REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
10 June 2019
Carbon offsets are not our get-out-of-jail free card
UN environment, 10 June 2019
The era of carbon offsets is drawing to a close. Buying carbon credits in exchange for a clean conscience while you carry on flying, buying diesel cars and powering your home with fossil fuels is no longer acceptable or widely accepted.
Carbon credits are increasingly coming under fire for essentially allowing some to continue on their polluting ways while the rest of us are left scrambling to contain the climate crisis. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the first to call everyone to action. “We are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption,” he says.
Nearly Half of Companies With Deforestation Risk Aren’t Addressing It
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 June 2019
Deforestation and illegal agriculture still account for roughly 20 percent of all greenhouse gasses, leaving major producers of soy, beef, and other commodities exposed to regulatory and reputational risk as the Paris Agreement comes into force.
Many companies have spent the last decade restructuring their supply chains – some to do the right thing, and others to reduce their exposure to climate transition risk.
Seeing the forest and the trees in whole new ways
By Arleen Jacobius, Pensions&Investments, 10 June 2019
Timber is not only about the trees.
Returns have taken a nosedive — to the NCREIF Timberland index returning 2.38% for the 12 months ended March 31 from 9.69% in 2013 — due to an overabundance of lumber, dubbed “the wall of wood.” So, timber managers are beginning to look beyond the trees to make money on their forestland portfolios as well as to transition the asset class as an antidote to climate change.
Brazil guts environmental agencies, clears way for unchecked deforestation
By Sue Branford and Thais Borges, Mongabay, 10 June 2019
The Brazilian government’s environmental agency, IBAMA, has so far this year imposed the lowest number of fines for illegal deforestation in at least 11 years, while the country’s other leading environmental agency and its federal parks’ protector, ICMBio (the Chico Mendes Institute), did not carry out any operations at all to monitor deforestation in May.
These developments, reported by the organizations themselves, reflect the extent to which the country’s environmental policies and law enforcement agencies are being dismantled by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.
MAAP #101: Deforestation continues in Colombian Amazon (2019)
Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, 10 June 2019
A major deforestation surge continues in the northwest Colombian Amazon (MAAP #97).
In 2018, it resulted in the loss of 199,000 hectares (491,700 acres), making it the most concentrated deforestation hotspot in the entire western Amazon (MAAP #100).
Here, we provide a real-time update for 2019 based on early warning GLAD alerts.** The alerts indicate the loss of 56,300 hectares (139,100 acres) in the first five months of 2019 (January to May) in the Colombian Amazon.
Delhi At 48 Degrees, Highest Ever In June As Heat Wave Sweeps North India
By Himanshu Shekhar Mishra, NDTV, 10 June 2019
Mercury touched 48 degrees Celsius in Delhi’s Palam area today – creating a record high for the national capital in June — as north India struggles under an unrelenting heat wave. The temperature, however, was lower at Safdarjung, roughly 14 km away. The temperature recorded there was 45.6 degrees Celsius.
“It was 48 degrees at Palam today, an all-time high. The earlier high was 47.8 degrees Celsius recorded on June 9, 2014,” Mahesh Palawat of Skymet told NDTV.
[New Zealand] Keith Woodford says crippling carbon liabilities attaching to land that is carbon farmed will be all that is left after foreign investors harvest the first cycle gains
By Keith Woodford, Interest, 10 June 2019
New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill is based on the assumption that carbon farming through forestry provides a climate-change solution, at least until the arrival of new technologies that allow New Zealand to move away from fossil fuels.
In contrast, Environment Commissioner Simon Upton has suggested that using forestry for carbon-dioxide offsets is not the away to go. He contends these should only be used to offset the shorter-lived agricultural gases.
[Pakistan] Garhi Chandan plantation a success story
The Nation, 10 June 2019
Garhi Chandan, a deserted and barren area on the outskirts of Peshawar towards south, now presents a good example of a success story of converting an arid land into a man-made forest through plantation of 3.2 million plants which mostly converted into trees, changing the landscape of the area making it serene and eye catching for visitors.
[UK] Mapped: A Who’s Who of Brexit and Climate Science Denial
By Chloe Farand, Mat Hope, and Richard Collett-White, DesmogUK, 10 June 2019
A network of lobbyists, politicians and campaign groups is pushing the UK towards a hard-Brexit, with the aim of axing environmental protection in the name of free-market ideology.
