REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, the climate crisis, REDD, and natural climate solutions. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
14 October 2019
Trees are life
By Griet Ingrid Dierckxsens, UN-REDD Programme, 14 October 2019
During our travels through Africa, we visited many tree nurseries – big, small, flourishing and stumbling.
The best one we have seen so far does not belong to the government or an NGO, but rather to Edward Lutawo Phiri and his father. As a small child, Edward watched his father plant seedlings and was mesmerized. Then when he passed away, Edward took control and expanded the nursery to a point where now, 19 years later, it has 12 staff on 3 hectares.
‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension
By Henry Boucher, World Economic Forum, 14 October 2019
Just under a quarter of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from our use of the land for things such as farming and forestry.
Policymakers have a historic opportunity to initiate massive change to land use at a time when a set of other circumstances may help with implementing it; a new public environmental awareness, changing technology and record low bond yields. And there is a way to direct finance into projects that protect, rather than degrade, nature, and reduce emissions.
Major airlines making moves on climate shift
Energy News 24, 14 October 2019
International airlines are relying on a global carbon offsetting plan to decrease CO2 emissions from air travel at 2020 levels, controlling the environmental impact of flying even as passenger traffic is forecast to grow.
The plan, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, is one of its kind for a single industry in response to climate change. Aviation leaders will discuss the program at the International Civil Aviation Organization triennial assembly which begins on Tuesday in Montreal amid rising pressure from climate activists led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.CORSIA was established by ICAO, the U.N. body that decides parameters for international air travel, in 2016 and is due to start in 2021.
More travel companies offsetting carbon emissions
By Isabel Choat, The Guardian, 14 October 2019
A growing number of tour operators are offering to offset carbon emissions on behalf of holidaymakers. Trekking and adventure company World Expeditions says all of its trips will be carbon neutral as of 1 November – at no extra cost to its clients. The Australian company, which was established in 1975, sells 500 itineraries globally. For every holiday sold it will invest in forest protection projects in Zimbabwe and Tasmania, and renewable energy projects in China and Vietnam. Bamboo Travel has also announced plans to offset 1.5 tonnes of carbon for each client it sends on its holidays in Asia through a partnership with Gold Standard, a major player in the offsetting market.
$65 million deal to protect Congo’s forests raises concerns
By John C. Cannon, Mongabay, 14 October 2019
On Sept. 3, the Republic of Congo secured a stream of funding aimed at protecting forests and peatlands.
The signatures of French President Emmanuel Macron and Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso finalized a $65 million agreement outlining a set of strategies that the Central African Forest Initiative, or CAFI, which brokered the deal, says will keep ecosystems intact and lock away the carbon they contain.
Protecting forests, natural ecosystems and human rights: a case for EU action
Forest Peoples Programme, 14 October 2019
In its Communication on “Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests”, published on 23rd July 2019, the European Commission recognised that the EU consumption represents around 10% of the global share of deforestation embodied in total final consumption of commodities such as palm oil, beef, soy, cocoa, maize, timber and rubber.
In this new briefing, NGOs indicate that this Communication is a welcome basis for the development of decisive EU action to protect and restore forests and other natural ecosystems whilst protecting human rights.
[Indonesia] Human-elephant conflicts spike in Riau following forest fires
Antara News, 14 October 2019
Forest fires blazing in the Tesso Nilo National Park fueled more frequent conflicts between human beings and Sumatran elephants (elephas maximus sumatranus) in Riau Province this year.
“(Due to wildfires), elephants emerged from their habitats. That is their path of movement to survive, find food, and stay away from the haze,” Hansen Siregar, head of the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Office (BBKSDA)’s Region I Unit, stated here on Monday.
Tanzania’s hunters, gatherers strive to protect wildlife
Yenisafak, 14 October 2019
Huddled under a giant tree to shield themselves from the blazing sun, Msyani Kikwa and his children are boiling sap from shrubs to make poison for their arrows.
