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.
Chile pulls out of hosting COP 25
Biofuelwatch, November 2019
Recent events in Chile have forced a withdrawal of the upcoming United Nations climate meetings in Santiago de Chile. In a fully unexpected convulsion of street action and spontaneous mass protest, the nation of Chile has passed from being a global symbol celebrating corporate globalization and economic modernity into a bonfire of a disturbance at the centre of a continent-wide fever of social unrest. In little more than a week, the actions in Chile progressed from an animated and aggressive student protest against subway fare hikes to a nationwide mobilization demanding structural changes in what is one of the most economically unequal societies on the planet. There is no indication that the protest movement is subsiding.
4 November 2019
No fly zone: I didn’t catch a plane for a year and saved 19 tonnes of Co2
By Shaun Hendy, The Guardian, 4 November 2019
What is the single thing that you could do that would most reduce your carbon footprint? Take your bike to work rather than your car? Dig up your lawn for a vegetable garden? For me, an academic scientist living and working in Auckland, New Zealand, I reasoned that the most significant thing I could do was to stop flying.
In 2017 I flew 84,000km. I made twenty day trips to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. I travelled to the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to attend conferences and work on joint projects with other scientists. All of this made me accountable for around 19 tonnes of carbon dioxide that year, nearly three times that of the average Kiwi.
Lost trees hugely overrated as environmental threat, study finds
Ohio State News, 4 November 2019
Cutting down trees inevitably leads to more carbon in the environment, but deforestation’s contributions to climate change are vastly overestimated, according to a new study.
Deforestation for timber and farmland is responsible for about 92 billion tons of carbon emissions into the environment since 1900, found a study led by researchers at The Ohio State University and Yale University.
Why the Amazon Is Really on Fire — and Why It’s Going to Keep Burning
By Agnes Walton, Vice News, 4 November 2019
Fires raged across Arariboia in late September. As soon as one died down, another erupted. The indigenous territory in Brazil’s Maranhão state is home to thousands of Guajajara people and, deep within the thick rainforest, an uncontacted tribe.
Despite size, Congo Basin attracts less funding than other major forest areas
By Richard Eba’a Atyi, CIFOR Forests News, 4 November 2019
The Congo Basin is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world, but it is well behind Southeast Asia and the Amazon region in terms of attracting international funding for sustainable management and nature protection, according to an analysis of financial fluctuations between 2008 and 2017.
[Guyana] Supporting indigenous peoples to restore the balance between wildlife and food security
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 4 November 2019
“There used to be a lot of wildlife here in my father’s and grandfather’s time: deer, tapir, capybara and peccaries,” explains Asaph, a traditional hunter from the Wapishana indigenous tribe in the Rupununi region of Guyana. “There are still some animals in the Kanuku Mountains, but they are harder to find.”
Indonesian journos critical of illegal palm plantation found dead
By Ayat S. Karokaro, Mongabay, 4 November 2019
Two Indonesian journalists who had reported on an illegal oil palm plantation in Sumatra while also allegedly trying to gain control of the crop have been found dead at the plantation.
The body of Maraden Sianipar, 55, was found on Oct. 30 in a ditch in the concession of palm grower PT Sei Alih Berombang (SAB). The body of Martua Siregar, 42, was found the next day in the bushes near a warehouse at the same site. Both men worked for a weekly publication, Pindo Merdeka, based in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.
[Isle of Man] New Earth fund liquidation costs ‘restricted’
By Kirsten Hastings, International Adviser, 4 November 2019
The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority has declined to disclose details of the costs borne by local taxpayers for the liquidation of companies linked to the Premier Group.
The group, which was behind the ill-fated £300m ($388m, €347m) New Earth Group of funds, went into liquidation in June 2016.
The fallout meant that taxpayers on the island ended up footing the bill.
[Kenya] The shamba system: an indigenous woman fights for the rights of her community
UN environment programme, 4 November 2019
“Local communities have to be involved in decisions about forests that affect their livelihoods,” says Tecla Chumba, a Kenyan woman from the Lembus tribe and mother of four. She set up a community forest association and asked the Kenya Forest Service to give each member half an acre of land and tree seedlings that they could plant, alongside their own crops. Members would then return these plots after the trees have grown for three years.
