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REDD in the news: 23-29 September 2019

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

Nature-based solutions: A summary of announcements and developments during the UN Climate Action Summit and Climate Week
Nature4Climate, September 2019
“I think what is extraordinary is how far we have come in just two years, mainstreaming nature-based solutions. We’re also clearer than ever that nature is critical to solve the climate change. There is no pathway to 1.5 degrees without nature. The macro story is still really, really challenging. But you make change by joining the dots of all the different great initiatives, the great projects, and the wonderfully motivated individuals who are doing important work all around the world,” said Justin Adams, Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance.

23 September 2019

Saving the Planet Means Overthrowing the Ruling Elites
By Chris Hedges, Truth Dig, 23 September 2019
Friday’s climate strike by students across the globe will have no more impact than the mass mobilizations by women following the election of Donald Trump or the hundreds of thousands of protesters who took to the streets to denounce the Iraq War. This does not mean these protests should not have taken place. They should have. But such demonstrations need to be grounded in the bitter reality that in the corridors of power we do not count. If we lived in a democracy, which we do not, our aspirations, rights and demands, especially the demand that we confront the climate emergency, would have an impact. We would be able to vote representatives into power in government to carry out change. We would be able to demand environmental justice from the courts. We would be able to divert resources to the elimination of carbon emissions.

Climate summit pledges fall short, as big emitters skip ‘honest appraisal’
By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 23 September 2019
At a U.N. summit on accelerating action on climate change Monday, India promised a boost in its use of renewable power and Finland said it aims to become the first industrialized nation to absorb more carbon than it emits.
Pakistan, which has planted a billion trees in the last five years, pledged to add 10 billion in the next five, and Greece said it would ban single-use plastics by 2021 and phase out its use of the dirtiest coal by 2028.

UN Climate Summit paves the way for an ambitious and successful replenishment of the Green Climate Fund
Green Climate Fund, 23 September 2019
Calls from UN Secretary-General António Guterres to double contributions to the Green Climate Fund were met by ambitious pledges from many countries, led by Sweden’s doubling of their contribution to USD 852 million. The new pledges made at the UN Climate Summit have raised the replenishment total beyond USD 7.4 billion, with more contributions expected at the pledging conference in Paris on 24-25 October.

Extremes of global heat bring tipping points closer
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 23 September 2019
Urgent action on climate change will be costly. But inaction could be four or five times more expensive, according to new climate accounting: extremes of global heat are on the increase.
Submarine heatwaves happen three times more often that they did in 1980. Ocean warming events can devastate coral reefs and trigger even more damage from more intense acidification and oxygen loss in the seas, with disastrous consequences for fishery and seafood.

Planet satellites bolster FAO’s geospatial toolkit
Food and Agriculture Organisation, 23 September 2019
utting the world’s eyes in the skies to work to improve human lives and combat climate change is now easier thanks to an overhaul of the Food and Agriculture Organization’ innovative geospatial monitoring system.
A new version of SEPAL – System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring – has been developed that enables advanced forest monitoring from mobile phones. It also provides access to high-resolution data updated daily by a fleet of more than 190 satellites run by Planet, an integrated aerospace and data analytics company.

Can a burger help solve climate change?
By Tad Friend, The New Yorker, 23 September 2019
Cows are easy to love. Their eyes are a liquid brown, their noses inquisitive, their udders homely; small children thrill to their moo.
Most people like them even better dead. Americans eat three hamburgers a week, so serving beef at your cookout is as patriotic as buying a gun. When progressive Democrats proposed a Green New Deal, earlier this year, leading Republicans labelled it a plot to “take away your hamburgers.” The former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka characterized this plunder as “what Stalin dreamt about,” and Trump himself accused the Green New Deal of proposing to “permanently eliminate” cows. In fact, of course, its authors were merely advocating a sensible reduction in meat eating. Who would want to take away your hamburgers and eliminate cows?

The race to save rosewood
By Paolo Cerutti, CIFOR Forests News, 23 September 2019
Long hidden in the shadows of informal trade, an African tree species known locally as mukula is now under an international spotlight.
A decision by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to include Pterocarpus tinctorius in its Appendix II list of species will make it much harder for traders to profit from this fast-disappearing tree.

