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REDD in the news: 26 August – 1 September 2019

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

26 August 2019

How can blockchain technology optimise Incoterms® 2020?
International Chamber of Commerce, 26 August 2019
Dorjee Sun, CEO and co-founder of Perlin, discusses the benefits of blockchain technology for Incoterms®2020 and the future of trade with ICC.
Over the past decade, digital technology and climate change have shaped international trade. Not too many business leaders can say that they have been at the forefront of both these movements.
Dorjee Sun, CEO and co-founder of Perlin, can.

It takes a community to map a forest
UN environment, 26 August 2019
Noar Natolo and Scovia Bulyaba are carpet weavers and members of the Nagoje community living in Mabira Forest, in Uganda. To supplement their income, they collect palm leaves from the forest and weave carpets that are later dyed with local natural products.
The forest that supplies these women with palm leaves also provides them with water, medicine and wood for fuel.

What Would It Really Take to Plant a Trillion Trees?
By Tim Christopherson, IPS, 26 August 2019
Tree planting is capturing the minds of those who look for fast climate action. Earlier this month, the Ethiopian Government announced a new world record: thousands of volunteers planted 353 million trees in one single day. This came shortly after a team of scientists identified suitable places in the world where up to 1 trillion new trees could be planted. Such a massive effort could absorb about 20 years’ worth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Q&A: Is Agriculture the Answer to Climate Change?
By Brian Barth, Modern Farmer, 26 August 2019
David Perry, the CEO of Indigo Ag—a company offering farmers cash for carbon sequestration—is betting on it.
In the popular imagination, solutions to climate change are often boiled down to reducing fossil fuel use and investing in alternative energy. Some would add underground carbon storage schemes or geoengineering techniques to the list, and perhaps tack on conserving forests and planting trees, as everyone knows this is nature’s way of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

It’s not just Brazil’s Amazon that is on fire, Bolivia is facing its own disaster – video
Reuters, 26 August 2019
As the world turns its attention to the fires in Brazil’s Amazon, wild fires are wreaking havoc on neighbouring Bolivia. Intense blazes have burned unabated across vast swathes of hilly tropical forest and savannah near Bolivia’s border with Paraguay and Brazil. At least 1 million hectares, or approximately 3,800 square miles, have been impacted. Bolivian president Evo Morales refused international help to battle the fires for weeks but has since changed his position.

If Carbon Offsets Require Forests to Stay Standing, What Happens When the Amazon Is on Fire?
By Lisa Song and Paul Moura, ProPublica, 26 August 2019
Next month, California regulators will decide whether to support a plan for tropical forest carbon offsets, a controversial measure that could allow companies like Chevron, which is headquartered there, to write off some of their greenhouse gas emissions by paying people in countries like Brazil to preserve trees. The Amazon rainforest has long been viewed as a natural testing ground for this proposed Tropical Forest Standard, which, if approved, would likely expand to countries throughout the world.

The Amazon is on fire — indigenous rights can help put it out
By Naomi Klein, Boston Globe, 26 August 2019
It was an epic case of projection. Lashing out at the attacks on his Amazon-incinerating policies, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused French President Emmanuel Macron of having a “colonial mindset.”
The not even vaguely funny joke is that it is Bolsonaro who has unleashed a wave of unmasked colonial violence inside his country. This is a politician who came to power railing against indigenous people, casting their land rights as an unacceptable barrier to development in the Amazon, where cultures intrinsically linked to the rainforest have consistently resisted mega projects and the expanding frontier of agribusiness. “If I become president there will not be a centimeter more of indigenous land,” he said, while ominously declaring that “we’re going to give a rifle and a carry permit to every farmer.”

Fires are devouring the Amazon. And Jair Bolsonaro is to blame
By David Miranda, The Guardian, 26 August 2019
As the world watches in horror and terror as the Amazon burns, scientists have made clear that the cause, principally if not entirely, is human activity.
Here in Brazil, that human activity has human names and faces: those of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his extremist Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles. They have not merely permitted these devastating fires, but have encouraged and fueled them.

G7 leaders agree plan to help Amazon countries fight wildfires
The Guardian, 26 August 2019
The G7 countries have agreed to an immediate $20m (£18m) aid package to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.
The announcement came from French president Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year’s meeting of G7 leaders, and the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Macron said that the Amazon represents the “lungs” of the planet and that leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

G7 offers emergency aid to fight Amazon forest fires
By Crispian Balmer and Jamie McGeever, Reuters, 26 August 2019
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations on Monday offered $20 million of emergency aid to help battle wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, a gesture Brazil slammed as colonialist.
Despite record wildfires in the Amazon and President Jair Bolsonaro previously saying his government lacked the money to fight the blazes, it was not clear if Brazil would accept the G7 offer amid growing international concern.