On the U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
By Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Department of State, 4 November 2019
Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations. The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification.
[USA] Why Everything They Say About California Fires — Including That Climate Matters Most — Is Wrong
By Michael Shellenberger, Forbes, 4 November 2019
In 2018, a fire ripped through the town of Paradise, California, killing 85 people. It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.
Liabilities from wildfires started by its powerlines bankrupted Pacific Gas & Electric, which cut off power to nearly one million homes and businesses last month to prevent wind from triggering and fanning fires.
5 November 2019
Most countries’ climate plans ‘totally inadequate’ – experts
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 5 November 2019
The world is on a path to climate disaster, with three-quarters of the commitments made by countries under the Paris agreement “totally inadequate”, according to a comprehensive expert analysis.
Four nations produce half of all carbon emissions but the US has gone into reverse in tackling the climate emergency under Donald Trump while Russia has failed to make any commitment at all.
Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 5 November 2019
The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists.
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.”
Most countries aren’t hitting 2030 climate goals, and everyone will pay the price
By Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, 5 November 2019
The majority of the carbon emission reduction pledges for 2030 that 184 countries made under the Paris Agreement aren’t nearly enough to keep global warming well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). Some countries won’t achieve their pledges, and some of the world’s largest carbon emitters will continue to increase their emissions, according to a panel of world-class climate scientists.
Environmental Defenders Under Threat Around the World
By Julieta Biegner, Global Witness, 5 November 2019
On October 30, 2019, land and environmental defenders from different regions of the world came together in Washington, D.C. to share their work exposing environmental destruction and human rights abuses linked to destructive industries like mining and extractives – the deadliest sector for defenders last year.
Meet the MythBuster for climate change
By Nathanael Johnson, Grist, 5 November 2019
Back in 2008, Stéphane Dion, the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, asked the economist Mark Jaccard for his advice on climate policy. Dion wanted to put a carbon tax at the center of his campaign to become prime minister. Jaccard told him that it was a bad idea: People hate taxes and you can accomplish the same ends with other policies. “While the carbon tax might be good policy,” Jaccard told him “it doesn’t appear to be good politics.”
He recalls Dion responding: “I think good policy is good politics!”
Global transformation: tackling climate change in five charts
By Isabella Hervey-Bathurst, and Simon Webber, Trustnet, 5 November 2019
The 2015 Paris Agreement was a milestone in the battle against climate change. It was when most countries in the world pledged to put their economies on a path to restrict the increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees centigrade this century. This is against a baseline temperature from 1850, before the widespread burning of fossil fuels really got underway.
In 2019, we are already one degree higher than this pre-industrial figure. Mitigating the effects of climate change is not only going to transform all aspects of the global economy, but will divert trillions of dollars of investment each year. Policy implications are already far-reaching and will affect all industries in time. However, this creates a powerful opportunity for investors, as the implications of the changes needed to achieve the target are, at present, poorly understood by the market.
Forest fires prove eco-friendly palm oil ‘is a con’, says Greenpeace
By Rachel Graham, , 5 November 2019
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has clapped back at Greenpeace’s claims RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil “is a con”.
The RSPO certifies sustainable palm oil, holding growers and those handling palm oil in the supply chain to standards on the environment and labour.
But yesterday (4 November), Greenpeace released its Burning Down the House report, finding that members of the RSPO had been at the centre of a series of Indonesian forest fires this year that has seen an area the size of Puerto Rico burnt to make way for palm oil production.
We Have Broken Nature into More Than 990,000 Little Pieces
By Jenessa Duncombe, Earth & Space Science News, 5 November 2019
A new global survey has revealed that areas on Earth with little human impact are becoming smaller and more isolated. Human activity is continually bisecting forests and grasslands into smaller and smaller slivers of undeveloped land.
Using satellite data, the new research suggests that 56% of the land on Earth—excluding areas covered in ice and snow—has relatively low human impacts.