Money to burn
Global Witness, 23 September 2019
The burning of the Brazilian Amazon this summer illustrated in the most graphic way possible humanity’s war on the planet.
But such scenes play out every year in rainforests all around the world to make way for big agribusiness, away from the horrified stare of global television audiences. These forests are earth’s front-line defence against climate breakdown. One famous study published in 2017 estimated that forests and other ecosystems could make up more than a third of the total carbon mitigation by 2030 needed to limit global heating to a 2° Celsius rise.

Forests, Farms, and the Global Carbon Sink: How Developing Countries Put Forests on the Climate Agenda
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 23 September 2019
As a child of rubber tappers in the Brazilian Amazon, Chico Mendes saw how quickly the life-sustaining forest could disappear if soy farmers and cattle ranchers wanted the land for themselves. They didn’t harvest the trees for rubber or nuts, but chopped them down, burned them, and scraped them away.
Cattle ranching and soy farming, he concluded, didn’t create wealth; they merely shifted it from hundreds of forest people to a dozen or so ranch hands, over and over again, until hundreds became millions and the forest was no more.

[Bolivia] Evo Morales highlights efforts to combat forest fires
Prensa Latina, 23 September 2019
President Evo Morales highlighted here on Monday the efforts of the people and government of Bolivia in confronting the forest fires that have affected the Santa Cruz region of Chiquitania since August.
Speaking at the Climate Action Summit, Morales said that the rapid and effective response to reduce the 8,000 hot spots registered last month was possible thanks to the infrastructure, equipment, economic and human resources available.

Bolivia’s forest fires expose risks for environmental reporters
By John Otis, CPJ, 23 September 2019
When Pablo Ortiz, a veteran reporter for El Deber, the main daily in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, set off to cover massive forest fires, he didn’t realize how dangerous the assignment would be.
At one point Ortiz was alongside volunteer firefighters as shifting winds began moving the flames around. To avoid being hemmed in by the fire and choked by smoke, the group quickly retreated as burning trees came crashing down around them.

Amazon fires: Why issues around forest are complex, what Brazil is doing
By Amitabh Sinha and Shubhajit Roy, The Indian Express, 23 September 2019
Raging forest fires in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil have made international headlines in the last few weeks. Some reports suggest there were more than 50,000 incidents of forest fires in the Amazon since January this year, along with an alarming increase in deforestation. The forest fires have been spotted even by satellites in space, and have led to worries over a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions, because of the reduced absorption of carbon dioxide.

Governors of the Brazilian Amazon deliver statement at the NYDF event during New York climate week
GCF task force, 23 September 2019
On September 22, 2019, high-level political leaders joined private sector actors, civil society, and indigenous peoples to answer the call to action raised by the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF). As part of New York Climate Week, the Global Platform for the NYDF celebrated its 5-year anniversary with a high-level leadership event focused on finding solutions to accelerate implementation of the NYDF goal: End deforestation by 2030. Acknowledging that the world is not currently on track to meet this 2030 target, the objectives of the NYDF event were to take stock of the progress and challenges faced to date, explore emerging solutions and innovative actions with high-level leaders, and foster an ambitious multi-stakeholder platform for collaboration to increase action.

From Indonesia to Gabon, countries turn to nature to cut climate risks
By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 23 September 2019
New York City gets its drinking water from a network of more than 20 reservoirs and lakes further north in New York state, some more than 100 miles (161 km) away.
Because the land surrounding the reservoirs is carefully protected and managed, the water piped in is pure enough so that the city is one of the few in the United States that does not need to filter its drinking water, officials say.

World Bank and Germany Launch Fund to Curb Forest Loss, Build Resilient Landscapes
World Bank press release, 23 September 2019
The World Bank and Germany today announced the launch of PROGREEN, a new global partnership to boost efforts to stop deforestation; restore degraded lands; improve livelihoods in poor, rural communities; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Indonesia: 10 million children at risk from air pollution due to wild forest fires
UNICEF press release, 23 September 2019
Wild forest and peatland fires across Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia are putting nearly 10 million children under 18 at risk from air pollution, said UNICEF today.
Small children are especially vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe more rapidly, and their physical defenses and immunities are not fully developed. It is estimated that 2.4 million children under five live in the areas most affected by the haze and wild fires, which have been burning in Indonesia since July 2019.

