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REDD in the news: 22-28 July 2019

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

22 July 2019

Guterres asks all countries to plan for carbon neutrality by 2050
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 22 July 2019
UN chief António Guterres wrote to every head of state over the weekend, demanding they set out plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Guterres is championing ambitious climate action ahead of a critical UN summit on 23 September in New York, when countries are due to present concrete proposals to accelerate the pace of decarbonisation.

Make food a priority in land reforms
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 22 July 2019
Different kinds of land titles and other reforms in forest-dwelling communities in Indonesia, Uganda and Peru have generally improved people’s lives – but food insecurity is still a widespread problem, a new study suggests.
The research – presented in a new InfoBrief – was part of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)’s Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reforms. Researchers divided the different types of tenure reform into three groups: customary, or informal land title; reforms that designate forests for community use on a temporary basis; and full ownership, where communities receive a property right to the land in perpetuity.

Direct CO2 capture machines could use ‘a quarter of global energy’ in 2100
By Simon Evans, CarbonBrief, 22 July 2019
Machines that suck CO2 directly from the air could cut the cost of meeting global climate goals, a new study finds, but they would need as much as a quarter of global energy supplies in 2100.
The research, published today in Nature Communications, is the first to explore the use of direct air capture (DAC) in multiple computer models. It shows that a “massive” and energy-intensive rollout of the technology could cut the cost of limiting warming to 1.5 or 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The what, how and why of inclusive finance for sustainable landscapes
By Marianne Gadeberg, Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, 22 July 2019
Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars are invested into the land use sector. Currently, almost all of these funds are spent in support of conventional land use practices, generally contributing to environmental degradation and hampering progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
But what if we could turn this around? What if we could instead invest these billions of dollars into making landscapes more sustainable and inclusive of the rural poor?

Astonishing video of uncontacted Indians released as loggers close in
Survival International, 22 July 2019
Extraordinary new footage showing some of the most threatened uncontacted Indians in the world has been released by an indigenous group in Brazil.
The video, showing uncontacted members of the Awá tribe in Maranhao state, eastern Brazil, was filmed by a neighboring tribe, the Guajajara, who are trying to protect the islands of rainforest in which the Awá live.

[Brazil] Video of uncontacted Amazon tribe highlights threat from illegal loggers
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 22 July 2019
Remarkable close-up footage that appears to show an uncontacted tribesman in the Amazon rainforest has been released by an indigenous media group that wants to raise awareness of the threat posed by illegal loggers, miners and drug traffickers.
The video clip shows a bare-chested man with a spear, who is believed to belong to the Awá people. He is seen sniffing a machete that has been left in the undergrowth, before growing suspicious – and then alarmed. He flees into the undergrowth with a fellow hunter when he realises he is being watched.

Cargill’s New Policies Insufficient to Fully Mitigate Deforestation Risks in Brazil
Chain Reaction Research, 22 July 2019
Cargill is the largest privately-held company in the United States and the second largest soy exporter in Brazil. In April 2018, Chain Reaction Research (CRR) concluded that Cargill’s 2030 zero-deforestation deadline allowed its Brazilian suppliers to continue deforesting in the Cerrado. This report assesses Cargill’s current deforestation risks in Brazil’s soy supply chain, given recent changes in corporate policies, market conditions and deforestation trends.

These climate maps show the terrifying scale of Europe’s extreme heatwave
By Conrad Duncan, Independent, 22 July 2019
Europe has been hit by extreme hot weather for the second time in two months, after June was the hottest ever recorded.
Yesterday, a World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) spokesperson told a UN Geneva press briefing that heatwaves are becoming both more frequent and more intense.
She added that these examples of extreme weather also “bear the hallmark of climate change”.

Europe heatwave: France and Spain face ‘extreme danger’ as countries set to see hottest temperatures on record
By Conrad Duncan, The Independent, 22 July 2019
France and Spain will face “extreme danger” from fires due to another scorching heatwave across western Europe this week, according to EU experts monitoring forest fires.
The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) has forecasted the highest threat level for forest fires for almost all of France and Spain on Thursday, with “high” or “very high” threat levels for much of Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Germany.