Not all carbon offsets are created equal
By Nelson Bennett, BIV, 5 November 2019
During the recent federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was branded as a climate hypocrite when it was discovered his campaign was using two Boeing 737s to shuttle him and media across the country.
The Trudeau campaign responded by saying it had countered its emissions through carbon offsets bought through Less Emissions.
Guest post: Will plants help make the planet wetter or drier in a changing climate?
By Justin Mankin, Richard Seager, Jason Smerdon, Ben Cook, and Park Williams, CarbonBrief, 5 November 2019
The way that plants and trees respond to a warming climate and increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 has a significant impact on how they use water.
But will this leave more or less freshwater available for societies to use? That millions of people suffer from life-threatening water stresses in the current climate tells us that the answer to this question really matters.
Our new study, published in Nature Geoscience, attempts to shed light on this complicated picture.
Aviation industry to counter flight shaming movement: IATA chief
By Ahmed Hagagy, Reuters, 5 November 2019
The aviation industry is to launch a campaign it hopes will counter a ‘flight shaming’ movement that has weakened demand for air travel in Europe where some travelers are increasingly concerned about their environmental impact.
More countries than ever hit by forest fires in 2018
CORDIS press release, 5 November 2019
Today, the JRC published the 2018 edition of its Annual Report on Forest Fires in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. According to the report, wildfires destroyed nearly 178,000 hectares (ha) of forests and land in the EU last year.
While this is less than one sixth of the area burnt in 2017, and less than the long-term average, more countries than ever before suffered from large fires.
Human Activities Are Drying Out the Amazon: NASA Study
By Esprit Smith, NASA, 5 November 2019
A new NASA study shows that over the last 20 years, the atmosphere above the Amazon rainforest has been drying out, increasing the demand for water and leaving ecosystems vulnerable to fires and drought. It also shows that this increase in dryness is primarily the result of human activities.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, analyzed decades of ground and satellite data over the Amazon rainforest to track both how much moisture was in the atmosphere and how much moisture was needed to maintain the rainforest system.
My friend was murdered for trying to save the Amazon
By Sarah Shenker, Survival International, 5 November 2019
“They’re watching us,” the Guardians whispered, as we walked in the dark. “But we’re watching them, and this is our forest. We know it inside out. We’ll catch them.” We were heading deeper into the forest, towards an illegal logging hotspot.
I was on an operation with the Guardians of the Amazon, indigenous people from the Guajajara tribe with one clear objective: to protect their land. They do this not only for their own families, but also to protect their uncontacted neighbors, people from the Awá tribe, who share this territory. I was invited to join them as part of my work for Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples, who support the Guardians’ work and help amplify their voices on the global stage.
[Brazil] The Chain: Cerrado Fires Show TIAA and Harvard’s Endowment Face Mounting Deforestation Risks
Chain Reaction Research, 5 November 2019
An investigation by several NGOs including Friends of the Earth and GRAIN shows that recent fires in Brazil have taken place on farms owned by Harvard University’s endowment fund and the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). In addition to the Amazon fires that have received the bulk of media attention, fires have also taken place in the Cerrado, a biodiverse savanna ecosystem covering over 2 million hectares across 11 states in the North, Central, and Western part of the country. The Matopiba region in the Cerrado has been a focus for recent farmland investment in Brazil. However, the investments have taken a toll: As CRR reported last year, forest farmland investors have been linked to more than 423,000 hectares of deforestation. Any connections to deforestation open investors to both reputational and financial risks.
Brazil farmers push traders to end Amazon soy moratorium
By Roerto Samora, Reuters, 5 November 2019
Brazilian farmers plan to start a campaign next week to end a ban by trading firms on buying soybeans from parts of the Amazon rainforest cleared after 2008, leaders from a major farmer group told Reuters, citing support from President Jair Bolsonaro.
[Canada] They’ve managed the forest forever. It’s why they’re key to the climate change fight
By Julia Rosen, Los Angeles Times, 5 November 2019
The first time Mandy Gull visited Canada’s Broadback Forest, she was struck by the displays of delicate lichen. By the dense, ancient trees. By the moss-covered floor, which rose and fell like a rumpled green blanket.