The US Government Spent Millions Funding WWF-Backed Forces Accused Of Torture and Murder
By Katie J.M. Baker and Tom Warren, BuzzFeed News, 24 September 2019
American taxpayers have spent millions of dollars financing armed anti-poaching forces backed by the World Wide Fund for Nature in areas where guards have been accused of rape and murder, documents reveal.
In March, a BuzzFeed News investigation exposed how the beloved mega-charity with the cuddly panda logo — and famous patrons from Leonardo DiCaprio to Sir David Attenborough — has bankrolled paramilitary groups that have tortured and killed people living near wildlife parks in Africa and Asia.

[USA] As Indigenous Peoples Protest, California Approves Global Cap-And-Trade Plan
By Steve Horn, The Real News, 23 September 2019
California voted to endorse the Tropical Forest Standard, a contested plan to extend California’s cap-and-trade system globally into the world’s forests.
Cited by proponents as a way to halt deforestation and by opponents as both a false solution to the climate crisis and a policy lever which could make it even worse, the California Air Resources Board passed it in a 7-4 vote. The plan is not actually the law of the land in the state yet, however, but simply an endorsement for now of its framework.

24 September 2019

The UN asked for climate plans. Major economies failed to answer
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 24 September 2019
World leaders were asked to come to the UN with concrete plans to cut emissions to net zero.
But on Monday, the presidents and prime ministers of the world’s largest emitting economies stumbled. Signalling just how difficult the work of removing CO2 will be compared to setting targets.

At the UN, losing the race against time to fight climate change
By Ashoka Mukpo, Mongabay, 24 September 2019
Against the fitting backdrop of a hotter-than-average late September day in New York City, world leaders gathered at the United Nations yesterday to share what they were doing to tackle climate change. “We have had enough talk,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his opening remarks. “This is not a negotiation summit, because we don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.”

In the fight against climate change we need nature now more than ever
By Inger Andersen (UNEP), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 24 September 2019
The hottest month on record. Wildfires in the Arctic. Deadly heatwaves. Melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. “Hurricanes of hell” in the Bahamas. The news is grim and the warning from Nature is loud and clear: the storm is in our front yard.
Make no mistake: we are in the grip of an existential global environmental emergency. Thankfully, we know precisely what to do to about it. The age of fossil fuels must end, replaced by a new era of clean, renewable energy.

Ecocide Should Be Recognized As a Crime Against Humanity, But We Can’t Wait for The Hague to Judge
By Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, 24 September 2019
The image of Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon Mobil, loomed over the climate strike in New York last Friday afternoon. Rendered in cardboard, 15 feet tall and clutching a bag of fake, bloodied money, the puppet of Woods wore the label “Climate Villain.” It bobbed among the 250,000-strong crowd, joined by cutout versions of BP CEO Bob Dudley and Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden. By the time the puppets were set down in Battery Park, the terminus of the New York protest, the faces of the fossil fuel executives had been daubed with marker-pen devil horns.

UEFA to plant 600,000 trees to offset carbon emissions from Euro 2020
By Simon Evans, Reuters, 24 September 2019
European football’s governing body UEFA said it will plant 600,000 trees across 12 countries as part of its commitment to offset carbon emissions from travel to next year’s expanded European Championships but conceded it may have to do more.
The environmental impact of Euro 2020 will be much greater due to the unique pan-European staging of the event with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin saying it will “pollute a lot”.

World leaders rally behind need for UN Emergency Declaration for Nature and People
WWF, 24 September 2019
On the evening of the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit, leaders spanning four continents pledged their commitment to addressing the climate crisis and mounting threats to global biodiversity.
At a high-level event convened by global conservation organization WWF to support a UN Emergency Declaration for Nature and People, ten Heads of State and Government reinforced the need for political, business and civil society leaders to unite behind securing ambitious outcomes for climate, nature, and people.

Explainer: How the aviation industry’s carbon offsetting scheme will work
By Allison Lampert, Reuters, 24 September 2019
International airlines are counting on a global carbon offsetting plan to cap CO2 emissions from air travel at 2020 levels, mitigating the environmental impact of flying even as passenger traffic is forecast to grow.
The plan, known as Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), is the first of its kind for a single industry in response to climate change.