G7 cash for Amazon fires is ‘chump change’, say campaigners
By Jonathan Watts and Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 26 August 2019
The G7’s pledge of $20m (£16m) to douse the fires in the Amazon has been dismissed as “chump change” by environmental campaigners, as concerns grow about political cooperation on deforestation and other climate issues.
The summit host, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, told reporters he would try to deal with the long-term causes by creating an international alliance to save the rainforest, with details of a reforestation programme to be unveiled at next month’s UN climate meeting in New York.

Nasa detects ominous plume of carbon monoxide from Amazon rainforest wildfires
By Jasper Hamill, Metro, 26 August 2019
Nasa has detected a gigantic ‘plume’ of carbon monoxide gushing from fires in the Amazon rainforest. It’s released new data and a graphic showing the movements of a huge cloud of gas which ‘plays a role in both air pollution and climate change’. The invisible menace rose from the blazes currently roaring through forests in Brazil and soared to 5,500 metres.

The Real Reason the Amazon is on Fire
By Zoe Sullivan, Time, 26 August 2019
On the afternoon of Aug. 19, the sky over São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, went dark. A cold front combined with ash from forest fires in the Amazon rainforest and formed ominous clouds that blocked out the sun. Photos of the blackened sky began to pop on Twitter, and soon the world was paying attention to the blazes rampaging across the forest called “the lungs of the world.” Many blame President Jair Bolsonaro’s rhetoric as the central factor in the crisis. Less obvious are the ways the conflagration stems from years of slashing government budgets for the environment and dismantling support for indigenous and traditional subsistence communities.

Côte d’Ivoire wants to increase plant cover to 20% by 2040, from current 11%
EcoFin Agency, 26 August 2019
The Ivorian government set itself a goal of planting as many trees as possible on its territory to achieve a 20% vegetation cover by 2040. With the current 11%, Côte d’Ivoire is one of the world’s forest-poor countries.
In the 1960s, this West African nation had 16 million ha of forests but now it only has about 2.5 million ha. The destruction of the vegetation cover was sped up by agriculture (62%), logging activity (18%) and construction of infrastructures (10%). Aware of the looming dangers of a further deforestation, the Ivorian authorities want to reverse the situation by planting more trees to recover 6 million ha of forest over the next 20 years.

Study finds CO2 price of 50 euros per tonne would be ‘socially balanced’ for Germany
By Benjamin Wehrmann, Clean Energy Wire, 26 August 2019
Putting a price of 50 euros per tonne on carbon emissions would allow for a “socially balanced” climate policy in Germany, a study commissioned by the Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende think tanks has found. “Social balance is achieved by repaying all of the earnings to citizens. Low-income households on balance will even be better off,” the think tanks say.

[Indonesia] Forest fires burn 2,200 ha in Jambi, threatening carbon trade deal
By Jon Afrizal, The Jakarta Post, 26 August 2019
Forest fires in Jambi province over the past month have burned an estimated 2,200 hectares of land, leading to concerns that they will derail the province’s attempts to get funding from a carbon trade deal. The Jambi regional administration has initiated a carbon trade partnership with the World Bank under the project Bio Carbon Fund (BioCF), the fires however may disrupt this partnership. Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI Warsi) director Rudy Syaf said that forest fires had occurred from July until August, with around 60 to 70 percent of the burned area being peatland. “With regard to carbon trading the government must properly measure the amount of carbon emissions in Jambi province,” Rudy said.[R-M: Subscription needed.]

Indonesia announces site of capital city to replace sinking Jakarta
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 26 August 2019
Indonesia has announced plans to move its capital from the climate-threatened megalopolis of Jakarta to the sparsely populated island of Borneo, which is home to some of the world’s greatest tropical rainforests.
President Joko Widodo said the move was necessary because the burden on Jakarta was “too heavy”, but environmentalists said the $33bn relocation needed to be carefully handled or it would result in fleeing one ecological disaster only to create another.

Kenya has potential to become the largest green energy exporter
By Kizito Temba, Standard Digital, 26 August 2019
The Lake Turkana Wind Power project was officially launched last month, becoming the largest project of its kind on the continent and a brilliant example of Kenyan potential in the energy sector.
Indeed, we are on track to fully level up green energy production by 2020. Along with being an important environmental achievement, our expertise in this area can transform our greatest domestic asset into a tool of global importance.