Powerful vested interests are at play, with a network of decision-makers and companies that profit from climate inaction overlapping with a cabal of climate science deniers eager to limit global action to cut emissions.
Over the past four years, DeSmog has been tracking this network. We’ve now mapped over 2,000 connections between its actors operating at the highest levels of political and corporate life in the UK, US and Europe.
Is carbon capture the answer to the UK’s climate problems?
By Leigh Taylor, Environmental Journal, 10 June 2019
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently called on the UK to target net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — and they said carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) could be crucial in meeting that goal.
US Gov to determine property forfeiture in case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 10 June 2019
Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the New York Southern District Court has issued an order concerning the criminal proceedings against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow, widely known for his Bitcoin fraudulent schemes.
Shortly after the Court accepted the guilty plea of Haddow, the Judge has entered an order regarding forfeiture in this case.
11 June 2019
UN Environment official attacks agency’s own carbon offsetting policy
By Natalie Sauer, Climate Home News, 11 June 2019
UN Environment published an unusually stark critique of carbon offsetting on Monday. On Tuesday, the article was taken down, following queries by Climate Home News.
In the original article, archived by the Wayback Machine, a climate specialist at the UN organisation warned against considering carbon offsets as “our get-out-jail-free card”.
Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands – report
By Karen McVeigh, The Guardian, 11 June 2019
An area twice the size of the UK has been destroyed for products such as palm oil and soy over the last decade, according to analysis by Greenpeace International.
In 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, including some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, pledged to eliminate deforestation by 2020, through the sustainable sourcing of four commodities most linked to forest destruction: soya, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle.
But analysis by Greenpeace International suggests that by the start of 2020, an estimated 50m hectares (123m acres) of forest are likely to have been destroyed in the growing demand for and consumption of agricultural products, in the 10 years since those promises were made.
Atmospheric carbon levels are leaping. We can’t afford more years like this
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardain, 11 June 2019
One of the many ironies of the climate crisis is that as temperatures change and extreme weather becomes more common, we need more energy to maintain comfort. Hotter summers have driven an increase in power-hungry air conditioning and cooler temperatures in some places – which may be driven by the melting Arctic – raise demand for heating.
BP’s report that carbon emissions from energy use have risen at the fastest rate in nearly a decade reflects those forces, as well as continuing demand from a rising global population and expanding industries.
The Real Cost of Your Cheap Flights to Berlin
By Tristan Kennedy, Vice, 11 June 2019
In the middle of the Polish plains, about 200km southwest of Warsaw, sits the sprawling hulk of the Belchatow Power Station. Everything about the Belchatow is dirty, from the slag heaps of the strip mine that supplies it, to the low-grade brown coal that burns in its furnaces, to the noxious fumes pumping out of its 300m high smoke stacks.
This monstrosity is Europe’s largest fossil-fuel-powered plant, so it’ll come as no surprise to learn that it topped the annual list of the continent’s worst carbon emitters published by the EU Emissions Trading System last month. It’s a dubious honour that the Belchatow has held almost continuously for the last decade, ahead of a slew of other coal-fired power plants you’ve probably never heard of.
This year, however, for the first time, a more familiar name crept into this toxic top ten: Ryanair.
“When it comes to the climate,” said Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager at the NGO Transport & Environment, in comments that were widely reported at the time, “Ryanair is the new coal.”
Who is Investing in the Technology Transition to a Low Carbon Economy, and Where?
By Beate Antonich, IISD, 11 June 2019
A clear upward trend in the global market of green and sustainable bonds is underway. These bonds help mobilize private capital for climate and sustainability friendly projects and activities. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) notes annual issuances have increased from USD 13 billion in 2013 to more than USD 150 billion in 2018. The Climate Bonds Initiative saw green bond issuance reaching USD 47.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019 alone, surpassing Q1 2018 volume of USD 33.8 billion by 42%. This update informs on developments seen over the last month in green, climate sustainability and social bonds, as well as corporate reporting on climate risks and opportunities and climate technology deployment initiatives.
We have the tech to suck CO2 from the air–but can it suck enough to make a difference?