The bushmen profusely sweat of scorching heat as they prepare their weapons.
Like his father, Kikwa transfers his hunting skills to his children who must learn how to survive in the jungle without any help.
[UK] Swanline and McLaren invest £5m in sustainable energy site for corrugated
By Tony Corbin, Packaging News, 14 October 2019
CB Bio is a joint venture between packaging and display trade specialist Swanline Group and paper-based packaging producer McLaren Packaging.
The investment will facilitate the manufacture of carbon neutral corrugated material for use at Swanline and McLaren’s respective manufacturing plants in Staffordshire and Port Glasgow.
15 October 2019
Exclusive: No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO says
By Ron Bousso and Dmitry Zhdannikov, Reuters, 15 October 2019
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) still sees abundant opportunity to make money from oil and gas in coming decades even as investors and governments increase pressure on energy companies over climate change, its chief executive said.
But in an interview with Reuters, Ben van Beurden expressed concern that some shareholders could abandon the world’s second-largest listed energy company due partly to what he called the “demonisation” of oil and gas and “unjustified” worries that its business model was unsustainable.
VALCORA Bolsters Fuel Emission Offsetting in Collaboration with Shell Aviation
Valcora press release, 15 October 2019
VALCORA has signed its first third-party agreement with an aviation fuel provider to offer customers even more ways of offsetting carbon emissions. In collaboration with Shell, VALCORA will offset fuel emissions through nature-based carbon credits. All Shell Aviation fuels sold through the VALCORA digital fuel purchasing platform will be carbon neutral, meaning that emissions will be offset via carbon credits automatically included with the purchase of the fuel.
NYDF Discusses Limited Progress in Halting, Reversing Deforestation
By Lynn Wagner, IISD, 15 October 2019
On the sidelines of the Climate Action Summit, the NY Declaration on Forests (NYDF) Assessment Partners organized an event to reflect on the Declaration’s achievements since its inception in 2014. The event, which took stock of progress and discussed challenges, highlighted innovative areas of action and addressed the need for action to 2020 and beyond. It was organized by the Global Platform for the NYDF and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany.
Major environmental groups call on businesses to lead on climate policy
CERES, 15 October 2019
Eleven leading environmental and sustainable business organizations published an open letter in the New York Times today, urging the CEOs of Corporate America to step up their engagement on climate policy. Signatories include the heads of BSR, C2ES, CDP, Ceres, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, The Climate Group, The Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.
Why Keeping Mature Forests Intact Is Key to the Climate Fight
By Fen Mongtaigne, YaleEnvironment360, 15 October 2019
William Moomaw has had a distinguished career as a physical chemist and environmental scientist, helping found the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Tufts University’s Fletcher School and serving as lead author on five reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In recent years, Moomaw has turned his attention to working on natural solutions to climate change and has become a leading proponent of what he calls “proforestation” — leaving older and middle-aged forests intact because of their superior carbon-sequestration abilities.
Double counting of emissions cuts may undermine Paris climate deal
By Frank Jotzo, Lambert Scheider, and Maosheng Duan, The Conversation, 15 October 2019
In the four years since the Paris climate agreement was adopted, countries have debated the fine print of how emissions reduction should be tracked and reported. One critical detail is proving particularly hard to work out – and a weak result would threaten the environmental integrity of the entire deal.
The sticking point is rules for carbon markets: specifically, how to prevent double counting of emissions reductions by both the country selling and buying carbon credits.
Yes, Tropical Forests Tragically Burned This Summer, but Here’s What You Can Do
By Kristina Anderson-Teixeira, Smithsonian.com, 15 October 2019
In August, the world’s attention turned towards the fires in the Amazon, and even as those continued to burn, fires erupted across Borneo and Sumatra. Alarm is warranted—the estimated emissions from burning to date of more than one billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) will have a greater impact on Earth’s climate than if every U.S. adult drove an additional 30 miles per day for a year. And that loss is not reversible within the time frame remaining to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, or live with severe consequences of warming over 1.5 degrees Celcius.