Liberia: EPA Launches REDD+ Safeguards Information System
FPA, 22 July 2019
The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama is expected to launch Liberia’s REDD+ Safeguards Information System (SIS) Tuesday, July 22, 2019 at its central office in Sinkor.
The Liberia REDD+ Safeguards Information System (SIS) was recently developed by Conservation International (CI) and Skills and Agricultural Development Services (SADS) in consultation with Safeguards Working Group (SWG).

23 July 2019

More than 300 aviation-related conflicts and environmental justice movements around the world mapped in research project
Stay Grounded press release, 23 July 2019
Some of these conflicts began in the 1970s (such as Guadalajara, México), but the majority started since 2010 when the expansion and creation of new airports around the world accelerated. The cases are located as much in the Global South as in the North, and are just as likely in urban areas as in rural ones. More than 50% of the cases are found in Asia and almost 20% in Europe.
Most of these conflicts are caused by the expansion of aviation infrastructure, “justified” through discourses on development such as the construction of airports after a natural disaster (eg. Barbuda), the growth of the economy, tourism (eg. Costa Rica), or improving security (eg. a new airport for passenger flights and defense purposes in Pakyong, India).

A weak carbon price is worse than no carbon price
By Darragh Conway, Climate Home News, 23 July 2019
In June, South Africa became the latest country to implement a price on greenhouse gas emissions, over a decade after it first proposed the policy. It should have been a moment for champagne, balloons and congratulatory words. Yet for many, this was no cause for celebration.
Industry is said to be ‘indignant’ and insists the tax will hurt jobs and investment, while environmentalists decry a number of flexibilities that result in an effective tax rate of only $0.43-3.44 per tonne of emissions.

Can Fossil Fuel Companies Find A Place In A Climate-Friendly World?
By Fred Krupp (EDF), Forbes, 23 July 2019
We have to transform our energy system to avert the worst impacts of climate change. And if oil-and-gas companies want a place in that future, they must transform themselves—or else be consigned to history. Is it realistic to think fossil fuel companies could be part of the solution? Plenty of reasonable people say no, but I think constructive engagement with some in the industry can speed the transition. A few companies have taken meaningful steps in the right direction. To secure a place in the future, however, they need to think bigger and move faster.

Huge swathes of the Arctic on fire, ‘unprecedented’ satellite images show
By Harry Cockburn, The Independent, 23 July 2019
Vast swathes of the Arctic are suffering from “unprecedented” wildfires, new satellite images have revealed.
North of the Arctic circle, the high temperatures are facilitating enormous wildfires which are wreaking ecological destruction on a colossal scale.

BP and Bunge Merge Brazilian Operations and Create World-class Biofuel Player
By Richard Mann, The Rio Times, 23 July 2019
U.S. commodities trader Bunge, a leader in agriculture, food and ingredients, and British energy company BP have agreed to form a 50:50 joint venture that will create a leading bioenergy company in Brazil, one of the world’s largest fastgrowing markets for biofuels.
“Brazil is the Saudi Arabia of biofuel,” BP’s head of Alternative Energy, Dev Sanyal, told Reuters.

[Brazil] The jungle metropolis: how sprawling Manaus is eating into the Amazon
by Sam Cowie, The Guardian, 23 July 2019
Antonio Pinto’s makeshift home on the outskirts of Manaus is an open-air shack, one of dozens of similar dwellings of timber and tarpaulin scattered around the hills.
Around them is the evidence of the use of flame and iron: the hills are scorched and brown, littered with fallen logs and toppled, twisted trees.
Pinto, 57, moved here earlier this year from an isolated Amazonian river town, 18 hours away by boat. He’s sick and needed to be closer to a hospital to get regular treatment.

[EU] Questions and Answers – Communication on forests
European Commission, 23 July 2019
Why is it important to protect forests?
Forests are indispensable. They are our life-support system. The air we breathe is from forests, we rely on forests for foods, biodiversity, energy and more. Protecting and restoring world’s forests is crucial for maintaining and increasing human well-being and putting our societies on to a sustainable path.

EU moots crackdown on deforestation through supply chains
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 23 July 2019
The EU has opened the door to impose regulation on the supply chains of companies importing into its market, in a bid to protect the world’s forests.
Proposals by the European Commission presented on Tuesday set the direction of travel for the next set of commissioners taking office in November to tackle global deforestation.
Under the plans, the commission calls for both “regulatory and non-regulatory measures” to be considered to ensure the EU consumes products “from deforestation-free supply chains”.