Slowing passenger demand and rising costs are set to pull airline profits back this year, IATA has warned.
By Jonathan Robins, Flight Global, 24 September 2019
Profits will decline to $28 billion in 2019 from $30 billion last year, predicts the airline association’s director general Alexandre de Juniac.
“The trend is more in the decreasing mode than the increasing mode,” says de Juniac. “A big uncertainty is the oil price.”

U.N. Aviation Body Could Move to Supplant EU Over Climate Action
By James Munson, Bloomberg Environment, 24 September 2019
A United Nations aviation body could derail an expansion of Europe’s climate change plan for airplanes during a meeting of 193 countries in Montreal, attendees said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, a global body that sets standards for international commercial flights, is opening its triennial assembly Sept. 24. On the agenda are efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

Frequent flyers could face extra tax under plans to cut emissions
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 24 September 2019
Flying will have to become more expensive, especially for frequent flyers, to avoid climate chaos and keep the UK within its carbon targets, the government has been warned, while going ahead with a new runway at Heathrow would all but rule out airport expansion in the rest of the country.

IATA: Supporting carbon neutral growth tops full agenda at ICAO Assembly
eTurboNews, 24 September 2019
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed high expectations for the outcomes of the 40th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), beginning today in Montreal.
Encouraging ICAO member states to continue to support the industry’s efforts to address its climate change impacts will be at the top of the agenda.

Faiths for Forests campaign launched at Climate Action Summit
UN environment, 24 September 2019
The Faiths for Forests campaign was launched on 22 September as a contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, kicking off a global faith-based movement of mobilization, education and advocacy around halting and reversing tropical deforestation.
The announcement was made by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen and Sonia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil).

Kering Commits to 100% Carbon Neutrality
By Ella Chochrek, FN, 24 September 2019
Kering is deepening its commitment to sustainability.
The luxury conglomerate today made a commitment to go 100% carbon neutral for all of its brands and across the supply chain. The announcement comes after Gucci, one of Kering’s best-known labels, made the same pledge on Sept. 12.

How fires weaken Amazon rainforests’ ability to bounce back
By Paulo Massoca and catarina Conte Jakovac, The Conversation, 24 September 2019
The flames consuming the Amazon rainforest this year have alarmed the world, renewing concerns about one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions and the release of large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. But there’s another concern that’s been largely overlooked – the eroding capacity of Amazonian ecosystems to recover from repeated burning over the years.

Amazon forest fires: 63 arrested, fines amounting to $8.7 million issued, says Brazil’s defence minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva
AFP, 24 September 2019
Brazil’s defence minister said on Monday that 63 people were arrested and issued fines amounting to $8.7 million after the military was sent to fight raging fires in the Amazon rainforest.
The announcement came as President Jair Bolsonaro arrived in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, where he said he would “reaffirm the sovereignty” of Brazil after the surge in blazes sparked an international outcry.

As 12 million hectares burn in the Amazon, Bolivia receives EU support to tackle wildfires
By Monica Pinna, EuroNews, 24 September 2019
The Amazon is on fire, and not just in Brazil. Since July, Bolivia has lost 2 million hectares of forest, forcing its government to ask for the activation of the EU Civilian Protection Mechanism. In this month’s Aid Zone, we find out how the EU has provided support in putting out fires in the Bolivian Amazon.

Here’s How We Can Prevent Borneo’s Forest Fires From Happening Again
By Fiona McAlpine, Earth Island Journal, 24 September 2019
Clouds of toxic haze are drifting across the Malaysian peninsula once again, in the worst uncontrolled burn-off since 2015. Like the Amazon, these smog-belching fires are deliberately lit for agricultural purposes. In this part of the world the main culprits are the palm oil and pulp and paper industries, as slash-and-burn methods are the quickest and cheapest way to clear land to make way for plantations.

“This is earth not Mars”: Blood red skies unsettle Indonesians
By Jessica Damiana, Reuters, 24 September 2019
While smoke from forest fires in Indonesia often simply obscures visibility with a choking haze, parts of Sumatra island recently witnessed blood red skies due to the interaction of sunlight on particles from smoke in the air.
The Southeast Asian country has spent months battling fires, often caused by slash-and-burn farming practices, as an El Nino weather pattern exacerbates the annual dry season and helps create a haze across the region.