Schools stay shut as forest fires rage across Indonesia
By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata, , 15 October 2019
Dense smoke from forest fires caused by slash-and-burn land clearing spread across the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Tuesday, forcing schools to remain closed and prompting health warnings.
Satellite images from the country’s aeronautics agency showed that more than 720 fire outbreaks had been detected in South Sumatra in the past 24 hours, Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for national disaster mitigation agency BNPB, said.
Apocalyptic haze in Palembang as Indonesia forest fires return with vengeance
New Straits Times, 15 October 2019
The Indonesian province of South Sumatra is experiencing a catastrophic level of haze, as forest fires – which died down in the past few weeks – roared back to life in the region.
The provincial capital of Palembang has been severely hit by haze from the hotspots, as its air pollutant index (API) reading reached an all-time high of an alarming 921, Bernama reported.
Indonesia: Papuan activists face maximum life imprisonment
Amnesty International, 15 October 2019
Six political activists have been arrested in Jakarta, Indonesia after peacefully campaigning for the right to self-determination of Papua. Charged with “rebellion” (makar), the six Papuan activists are prisoners of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Siberian fires having catastrophic effects on indigenous peoples and livelihoods
IWGIA, 15 October 2019
While much of the world has focused on the fires raging in the Amazon, the world’s largest forest–the Siberian Taiga in Russia–has been on fire for most of 2019.
Since January this year, more than 130,000 square kilometres of land and forest—an area the size of Greece—has been burned in Siberia, which is having detrimental effects on the lives and livelihood of the indigenous peoples who depend on the forest and have traditionally protected it.
In Tanzania, ownership of the forest offers new prospects for old loggers
By Christabel Ligami, Climate Home News, 15 October 2019
Yusuph Juma can confidently drive his truck fully loaded with timber past the traffic police officers without being stopped or questioned of the origin and destination of the timber.
He is a licensed and recognised logger in Angai forest in the south east of Tanzania and has nothing to fear while taking his timber for sell.
[UK] Scottish ministers face criticism for £5m Shell tree-planting scheme
By Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 15 October 2019
Scottish ministers have been criticised for accepting £5m from Shell to help fund a tree-planting programme as part of its climate strategy.
The oil company said it would give the government agency Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) the money to plant or regenerate 1m trees in Scotland to help offset about 20% of its petrol and diesel sales at UK service stations.
Ban air miles to combat climate crisis, recommends UK research
By Jack Guy, CNN, 15 October 2019
Air miles programs should be banned and a levy on frequent flyers implemented in order to reduce carbon emissions from aviation, according to new research.
The measure is one of a number of recommendations from Richard Carmichael at Imperial College London, who published a report Thursday on how the UK can meet its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
[USA] California wildfires map update: Fires continuing to burn spark unhealthy air quality concerns
By Janice Williams, Newsweek, 15 October 2019
Fires continue to burn across California, however, firefighters have completely contained one wildfire so far.
The Sandalwood Fire in Calimesa was 100 percent contained late on Monday night, according to a post shared on Cal Fire’s Facebook. The flames destroyed 1,011 acres of land before it was stopped.
However, as authorities managed to fight off the Sandalwood Fire, two more fires sparked in Riverside County.
16 October 2019
Net losses: why net zero carbon targets may backfire
By Dave Elliott, Physics World, 16 October 2019
A “net zero” carbon emission targets has been set by the UK, amongst others, for 2050. The European Union (EU)’s version fudges the date, due to opposition by some coal-reliant countries to the 2050 initially specified.
But whatever the date, the net zero formulation does not usually specify how net zero emissions are achieved, so in principle any project will be acceptable if it can claim to avoid, or compensate for, carbon dioxide production. These can include carbon offset and carbon removal projects, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes. Some argue that this mixes up basically conflicting policy approaches — emission avoidance and post-generation carbon removal. Emission avoidance at source is about decarbonising energy production and use, for example by switching to using renewables or by using energy more efficiently, so less carbon dioxide is produced. By contrast, carbon removal is about compensatory post-fossil-generation carbon dioxide clean-up, for example by Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Negative Emission Technology (NET).