Germany Has Frozen Funding For Wildlife Charity WWF Amid Ongoing Human Rights Investigations
By Marcus Engert, Katie J.M. Baker, and Tom Warren, BuzzFeed News, 23 July 2019
The German government has frozen funding for the World Wide Fund for Nature in response to BuzzFeed News revelations that the global mega-charity funds, equips, and works directly with forces that have tortured and killed people.
Money earmarked for WWF is on hold pending further investigation of human rights abuses at WWF-supported parks, three German government agencies confirmed to BuzzFeed News. Officials declined to say exactly how much is being withheld, but German taxpayers have given WWF tens of millions of euros over the past two decades.

Indonesian Supreme Court declares Jokowi among those liable for 2015 forest fires resulting in regional haze: Reports
Channel News Asia, 23 July 2019
The Attorney-General of Indonesia on Monday (Jul 22) defended the government after the country’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which blamed President Joko Widodo and his cabinet ministers, as well as regional administrations, for failing to control the wildfires in 2015.
The wildfires which raged through Indonesia in 2015 caused thick haze to engulf the country and neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, the Jakarta Post reported on Monday.

Top court holds Indonesian government liable over 2015 forest fires
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 23 July 2019
Indonesia’s highest court has upheld a ruling holding the government, including the president, liable for the disastrous forest fires and resultant haze that blanketed large swaths of the country in 2015.
The court ruled that the government must accommodate the demands of the plaintiffs, a coalition of citizens and environmental activists, for more stringent measures to address the annual fire problem. It said the government had failed in its responsibility to mitigate disasters, in this case forest fires, thereby allowing the problem to recur every year.

[Jamaica] Gov’t Launches Project to Protect Forests
By Rochelle Williams, Jamaica Information Service, 23 July 2019
The Government is taking steps to protect and preserve the country’s forest cover, through the launch of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Readiness Preparation Project.
The initiative is being implemented by the Forestry Department through US$613,000 in support from the Green Climate Fund.
It is the first step in the development of a REDD+ programme, which is aimed at crafting a national strategy to reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation and forest degradation.

Research finds responsible forest management in the Peruvian Amazon can help preserve wildlife
WWF, 23 July 2019
Low-impact logging practices in commercial tropical forests can contribute to wildlife protection and complement protected areas to provide habitat for many species in the Amazon, according to new research published in Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.
The research, conducted in Tahuamanu Province, Madre de Dios region in Peru, evaluated the impact of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forest management on biodiversity. The findings reveal that FSC-certified concessions have a greater richness of species such as amphibians, insects and monkeys than non-FSC certified logging concessions, and that the make-up of species in FSC-certified sites is more similar to undisturbed forest areas than non-certified logging sites.

Johnson becoming UK leader bearish for CO2 – analysts
By Alessandro Vitelli, Montel, 23 July 2019
The UK is more likely to leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement after the appointment of Boris Johnson as prime minister, which while bearish for carbon might not be as marked as initially expected, analysts told Montel.
Johnson was announced as the winner of the Conservative party leadership election on Tuesday with a resounding 66% of the vote after a poll of members and will be officially appointed prime minister on Wednesday, which comes in the wake of incumbent Theresa May’s recent resignation.

[USA] Peak fire season is near and the federal government is short hundreds of firefighters
By Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2019
Heading into the hottest and driest months of the wildfire season, the Department of the Interior is short hundreds of firefighters, a result of recruitment problems and the longest federal government shutdown in history.
Based on interviews and internal agency memos obtained through a public records request, The Times found that the agency had at least 241 fewer seasonal firefighters available than expected.

24 July 2019

‘No doubt left’ about scientific consensus on global warming, say experts
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 24 July 2019
The scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99%, according to the lead author of the most authoritative study on the subject, and could rise further after separate research that clears up some of the remaining doubts.
Three studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience use extensive historical data to show there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades.

Mangrove conservation more valuable than ever thanks to carbon trading
UN Environment, 24 July 2019
When a proven ecosystem restoration method also helps reduce poverty and build economic resilience, governments will often back them as a win-win solution.
The UN Environment Programme, the Kenya Forest Service, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and partners recently launched the Vanga Blue Forests Project on the Kenyan coast, a groundbreaking initiative to trade carbon credits from mangrove conservation and restoration.