Indonesian forest fires burn causing toxic haze across south-east Asia – in pictures
The Guardian, 24 September 2019
Forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan have been spewing toxic haze across south-east Asia, forcing the closure of schools and airports, and prompting Indonesian authorities to deploy thousands of firefighters to tackle them. There has been an increase in reports of respiratory illnesses.

Elderly, children and expectant mums are most ‘threatened’ by Indonesian forest fires
By Elaine Ly, South China Morning Post, 24 September 2019
Professor Janice Lee from the Asian School of the Environment is saying one way Indonesia could tackle its persistent forest fires is to develop better policies to help sustain land use.
Speaking with the South China Morning Post, Lee said the toxic haze created by the Indonesian fires has affected wide areas across Southeast Asia and urgently requires a “collective effort” of increased funding, manpower and more firefighters.

[Indonesia] Forest fires producing country-sized emissions, fuelling climate change
By David Fogarty, The Straits Times, 24 September 2019
Forest and land fires sweeping across large areas of Indonesia and South America have released as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as a medium-sized developed economy produces in a year.
The burst of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, is further fuelling climate change and damaging an ecosystem that acts as a natural store for carbon.

Greenpeace blasts Indonesia for not imposing tough penalties for forest fires
Reuters, 24 September 2019
Indonesia has not imposed serious enough penalties on pulpwood and palm oil firms that had large fires on their land from 2015 to 2018 and more fires on some of those farms also polluted the region’s air quality this year, Greenpeace said on Tuesday.
Fires in Indonesia, largely blamed on slash-and-burn farming practices, have created unhealthy smog across Southeast Asia. The country has spent months this year battling blazes as the El Nino weather pattern has caused a more severe annual dry season.

Haze from Indonesia’s forest fires affecting Thailand’s south
By May Taylor, The Thaiger, 24 September 2019
The ongoing forest fires in Indonesia are affecting Thailand’s south, bringing smog and a lingering haze to many provinces.
Thai PBS World reports that school children at two municipal schools in Trang have received 3,000 face masks from Provincial Governor Luechai Charoensap and city mayor Apichit Wenothai.

Amazonian community takes land rights struggle against oil palm expansion to Peru’s highest court
By Tom Younger, Forest Peoples Programme, 24 September 2019
On Wednesday 25 September, Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal will hold a hearing with implications for the future of the Amazon rainforest, indigenous peoples’ rights, and the fight against climate change.
The case has been brought by an indigenous community against the Regional Government of Ucayali and a palm oil company, Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC (now Ocho Sur P), to demand land titling, more than seven years after they were dispossessed of significant parts of their traditional territory.

Tanzania’s Hadza community recieves prestigious award
By Jeckonia Otieno, Standard Digital, 24 September 2019
The Hadza Community which lost almost all their land is on a path to restore it through a pioneer project.
The community of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania lost 90 per cent of their land to livestock and crop farmers but are reversing this and earning huge income from carbon offsets, which has won them this year’s Equator Prize.

25 September 2019

From the ashes of forest fires, a new deal for nature must emerge
By Marco Lambertini (WWF), Eco-Business, 25 September 2019
I was 15 when fires engulfed the Mediterranean forests around my city in coastal Tuscany. I still have vivid memories of the sinister red of the night sky, the acrid smell and the difficulty to breathe.
Days later I walked through that forest with the most intense feeling of devastation, waste, sadness. Months after that, with the first rains, the sea and the beaches were turned black by the ash carried by the water.

World in Progress: Trees to the rescue!
By Sarah Steffen, DW, 25 September 2019
Deforestation concerns linked to palm oil plantations have prompted the EU to ban the use of palm oil in biofuel by 2030 — but Malaysian farmers say that spells disaster for them. Communities in Kenya’s coastal regions are planting mangroves to protect the environment and make a living by selling carbon credits. And a video game that’s getting help to those in need.

Forest fires pump out more CO2 in seven weeks than Australia in a year
By David Fogarty, The Straits Times, 25 September 2019
Forest and land fires sweeping across large areas of Indonesia and South America have released as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as a medium-sized developed economy produces in a year.
The burst of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, is further fuelling climate change and damaging an ecosystem that acts as a natural store for carbon.