Wham. Bam. Flygskam
By Alasdair Whyte, CorporateJetInvestor, 16 October 2019
Flygskam, the Swedish word for ‘flight shame’, has been one of the new words of 2019. Along with the Twitter hashtag #stayontheground, it is being used by thousands of people vowing to bring a halt to flying. Clearly very few – if any – of these people were using corporate jets. But protests and the rise of environmental politicians mean that their voices are being heard.
Shell worried ‘demonization’ of O&G will scare investors away
KallanishEnergy, 16 October 2019
Royal Dutch Shell is concerned about the effects the “demonization” of oil and gas by climate change activists could have on its investors, but it will continue investing in hydrocarbons, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it,” said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. “We have no choice,” but to invest in long-life projects.
The elephant in the newsroom
By Gavin Haines, Flight Free UK, 16 October 2019
It’s all very well giving up meat, buying second-hand clothes and not driving a car, but if you’re also a regular down at Heathrow Airport (the UK’s single biggest emitter of carbon dioxide) then you definitely can’t call yourself an environmentalist.
That was the situation I found myself in until recently. For while I have gone to great lengths to reduce my carbon footprint lately, my aviation-reliant job as a travel writer has been making a mockery of my eco credentials. My flying habit has been the elephant in the room – and this summer I decided to address the elephant.
Equator Prize Ceremony Opens Doors to Scaling Up Local, Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change
By Martin Sommerschuh, IISD, 16 October 2019
The Equator Prize 2019 Award Ceremony honored 22 local and indigenous groups implementing outstanding nature-based solutions to sustainable development, as a contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, US. The star-studded gala and a series of associated events provided a platform for the winners to scale up and replicate their work, enabling indigenous and local leaders to connect with governments, donors, and heads of state.
FAO, Norway Collaborate to Improve Global Forest Data
By Catherine Benson Wahlén, IISD, 16 October 2019
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of Norway are cooperating to improve global statistics on forest resources. The three-year project is part of the FAO’s wider Forest Resource Assessment (FRA), which collects official forest resource information on all aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM) from 236 countries and territories.
Unprecedented drought in an artificial ecosystem may reveal how rainforests will cope with climate change
By Erik Sokstad, Science, 16 October 2019
Earlier this month, the doors to the tropical rainforest, enclosed under a ziggurat of glass, were sealed shut. Christiane Werner turned a valve to release about $12,000 worth of carbon dioxide (CO2) spiked with carbon-13, an isotope that is normally scarce in the atmosphere. The luxuriant plants inside Biosphere 2, a 30-year-old set of greenhouses and artificial ecosystems in the Arizona desert, soaked up the isotopic tracer, enabling investigators to follow the flows of carbon through the healthy forest. Werner, an ecosystem physiologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and her team gathered these baseline data for the harsh test to come: the largest forest drought experiment ever monitored with isotopes. “It will be amazing to see the results,” says Tamir Klein, a plant ecophysiologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who is not involved.
Australia spends billions planting trees – then wipes out carbon gains by bulldozing them
By Adam Morton and Anne Davies, The Guardian, 16 October 2019
Since 2015 the Australian government has committed more than $1.5bn of taxpayer funds to climate change projects that plant or protect native habitat. Over a slightly longer period it has also spent nearly $62m on a policy to plant 20 million trees promised under Tony Abbott.
At the same time the country has significantly stepped up land-clearing programs in several states, bulldozing hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests, mostly for agriculture.
Indonesia under ‘blanket of smoke’ amid wildfires
University of Exeter press release, 16 October 2019
Indonesia is under a “blanket of smoke” amid wildfires that threaten humans, wildlife and the global climate, researchers say.