United Kingdom pledges to double contribution to Green Climate Fund
Green Climate Fund, 26 August 2019
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) welcomes today’s announcement that the United Kingdom will contribute GBP 1.44 billion to the Green Climate Fund. The announcement was made by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 Summit currently taking place in Biarritz, France.
After the announcement, UK Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom commented: “The Green Climate Fund has supported millions of people in developing countries deal with the impacts of a changing climate. I’m really proud to announce that we are doubling our contribution and continue to work with other nations to tackle this global issue.”

[USA] Whoops! California’s carbon offsets program could extend the life of coal mines.
By James Temple, MIT Technology Review, 26 August 2019
A California program to curb climate emissions could have the unintended effect of extending the life of coal mines or encouraging farmers to switch to crops that produce far more greenhouse gases.
The risk of such perverse incentives in the state’s fledgling carbon offsets program is among the most alarming findings in a new paper by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford and other institutions. And it’s just the latest evidence that such schemes can grossly inflate the emissions reductions achieved, or even inadvertently boost total climate pollution.

[USA] Donald Trump skips G7 talks on climate crisis and Amazon fires
By Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 26 August 2019
The US president, Donald Trump, did not attend Monday’s crucial discussion on climate and biodiversity at the G7 meeting of international leaders in Biarritz, missing talks on how to deal with the Amazon rainforest fires as well as new ways to cut carbon emissions.
Reporters noticed at the start of the session that Trump’s chair was empty.

27 August 2019

Satellite-based estimates of reduced deforestation in protected areas needed
University of Helsinki press release, 27 August 2019
In the context of progressing towards new targets for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the debate remains on whether the emphasis should be on protected area coverage or protected area effectiveness. “It is worrying that we still know so little about how effective protected areas are, especially in relation to management inputs,” says Dr. Johanna Eklund from the University of Helsinki.

Tree loss brings more warming as world heats
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 27 August 2019
As global temperatures soar, tree loss will mean the world’s forests may no longer be able to function fully as safe stores for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Forests play a key role in the effort to contain climate change driven by human combustion of fossil fuels. But as the Arctic burns and fires race through the Amazon forest four new studies cast doubt on whether the planetary canopy can keep up.
The boreal forests of the north-west territories of Canada are home to vast tracts of spruce and other conifers: they cover soils so rich in carbon that a square metre could hold 75 kilograms of life’s most vital element.

Flight shame: can airlines ever reduce their emissions?
By Janina Conboye and Leslie Hook, The Financial Times, 27 August 2019
When cyclist Anna Hughes stopped flying 10 years ago, it seemed like a radical idea. But now the founder of Flight Free UK has convinced thousands of people to join her in her bid to mitigate the climate impact of air travel.
Her campaign is just one part of a no-fly movement that is spreading rapidly across Europe and has given birth to a new phrase: flygskam, or Swedish for flight-shame, which means feeling guilty about jetting off on vacation.

Bolivia: catastrophic wildfires devastate forest in echo of Brazil’s Amazon crisis
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 27 August 2019
As fires continue to rage in Brazil, nearly a million hectares (2.5m acres) of farmland and unique dry forest have been destroyed by weeks of blazes across the border in Bolivia, where the flames have now reached the country’s Amazon region.
Initial estimates indicate 600 hectares of rainforest have been destroyed in the north-eastern region of Bení, where the fires now threaten indigenous populations.

The Amazon rainforest’s worst-case scenario is uncomfortably near
By Umair Irfan, Vox 27 August 2019
The Amazon rainforest is still burning.
Blazes have been torching the world’s largest tropical forest for three weeks now. French President Emmanuel Macron called it an “international crisis” and put the fires on the agenda of the G7 meeting over the weekend, triggering a diplomatic spat with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. G7 countries promised €20 million in aid for the rainforest, which Bolsonaro said Tuesday he would reject.

Amazon rainforest fires: Brazil to reject $20m pledged by G7
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 27 August 2019
A senior Brazilian official has told Emmanuel Macron to take care of “his home and his colonies” as Brazil rejected an offer from G7 countries of $20m (£16m) to help fight fires in the Amazon.
“We appreciate [the offer], but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, the chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news website.

Michael Shellenberger’s sloppy Forbes diatribe deceives on Amazon fires
By Rhett A. Butler, Mongabay, 27 August 2019
I understand the desire to correct misinformation that proliferates in the aftermath of breaking news events. And I understand the frustration of sensationalist headlines that mislead readers. But columnist Michael Shellenberger’s attempt in Forbes to correct the record on fires burning in the Brazilian Amazon was sloppy at best, and deceiving at worst.