Our Tropical Forests are Burning: Here’s How To Stop It
By Jeffrey Chatellier and Devan Wardwell, Forest Carbon, 25 September 2019
In New York, and in protests around the world this week, everyone is wondering how to stop our world’s tropical forests from literally being engulfed in flames — and exacerbating climate change in the process.
The sense of global frustration at the tragedy of the fires in the Amazon, and now Indonesia is palpable. Yet there is a solution which is being implemented on the ground that is working. The following fire data can speak for itself, demonstrating that active forest management can work if it follows a standardized approach where results are verified by third parties.

IHS Markit Launches First Global Index for Carbon Credits
IHS Markit press release, 25 September 2019
IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions, today announced that it has launched the IHS Markit Global Carbon Index, the first benchmark for the global price of carbon credits.
According to the IHS Markit Global Carbon Index, the global weighted average price of carbon credits is $23.65. Since the beginning of 2018, the total return potentially gained by investors in global carbon is 132 percent, index data show.

Environmentalists call for fuel tax on frequent flyers
By René Bruemmer, Montreal Gazette, 25 September 2019
To reduce the growing effect of airplanes on global warming, the aviation industry must impose a fuel tax on frequent flyers and limit the construction of airports worldwide, an environmental coalition demanded Tuesday.
A fuel surcharge on international and domestic flights, which would be higher for those travelling in business and first class and passengers who travel more frequently, would dissuade people from flying, representatives of the Climate Aviation Coalition argued at a news conference held to coincide with the 40th triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquartered in Montreal.

Three opportunities for the UN’s aviation agency to deliver climate action
By Annie Petsonk, Environmental Defense Fund, 25 September 2019
As International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 40th General Assembly kicks off this week in Montreal, aviation faces an existential challenge: the need to zero out its climate impact. Greta Thunberg, whose refusal to fly symbolizes the question every child of her generation will face, leads a climate strike on this Friday, that will march right to ICAO’s gates. Will their demands move the delegates representing 193 countries meeting inside?

Study: Consumers willing to pay carbon offsets for air travel
By Rainer Romero-Canyas, Environmental Defense Fund, 25 September 2019
Flying shame has gone mainstream—just ask the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But are travelers who won’t face the wrath of the tabloids for flying willing to chip in to offset the cost of flying on the environment? A new study from the University of British Columbia and EDF suggests they are. It all depends on how it’s labeled and who is viewed as paying for the environmental impact of the flight.

Carbon neutral growth tops agenda at ICAO Assembly
International Airport Review, 25 September 2019
Climate change will be the pressing issue as ICAO’s 193 member states meet in Montreal from 24 September until 4th October 2019.
As the 40th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) gets underway, the impact of climate change will be top of the agenda.

Alvarado promotes Costa Rica’s commitment to combating climate change during U.N. General Assembly
By Nate Doughty The Tico Times, 25 September 2019
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado met with world leaders and diplomats Tuesday during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City to discuss the Central American country’s ongoing commitment to combating climate change.
The president also announced the formation of a global coalition that hopes to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, which will be formally unveiled at PreCop25 in San José on Oct. 8-10.

Ghana to launch REDD+ options to address deforestation and degradation
By Seth Danquah, Ghana News Agency, 25 September 2019
Dr Augustus Asamoah, Principal Project Manager of Proforest has announced that the government was set to launch the Ghana National REDD+ Strategy Programme.
He said as part of efforts to reduce expansion of agroforestry, tree crops, biofuels and agro-industries, improved the quality of multi-stakeholder dialogue and decision making, and to mitigate effects of agricultural expansion, particularly cocoa, oil palm, rubber and timber the launch of REDD+ strategy programme would address that.

[Indonesia] The politics of peat and fire
By Herry Purnomo, CIFOR Forests News, 25 September 2019
On a recent visit to Riau, a province on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra, Indonesian President Joko Widodo surveyed the damage from this year’s peat and forest fires and the resulting haze that has blanketed parts of Southeast Asia. As in previous years, the haze from the burning peat has triggered health concerns and cross-border tensions in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

Indonesian forest fires putting 10 million children at risk, says Unicef
The Guardian, 25 September 2019
Indonesian forest fires are putting nearly 10 million children at risk due to air pollution, the United Nations has warned.
The fires have been spewing toxic haze over south-east Asia in recent weeks, closing schools and airports, with people rushing to buy face masks and seek medical treatment for respiratory ailments.