By Adele Peters, Fast Company, 11 June 2019
In a field on the outskirts of Huntsville, Alabama, giant fans perched on top of a shipping container pull the outside air into chambers that soak up carbon dioxide. Over a year, the equipment can capture 4,000 tons of CO2, roughly as much as the pollution emitted by 870 cars. Run by a startup called Global Thermostat, the facility is currently the largest commercial “direct air capture” plant in the world–early proof of a technology that could help avoid the worst impacts of climate change if the captured gas is used to make carbon-neutral products or permanently stored underground. To succeed, a tiny new industry will have to radically grow.
Amazon tribe battle rainforest decimation – with old and new tools
Channel 4 News, 11 June 2019
Last month deforestation in the Amazon basin hit record levels.
It results from the pro-farming policy being pursued by Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro. The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, however today it is shrinking faster than any other. In the first of two reports from the rainforest, we have been to the Karu Indigenous Reserve in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, where one tribe is resisting the destruction of what could be one of the last natural defences against climate change.
European governments and companies failing to address impacts of consumption on tropical forests
Trase, 11 June 2019
European governments are failing to deliver on a joint commitment to help end deforestation in European supply chains, according to new analysis released jointly by Trase and Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project today.
Seven European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK) are signatories to the Amsterdam Declaration on Deforestation which sets out a commitment to support the private sector to deliver on its goal to remove deforestation from supply chains by 2020. As this deadline approaches, representatives are meeting in Utrecht to discuss progress.
[Pakistan] UK’s Sikh businesses to invest 500 mn pounds in religious projects in Pak
By Yudhvir Rana, The Times of India, 11 June 2019
UK-based Sikh businesses will invest 500 million pounds in religious tourism projects in Pakistan.
Gurjeet Singh of Sikh Federation informed TOI on Tuesday that in a meeting with Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhhari, chairman of the Pakistan Tourism Board and special assistant to Pak PM Imran Khan, the Peter Virdee Foundation has made a huge financial commitment by announcing the setting up of a trust under the name of Guru Nanak Dev.
[Pakistan] Pak forests cover increases to 5.01pc
By Imaduddin, Business Recorder, 11 June 2019
The Pakistan Forestry Outlook Study reveals that the total area of forests in the country is 4.34 million hectors (ha) which has increased the total green cover of the country to 5.01 percent.
However, out of which 3.44 million ha forests exist on state-owned lands and remaining on communal and private lands.
According to Pakistan Economic Survey (2018-19) launched here by Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, the annual consumption of wood (timber and fuel wood) was estimated at 44 million cubic meters whereas annual growth of natural forests was 14.4 mm³, resulting in over-exploitation of forest resources.
[UK] Theresa May commits to net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050
By Peter Walker, Rowena Mason, and Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 11 June 2019
Theresa May has sought to cement some legacy in the weeks before she steps down as prime minister by enshrining in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so.
The commitment, to be made in an amendment to the Climate Change Act laid in parliament on Wednesday, would make the UK the first member of the G7 group of industrialised nations to legislate for net zero emissions, Downing Street said.
[USA] Arizona suffering from several large wildfires
By Lynn Jenner, Phys.org, 11 June 2019
There are several wildfires burning in Arizona as the wildfire season in the West begins in earnest. This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on June 08, 2019 and highlights two of the ongoing fires. The fire in the upper right portion of the image is the Coldwater Fire which began on May 30, 2019 with a lightning strike. The fire is now 6,150 acres in size and is 10 percent contained. The fire has been mainly creeping through the understory.
[USA] He Tried to Plug a Wasp Nest. He Ended Up Sparking California’s Biggest Wildfire.
By Thomas Fuller, The New York Times, 11 June 2019
It was a fire that crossed mountain ranges and valleys, that spanned multiple counties and shocked Californians by its sheer scale — by far the biggest wildfire in modern state history. And yet a newly disclosed investigation suggests it was probably started by a single man and a single spark.
In a report released in recent days, forensic investigators found that a rancher started the fire when hammering a metal stake in his backyard to snuff out a wasp nest. Sparks flew, igniting dry grass stalks and spreading fire quickly across the desiccated landscape.
US Govt says no sentencing date yet for Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 11 June 2019
Several days after the New York Southern District Court ordered the United States Government to provide an update on the criminal proceedings targeting Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow, the US authorities complied with the order and submitted a Letter at the Court.