The wildfires—some started by “slash-and-burn” methods for turning forests into farmland—happen yearly in Indonesia, but 2019’s fire season has been particularly damaging, with more than 320,000 hectares (twice the size of Greater London) burned already.
Blame Jakarta’s Lack of Enforcement for Indonesia’s Devastating Forest Fires
By Nick Kennedy, International Policy Digest, 16 October 2019
Southeast Asia is no stranger to air pollution and smog as the region is struggling to clean up its economies. Although the adverse impacts on health have been clearly demonstrated, the member states of ASEAN have been slow to respond to the growing crisis, and companies have been even slower to address their environmental impacts.
Lebanon wildfires: Hellish scenes in mountains south of Beirut
By Timour Azhari, Al Jazeera, 16 October 2019
Firefighters in Lebanon on Tuesday battled massive wildfires in several areas in the country, before moderate rains in the evening brought them under control in most affected areas.
With more than 100 blazes erupting from north to south over the past two days, Raymond Khattar, the director-general of Lebanon’s Civil Defence, described the forest fires as the worst to have hit the country in decades.
Triumphs and Challenges of Using Deforestation Alerts in Peru
By Ruth Nogueron, Mikaela Weisse, Daniel Castillo, and Rolando Vivanco, Global Forest Watch, 16 October 2019
In 2016, Global Forest Watch (GFW) and the University of Maryland released the world’s most detailed satellite-based deforestation alerts. Since the launch, the GLAD alert system has expanded from just three countries to the entire tropical region and is accessed by hundreds of thousands of users through GFW.
Natixis’ sustainable boutique finalises deal for UK firm
By Margaryta Kirakosian, CityWire, 16 October 2019
Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, has finalised the acquisition of investment house Althelia Ecosphere.
The Paris-based boutique took a 51% stake in the natural capital specialist, which is based in London, back in September 2017 and now owns 100% of the firm.
Althelia Ecosphere has been renamed as Mirova Natural Capital, with founders Sylvain Goupille and Christian Del Valle retaining their stakes in the company.
17 October 2019
WWF Executives Were Warned Of Widespread Atrocities By Anti-Poaching Rangers The Charity Funded
By Katie J.M. Baker and Tom Warren, Buzzfeed News, 17 October 2019
Top executives at the World Wide Fund for Nature personally reviewed detailed evidence that anti-poaching forces funded by the charity raped and tortured innocent people — more than a year before BuzzFeed News exposed similar abuses, documents show.
A 60-page WWF-commissioned report by a UK-based human rights lawyer, sent in January 2018 to Director General Marco Lambertini and Chief Operating Officer Dominic O’Neill, documented “accelerating” accounts of violence by WWF-backed guards in the forests of southeast Cameroon.
‘Flight-shaming’ could slow growth of airline industry, says Iata
By Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, 17 October 2019
Escalating pressure from investors is pushing airlines to address environmental concerns, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which acknowledged that the trend toward “flight-shaming” could weigh on the industry’s future growth.
Speaking at a conference in London where airlines vied to demonstrate plans to decarbonise, Iata said the climate was now “top of the agenda” for investors.
Nature-based solutions can help protect us from weather and climate related natural hazards
University of Surrey press release, 17 October 2019
Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), led by Professor Prashant Kumar, is working with collaborators across Europe as a part of the OPERANDUM project that aims to manage the rising impact of severe weather and climate related hazards across European and non-European territories using nature-based solutions (NBS).
Carbon Pricing and Markets Update: Can Santiago Climate Change Conference Agree on Mechanism to Deliver Ambition?
By Beate Antonich, IISD, 17 October 2019
Over the last months, we saw a number of reports released by government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including from the business, research and technology communities, that address carbon market expectations, challenges and solutions. These are indicative of ongoing preparatory work ahead of the upcoming negotiations on market mechanisms under Paris Agreement Article 6 (cooperative approaches), expected to conclude at the Santiago Climate Change Conference in December. This Update highlights recent reports and news releases, and provides a backgrounder to the anticipated negotiations on the issue.