Three companies with offices in Singapore linked to forest fires causing haze
The Star, 25 September 2019
The haze is back. And as forest fires rage on in Indonesia, a Singapore connection has surfaced.
Three Indonesian firms with offices in Singapore have been linked to the haze-belching fires.
One company, Hutan Ketapang Industri, sealed off by the Indonesian authorities after fires were discovered on its land, has links to Singapore-based Sampoerna Agri Resources.
The other two – pulp giants Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and April, have also been linked to the haze-belching fires by Indonesian news site foresthints. Both have offices in the Republic.

26 September 2019

Indigenous representative joins UN climate summit: ‘They need us’
By Jenni Monet, The Guardian, 26 September 2019
As presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives gathered at the UN climate action summit on Monday, for the first time, an indigenous representative joined the event in a formal capacity.
Tuntiak Katan of the Ecuadorian Shuar people spoke on behalf of the International Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), a caucus of indigenous rights advocates who, for years, has been working towards more robust participation and inclusion at the UN level in response to the climate crisis – even more so after the importance of traditional knowledge was mentioned in the 2015 Paris accord.

Farming plays key role in UN climate push on land restoration
By Judith D. Schwartz, GreenBiz, 26 September 2019
With the United Nations Climate Summit underway this week, it has been the focal point of mass protests and media coverage, but another global climate initiative is revving up that focuses on large-scale land restoration as a way to counter the advent and impact of climate change.
The U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, slated to run from 2021 to 2030, highlights the importance of natural systems in climate stability — and elevates the role of sustainable agriculture in adapting to and mitigating climate change. A key conference on the initiative, hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum, will take place Sept. 28 in New York.

More than 2 million animals perish in Bolivia wildfires
Phys.org, 26 September 2019
More than two million wild animals, including jaguars, pumas and llamas, have perished in weeks of wildfires that devastated huge swaths of Bolivian forest and grassland, environmental experts said Wednesday.
The fires devastated the Chiquitania tropical savanna in the east of the country.

Germany and World Bank Partner to Stop Deforestation
By Lauren Anderson, IISD, 26 September 2019
The Government of Germany and the World Bank have announced a partnership focused on ending deforestation by working with the industries driving the problem – agriculture, infrastructure and mining. Called ‘PROGREEN,’ the collaboration aims to prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss, restore degraded lands and boost land fertility, mitigate climate change, and enhance livelihoods, especially for poor, rural communities.

[India] Centre, US agency launch Forest-PLUS 2.0
By Rohan Gupta, DownToEarth, 26 September 2019
US Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) officially launched Forest-PLUS 2.0 on September 25, 2019.
It is a five-year programme initiated in December 2018 that focuses on developing tools and techniques to bolster ecosystem management and harnessing ecosystem services in forest landscape management.

Indonesia forest fires have ‘major impact’ on climate, 360m tonnes of CO2 released since August: Masagos
CNA, 26 September 2019
Forest and land fires burning in Indonesia have released 360 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since August, said Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday (Sep 26).
That’s more than Spain’s emissions for the whole year in 2018, he added.
“We now are clear that these forest fires have a major impact on climate,” Mr Masagos wrote in a Facebook post. “The loss of carbon sinks in the burning of peat is irreversible.”

[Ireland] Vita: addressing climate change by doing good in Africa
By Barry McCall, The Irish Times, 26 September 2019
Irish-based international non-governmental organisation Vita has created a novel investment fund which delivers a return to investors through the generation of valuable carbon credits at the same time as helping people in Africa gain access to clean water and more energy efficient cooking appliances.

World can do nothing to force Indonesia to act on forest fires: PM Mahathir
CNA, 26 September 2019
The current international system is such that nothing could be done to compel Indonesia to deal with its forest fires, which affect the region every now and then, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (Sep 25).
“You can blame Indonesia, you can criticise them but they’ll continue to have their fires,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was fielding questions at the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University, as part of his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Southeast Asia’s Deadly Annual Haze is Back
By Luke Hunt, The Diplomat, 26 September 2019
As children and teenagers from over 100 countries went on strike and protested about the world’s inability to deal with climate change, the annual haze which suffocates much of Southeast Asia has made an unwanted return.
Southeasterly winds have pushed the noxious haze from Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia as far as the Gulf of Thailand and into Vietnam and Cambodia. Authorities insist they are acting this year and have arrested over 200 people on suspicion of starting some of the fires to clear land for crops.

