REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
1 July 2019
Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference
By Josh Gabbatiss, CarbonBrief, 1 July 2019
A record-breaking European heatwave provided a fitting backdrop to the latest round of UN climate change talks, in which delegates from around the world descended on Bonn for a two-week diplomatic effort.
The “intersessional” meeting takes place every year in the German city, midway between the annual conferences of the parties (COPs) which fall towards the end of the year.
Global warming targets at risk from energy plants’ CO2 emissions
By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 1 July 2019
Carbon emissions from existing and planned fossil fuel energy plants and projects will exceed the amount needed to curb global warming, jeopardising a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limit goal, scientists said in a study on Monday.
[Brazil] Thousands of goldminers invade Yanomami territory
Survival International, 1 July 2019
Up to 10,000 goldminers have invaded Yanomami lands in northern Brazil, spreading malaria in the region and polluting many of the rivers with mercury.
Although most Yanomami are in contact with non-indigenous society, one uncontacted group is known to live in the area being invaded, and authorities are investigating signs of up to six other uncontacted communities living there.
Hundreds evacuated as wildfire rages through eastern Germany
The Local, 1 July 2019
Hundreds of people in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had to evacuate their homes due to a raging forest fire.
The fire, which started Sunday, had swept through 480 hectares of forest by Monday morning, according to local firefighters.
The blaze is the “largest in the history of Meckenburg-Western Pomerania,” said state environment minister Till Backhaus.
[India] Climate change blamed as Chennai runs dry
Climate News Network, 1 July 2019
Some of the poorest people of India’s sixth largest city are having to spend half their weekly income on water as Chennai runs dry: its four reservoirs lie empty and the government’s relief tankers cannot keep up with demand from citizens.
Despite government claims that there is no water crisis, the taps are empty and many of Chennai’s nine million people are queuing from early morning, awaiting what water the tankers can deliver.
[Myanmar] Communities to get incentives for protecting forests
Dawn, 1 July 2019
The forest department has come up with a mechanism to incentivise communities in Chitral and Kaghan areas for helping check the emission of greenhouse gases due to deforestation and forest degradation.
During an workshop of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD Plus) held here the other day, the conservationists said it was a mechanism tailored and financed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to check 20 percent emission caused by forest degradation.
[New Zealand] Forestry hurts rural community
By Tracey Collis, New Zealand Herald, 1 July 2019
He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata. Our communities are going through change and it seems like it is happening so fast we may not feel the full impact until it has already happened.
Change is good but only if there are clear outcomes sought for all involved.
The rapid expansion of forestry throughout the Tararua is causing much angst and stress for our communities and it concerns me to watch our people genuinely hurting in so many ways.
[Vietnam] Neither safe nor effective to deploy copters in forest fire fight
By Duc Hung and Ba Do, VN Express, 1 July 2019
It’s neither safe nor effective to deploy helicopters to extinguish forest fires in central Vietnam, says Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue.
Strong winds prevented the deployment of copters to fight forest fires thousands of firefighters, forest rangers, and soldiers battled over the past days. The fight has so far claimed the life of one firefighter.
On Friday, four forest fires broke out in the communes of Huong Tra and Huong Thuy in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, spreading across over 100 hectares (247 acres) of pine and acacia trees. They were extinguished by Saturday morning.
2 July 2019
BlackRock’s recent statement on palm oil reveals an unhealthy addiction to climate risk
By Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth US, 2 July 2019
BlackRock, the $6.5 trillion Wall Street asset manager, has quietly released a statement on the company’s approach to engagement in the palm oil sector — an industry notorious for its role in destroying the planet’s last forests.
Setting the stage for a global deal for nature.
By Bård Vegar Solhjell, WWF, 2 July 2019
If you happen to have a powerful position in society, chances are that you’ve started taking the climate crisis seriously into account. After all, it might alter your business model, decide if the best people would want to work for you, or determine the outcome of your next national election. Luckily, you know quite a bit about what to do with the climate issue. No one is saying it’s easy, but the direction is given.