The Arctic has been burning for nearly two months and, yes, it’s because of climate breakdown
By Glen Black, The Canary, 24 July 2019
The Arctic is on fire. Forests and peatland are burning across Siberia, Greenland and Alaska. And the cause of these “unprecedented” events is clear.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said wildfires began at the start of June. And by 12 July, it had already tracked “over 100 intense and long-lived wildfires in the Arctic Circle”. The fires released 50 megatonnes of CO² in June alone, which the WMO said is similar to the total annual output of Sweden.

When it comes to avoiding deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, new study reveals that federal and state agencies have had different outcomes
By Diego Herrera and Alex Pfaff, Environmental Defense Fund, 24 July 2019
Protecting the Amazon rainforest is critical for mitigating climate change and meeting other global environmental goals. This vast but threatened ecosystem provides essential services like carbon storage, watershed protection and species habitat. Protecting these global services using a range of environmental strategies could justify significant climate finance, green supply chain investments, and other economic opportunities for Brazil.

German Greens want to ban domestic flights by 2035
By Florence Schulz, EURACTIVE.de, 24 July 2019
Germany’s Greens plan to make domestic flights ‘largely obsolete’ by 2035. To this end, they want to introduce a tax on kerosene and gradually increase rail traffic. The EU, however, is far from finding a solution on how to tax air travel. EURACTIV Germany reports.
There should be no flight bans, but strong incentives for rail traffic, according to a paper of the Greens’ parliamentary group in the Bundestag, which has been quoted by the Bavarian newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Indonesia is Reducing Deforestation, but Problem Areas Remain
By Arief Wijaya, Nirarta Smadhi, and Reidinar Juliane, Global Forest Watch, 24 July 2019
Compared to other tropical countries, Indonesia has made strong progress in reducing deforestation in recent years. The Indonesian government released its official deforestation numbers in May 2018, showing that the rate of forest loss has been declining from 2015 to 2018. The data reported deforestation of 440,000 hectares in 2018, slightly lower than the 2017 number of 480,000 hectares. Global Forest Watch released similar numbers showing a 40 percent decrease in deforestation in Indonesia’s primary forests in 2018, compared to the average annual rate of loss from 2002-2016.

Sustainable wood group sanctions Korean-Indonesian company
AP, 24 July 2019
The main global organization for certifying sustainable wood says one of its members destroyed tropical forests in easternmost Indonesia but it stopped short of expelling the company.
The Bonn, Germany-based Forest Stewardship Council said it would impose “improvement” requirements on Korindo, a Korean-Indonesian conglomerate, that an environmental group found had cleared more than 30,000 hectares of tropical forests for palm oil plantations in Indonesia’s Papua and Maluku regions.

[Ireland] State’s use of public funds to buy carbon credits ‘has no domestic benefit’
By Sea McCarthaigh, The Irish Times, 24 July 2019
The failure to set out detailed, cost-effective proposals on how to decarbonise the Irish economy by 2050 represents a major obstacle to progressing policy on climate change, according to an independent advisory body.
The Climate Change Advisory Council claims the practice of using public funds to buy carbon credits from other countries, while enabling Ireland to comply with its EU emission targets, has no domestic benefit and will leave the country with a bigger and more expensive task to meet its future targets to 2030 and beyond.

[Nigeria] So long, and thanks for all the fish!
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 24 July 2019
In the name of feeding the world, vast swathes of our planet’s forests have been sacrificed to increase the amount of land available for agriculture. But what else do we lose when we do so?
Forests provide crucial contributions to many people’s diets – especially those who live in isolated rural areas and have low cash incomes. Some of those contributions are rather obvious: they’re frequently a source of wild foods such as fruits, mushrooms, tubers, insects and bushmeat. But there are also numerous ‘indirect pathways’ through which forests can help keep people healthy.