[USA] Still no date for sentencing of co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 26 September 2019
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has earlier today filed a Letter in the New York Southern District Court regarding its case against James Bernard Moore, one of the co-conspirators of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow.
The case brought by the SEC has been stayed in light of the criminal proceedings against Moore. In the Letter submitted today, the regulator provides a status update on the related criminal proceeding against Moore.

27 September 2019

In All of Human History, We Haven’t Lived With The Kind of Atmosphere We Have Today
By Carly Cassella, Science Alert, 27 September 2019
We humans have officially entered uncharted territory. In the roughly 2.5 million years our kind has walked the Earth, never before have we endured such an atmosphere.
New research on ancient soil has now confirmed that carbon dioxide levels in the past sixty years are the highest we’ve experienced in all of human history.
Throughout the entire Pleistocene era – which started 2,580,000 years ago – the authors found concentrations of CO2 were, on average, roughly 250 parts per million.

Gabon could earn up to $150 million for forest conservation
Mongabay, 27 September 2019
Gabon is set to become the first nation in Africa to earn millions in results-based payments for conservation to the tune of $150 million. The deal, brokered by Central African Rainforest Initiative (CAFI) on behalf of the Norweigian government, aims to bolster the successes already seen by Gabon in their rainforest conservation.
The 10-year agreement will reward Gabon – in the form of results-based payments – for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. The agreement will also reward them for the absorption of carbon dioxide by natural forests. It will retroactively honor performance from as far back as 2016. Monies from those and future results will be paid out annually.

Kenya: Blue Economy Key to Kenya’s Development, President Kenyatta Says
Capital FM, 27 September 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya is prioritizing the implementation of sustainable blue economy programs because of the sector’s potential to accelerate the country’s development.
The President said the shrinking land-based resources won’t be adequate to sustain a rising world population in the long run hence the need for countries to factor the blue economy in their development planning.

28 September 2019

[Brazil] Ricardo Salles to meet with European chemical and car giants
By Joe Sandler Clarke, Unearthed, 28 September 2019
Brazil’s environment minister will meet with German pesticide and car giants, as well as British mining and fossil fuel interests during his trip to Europe next week, according to a document seen by Unearthed.
The news comes with President Jair Bolsonaro’s government facing a wave of criticism over its environmental record – including a significant rise in pesticide approvals – and with a major trade deal between the EU and South America’s economic bloc in the balance.

Singapore sends diplomatic note to Indonesia over forest fires
New Straits Times, 28 September 2019
Singapore has sent a diplomatic note to Indonesia, expressing concerns over the escalation of hot spots, while the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) chief executive has written to his Indonesian counterpart to seek more information on reports that Singapore-based companies are being investigated.
The two developments were revealed by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli in a Facebook post on Sept 26. He added that he was “glad” that recent rain in Singapore had brought some relief from the haze.

Thai PM says Indonesian government promises to control air pollution from forest fires
By May Taylor, The Thaiger, 28 September 2019
Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he’s received assurances from a representative of the Indonesian government that it will do more about the devastating air pollution arising from forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
The Nation reports that although the PM would not reveal the name of the representative, he did say it was a government vice-president and Indonesia only has one vice-president, which is Jusuf Kalla.

29 September 2019

India seeks changes in ICAO’s calculation for offsetting aviation greenhouse gas emissions
By Saurabh Sinha, Times of India, 29 September 2019
A country’s responsibility for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions should be on fixed on the basis its nationals zipping across the world – irrespective of the airline they do so on – and not on the number of passengers flown by airlines of that country. India has raised this demand at the United Nations’ aviation arm, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), last week.

[Ghana] Government To launch Cocoa Forests Redd Plus Program
Peace FM, 29 September 2019
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says government will on Friday October 4th Ghana launch the Cocoa Forests Redd Plus Program in Accra.
The Cocoa Forest Redd Plus Program is aimed at promoting a climate smart cocoa regime in Ghana.
The interventions are led by COCOBOD, Forestry Commission, World Cocoa Foundation, CSOs in the cocoa industry as well as other industry players.

 

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