Casualty of peace? Study shows rise in deforestation after conflicts
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti, Mongabay, 2 July 2019
The advent of peace in four countries with long experiences of deadly armed conflict hasn’t been kind to the environment, with a new study showing greater rates of deforestation during peacetime than during the years of war.
The paper, published in the journal Land Use Policy, shows how Sri Lanka, Nepal, Peru and Ivory Coast experienced “alarming forest loss” in the years immediately after the end of their respective civil conflicts, based on analysis of forest-cover data gathered through remote-sensing methods.
‘Football pitch’ of Amazon forest lost every minute
By David Shukman, BBC News, 2 July 2019
An area of Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is now being cleared every single minute, according to satellite data.
The rate of losses has accelerated as Brazil’s new right-wing president favours development over conservation.
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.
A senior Brazilian official, speaking anonymously, told us his government was encouraging deforestation.
Trial starts for Franco-Israeli man accused in carbon credits scam
Times of Israel, 2 July 2019
The trial of a French-Israeli dual national accused of involvement in a huge tax fraud involving carbon credits known as the “scam of the century” opened in the French city of Lyon on Monday.
Stephane Alzraa, 38, was extradited from Israel following a request by French authorities.
[Indonesia] BPPT uses artificial rain to overcome forest fires
Antara News, 2 July 2019
The Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) uses weather modification technology, better known as artificial rain, to overcome drought and forest and land fires (karhutla) in the Riau region. “We are using weather modification technology for karhutla in Riau,” said Head of the BPPT Center for Weather Modification Technology Tri Handoko Seto when contacted by ANTARA here Monday.
The BPPT had also received requests from regions such as South Sumatra to use the same technology to stimulate acceleration of rain formation in an effort to prevent and overcome land and forest fires, Seto said.
Norway grants 10.3 Million EUR to ensure indigenous forest rights
Government.no, 2 July 2019
The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) has granted NOK 100 million (EUR 10.3 million) to help secure land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in tropical forest areas. Reduced deforestation and sustainable land use can provide one third of the emissions reductions needed before 2030 to avoid dangerous global warming. –Securing land rights of indigenous peoples is the best way to avoid deforestation in tropical areas, says Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment.
Poland sees record number of June forest fires as heatwave hits
Xinhua, 2 July 2019
Poland saw a record number of forest fires in June, the state firefighter service announced on Monday, as the country went through a major heatwave during the last week of the month.
According to the state firefighter service, in June alone, over 1,500 forest fires had to be extinguished across Poland, which were facilitated by high temperatures, low humidity levels and strong winds. The firefighters were preparing for more over the next summer months, the spokesman of the service told Polish media.
Wildfires sweep through 50,000 hectares in Russian regions
MENAFN, 2 July 2019
Firefighters are working on extinguishing over 100 wildfires on the territory of around 50,000 hectares, the press service of the Aerial Forest Protection Service said on Tuesday. On Monday, forest fires covered around 40,000 hectares, Trendreports citing TASS.
“As of 12am on 2 July 2019, 116 forest fires are reported on the territory of 49,941 hectares, with active firefighting efforts underway,” the press service said.
The largest forest fires are reported in the Krasnoyarsk (29,958 hectares), Irkutsk (12,814 hectares) and Zabaikalsky (3,808 hectares) regions. Wildfires are also registered in nine other regions.
[USA] Anchorage, Alaska, shrouded by one of longest smoke events in history
By Kristina Pydynowsky, AccuWeather, 2 July 2019
Following the first ever Dense Smoke Advisory for Anchorage, the Swan Lake Fire, responsible for the smoke, continues to burn south of the city over the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.
The city is likely to face more smoke and may challenge record high temperatures this week.
Smoke from the blaze drifted over the Anchorage city area from Thursday to this past weekend.