Media reaction: Amazon fires and climate change
CarbonBrief, 27 August 2019
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of fires have been recorded across the Amazon rainforest, with dramatic images and statistics reported daily across the world’s media.
Both the scale of the fires and the erratic response from Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have garnered attention, with politicians, newspapers and commentators all weighing in on how events are playing out.

[Russia] Massive Siberian forest fire could melt permafrost, freeing massive methane stores
By Nicole Karlis, Salon, 27 August 2019
It is not just the Amazon rainforest that is burning. More than 21,000 square miles of forest caught on fire in Siberia this month. That means that Russia is on track for its worst year on record for wildfires.
Since July, wildfires have been spreading in northern Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Sakha Republic, and in Zabaykalsky Krai, where the fires began. At the end of the month, the Siberian forest fire stretched across 6.4 million acres.

Russia fires: Panic as 91 separate forest fires rage – Putin declares state of emergency
By Simon Osborne, Express, 27 August 2019
Officials from the Aerial Forest Protection Service (AFPS) said more than 90 separate wildfires had been registered in territory covering 43,300 hectares. An AFPS spokesman said 1,200 personnel from 133 fire units had been deployed to combat the fires. He said firefighters had extinguished 36 wildfires in the past 24 hours.

[USA] Air Travel’s Carbon Footprint Takes A Big Environmental Toll In Hawaii
By Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat, 27 August 2019
When a tourist flies into Honolulu from the West Coast, that one trip might not seem like a massive environmental problem. In terms of carbon emissions, it’s the equivalent of driving 710 miles — about the distance from L.A. to San Francisco and back.
But the cumulative impact of tourists flying to and from Hawaii is enormous.

28 August 2019

Leaders of the future: Shaking up old school ideas on learning about tropical forestry
By Ahtziri Gonzalez, CIFOR Forests News, 28 August 2019
For young people in sub-Saharan Africa, studying in Europe or the United States is an aspiration within reach of only a privileged few — those with adequate financial resources or the tenacity to prevail over grueling admission requirements, lengthy visa applications and excruciating scholarship qualifications.

Deforestation, desertification and climate solutions
By Chandra Bhushan, Financial Express, 28 August 2019
The one thing that worries climate scientists the most is the positive feedback loop. This is a process where changing one quantity changes the second one, and the change in the second quantity, in turn, changes the first. Scientists fear that a positive feedback loop will lead to a tipping point, beyond which the climate crisis may spiral out of control.

Shades of REDD+: New Series to Explore History and Future of Forest Finance
By Charlotte Streck and Donna Lee, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 August 2019
The Amazon is burning again, and the fires are both a cause and a consequence of climate change.
On the causal front, they’re being set by farmers to clear land for cattle and soybeans. On the consequential front, they’re being set at a time when the Amazon no longer serves as a firewall.
Put another way: past actions have made the forest vulnerable to fire, because healthy forests are moist and relatively fire-resistant, while today’s forests are not.

African grasslands are meant to burn – we can’t let this distract from the Amazon fires
By Colin Beale, The Conversation, 28 August 2019
Catastrophic fires in the Amazon rainforest made global headlines, but since then NASA has noted that right now there are actually many more fires in parts of Africa than in Brazil.
This has led some to question whether double standards are being applied – are we either ignoring an even larger environmental disaster in Africa, or are the Amazon fires being highlighted as a handy way to criticise a Brazilian leader already unpopular among environmentalists?

‘Worst of wildfires still to come’ despite Brazil claiming crisis is under control
By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 28 August 2019
The fires raging in the Brazilian Amazon are likely to intensify over the coming weeks, a leading environmental expert has warned, despite government claims the situation had been controlled.
About 80,000 blazes have been detected in Brazil this year – more than half in the Amazon region – although on Saturday the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, claimed the situation was “returning to normal”.

Is footwear funding the burning of the Amazon?
By Rachel Ceransky, Vogue, 28 August 2019
The satellite pictures convey the magnitude of ongoing fires in the Amazon and even residents of São Paulo, thousands of miles away, can describe the intensity of the heat. Fires in the Amazon rainforest are up more than 80 per cent year-on-year, with half of them reportedly started in the last month. For many, the horrific scenes might seem a world away. And while the factors that led to the fires are complex, the footwear industry is partly responsible.

Amazon fires: Brazil governors push Bolsonaro to accept aid
BBC News, 28 August 2019
The governors of the nine Brazilian states most affected by a record number of fires since 2010 have urged President Jair Bolsonaro to accept foreign aid to fight the blazes.
Mr Bolsonaro had earlier refused a G7 offer of $22m (£18m) following a spat with French President Emmanuel Macron.
But following a meeting between the governors and Mr Bolsonaro, the government shifted its position on aid.
It said it would accept it as long as it had control of what to spend it on.