“There’s an energy in that kind of forest that I don’t think you find just anywhere,” said Gull, a member of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec and the deputy grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees. “You have to go there and see it and feel it.”
EU emissions set for biggest plunge since 2009 – Wattsight
By Nathan Witkop, Montel, 5 November 2019
Emissions captured by Europe’s carbon trading scheme are likely to record their steepest plunge in a decade this year due to slowing economic activity and fuel switching, according to analysis firm Wattsight.
The company predicts stationary installations that take part in the EU ETS will see their emissions fall 8% or 135m tonnes in 2019 to 1,547m tonnes, senior analyst Espen Andreassen told Montel.
[South Africa] The ‘Bacon Tree’ Eating Carbon in the Eastern Cape
By Nick Dall, Ozy, 5 November 2019
On a recent trip to the 630-square-mile Addo Elephant National Park, dense thickets of spekboom (a fleshy shrub with purple stalks and leaves like bloated ticks) made it hard to spot the elephants, lions and rhinos that call this slice of paradise home. Driving home from the park, however, I passed through mile upon mile of yellowed grassland dotted with sheep and goats. Not realizing it then, my drive was actually a form of time travel.
[UK] Defra to buy carbon credits to incentivise tree planting
By Isabel Davies, Farmers Weekly, 5 November 2019
Farmers and landowners are being promised a long-term income stream to encourage them to create new woodlands – highlighting the government’s new strategy of offering ‘public money for public goods’.
The new £50m Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme is being introduced to boost tree-planting rates in England.
The government is committed to planting 11m trees by 2022, as part of its effort to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050 to tackle climate change.
[USA] Trump begins year-long process to formally exit Paris climate agreement
By Emily Holden, The Guardian, 5 November 2019
Donald Trump is moving to formally exit the Paris climate agreement, making the United States the only country in the world that will not participate in the pact, as global temperatures are set to rise 3C and worsening extreme weather will drive millions into poverty.
Scientists warn of ‘climate crisis’ after US quits Paris accord
By Leslie Hook, Financial Times, 5 November 2019
More than 10,000 scientists have issued a stark warning of a global climate emergency, a day after US president Donald Trump’s administration formally notified the UN of its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Mr Trump two years ago announced plans to exit an agreement aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2C, but the US had continued to send delegations to climate summits who were active in negotiations.
[USA] California wildfires: what role has the climate crisis played? – video explainer
By Susie Cagle, Gary Marshall, Elena Morresi, Maheen Sadiq, and Nikhita Chulani, , 5 November 2019
Thousands of firefighters have been battling wildfires across California, after warm temperatures, strong winds and low humidity turned the state into a ‘tinderbox’. So is this the new normal? Has the climate crisis made California too dangerous to live in?California’s fire season has been bad. But it could have been much worse.
6 November 2019
Community land rights: An untapped solution to secure climate, biodiversity, and development goals
By Wael Zakout and Andy White, World Bank, 6 November 2019
Secure land rights play a key role in addressing the climate crisis. Yet billions of peoples’ rights to the lands and resources they live on and manage are unrecognized. This insecurity undermines global efforts to protect, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems essential to the realization of global climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development goals.
Forestry carbon offsets grapple with image problem
By Nelson Bennett, BIV, 6 November 2019
Carbon offsets and emissions trading evolved out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as a mechanism that could be used by industries that either couldn’t reduce their emissions – airlines are a prime example – or found it too expensive.
Since the battery-powered electric passenger plane does not exist, about the only mechanism available is an offset, which a carbon offset broker sells to individuals or companies that want to neutralize their flight emissions, and buys credits in a project somewhere that is reducing greenhouse gases.
Why restoring nature is so important to limiting climate change
By Umair Irfan, Vox, 6 November 2019
A group of 27 countries met in Paris this month to raise $9.8 billion for the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program that routes money from wealthier countries to poorer ones to combat climate change.