3 July 2019
11% of destroyed moist tropical forests could be restored to boost climate, environment
University of São Paulo press release, 3 July 2019
In a peer-reviewed report released today, researchers have identified more than 100 million hectares of lost lowland tropical rain forests—restoration hotspots—spread out across Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia that present the most compelling opportunities for restoration to overcome rising global temperatures, water pollution and shortages, and the extinction of plant and animal life. Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, India and Colombia have the largest accumulated area of restoration hotspots; six African countries—Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Togo, South Sudan, and Madagascar—are home to the areas presenting the best restoration opportunities on average.
Climate crisis needs radical food changes
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 3 July 2019
To feed 9 billion people by 2050, and keep planet Earth from overheating, will mean massive and radical food changes – and not just in the way food is grown.
To contain global temperatures to no more than 2°C above the average for most of human history will require humanity to change its diet, contain its appetite and reform the entire system of food production and distribution.
[Brazil] Amazon REDD+ scheme side-steps land rights to reward small forest producers
By Claire Asher, Mongabay, 3 July 2019
A state-run carbon credit scheme that aims to reduce deforestation also generates financial and social benefits for some poor rural communities by side-stepping the red tape of land tenure rights often required by such schemes, according a recent anthropological study published in The Journal of Peasant Studies.
Despite widespread deforestation in the Amazon, the small state of Acre in western Brazil is still close to 90 percent forested. To protect the remaining 164,000 square kilometers (63,300 square miles) of standing forest, the state’s System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) offers rewards to local communities to pursue livelihoods that don’t degrade the forest, financed by monetizing the carbon stored within it.
Private sector needs to lead on Brazil carbon credits
BNamericas, 3 July 2019
Private firms need to lead the discussions in Brazil on the sale of carbon credits, the president of the business council for sustainable development (CEBDS), Marina Grossi, said at an event organized by oil industry group IBP in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Brazil could become one of the biggest players in this market due to its vast renewable power generation sources. However, many players think the country is arriving late at the table.
World Economic Forum to Launch Tropical Forest Alliance in China
World Economic Forum press release, 3 July 2019
The World Economic Forum today announced that it will launch a branch of the Tropical Forest Alliance in China. The Alliance is an initiative led by the Forum that aims to remove deforestation from commodity supply chains.
[Pakistan] Over 14mn saplings distributed; establishing farm forestry on MFD communal lands
By Fawad Maqsood, Business Recorder, 3 July 2019
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa forest department has distributed 14.082 million saplings for establishing farm forests on communal lands in Malakand Forest Division (MFD).
The seedlings had been given out to individual farmers through public representatives and village development committees.
4 July 2019
Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 4 July 2019
Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.
Two studies provide dueling looks at where trees should go
By Gabriel Popkin, Mongabay, 4 July 2019
Two papers published this week in major journals claim to do the same thing: show where forests should be restored. But they used starkly different approaches that lead to sharply varying conclusions.
One study, published in Science, found that the globe contains a U.S.-sized area of unforested land capable of growing trees, and those trees could, in theory, soak up two thirds of humanity’s carbon emissions to date. The other, published in Science Advances, analyzed the tropics only and arrived at a slightly smaller area estimate, but also suggested “restoration hotspots” where bringing back forests is most affordable and likely to succeed.
Norway continues the dialogue with Brazil about the Amazon Fund
Government.no, 4 July 2019
Norway stands by our Climate and Forest Agreement with Brazil. From Norway’s point of view, the Amazon fund has worked well until now. It would be a setback if the fund, which has been an important inspiration to other tropical forest countries, is terminated. Entering a form of cooperation with Brazil that weakens the foundation of our partnership is not an option, says Norway’s Minister of Climate- and Environment Ola Elvestuen.
[Brazil] The Chain: Green Bond Aims to Curb Deforestation in the Cerrado
Chain Reaction Research, 4 July 2019
Environmental finance firm Sustainable Investment Management (SIM) is launching a green bond initiative on the London Stock Exchange on July 4, 2019 for medium-sized farmers in an effort to reduce deforestation in the Cerrado, a large tropical savanna biome that covers more than 20 percent of Brazil and has seen high rates of deforestation since 2000. The initiative, called the Responsible Commodities Facility (RCF), is set to transfer USD 1 billion to more than 1,000 farmers, contingent on environmental and labour standards. Partners include the UK’s Partnerships for Forests and the UN Environmental Programme.