French-Israeli man extradited to France to face charges for massive tax fraud
Times of Israel, 28 August 019
A French-Israeli dual national was extradited from Israel to France on Wednesday to face charges over a vast tax fraud dubbed by French media as “the scam of the century,” in which he is suspected of concealing from French authorities some €51 million (roughly $57 million).
Michael Aknin, 39, allegedly ran several companies together with an accomplice, with the intention of carrying out large-scale tax fraud in 2008 and 2009.

‘We have cut them all’: Ghana struggles to protect its last old-growth forests
By Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda, Mongabay, 28 August 2019
The West African country of Ghana is known for having rich natural resources including vast tracts of rainforest. But its primary forest has all but vanished, with what remains generally relegated to reserves scattered throughout the country’s southern third.
These reserves are under official protection. However, that hasn’t stopped logging and other illegal activities from deforesting them.

[India] Agreement signed by ICFRE & ICIMOD to extend REDD+ Himalaya Project
The Pioneer, 28 August 2019
The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in 2015 agreed for implementation of the trans-boundary landscape project titled ‘REDD+ Himalaya: Developing and using experience in implementing REDD+ in the Himalaya’ in Hindu Kush Himalayan part of India. The project mainly focused on capacity building, technology sharing and knowledge dissemination on REDD+ through South-South cooperation.

[Peru] New road risks Pandora’s box of disruption in world’s most biodiverse national park
By William Laurance and Penny van Oosterzee, Mongabay 28 August 2019
The riot of roads exploding across our planet—bringing with it waves of habitat destruction and biodiversity loss—at times seems almost unstoppable.
But there are some places so special and biologically irreplaceable, such as Manu National Park in Peru, that should remain free of the Pandora’s box of disruption that roads bring.

[USA] How California Can Help Save Brazil’s Burning Rainforests
By Eric Roston, Bloomberg, 28 August 2019
Brazilian farmers suspected of setting thousands of fires in the rainforest could instead find themselves being paid to preserve trees rather than burn them down — with money from California.

29 August 2019

Entering the no-fly zone
By Jennifer Rudd, Chemistry World, 29 August 2019
Until recently, I really enjoyed flying. I love to travel, and flying allowed me to explore the world with ease. The rise of budget airlines and new airports meant that no destination felt out of reach. Flying seemed essential to my career too, as I travelled to conferences and made valuable face-to-face contacts.

Plentiful renewable energy awaits the world
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 29 August 2019
US and European researchers have shown the way to an era of cheap and plentiful renewable energy on a massive scale.
Canadian scientists have worked out how to extract pure, non-polluting fuel from spent or unexploited oil wells at a fraction of the cost of gasoline.
And British and Danish scholars have worked out that, in principle, Europe could generate enough onshore wind energy to supply the whole world until 2050.

Seaweed ‘forests’ can help fight climate change
By Todd Woody, National Geographic, 29 August 2019
As the Amazon burns, there’s growing interest in cultivating forests that absorb planet-warming carbon emissions, but that are fireproof.
That’s because these forests are underwater.
An increasing body of research is documenting the potential of seaweed farming to counter climate change as deforestation decimates rainforests and other crucial carbon sinks. Fast-growing oceanic jungles of kelp and other macroalgae are highly efficient at storing carbon. Seaweed also ameliorates acidification, deoxygenation, and other marine impacts of global warming that threaten the biodiversity of the seas and the source of food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.

WWF calls for urgently increased funding for climate action
By Mark Lutes, WWF, 29 August 2019
This week, efforts to ensure the Green Climate Fund has sufficient resources to carry out its mission over the next few years are shifting into high gear. In the past few days, the UK, France and Canada have announced their intended contributions, adding to last year’s trend-setting announcements by Germany and Norway.
The Green Climate Fund, established in 2010 under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is a global fund created to support developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. As its funds to do this are depleted, replenishment is needed.

Feedback, Grievance, and Redress Mechanism is Developed for the Belize REDD+ Project
Breaking Belize News, 29 August 2019
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI), through the National Climate Change Office, is implementing the REDD+ Readiness Preparation Project.

These Scientists Know How Bad The Amazon Fires Could Get. They Saw It Burn 20 Years Ago
By Zahra Kirji, BuzzFeed.News, 29 August 2019
Standing on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in the early 2000s, Douglas Morton looked out at an “apocalyptic” scene: charred vegetation at his feet, smoke filling the skies in all directions, and an orange haze hanging in the air.
The source of all the destruction, and the motivation for Morton’s trips back there year after year, was rampant deforestation. Morton, now a NASA scientist, was then one of the researchers figuring out how to better use satellites for monitoring deforestation.