Russia in flames: Almost five million acres of forest are on fire in Siberia and Russia’s Far East. Smoke has spread over six of the country’s time zones.
Meduza, 24 July 2019
Wildfires have covered almost two million hectares (4.9 million acres) of land in Siberia and Russia’s Far East. That includes 846 hectares (2,090 acres) in the Krasnoyarsk region, more than 557 (1,376 acres) in Yakutia, and 519 (1,282 acres) in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. On the Yamal Peninsula, fires have shrunk from more than 600 hectares (1,483 acres) to 11 (27 acres), but in the Irkutsk region, they grew by almost 30 percent in a single day to reach more than 458 hectares (1,132 acres). For comparison, in the entirety of the year 2018, Russia saw 9,900 wildfires occupy a total of 3.2 million hectares (7.9 million acres), and in 2017, 9,200 wildfires spread to 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) in total.

25 July 2019

Carbon emissions from international aviation could treble by 2045 and fuel efficiency goal missed, says ICAO
GreenAir Online, 25 July 2019
With an anticipated increase of 3.3 times growth in international air traffic during the period 2015-2045, ICAO projects fuel consumption and carbon emissions will increase by 2.2 to 3.1 times, depending on advances in technology and air traffic management (ATM). International aviation consumed approximately 160 million tonnes (Mt) of fuel in 2015, resulting in CO2 emissions of around 505 Mt. By 2045, if the scenarios were followed, carbon emissions from international flights could rise to between 1,110 Mt and 1,570 Mt. Even under the most optimistic scenario, ICAO’s projected long-term average fuel efficiency improvement of 1.37% per annum falls short of its aspirational goal of 2%. On aircraft noise, the area around airports exposed to yearly average day-night noise levels above 55 dB is likely to remain the same or grow up to 2.2 times during the 2015-2045 period. These global trends, which also include aircraft NOx emission projections, are to help inform environmental discussions at the ICAO 40th Assembly starting in September.

Arctic wildfires continue to burn, releasing record amounts of CO2
By Brooks Hays, UPI, 25 July 2019
Wildfires are raging across the Arctic as warm, dry conditions persist across the region. Satellite images have revealed wildfires burning in Alaska, Greenland and throughout Siberia.
Summer fires aren’t unusual in the Arctic, but scientists estimate the magnitude of this season’s burn is greater than any other in the 16-year-record. Fires are burning farther north, and scientists worry the forest fires are igniting peat fires.

[Brazil] Amazon deforestation accelerating towards unrecoverable ‘tipping point’
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 25 July 2019
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has surged above three football fields a minute, according to the latest government data, pushing the world’s biggest rainforest closer to a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover.
The sharp rise – following year-on-year increases in May and June – confirms fears that president Jair Bolsonaro has given a green light to illegal land invasion, logging and burning.

Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere
By Tom Matthews, The Conversation, 25 July 2019
I am a scientist who researches climate hazards. This week I have published research on the potential for a catastrophic cyclone-heatwave combo in the global south. Yet over the past few days I have been approached by various media outlets to talk not about that hazard, but about the unfolding UK heatwave and climate change. It is always satisfying to respond to public interest around weather extremes, but there is a danger that key messages about extreme heat globally are not receiving enough airtime.

The Chain: EU Proposals for Deforestation-Free Supply Chains Another Step in the Transformation of Agricultural Commodity Trade
Chain Reaction Research, 25 July 2019
The European Commission (EC) this week released proposals to step up action to reduce deforestation globally and cut the EU’s exposure to deforestation-linked commodities. The EC laid out plans to stimulate the use of deforestation-free products through both “regulatory and non-regulatory measures.” Recognizing that relying on voluntary approaches and non-binding guidance is not enough, the EC says, “Despite all efforts so far, conservation and sustainable use of forests cannot be ensured by current policies.” EU actions to promote deforestation-free supply chains could pose business risks to companies along agricultural supply chains that operate in or purchase from high-risk areas.

More than 400,000 trees planted under REDD+ Initiative Scheme throughout Fiji
By Niki Priyanka, Fiji Village, 25 July 2019
More than 400,000 trees have been planted under the REDD+ Initiative Scheme throughout Fiji.
Speaking at the Talanoa Forum in Nasese today, Permanent Secretary for Forestry, Pene Baleinabuli says that he is certain that by the end of December the Ministry of Forestry will achieve their goal which is to be able to plant 4 million trees this year as the ministry was able to plant 2 million trees in a year in the past.