[Canada] Only five active five forest fires in northeast region July 4 but two biggest cover 40,000 hectares
By Ian Graham, Thompson Citizen, 4 July 2019
There have been far fewer forest fires in Manitoba’s northeast district so far this year than in 2018 but they have burned more than twice as many hectares.
Up to July 3 of this year, the northeast district has seen 39 fires, 34 of which have been extinguished. In 2018, there had been 115 fires in the northeast district as of July 4 and 27 were burning on that date. Those fires had only burned 17,694 hectares, however, compared to 43,118 hectares this year.
EU ‘climate leaders’ praised on goal-setting but falling short on detail
By Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com, 4 July 2019
Finland, Sweden, Portugal, France and Germany are often seen as “climate leaders” when it comes to setting ambitious carbon reduction objectives for 2050. However, they lack concrete measures to achieve them, according to new analysis published today (4 July).
Last month, the European Commission issued its recommendations on the draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) submitted by the 28 EU member states to achieve their 2030 objectives.
[Indonesia] Palangka Raya works to halt recurrence of forest fires
Antara News, 4 July 2019
The authorities in Palangka Raya have been striving to halt the recurrence of bush and forest fires in the Central Kalimantan Province’s capital city amid the dry season, while the city’s health workers are also preparing to help the residents affected by smog.
“At the moment, none of the city’s residents are suffering from health problems due to the impact of the smog,” Acting Head of the Palangka Raya Health Office, Andjar Hari Purnomo, said here on Thursday.
[South Africa] Drier 2019 sees sharp increase in runaway fires
By Chelsea Pieterse, News24, 4 July 2019
This year’s dry season has seen a dramatic increase in runaway veld and forest fires, with 63 fires reported in KwaZulu-Natal for June this year compared to 45 last year.
Working on Fire (WoF) teams across the province have had to deal with more veld and forest fires this year “due to prolonged drought and extremely dry conditions over large parts of the province”.
5 July 2019
The PowerPoint that got a climate scientist disinvited from a Shell conference
By Kate Aranoff, The Intercept, 5 July 2019
The first three slides of climate scientist Peter Kalmus’s plenary speech to Shell’s Powering Progress Together conference were intended to gauge audience reactions. First, he would have asked attendees if they are “concerned about climate breakdown.” Then, to raise their hands if they are “EXTREMELY CONCERNED” about it. In the third slide, Kalmus would have asked panel-goers to raise their hands if they agreed with a simple statement: “Fossil fuel causes harm.”
Toilet paper is getting less sustainable, researchers warn
By Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian, 5 July 2019
Toilet paper – the one product that the majority of us use just once and flush away – is becoming less sustainable, according to research.
Analysis from Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011, while only five of the nine major supermarkets (the Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper. The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary deforestation.
Major donor Norway frets over Brazil deforestation
Reuters, 5 July 2019
Norway has expressed alarm over accelerating destruction of the Amazon and concern for the future of a Brazilian rainforest protection fund it has given $1.2 billion to in the last decade.
Deforestation in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon soared more than 88% in June compared to the same month a year ago, the second-consecutive month of rising destruction under new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
African timber from firms linked to bribery, conflict and illegal logging floods into France
Timberleaks, 5 July 2019
The apparently random numbers, embossed lettering and colourful symbols sketched on huge tree trunks spread out in the industrial French port of La Pallice are hard to decipher.
But these markings, the timber industry’s shorthand, give clues to the timber’s origin and reveal some unpleasant truths.
During a May visit to the port on the outskirts of La Rochelle, Timberleaks found logs originating from Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and elsewhere linked to firms implicated in illegal deforestation, bribing governments and environmental abuses.
Are KitKat sales helping line the pockets of a man who bribed Indonesia’s top judge?
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 5 July 2019
Wilmar International is helping line the pockets of a firm linked to a high-level corruption case and ongoing deforestation in Indonesia via several of its palm oil purchases in Malaysia, a new Earthsight investigation reveals.