But climate activists said it was a disappointing haul for a program critical to meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord — where countries agreed to limit warming this century to less than 2 degrees Celsius, with an aspirational limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Airlines prepare for first CORSIA emissions reports
By Victoria Moores, Air Transport World, 6 November 2019
Airlines worldwide are on track to submit their first full year of emissions data under ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), although some regulators have been slow to react to the new rules.
ICAO adopted CORSIA, a global market-based carbon offset program, in October 2016. Since then, ICAO has been working to create the technical framework for CORSIA implementation.
NASA Says Amazon Fires Were Also Fuelled by Water-Stressed Plants
By Fabienne Lang, Interesting Engineering, 6 November 2019
Fires in the Amazon Basin are still raging, burning acres upon acres of plants and land since August. Much of the blame falls on human activity, also linked to deforestation efforts that many believe is the sole instigator of the forest fires.
NASA shared information that human activity wasn’t the only thing responsible for these fires, but drought-stressed plants in the region also fuelled them.
Money and maps: is this how to save the Amazon’s 400bn trees?
By Clare Longrigg, The Guardian, 6 November 2019
The first thing Ramón heard about the deal was the televisions. A number of families from the Asháninka indigenous group had received them from outsiders, in exchange for land. Loggers were interested in the mahogany, oak and tornillo trees that grow to impressive heights in this part of the rainforest around Cutivireni in central Peru.
An Update on Our Crisis Response to the Amazon Fires
Rainforest Alliance, 6 November 2019
Editor’s Note: The Amazon is still burning. As the fires rage on, an inspiring global mobilization has emerged in defense of one of Earth’s most precious and important ecosystems. A heartfelt thank you to those who helped us amplify the voices of Indigenous communities and frontline organizations courageously defending the rainforest. Together, we have raised more than US $1.2 million to date for frontline organizations across the Amazon; their crisis response activities are described below.
[Cambodia] Gov’t yields $11 million from carbon credit sales
By Soth Koemsoeun, The Phnom Penh Post, 6 November 2019
More than $11 million in carbon credits from Cambodian forests have been sold since 2016, the Ministry of Environment announced at its annual year-end conference.
The carbon credits were exchanged under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd+) framework, which allows forested developing countries to generate income by allowing companies to bypass government pollution caps.
Germany Is Undermining the Climate Change Fight
By Lionel Laurent, Bloomberg, 6 November 2019
The European Union’s 555 billion-euro ($600 billion) lending arm, the European Investment Bank, will choose this month whether to sign off on a plan to ditch fossil fuel projects almost entirely and boost support for clean-energy finance.
The decision has been delayed by pushback from Germany and some central European nations. That says a lot about Berlin’s muddled approach to tackling climate change, and how that’s holding Europe back.
The ancient swamps along India’s western coast must be saved at all costs
By Neha Jain, Quartz India, 6 November 2019
The low-lying valleys of the evergreen tropical forests of the Western Ghats harbour a rare, ancient ecosystem: the Myristica swamps. Comprised mainly of evergreen trees of the Myristicaceae family—one of the most primitive families of flowering plants renowned for the nutmeg tree species, the swamps are rich in biodiversity and scientists have been discovering new species to this day.
Analysis: Indonesia’s best democratic instincts protected the rainforests of Aru from destruction. Now it’s democracy that needs saving.
The Gecko Project, 6 November 2019
When Mika Ganobal, a 35-year-old civil servant, mounted the top of a van in the ramshackle town of Dobo to rouse a crowd of protesters, in 2013, it was an act that said much about how Indonesia had changed in its first 15 years of democracy.
Two decades earlier, the form of mass demonstration he helped organise, with thousands of people flooding the streets to protests against the government and a private company, would have been unthinkable. The tight grip of the authoritarian Suharto regime, and the constant threat of state violence, would have suppressed the very idea.
Makers of Oreos, KitKats among brands linked to Indonesia forest fires
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 6 November 2019
The makers of Oreo cookies and KitKat chocolate bars are among the companies getting some of their palm oil from producers linked to the fires that have razed large swaths of land in Indonesia, a new report says.