The update does not say much, unfortunately, although the period of silence by the prosecutors has been quite long.
12 June 2019
Is REDD ready for its closeup? Reports vary
Mongabay, 12 June 2019
Earlier this year, it was announced that Indonesia would receive the first installment of a total $1 billion in funds pledged by Norway to preserve the Southeast Asian nation’s tropical forests. Brazil was also set to be paid $96 million, in this case by the UN’s Green Climate Fund, for the emissions avoided by the South American country’s efforts to reduce Amazonian deforestation rates between 2014 and 2015.
Both of these were results-based payouts made under the auspices of the UN’s program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+. As the world’s governments look to curb global warming, protecting what’s left of Earth’s tropical forests is crucial. That means REDD+ could have a huge role to play — but debate is currently raging as to whether or not REDD-based projects can actually deliver the level of emissions reductions necessary to avert runaway global climate change.
Indigo launches The Terraton Initiative™ to remove one trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Indigo press release, 12 June 2019
Indigo Agriculture, a company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet, announces the launch of The Terraton Initiative™ to accelerate carbon sequestration at an unprecedented scale. For the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide has exceeded 415ppm, representing an increase of one trillion tons – or, a teraton – of atmospheric carbon dioxide since pre-industrial levels of 280ppm. Utilizing the potential of agricultural soils, The Terraton Initiative seeks to remove one trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With Indigo’s integrated approach to agriculture, and partnerships with representatives from across the value chain, The Terraton Initiative will unlock the most scalable, immediate, and affordable opportunity to address climate change that exists today.
Most ‘meat’ in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 12 June 2019
Most of the meat people eat in 2040 will not come from slaughtered animals, according to a report that predicts 60% will be either grown in vats or replaced by plant-based products that look and taste like meat.
The report by the global consultancy AT Kearney, based on expert interviews, highlights the heavy environmental impacts of conventional meat production and the concerns people have about the welfare of animals under industrial farming.
[Democratic Republic of Congo] Did efforts to protect DRC’s elephants and bonobos leave a trail of abuses?
By Ashoka Mukpo, Mongabay, 12 June 2019
For almost four years, the teams of researchers traveled by boat up winding rivers, setting up base camps inside dense rainforests for weeks or months at a time as they searched for signs of elusive forest elephants and bonobos. Trekking deep into Salonga National Park, a sprawling tract of protected jungle in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the researchers set up cameras and held their breath, hoping to find evidence that populations of the two species hadn’t fallen in recent years.
Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee
By Sam Relph, The Guardian, 12 June 2019
Hundreds of Indian villages have been evacuated as a historic drought forces families to abandon their homes in search of water.
The country has seen extremely high temperatures in recent weeks. On Monday the capital, Delhi, saw its highest ever June temperature of 48C. In Rajasthan, the city of Churu recently experienced highs of 50.8C, making it the hottest place on the planet.
Further south, less than 250 miles from the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, village after village lies deserted. Estimates suggest up to 90% of the area’s population has fled, leaving the sick and elderly to fend for themselves in the face of a water crisis that shows no sign of abating.
[India] Smoke arising out of forest fires engulfs Dharamshala
Business Standard, 12 June 2019
Dharamshala has been covered in thick smoke due to incidents of forest fire in and around the district.
In the last two days, excessive smoke has made it difficult for firefighters to reach the place where the fire broke out, as there are no roads to most of the places.
The district administration has issued directions to the concerned forest officials to take all necessary actions to deal with such contingencies.
Indonesia plans permanent moratorium on new forest clearance: minister
By Bernadette Christina and Fransiska Nangoy, Reuters, 12 June 2019
Indonesia’s moratorium on new forest clearing for palm plantations or logging operations, which has been regularly extended since 2011, will become permanent, the environment minister said on Wednesday.
Indonesia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with more than 74 million hectares of rainforest – an area nearly twice the size of Japan – logged, burned or degraded in the last half century, according to Greenpeace.
Norway fund may have to offload $1 billion stake in Glencore in shift away from coal
By Gwladys Fouche, Reuters, 12 June 2019
Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund may have to sell a $1 billion stake in commodities firm Glencore and other investments to meet tighter ethical investing rules adopted by its parliament.