The world’s largest palm oil trader, which counts Nestle (manufacturer of KitKat chocolate bars), Mars, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive among its clients, has been buying palm oil from two firms in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. The Malaysian firms are part-owned by a company that has cleared thousands of hectares of Indonesian forest for palm oil cultivation on land taken from local communities illegally.
[Papua New Guinea] REDD+ a prospect in ‘green economy’ growth
By Peter S. Kinjap, The National, 5 July 2019
When talking climate change, carbon trade and mitigation approaches to address it, many readers on this column have personally emailed me and even asked me in person what really is “REDD+”?
To be frank, I myself do not know the scientific explanation behind it and to swiftly provide a snap short of the scheme for those who seeking for a quick answer.
As typical for commentators or newspaper writers, I will quote and make direct reference to a source that explains explicitly what REDD+ stands for and its relevance to the course of fighting climate change both nationally and internationally.
Environmental defenders in Peru’s Madre de Dios face double jeopardy
By Vanessa Romo, Mongabay, 5 July 2019
In her kitchen, Ana* was lost in thought as she watched the passage of cars on the Interoceanic Highway toward La Pampa, a territory in Peru’s Madre de Dios region that’s been devastated by illegal mining. Then, she told Mongabay Latam, a voice she didn’t recognize suddenly interrupted the peace of her home. “Good morning, Ana. I’m here to ask you a favor,” a woman said. Ana looked to see the woman standing in the doorway, holding a roll of cash in one hand and wiping the sweat from the intense jungle sun with the other. Ana didn’t dare to ask her name.
Saudi row over 1.5C science raises frustration with UN consensus model
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 5 July 2019
A row over a major scientific report on 1.5C has exposed the limits of the consensus-based approach of the UN climate negotiations.
Diplomats privately express growing frustration at tactics used by Saudi Arabia, after the petrostate refused to engage in substantive debate on how best to use the report’s findings to inform climate policies.
[UK] Ayrshire is wildfire capital of Scotland
By Ryan Carroll, Daily Record, 5 July 2019
Ayrshire has been revealed as Scotland’s wildfire hot spot.
Freak weather has resulted in a rise in forest fires as dry conditions and high winds cause problems for fire crews.
And it has been revealed that the number of wildfires recorded in Scotland has quadrupled since 2017.
Between June and August last year, 2,329 grass and woodland fires were recorded across the country.
That was a rise on the 624 recorded over the same period in the previous year.
6 July 2019
Big Oil’s ‘Natural Climate Solutions’ Feasibility Overblown, Critics Say
By Kendra Chamberlain, Desmog, 6 July 2019
A recently published report has called into question the efficacy of land-based solutions being pushed by NGOs and major oil companies alike to mitigate climate change.
Natural climate solutions (NCS) — including programs referred to as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) — represent a body of land-based approaches for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NCS proposals range from enhanced forest management to conservation agriculture and ecosystem restoration.
7 July 2019
Forest fires break out in north China’s Inner Mongolia
Xinhua, 7 July 2019
Two fires burst out in primitive forests in the northern part of the Greater Khingan Mountains in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sunday, local authorities said.
Around 11 a.m., two fires were reported in Xikouzi forest farm. The local forest fire brigade sent more than 150 firefighters to extinguish the fire.
[Costa Rica] Alarms are Activated: Forest Fires Increase
MENAFN, 7 July 2019
The forest fires are spontaneous fire where they mark the life of the forests and usually become a sinister ending everything that is in its path. Causing in this way a great damage to the vegetation, fauna and flora by which the fire expands without control in a forest or wild land, the forest fires can be distinguished of another type of fires by the wide extension from the place where it originated and its potential to change its direction unexpectedly and its ability to overcome obstacles.
Ecuador receives US$ 18.5 million for having reduced its deforestation
UNDP, 7 July 2019
Ecuador just became the second country to receive financial resources from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for having successfully reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation in the past. Ecuador registers a historic reduction of its deforestation rate: 48.6% during the last two decades.