Liberia: EPA Launches Information System
By Bridgett Milton and Winston W. Parley, The New Dawn, 25 July 2019
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched Liberia’s Reducing Emissions Deforestation Forest Degradation (REDD) + Safeguards Information System (SIS).
Speaking at the launch of the SIS on Tuesday, 23 July, EPA Executive Director Mr. Nathaniel T. Blama expressed confidence that the system will bring great benefits to the nation.

The work begins: FAO and ECOWAS kick off a new Sida-funded project to protect West African forests in Dakar
FAO, 25 July 2019
A two-day kick-off workshop took place in Dakar, Senegal on 24 – 25 July to kick off the activities under the project “Global transformation of forests for people and climate: A focus on West Africa”. Supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the five-year project aims at protecting West Africa’s forests and safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

Boris Johnson Poses Serious Threat to UK’s Environmental Future
By Air Kelo, The Rising, 25 July 2019
With Boris Johnson stepping in as Prime Minister, the race against the clock to find a Brexit deal is on. The UK has until October 31st to leave the European Union — deal or no deal. But since Johnson might pursue a hard Brexit, the UK may cut all ties with the EU, including its environmental policies. So what exactly does a hard Brexit mean for the UK’s approach to sustainability? And how else will Boris Johnson change the UK’s environmental future?

[UK] Blockchain and carbon offsetting can help cities reduce emissions – but sometimes simpler is better
By Stephen Finnegan, The Conversation, 25 July 2019
The UK parliament recently declared a climate emergency, with prime minister Theresa May stating that the country will have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The government has chosen its wording carefully: the term “net zero” opens the door to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon offsetting.
In theory, this means you can simply calculate your total greenhouse gas emissions and pay into a scheme that offsets those emissions by the same amount – that way, on balance, your emissions are net zero. One example is the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), which sells carbon credits and puts the proceeds towards developing hydroelectric power plants in Sri Lanka, forest planting projects in China or wind power in Costa Rica. The VCS database contains thousands of options for offsetting.

Former UK energy minister Claire Perry appointed Cop26 president
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 25 July 2019
The UK’s former clean growth minister Claire Perry has been appointed “president” of next year’s UN climate talks, in an early move as the country awaits approval as host of the critical 2020 meeting.
Perry left her energy and climate brief to take on the role as part of a UK government reshuffle, after Boris Johnson was elected prime minister by Conservative Party members.

26 July 2019

Weatherwatch: forests could save us from the worst storms
By Kate Ravilious, The Guardian, 26 July 2019
Plant enough trees and you’ll be able to take the oomph out of damaging storms. That’s the message that is coming out of a study published in Environmental Research Letters, which suggests that major reforestation across Europe has the potential to reduce the number of extra-tropical cyclones by as much as 80%.

Reducing emissions with logging
By Karen Mo (WWF), CIFOR Forests News, 26 July 2019
Wood is one of the oldest materials utilized by humans. For hundreds of thousands of years humans harvested wood for shelter, fibre and fuel, propelling civilizations and prosperity. Today, forest products remain one of the backbones of our modern life, and it is safe to say that the present and future generations will continue to depend on them. But unlike our ancestors, we’re facing a major dilemma – climate change.

Arctic wildfires: What’s caused huge swathes of flames to spread?
BBC News, 26 July 2019
Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic, with areas of northern Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland engulfed in flames.
Lightning frequently triggers fires in the region but this year they have been worsened by summer temperatures that are higher than average because of climate change.
Plumes of smoke from the fires can be seen from space.
Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), described them as “unprecedented”.

[Brazil] ‘He wants to destroy us’: Bolsonaro poses gravest threat in decades, Amazon tribes say
By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 26 July 2019
As a blood-orange sunset drifted towards the forest canopy, Raimundo Kanamari sat on the riverbank and pondered the future of his tribe under Brazil’s far-right president.
“Bolsonaro’s no good,” he said. “He wants to destroy the lot of us, bomb our villages. That’s the news I heard.”
For all Jair Bolsonaro’s well-documented hostility to indigenous rights, an aerial assault on the Amazon seems far-fetched. But campaigners believe that under Brazil’s new administration indigenous communities face their most severe threat since military rulers bulldozed highways through the region nearly five decades ago, leaving behind a trail of death and environmental destruction.