Norway’s parliament agreed on Wednesday to the center-right government’s plan that the world’s largest fund would no longer invest in companies that mine more than 20 million tonnes of coal annually or generate more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of power from coal.
[USA] Trump claims California officials admitted he was “right” about wildfires. That didn’t happen.
By Aaron Rupar, Vox, 12 June 2019
President Donald Trump brought up on Tuesday the deadly wildfires that ravaged California last year and said, “we are finally starting to see some progress on better forest management,” during a speech in Iowa that was purportedly about renewable energy.
“Remember I went to California [last November], I saw something that nobody has ever seen — it was like a blowtorch,” Trump continued. “It was 80 mile an hour winds, and the death and destruction was incredible, and I said, ‘you need forest management.’ They were saying it was global warming. It could have had something to do with it, but you need forest management.”
13 June 2019
EU takes aim at global airline emissions pact
By Kalina Oroschakoff, Politico, 13 June 2019
Could a global effort to rein in the airline industry’s greenhouse gas emissions undermine the EU’s fight against climate change?
That’s what regulators in Brussels worry could happen as the United Nations takes on one of the fastest growing causes of global warming.
At issue is the so-called Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia), which would require airlines to buy into forest-planting schemes or other efforts to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if they pollute more than they are currently doing.
Despite a decade of zero-deforestation vows, forest loss continues: Greenpeace
By Shreya Dasgupta, Mongabay, 13 June 2019
In 2010, the Board of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), an organization comprised of around 400 of the world’s retail and manufacturing companies, passed a resolution to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. Acknowledging that deforestation is a major driver of climate change, the forum said it would work toward eliminating deforestation when sourcing commodities whose production typically involves some amount of forest clearing, such as soy (also called “soya”), palm oil, beef, and paper products.
Yet nearly a decade later, these commodities still continue to drive widespread deforestation, a new report from Greenpeace says.
Hopes for Cutting Carbon Do Not Yet Match Reality
By Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, 13 June 2019
Global climate awareness may never have been higher, but two recent studies show just how much work the world has to do to turn its carbon-cutting dreams into reality.
The first study, released last week by the World Bank, found 5% of carbon prices employed around the world today are stringent enough to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Why Does the Paris Climate Agreement Need a Rulebook? 7 Questions and Answers
By Nathan Cogswell and Yamide Dagnet, World Resources Institute, 13 June 2019
The adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 was a historic moment for the global response to climate change. The Paris Agreement solidified long-term, international goals to tackle the climate crisis: to hold global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and aim to limit it to 1.5 degrees C, to increase adaptation and resilience to climate change, and to align financial flows with low-carbon and sustainable development. But details for how to implement the global pact were left unresolved.
Most protected areas lack proper policing
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 13 June 2019
Three-quarters of all the world’s protected areas – bits of ocean and wilderness nominally made safe for animals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, plants and fungi produced by 500 million years of evolution – may not be sufficiently staffed or funded.
And of 12,000 species of amphibians, birds and mammals whose ranges include protected areas, fewer than one in 10 are safely within properly policed and cared-for parks and reserves.
Correction: Bitcoin-Carbon Footprint Story
Associated Press, 13 June 2019
In a story June 13 about the carbon footprint of bitcoin, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the electricity required for a bitcoin transaction results in hundreds of times as much CO2 emitted as a credit card payment. It is hundreds of thousands of times as much.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Researchers: bitcoin’s carbon footprint equal to Las Vegas
Researchers calculate that the electricity required for the virtual currency bitcoin generates as much carbon dioxide as cities like Las Vegas or Hamburg.
Can Natural Climate Solutions Defuse the Arctic Methane Bomb?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 13 June 2019
Four years ago, economists pegged the social cost of carbon – or the amount of damage each ton of carbon dioxide will do to future generations – at about $40 per ton. It came, however, with the caveat that the cost would skyrocket if we didn’t act fast, or if the arctic tundra melted to a point that it began releasing gigatons of carbon dioxide and methane trapped in frozen bogs below the surface.
Why should that scare the hell out of us?
Because those frozen bogs are full of dead and decaying forests from eons ago, and decaying plants emit both carbon dioxide and methane, which traps about 80 times as much heat in the short term as carbon dioxide does.
