stifle western economies and promote the growth of China.
Ernesto Araújo – until recently a mid-ranking official who blogs about the “criminalisation” of red meat, oil and heterosexual sex – will become the top diplomat of South America’s biggest nation, representing 200 million people and the greatest and most biodiverse forest on Earth, the Amazon.

[Canada] Selling the forest to save it
By Julia Galbenu, Alternatives Journal, 15 November 2018
The best way to protect a forest is to make it worth something. A key question facing forest conservationists, therefore, is how do we make a forest worth more in its pristine state than it could be as a coffee plantation?
Carbon trading schemes may provide an answer.
Thinking of forests as a source of climate change mitigation for their ability to absorb carbon dioxide has been around since the early 1990s. Yet as we grapple with how to meet the targets outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, governments and big companies around the world will need to reduce their carbon emissions. They can go about this in two ways. First, by actually reducing the amount of carbon they emit; and second, by offsetting their emissions by protecting carbon sinks elsewhere in the world.

EUAs drop 7% amid Brexit resignations, German slowdown
By Alessandro Vitelli, Montel, 15 November 2018
EUA prices tumbled on Thursday morning as traders reacted to political developments in the UK surrounding the Brexit withdrawal agreement as well as to a slowing German economy.
The benchmark Dec 18 EUA contract dropped as much as 7.6% to EUR 18.25/t from its opening level of around EUR 19.75/t. The contract last traded down 5.3% at EUR 18.68/t on Ice Futures, with nearly 17m EUAs changing hands in around four hours.
“Prices dropped right through the technical support levels,” one UK-based trader said, while another source said “panic ignores technicals.”

[Malaysia] Sabah approves amendments on Forestry Enactment 1968
By Olivia Miwil and Fardy Bungga, New Straits Times, 15 November 2018
The Sabah Legislative Assembly has passed the Bill to amend Forest Enactment 1968 which will come into effect on Jan 1 next year.
Assistant minister to Chief Minister Arifin Asgali, who tabled the Bill, said the amendment would include insertion of ‘Reduce Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation-Plus (REDD+)’ after the word “property mark” in Section 2 of the Enactment.
The tabling was also read to insert new section 28C, after section 28B, on any proposed REDD+ initiatives and projects in Sabah involving forest produce in any Forest Reserve, state land or alienated land whether for regulated or voluntary market, shall obtain the written approval of the Minister subject to the terms and conditions as he thinks fit.

Tree planting in UK ‘must double to tackle climate change’
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 15 November 2018
Tree planting must double by 2020 as part of radical changes to land use in the UK, according to the government’s advisers on climate change.
New forests would lock up carbon but also help to limit the more frequent floods expected with global warming.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said land currently used to produce food would need to be converted to woodland, growing crops to produce energy and for new homes to accommodate the growing population. Up to 17% of cropland and 30% of grassland could be converted, the report says.

[USA] Four reasons why the California Air Resources Board should endorse the California Tropical Forest Standard
By Christina McCain, EDF, 15 November 2018
Tropical forests are key to halting global climate change. Destruction of these forests releases 14 to 19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions each year, more than the emissions from all the world’s cars, trucks, and ships combined. Tropical forests also house an astounding array of plants and animals and provide livelihoods and the backbone of culture for indigenous and forest people around the world.

US flooring giant buying tropical wood from Brazilian firm at centre of illegal timber scandal
Timberleaks, 15 November 2018
A recent crackdown by Brazilian police and environmental authorities resulted in Latin American flooring giant Indusparquet being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and being partially banned from operating for allegedly using fraudulent permits. This has not stopped America’s largest flooring retailer, Floor & Decor, from continuing to buy from them.

16 November 2018

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro puts Amazon at risk
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 16 November 2018
The Amazon rainforest, the greatest remaining in the world, faces a new threat − from the policies espoused by Jair Bolsonaro, the ex-army captain who is now Brazil’s president-elect. The forest is globally vital for its ability to store atmospheric carbon released by the burning of fossil fuels.
Bolsonaro has caused alarm both in the country and abroad with his views on the environment. In anticipation of his victory, deforestation in the Amazon region increased by 50% in the three months before the poll.

Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 16 November 2018
China, Russia and Canada’s current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries.
The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating.

[USA] Bar Works suspect accused of losing UAE clients millions of dirhams to face US court
By Nick Webster, The National, 16 November 2018
Prosecutors in the United States are considering what formal charges should be bought against a British man who UAE investors claim cost them millions of dirhams.
Renwick Haddow was arrested in Morocco in 2017 and later extradited to the US to face two allegations of wire fraud.
Legal officials in New York are currently deciding what charges he will face when he stands trial.
Haddow, who is facing 40 years in prison if found guilty, set up elaborate investment schemes in Bitcoin and a US based hot-desking business called Bar Works.

[USA] California’s misguided plan to ‘save’ tropical forests
By Tom Goldtooth and Michelle Chan, Mongabay, 16 November 2018
On the morning of November 16 in Sacramento, California, amidst choking haze from the worst wildfires in the history of California, indigenous leaders from Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, and the US donned pollution masks and rallied against a state proposal to save tropical forests.
Yes, you read that right.
It was not the first time this group, accompanied by environmental justice campaigners, academics, and left-leaning green groups, raised vocal opposition to the plan — an updated version of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) now known in California policy circles as the Tropical Forest Standard.

17 November 2018

At the root of the problem: the best books about deforestation
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 17 November 2018
Iceland’s Christmas advert about palm oil’s links with deforestation was banned last week, because it was said that the short Greenpeace-made animation was “political”. But how else to convey the devastation caused by the conversion of rainforest to plantations to provide cheap vegetable oil?

18 November 2018

[USA] The stark message from California’s raging fires
Financial Times, 18 November 2018
Seventeen of California’s 20 worst recorded fires have struck since the start of this century — five of those in the past 18 months. The most recent, which destroyed the poignantly named town of Paradise in Northern California, has taken at least 76 lives so far. More than 1,000 people in the area are still missing.
The signs are that the breathtaking scale and spread of the so-called Camp Fire is a harbinger of worse to come. Similar rises in frequency and severity are true of coastal flooding in Florida, the hurricane season in America’s flood plains and storm surges across its east coast. The same can be said of droughts in Europe and Australia and killer heatwaves in the Middle East. The question is what to do about it.

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  1. To these news items should be added news of further attacks on the Maasai of Loliondo in Tanzania by Susanna Nordlund, a brave and lone voice in the wilderness coming to the aid of the Maasai:

    Posted on Nov 18, 2018

    “In wide areas around the camp of OBC, that organizes hunting for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, people are being attacked and beaten, and chased away together with their cattle. This is not only a crime against human rights and Tanzanian law, but it’s a serious violation of interim orders issued by the East African Court of Justice on 25th September this year. ”

    It is long overdue for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to intervene. His foundation should now start applying long-term bandages.