Who Can Really Stop The Amazon Fires?
By Justin Adams, Forbes, 29 August 2019
Toxic smoke darkened São Paulo’s afternoon sky. Satellites traced it to over 70,000 fires a big increase from the last few years. Heads of state warned the “rain forest – the lungs of our planet – is on fire.” Social media exploded with apocalyptic images and pleas to “Save the Amazon.”
We cannot let this opportunity to raise awareness and stop forest loss slip away. But equally we need to really understand what is causing the fires to know how best to act. That requires that we understand and support the needs of the farmers and local communities who sit at the base of all food supply chains globally.

Brazil: fears for isolated Amazon tribes as fires erupt on protected reserves
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 29 August 2019
Fires have been reported in protected indigenous reserves of the Brazilian Amazon, raising fears that loggers and land grabbers have targeted these remote areas during the dramatic surge in blazes across the world’s biggest rainforest.
Blazes have been seen on the Araribóia indigenous reserve in Maranhão state – a heavily deforested reserve on the Amazon’s eastern fringes, which is home to about 80 people from an isolated group of Awá indigenous people, described by the NGO Survival International as the world’s most endangered tribe.

The Chain: Amazon Fires Highlight the Need for Stricter Execution of Corporate Zero-Deforestation Policies
Chain Reaction Research, 29 August 2019
High deforestation rates in Brazil and massive fires in the Amazon have put agricultural companies operating in the country and their investors in the spotlight. Agricultural supply chains are key drivers of deforestation, with cattle and soy playing major roles. With agricultural expansion taking place in Brazil and environmental regulations having been loosened there since 2012, current conditions point to the need for stricter execution of zero-deforestation commitments for actors along commodity supply chains, including producers, traders, FMCGs, and retailers. Companies are also under pressure to curb purchasing or producing agricultural commodities connected to legal deforestation.

The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon
By Glenn Hurowitz, Mat Jacobson, and Lucia von Reusner, Mighty Earth, 29 August 2019
The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, have captured the world’s conscience. Much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands.

Plea to address EU complicity in the Amazon fires
FERN, 29 August 2019
On August 29, twenty-six NGOs, have sent an open letter to European leaders urging them to end European complicity in the fires raging in the Amazon.

Indonesian police investigate palm oil companies over forest fires – ministry
By Bernadette Christina, Reuters, 29 August 2019
Indonesian police are investigating three palm oil companies on suspicion of starting fires on Borneo island, where environmentalists say extensive deforestation has occurred to make way for plantations, a government ministry said.
The Ministry of the Environment and Forests is also investigating 24 other companies on Borneo and Sumatra island in connection with fires in their concession area, Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministry’s director general for law enforcement, told reporters.

[Thailand] Forest row begs solution
Bangkok Post, 29 August 2019
For over four decades, Bo Kaew villagers in Chaiyaphum’s Kon San district have been haunted by the spectre of eviction, as the Forest Industry Organisation (FIO) battles to turn their land into eucalyptus plantations.
Villagers say their claim to the land is supported by records dating back to 1953. These documents are evidence that their settlements existed before the area became a forest reserve in 1973 and the FIO was granted a state concession for a 4,000-rai plantation. Villagers have faced eviction threats in various forms ever since.

[UK] Fraudster appeals £2.4m carbon credit scheme sentence
By Hope William-Smith, Money Marketing, 29 August 2019
The Crown Prosecution Service is unable to file for the extradition of carbon credit scheme fraudster Sami Raja while he appeals his sentencing and conviction.
The Essex man was sentenced to eight years behind bars in January after he was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

30 August 2019

As More People Buy Carbon Offsets, Criticisms Mount
By Stephen Lacey, GreenTechMedia, 30 August 2019
With flight shame growing in popularity, extreme weather intensifying and the Amazon burning, there’s more demand than ever for carbon offsets to assuage our guilt and make us feel like we’re doing something.
But those credits may not be doing what you think they are — or anything at all.
This week, we’re discussing the complicated and frustrating world of carbon offsets. There’s a reason why even the United Nations is now calling out their limitations.

Don’t dismiss regenerated forests as ‘green deserts’, scientists say
By Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 30 August 2019
Replanted forests and those left to recover after logging activities can preserve vital insect and plant life in a similar way to old-growth forests, scientists have found, as interest grows in expanding the world’s forests to curb climate change.
A 13-year study led by researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou city examined the diversity of beetle and shrub species in different forest types across China.
The scientists found little difference in biodiversity between replanted, naturally re-grown and undisturbed forests.