Cargill to spend $30M for ideas to end Brazil deforestation
Associated Press, 13 June 2019
Cargill Inc. said Thursday the Minnesota-based agribusiness giant will spend $30 million to fund new ideas for ending deforestation in Brazil, and called on its peers, governments and organizations to work together to come up with real solutions.
Minnetonka-based Cargill is a major player in Brazilian soy production, which has impacted ecosystems in Brazil. Cargill said the industry is poised to fall short of its goal to eliminate deforestation in key supply chains, including soy, by 2020.
State projects leave tens of thousands of lives in the balance in Ethiopia – study
By Tom Gardner, The Guardian, 13 June 2019
A giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations are “wreaking havoc” in southern Ethiopia and threaten to wipe out tens of thousands of indigenous peoples , a US-based thinktank has claimed.
The Oakland Institute says that while the Ethiopian government has made considerable progress on human rights under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, it has yet to address the impact of state development plans on indigenous populations in the lower Omo valley, where people face loss of livelihoods, starvation, and violent conflict.
Ireland has spent €86.8m on carbon credits to meet emissions targets
By Conor McMorrow, RTE, 13 June 2019
Ireland’s approach to reducing carbon emissions is a “charade” that is costing millions annually as it is buying carbon credits from other countries to “pretend we are coming in under target”, according to the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.
Seán Fleming said it was “horrific” that €86.8m of Irish taxpayers’ money had been spent purchasing carbon credits from other countries and labelled it “gross hypocrisy”.
Israel’s month of 1000 wildfires
By Dr. Jonathan Aikhenbaum, Greenpeace, 13 June 2019
May was a black month for Israel – the colour of a charred landscape. More than 1000 wildfires started across the country, spreading out of control in unseasonable heat that many attributed to climate change.
Israel suffered a three-day extreme heat wave that broke record temperatures for the month of May and reached 45 degrees Celsius. Many people were evacuated and lost their homes – a sobering reminder that climate change is not just about statistics, but people’s lives.
Spain braces for more forest fires
By James Warren, EuroWeekly, 13 June 2019
The volume of forest fires recently has fuelled concern about the risk in the coming summer months.
2019 is already the fourth worst year in a decade and as a dry and hot summer is again forecast, the number of forest fires is expected to increase.
As of May 31, a total of 35,000 hectares had been torched, 5,800 of which are wooded areas.
The areas said to be most at risk are the regions of Jaén, Huelva, Malaga, Extremadura, Murcia, southern León and Almeria.
Tree-planting in England falls 71% short of government target
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 13 June 2019
Tree-planting in England fell well short of targets in the past year new figures show, despite government promises to restore and plant new woodland across the country to combat the climate change crisis.
Only 1,420 hectares (3,507 acres) of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, against the government’s target of 5,000 hectares in the period, with smaller areas in Wales and Northern Ireland, at 500 hectares and 240 hectares respectively. The total tree cover of the UK is unchanged at 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland.
However Scotland did far better, with 11,200 hectares planted, taking the UK’s total to 13,400 hectares, the highest level overall in the last decade.
[UK] Zero carbon 2050 pledge is too slow to address catastrophic climate change, campaigners warn
By Phoebe Weston, Independent, 13 June 2019
The government’s pledge to reach “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 is not drastic enough, according to environmental campaigners.
The UK is set to become the first major economy to commit to completely avoiding emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry or offsetting them by planting trees and sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere.
14 June 2019
Carbon credits and climate justice
By Steve Trent, The Ecologist, 14 June 2019
Theresa May has made a move to grasp a meaningful legacy from the jaws of Brexit by seeking a legally binding commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so.
She has chosen the right cause. The climate crisis is upon us, and every day brings new stories from every corner of the world.
Entire villages in India are being abandoned, leaving only the sick and the elderly, as the country bakes in 50°C heat. Southern Africa is still reeling from cyclones Idai and Kenneth, that shook the lives of 2 million people. Farmers in the US look out at vast acreages of flooded fields, unable to plant for the season to come.
United Nations Agency Criticizes Carbon Offsets
By Lisa Song, ProPublica, 14 June 2019
The United Nations drew attention this week for an article published by its environment program that criticized carbon offsets, a strategy the UN has supported for two decades. The headline: “Carbon offsets are not our get-out-of-jail free card.”