Failure in conservation projects: Everyone experiences it, few record it
By Shreya Dasgupta, Mongabay, 17 October 2019
We’ve all had duds. We’ve worked on projects far longer than we would have liked to and failed. We’ve agonized over missteps. We’ve learned from roadblocks — sometimes we’ve not. Yet it’s the successes we love talking about. Conservation is no different.
“‘Doing’ conservation often means grappling with very wicked problems, often intractable and there are no easy pat solutions — the way many success stories are often told makes it sound very easy and non-controversial and simplistic,” Aparajita Datta, a conservation scientist at the Nature Conservation Foundation based in Mysore, India, told Mongabay. “In fact, it is quite dangerous to propagate that notion among people. It can lead to strong disillusionment in the real world.”
Amazon Watch: What Happens When the Forest Disappears?
By Fred Pearce, YaleEnvironment360, 17 October 2019
The contrast is staggering. On one side of a narrow track is cool, moist rainforest, stretching northwest for hundreds of kilometers through the almost intact Xingu indigenous reserve. On the other side is hot, bare ground being prepared to plant soy on a farm the size of 14 Manhattans. This, says my guide, earth systems scientist Michael Coe, is the front line of deforestation in the Amazon – where the rainforest meets agribusiness, but also where a rainforest ecosystem is being degraded into savanna grassland.
Congo’s enormous rainforest is getting smaller
The Economist, 17 October 2019
Jagged, charred tree stumps jut out of blackened earth in what was once part of the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One man, Rafael, standing amid the devastation, reckons he has set fire to around 40 sections of the forest near the city of Bandundu in the past two months. He bags the scorched wood and flogs it as charcoal in the capital, Kinshasa, some 250km away. Most of the city’s 12m residents, unable to afford gas or electric ovens, rely on charcoal for cooking.
Sustainability can be an advantage for Indonesia
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 17 October 2019
The long-awaited rains have finally arrived in parts of Indonesia devastated by forest and peatland fires, bringing relief to regions that had recently been blanketed in toxic smoke. As is often the case during bad fire years, the world’s attention turns to the palm oil industry.
Preparing land by burning is cheaper than any other means, making fire the method of choice in many cases. However, when burning is not carried out under controlled conditions, the practice becomes problematic. In Indonesia, according to government figures, the area burned this year is considerably smaller, at about 328,772 hectares, compared with 2.6 million hectares in 2015 .
18 October 2019
Alternative facts and carbon cycle
By Colin Prentice, Prentice’s Climate Group, 18 October 2019
In today’s issue of Science, Bastin et al. hit back at critics (no less than four technical comments and three letters published today draw attention to errors and/or omissions in their original paper!).
They have, at least, withdrawn their misleading claim that tree planting is the “best solution” to climate change.
How the world came around to carbon capture storage
By Peter Ker, Financial Review, 18 October 2019
Phil Hodgson can see the Netherlands from the top of the 60-metre tower he has built at the Lixhe cement plant in Belgium, and if his small Australian company can continue to extract 95 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the plant’s cement, the only way will be up.
“It’s not bad for a bit of lab kit,” says Hodgson of the tower, which houses the pilot plant his company has built in partnership with two of the world’s biggest cement manufacturers.
Trees and water: don’t underestimate the connection
By Douglas Sheil, CIFOR Forests News, 18 October 2019
Trees have extraordinary powers. They provide shade, cool the local climate, draw carbon dioxide from the air, and can repair and replicate themselves while running on little more than sunlight and rainwater (Pokorný 2018). They also contribute numerous goods and services like fruit, wood and soil improvement with a wide choice of species and varieties suitable for different needs and conditions. But such powers should be wielded with care.