Biochar: A better start to rain forest restoration
By Alicia Roberts, Wake Forest University, 30 August 2019
An indigenous farming technique that’s been around for thousands of years provides the basis for restoring rain forests stripped clear of trees by gold mining and other threats.
A carbon-based soil amendment called biochar is a cheap and effective way to support tree seedling survival during reforestation efforts in the Amazon rain forest, according to new research from Wake Forest University’s Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation (CINCIA).

[Australia] Qantas unable to meet council’s demands in carbon-offset deal
By Howard Salkow, Newsport, 30 August 2019
Eighteen months of discussions between Douglas Shire Council and Qantas were literally washed away when additional and unacceptable requests were made during negotiations into a Healthy Reef Partnership forcing any agreement to be stalled.
In a statement today to Newsport, an airline spokesperson said Qantas Future Planet “has been in discussions with Douglas Shire Council for the past 18 months, however, we have been unable to finalise an agreement.

The Amazon in Brazil is on fire – how bad is it?
By Lucy Rodgers, Nassos Stylianou, Clara Guibourg, Mike Hills and Dominic Bailey, BBC News, 30 August 2019
Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade.
The northern states of Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected.
Huge fires have also been burning across the border in Bolivia, devastating swaths of the country’s tropical forest and savannah.

Amazon fires ‘extraordinarily concerning’, warns UN biodiversity chief
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 30 August 2019
The fires in the Amazon are “extraordinarily concerning” for the planet’s natural life support systems, the head of the UN’s top biodiversity body has said in a call for countries, companies and consumers to build a new relationship with nature.
Cristiana Paşca Palmer, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said the destruction of the world’s biggest rainforest was a grim reminder that a fresh approach was needed to stabilise the climate and prevent ecosystems from declining to a point of no return, with dire consequences for humanity.

Five myths about tropical rainforests
By Mikaela Weisse, The Washington Post, 30 August 2019
Thousands of fires are burning in the Amazon, eliciting panic around the world and offers of help from the Group of Seven meeting last weekend. Tropical rainforests cover only 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they have an outsize impact on providing habitat, storing carbon and regulating the flow of water. From the “Save the Rainforest” T-shirts of the 1990s to the sci-fi movie “Avatar,” these areas have come to symbolize the abundance of the natural world — and its vulnerability. But misconceptions about rainforests abound.

The Amazon rainforest is burning, but it is food price profiteering that really swings the axe
By Inger Andersen, The Independent, 30 August 2019
The Amazon rainforest, this wonder of nature sprawling across nine countries in Latin America, holds a special place on this planet.
Faced with stark climate and biodiversity crises, we cannot afford more damage to it – or to human health from the haze that hangs over communities and cities. We must help Brazil extinguish these fires and offer long-term support to prevent further illegal deforestation.

Why it’s been so lucrative to destroy the Amazon rainforest
By Umair Irfan, Vox, 30 August 2019
The recent alarming fires in the Amazon rainforest raised the perennial concern of how to protect something that has value to the whole world but is contained within the borders of a few countries.
It’s a discussion that’s now been bogged down with petty squabbles. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro initially said on Tuesday he would reject a roughly $20 million aid package from G7 countries intended to help fight a surge of fires across the Amazon rainforest. He later said that we would accept the offer if French President Emmanuel Macron apologized for criticizing his handling of the fires.

Canada sees 1.8 million hectares of land burned by forest fires this year
Xinhua, 30 August 2019
Canada has seen a total of 1.8 million hectares of land burned by forest fires so far this year, CTV reported on Thursday.
A total of 254 forest fires were being fought and 75 others monitored in Canada as of Wednesday afternoon. More than half of those fires were in British Columbia province, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

Short-sellers eye EU carbon market in anticipation of no-deal Brexit
by Nikou Asgari, Financial Times, 30 August 2019
Speculators are hoping to reap a windfall by shorting the EU carbon market as traders bet that prices will be hit in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Carbon credits, introduced by the EU to combat pollution by companies in the bloc, rallied last month to a 10-year high of nearly €30 a tonne after European policymakers moved to tighten supplies to boost a broad environmental push. But since Boris Johnson became UK prime minister, the price of one credit has slid to €26.