It came three weeks after ProPublica published a widely discussed investigation into how offsets related to forest preservation have not provided the promised carbon savings and instead have given polluters a guilt-free pass to keep emitting CO₂.
Scientists investigate climate and vegetation drivers of terrestrial carbon fluxes
Chinese Academy of Sciences, 14 June 2019
A better understanding of terrestrial flux dynamics will come from elucidating the integrated effects of climate and vegetation constraints on gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), and net ecosystem productivity (NEP), according to Dr. Shutao Chen, Associate professor at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology.
Which countries have a net zero carbon goal?
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 14 June 2019
To end dangerous overheating of the planet, humans need to stop putting more greenhouse gases into the air than we take out.
The 2015 Paris Agreement set a global goal (couched in legalese) to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century.
An increasing number of governments are translating that into national strategy, setting out visions of a carbon-free future. Is it enough? Of course not. But it is becoming the benchmark for leadership on the world stage.
State of The Nature Conservancy
By Mark Tercek, The Nature Conservancy, 14 June 2019
Every year, I look forward to this speech and to the opportunity to celebrate The Nature Conservancy’s achievements.
This year is a little different in two respects. First, this is my last State of the Conservancy speech. And second — to state the obvious — we are now addressing some specific challenges in improving our organization’s culture.
What is carbon offsetting?
By Sean Fleming, World Economic Forum, 14 June 2019
A growing number of organizations, cities, and even entire countries are talking about becoming carbon neutral. And many such plans are likely to have one thing in common – the presence of a carbon offsetting.
In the bid to be carbon neutral, offsetting can play a valuable role. But what is it and how does it work?
Arctic melt goes into overdrive
By Andrew Freedman, Axios, 14 June 2019
Earlier this year, we saw the unprecedented disappearance of sea ice from the Bering Sea during a time of year when it should be gaining ice. This trend toward plummeting sea ice in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic continues, this time centered in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Spike in offsetting flight emissions with German non-profit atmosfair
By Julian Wettengel, Clean Energy Wire, 14 June 2019
Berlin-based carbon-offsetting non-profit organisation atmosfair has increased its revenues by more than 40 percent in 2018, as more and more flight passengers use its services to balance greenhouse gas emissions, reports Annette Kögel in an article in the Tagesspiegel. “With record heat in summer 2018, there was a clear rise, as climate change had become palpable, rather than just an abstract construct,” said Julia Zhu, spokesperson for atmosfair. However, the total share of passengers offsetting the emissions is clearly below one percent, writes Tagesspiegel. The German non-profit atmosfair contributes to CO₂ mitigation by promoting, developing and financing renewable energies in over 15 countries worldwide with voluntary payments by airline passengers.
[Ireland] Buying carbon credits shows Government’s policies are a ‘charade’
By Harry McGee, The Irish Times, 14 June 2019
The State’s purchase of carbon credits to make up for failures to meet emissions targets has exposed Government policies as a “charade”, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said.
Seán Fleming said the Department of Communications, Climate Change and the Environment had disclosed to him the State has already spent €86 million on purchasing credits, a situation he described as “horrific”.
[New Zealand] Afforestation concerns
By Murray Robertson, The Gisborne Herald, 14 June 2019
The health of communities must be foremost when considering the sustainability of land use across Tairawhiti, says Federated Farmers regional vice-president Kerry Worsnop.
Her comment comes as concern grows about the amount of good farmland going into trees across the region.
Mrs Worsnop wants local farmers to support a push to local and central government against the afforestation of pastoral hill country.
[USA] Wildfires continue to burn throughout Arizona as summer heat just begins
By Anita Roman, Fox10, 14 June 2019
Wildfires are continuing to burn throughout Arizona. And with the summer heat just beginning, it seems like it’s a problem that could only get bigger. Crews are battling fires big and small across the state.
We even had a small brush fire break out overnight. It was spotted near 77th Ave. and Baseline Road around 12:30 a.m. Crews from Phoenix and Tolleson used a combination of fire engines, brush trucks, and tanker trucks to quickly contain the blaze. Only about an acre was burned.