The Amazon hasn’t stopped burning. There were 19,925 fire outbreaks last month, and ‘more fires’ are in the future
By Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today, 18 October 2019
The proliferation of fires in the Amazon rainforest drew international attention in August, especially when French President Emmanuel Macron called for urgent action.
Since then, the eyes of the world have shifted elsewhere as House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Hurricane Dorian leveled large swaths of the Bahamas, a Brexit deal was left for dead and revived, and U.S. troops pulled out of northern Syria.
Meanwhile, the Amazon continued to burn.
How China Could Stop Brazil’s Ecological Tragedy
By Heriberto Araújo, The New York Times, 18 October 2019
Since his election, Jair Bolsonaro has made good on his promises to open formerly protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon to development. The recent surge in deforestation and fires is a direct result of this policy change. Unless the international community takes action, Mr. Bolsonaro’s presidency poses a real threat to the world’s largest tropical forest.
China and India are the new palm oil frontiers
By Jessica Aldred, ChinaDialogue, 18 October 2019
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world, found in everything from chocolate to noodles, shampoo and soap, to frying pans and car fuel tanks.
Grown in the rainforests of the tropics, global consumption of the crop has more than doubled since 2000. This has come at a heavy cost environmentally, particularly in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer.
EU will need CO2 tariff to drive emissions cuts – analysts
By Alessandro Vitelli, Montel News, 18 October 2019
An EU import tariff on the carbon content of goods “has to happen” after the bloc’s coal-fired power fleet has been closed, said analysts speaking at the Carbon Forward event in London.
Once the EU power sector had completed the shift from coal to natural gas and renewables, then low-cost emissions abatement would be much harder to identify, they said late on Thursday.
Green groups flag threat to Indonesia forests recovered from palm planters
By Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 18 October 2019
Swathes of rainforest Indonesia plans to recover from oil palm planters must not instead be handed to the mining and timber sectors nor used for infrastructure, green groups said.
Jakarta last week said it could take back 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) of forests under a ban on clearing land for palm plantations to produce the popular oil.
Gemma Tillack, forest policy director at U.S.-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network, said the move was “a welcome signal at a time when forest fires are destroying rainforests the world over”.
Another government probe uncovers widespread illegality in Indonesia’s palm oil sector
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 18 October 2019
Yet another government investigation has identified widespread illegality underpinning Indonesia’s sprawling oil palm plantation sector, officials have announced.
On 10 October Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, a senior forestry management official at Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, announced that 3.1 million hectares (ha) of palm oil plantings were illegally located without required permits on land classified as forests.
The 3.1 million ha of illegal plantings make up nearly 20% of the country’s 16.38m ha of palm plantations. They also account for over 30% of the 9 million ha of oil palm the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has found to be located in the forest estate.
Entrance to the Kenyan High Commission in London blocked by indigenous activists and Extinction Rebellion Scotland to highlight the plight of the Sengwer Indigenous People of Kenya.
Forest Peoples Programme, 18 October 2019
The Sengwer Indigenous People have suffered severe human rights violations at the hands of the Kenyan Government. In consultation with indigenous organisations, XR Scotland took this action – alongside Defenders Coalition, Amnesty International Kenya, and fourteen other human rights organizations – to demand that the President of the Republic of Kenya recognize the right of the Sengwer to their ancestral land. As part of this action, the group presented a petition signed by 270,000 people.
[Peru] Will Small Forest Owners Finally Be Able To Tap Carbon Markets?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 October 2019
The Wong family of Peru amassed a fortune building up a chain of supermarkets, but much of their wealth today is in real estate – including the 220,000-hectare (543,400-acre) Madeacre forestry concession that family’s late patriarch, Erasmo Wong, cobbled together in the province of Tahuamanu.
He purchased the land with the aim of managing it sustainably, and his family has honored that objective: The entire estate is managed in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Among other things, that means the company practices reduced-impact logging (RIL), which involves carefully harvesting only mature trees that can be chopped down without damaging those around it.
19 October 2019
20 October 2019