Corporations pile pressure on Brazil over Amazon fires
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 30 August 2019
Financial pressure is growing on Brazil over fires in the Amazon and the far-right president’s belligerent response to them.
Asset managers, pension funds and companies have issued warnings, halted deals and stopped purchases of government bonds.
The US clothing company VF Corporation, which is behind brands including Timberland, Kipling bags and The North Face, has suspended Brazilian leather purchases, and Norway’s two biggest investors have warned global companies against contributing to environmental damage.

German ministry says airlines should pay fair price for CO2 emissions
By Thomas Escritt, Reuters, 30 August 2019
The German government wants to ensure that airlines pay a fair price for the carbon emissions for which their industry is responsible, an environment ministry spokesman said on Friday, adding that flights could not remain cheaper than train travel.
Earlier, Alexander Dobrindt, parliamentary leader of a Bavarian conservative party that is allied with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats had called in an interview with newspaper Bild for punitive tariffs to be imposed on flights costing less than 50 euros.

[Indonesia] What it takes to put out forest fires
By Bambang Hero Saharjo, The Conversation, 30 August 2019
In Brazil, the world’s largest tropical rainforest is burning. Indonesia is home to the third-largest tropical forest and this too is burning in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Recently, a member of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Fire Fighter Task Force, or Manggala Agni, was killed by a falling tree while trying to extinguish fires in Jambi province.

[New Zealand] Wairarapa community fear for survival after large farm sold to Swiss company
1NewsNow, 30 August 2019
A Wairarapa community fears for its survival following the sale of a large farm to a Swiss company that plans to convert about a quarter of it into forestry.
Lagoon Hill Station, near Martinborough, spans 4000 hectares and belonged to Sir Michael Fay, one of New Zealand’s richest men.

[USA] What do fires in the Amazon have to do with California? More than you might think
By Stephan Schwartzman, Sacramento Bee, 30 August 2019
“Coming soon to a rainforest near you: Apocalypse Now – Amazônia,” reads the meme. The picture is of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro – the so called “Tropical Trump” – and his Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles. Those who have seen the footage of fires raging in the rainforest understand that this is no joke. Fortunately, California is likely better positioned to help stop the apocalypse than anyplace else.

31 August 2019

It’s Not Just Fires. Your Phone Is Also Destroying The Amazon.
By Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed.News, 31 August 2019
The wildfires ripping through the Amazon have drawn the world’s attention to the destruction of the “lungs of the planet.” Many scientists believe cattle ranchers clearing land caused the flames, spurring groups around the world — including the government of Finland — to call for a boycott of Brazilian beef. But to boycott all of the products damaging the Amazon, you’d have to do much more than give up steak. You’d have to toss out your phone, laptop, wedding band, and anything else with gold in it.

Do the Brazil Amazon fires justify environmental interventionism?
By Lawrence Douglas, The Guardian, 31 August 2019
The horrific destruction of the Amazon rainforest under Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, raises a pressing question for the world community: do the prerogatives of sovereignty entitle a nation to destroy resources within its territorial control, when this destruction has global environmental consequences? The answer delivered by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, at the G7 summit is an emphatic no. It is time for the international community to build on Macron’s lead and to recognize a right to environmental intervention patterned on the notion of humanitarian intervention.

Fires in Amazon rainforest are being fuelled by US-China trade war, experts say
By Simone McCarthy, South China Morning Post, 31 August 2019
The overhaul of global supply chains precipitated by the US-China trade war and China’s growing appetite for Brazilian beef are helping fuel the fires raging through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and other parts of the country, according to researchers and environmentalists.

1 September 2019

How Trump’s trade wars are fueling the Amazon fires
By Art Cullen, The Guardian, 1 September 2019
The so-called “lungs of the world” are belching smoke as farmers set out after 10 August in a “day of fires” to clear forest for grazing cattle and planting soybeans. The result was more than 10,000 new fires spreading in the Brazilian rainforest, kindled by drought that drives wildfires raging from Russia to Africa.
Brazilian deforestation is no act of non-government organizations, as the president, Jair Bolsonaro – who called himself “Captain Chainsaw” – absurdly claimed. He ran for president last year exhorting homesteaders to stake their claim by cutting or burning. They scoff at scientists and outsiders alarmed that the planet could cook that much faster if the rain forest is torched, and have openly stated their goals shielded in sovereignty.

[USA] New ‘California effect’ could save rain forest
By Daniel Nepstad, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 September 2019
News and images of fires scorching Brazil’s Amazon have people around the world asking what they can do to protect the planet’s largest tropical forest. If you live in California, you can take pride in knowing your government has forged stronger partnerships with governments of the Amazon than any other nation or state. These partnerships could be the key to putting out the fires and slowing the loss.

 

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