15 June 2019
We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet
By Susanna Rustin, The Guardian, 15 June 2019
The case for action to tackle the climate emergency, on a scale far beyond anything that has yet been attempted, is increasingly widely understood. Almost three decades after the first UN climate treaty was agreed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and despite the commitments thrashed out among nation states at every summit since, global carbon emissions last year rose to a record 37.1bn tonnes.
As voices for the planet grow louder, we must get the job done
By Inger Andersen, UN Environment, 15 June 2019
There is something in the air. I am not talking about pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. I am talking about the change humanity needs to address these and other environmental challenges, which have placed our planet and societies in imminent peril.
We can all sense this change: in our workplaces and schools, in our cities and communities, in the boardroom and in the media, in parliaments and city councils, in laboratories and business incubators.
Into the inferno: What caused Australia’s devastating bushfires?
The Economist, 15 June 2019
Beehives spontaneously combust and trees ignite in sudden blasts. Burning birds fall from the sky. As embers the size of dinner plates rain down and a blaze roars “like seven jumbos landing on the roof”, people submerge themselves in any body of water they can find. They cover their faces with lilypads, pond slime, tea-towels or wet gloves. The sun is smothered by smoke and everything turns red. There is, reports Chloe Hooper, “no air in the air”.
[New Zealand] How well has has the world been served by the carbon trading scheme?
By Nicol Horrell, Stuff, 15 June 2019
As this is probably my last opinion piece before we get into the local government election period when publicity is restricted, it is timely to look back over the past few years.
We’re living in a time of rapid change, so it is easy to forget notable achievements because the focus is on the work at hand or the ongoing complex and difficult issues we face.
In Southland, improving water quality still looms large as the most important and time consuming issue we’re dealing with, due to the cumulative effects of human habitation over the past couple of centuries.
[USA] California’s wildfire season is starting and officials are bracing for the worst
By Maanvi Singh, The Guardian, 15 June 2019
Last November, the deadliest wildfire in California history killed 85 and burned the town of Paradise to the ground. Now California’s fire season is starting to heat up again – and officials are bracing for the worst.
As California grappled with a record-breaking heatwave last week, the state saw 236 wildfires – one of which grew to more than 2,500 acres before it was largely contained. So far this year, California has faced 1,746 wildfires, burning through more than 15,500 acres of land.
16 June 2019
Climate Envoys Divide Over Reviving UN’s ‘Zombie’ Carbon Market
By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 16 June 2019
The role of markets in slashing fossil fuel pollution is returning to the center of the political debate about how to fight global warming.
Envoys from almost 200 nations agreed in 2015 to work toward some kind of global system for exchanging allowances covering greenhouse gases through the Paris Agreement on climate change. A deal on how to do that remains elusive and held up progress at last year’s round of discussions hosted by the United Nations in Katowice, Poland.
Climate shocker: Canada aims for carbon credits for fracking natural gas
By Charlie Smith, The Straight, 16 June 2019
A Green member of Parliament has suggested that the federal government is hoping to use the Paris Agreement to obtain a break on emissions for shipping liquefied natural gas out of the country.
In Question Period on Friday (June 14), Paul Manly said he was “astounded to learn” that the Trudeau government thinks it can invoke article 6 of the landmark climate pact “to earn carbon credits for exporting fracked gas to Asian markets”.
Irish taxpayers faced with €7 billion carbon emissions bill over the next 10 year
By Harry Brent, The Irish Post, 16 June 2019
Irish taxpayers could be faced with an almighty bill of around €7 billion over the next decade to cover the costs of the nation’s carbon emissions.
New government figures obtained by Sinn Fein show that the state is expected to exceed its targets by up to 70 million tons by 2030.
It’s suggested that this overrun, coupled with the rising cost of carbon credits, would see Ireland’s bill hit €6.9 billion within the next few years.
[Malaysia] The Truth About Sarawak’s ‘Forest Cover’ – Why Shell Should Think Twice Before Engaging With The Timber Crooks
Sarawak Report, 16 June 2019
Looking for all the world like a gruesome bunch of mafia dons, the head honchos of Sarawak dressed casual this weekend and waddled out to some turf to grin for their favourite PR organ, the Borneo Post (owned by the timber barons of KTS) in order to proclaim their belated attempt to get onto the tree planting band-waggon.