New Project in East Africa to Boost Investigations of Conservation, Wildlife Issues
Earth Journalism Network, 26 July 2019
Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is joining forces with Internews’ Africa Program to launch our latest project: Increasing East African Media Coverage of Conservation and Wildlife Issues.
This work comes at a time when global biodiversity is facing severe threats from environmental change and degradation and an increase in poaching has allowed the illegal wildlife trade to thrive. These threats are particularly severe in parts of Africa native to species, such as elephants, rhinos and pangolins that are in high demand for their meat or parts.

27 July 2019

The Arctic’s on fire and now it’s going to be hit by a heat wave
By E.A. Crunden, ThinkProgress, 27 July 2019
Europe’s historic heat wave is heading north this weekend, to the relief of the continent, but its path will send it right towards the Arctic — where it could speed up the melting of sea ice and coincide with devastating wildfires.
Unprecedented wildfires are currently raging across the Arctic Circle, with some the size of 100,000 football fields — so big they can be seen from space. Arctic sea ice is moreover already running at a record low this year; scientists worry a heat wave will only further exacerbate the area’s problems.

Climate change warning as Arctic Circle burning at record rate
By Alex Luhn, The Telegraph, 27 July 2019
An unprecedented outbreak of wildfires in the Arctic has sent smoke across Eurasia and released more carbon dioxide in two months than the Czech Republic or Belgium does in a year.
As 44C heatwaves struck Europe, scientists observed more than 100 long-lasting, intense fires in the Arctic in June, the hottest month on record, and are seeing even more in July, according to Mark Parrington of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

28 July 2019

[Australia] Qantas points push sees green flyers take off
By Patrick Hatch, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 2019
Qantas passengers are choosing to offset the carbon emissions from their flights in greater numbers after the airline started offering a generous loyalty point bonus to those who pay to fly green.
As the aviation industry globally tries to address it large environmental footprint, Qantas in early July started giving passengers 10 loyalty points for every dollar they spend offsetting their trips.

Deforestation in the Amazon is shooting up, but Brazil’s president calls the data ‘a lie’
By Herton Escobar, Science, 28 July 2019
Deforestation is shooting up again in the Brazilian Amazon, according to satellite monitoring data. But Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, whom many blame for the uptick, has disputed the trend and attacked the credibility of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which produced the data. Bolsonaro called the numbers “a lie” during a 19 July breakfast talk with journalists, and suggested INPE Director Ricardo Galvão was “at the service of some [nongovernmental organization].” “With all the devastation you accuse us of doing and having done in the past, the Amazon would be extinguished already,” he said.

Amazon gold miners invade indigenous village in Brazil after its leader is killed
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 28 July 2019
Dozens of gold miners have invaded a remote indigenous reserve in the Brazilian Amazon where a local leader was stabbed to death and have taken over a village after the community fled in fear, local politicians and indigenous leaders said. The authorities said police were on their way to investigate.
Illegal gold mining is at epidemic proportions in the Amazon and the heavily polluting activities of garimpeiros – as miners are called – devastate forests and poison rivers with mercury. About 50 garimpeiros were reported to have invaded the 600,000-hectare Waiãpi indigenous reserve in the state of Amapá on Saturday.

The Guardian view on Amazon deforestation: Europe must act to prevent disaster
The Guardian, 28 July 2019
If there is a glimmer of light amid the darkness of recent reports from the Brazilian Amazon, where deforestation is accelerating along with threats to the indigenous people who live there, it could lie in the growing power of climate diplomacy, combined with increased understanding of the crucial role played by trees in our planet’s climate system. The deal agreed a month ago between the EU and the Mercosur bloc of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay (Venezuela is suspended) enhances European leverage with its South American trading partners. Already, the prize of access to EU markets is credited with having convinced Brazil not to follow Donald Trump’s lead by withdrawing from the Paris climate deal. Now the EU must strengthen its environmental commitments, as a letter from 600 scientists demanded before the deal was agreed.

Under Brazil’s Far Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall
By Letícia Casado and Ernesto Londoño, New York Times, 28 July 2019
The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.
Protecting the Amazon was at the heart of Brazil’s environmental policy for much of the past two decades. At one point, Brazil’s success in slowing the deforestation rate made it an international example of conservation and the effort to fight climate change.

 

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