The fires, started mostly to clear land for planting, have burned 8,578 square kilometers (3,304 square miles) as of the end of September — an area the size of Puerto Rico. Many of the companies on whose concessions they’ve occurred are affiliated with groups that supply palm oil to companies like Mondelēz, Nestlé, Unilever and Procter & Gamble (P&G), according to the report published Nov. 4 by Greenpeace.
7 November 2019
The climate crisis is not a commodity
By Community Editorial Board, The Chronicle, 7 November 2019
This past week, Duke University hosted Duke Energy Week, a week that “brings students, faculty, and industry professionals together for a week of energy events to promote collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and professional networking.” One might assume that, given the grave and worrisome series of climate disasters currently unfolding, the week might focus on the global relationship of energy to climate-change. However, the language of the event’s theme—energy evolution—clearly takes a different tack: businesses need to “adapt quickly in order to capitalize on new opportunities, implement effective strategies, and avoid being disrupted by others.”
6 Barriers to Protecting and Restoring Forests – and Strategies to Overcome Them
By Craig Hanson, Frances Seymour, Rohini Chaturvedi and Helen Ding, World Resources Insitute, 7 November 2019
Forests help stabilize the climate and provide many contributions to Sustainable Development Goals. And we have quite a bit of evidence about what policies and strategies are effective in conserving and restoring forests. So why haven’t such measures been adopted at scale? Our new working paper, Public-Sector Measures to Conserve and Restore Forests, commissioned by the Food and Land Use Coalition as part of its flagship Growing Better report, we identify six economic and political economy barriers, and identify strategies to overcome them.
Global investment in cutting greenhouse gases fell by 11% in 2018
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 7 November 2019
Investment in greenhouse gas emission reduction fell last year despite the growing urgency of the climate crisis, and the benefits of outlays were cancelled out by investments globally in fossil fuels and other dirty industries, finds a report by the Climate Policy Initiative.
Global climate finance hit a record high of $612bn (£476bn) in 2017, according to CPI advisers, but fell back 11% after that bumper year to $546bn in 2018.
How businesses are riding the Fourth Wave
Environmental Defense Fund, 7 November 2019
Investments from venture capital and private equity firms into sustainable technologies surged to over $9 billion last year. And their appetite to invest in new technologies transforming everything from energy generation to energy efficiency and automation to the electrification of mobility remains unabated.
[Australia] BHP says coal lobby links can foster change as investor rebellion builds
By Nick Toscano and Laura Chung, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 2019
BHP chairman Ken MacKenzie says environmental activists should applaud the miner’s industry-leading climate policies, as nearly one in three investors called for the company to cut its links with so-called pro-coal lobby groups.
Mr MacKenzie defended the resource giant’s membership of mining industry lobby groups as a vital tool in helping combat climate change, saying such collaborations would help target such a “complex problem”.
Despite outrage over fires, Brazil allows sugar cane farming in Amazon
By Tatiana Freitas, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 2019
Brazil has faced international outrage over fires in the Amazon. Rather than shrinking from the scrutiny, President Jair Bolsonaro decided to make yet another controversial move by allowing for the expansion of sugar farming in the planet’s biggest rainforest.
Bolsonaro annulled a 10-year-old regulation that had banned the expansion of sugar-cane planted in the Amazon, in a wetland savanna known as Pantanal, and in indigenous and reforested areas, according to a resolution published in the country’s official gazette on Wednesday, local time.
Fires Are Ravaging Brazil’s Pantanal, the World’s Largest Tropical Wetlands
By Anna Jean Kaiser, AP, 7 November 2019
Fires in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands have ripped through the biodiverse region, consuming an area the size of London in just the past 10 days, burning some animals alive and sending others fleeing.
The inferno in the world’s largest tropical wetlands is the latest environmental disaster facing Brazil, coming after a mysterious oil spill that is afflicting beaches in the northeast and August fires that raged in the Amazon region.
[UK] What to do if an ‘expert’ witness proves to be incompetent
By Jonathan Ames, The Times, 7 November 2019
Judges should have the power permanently to ban experts from giving evidence in court if it is shown that they are incompetent or lack independence. And that is not the view of judges or losing litigants harbouring sour grapes, but of experts themselves.
This year’s expert witness survey conducted for The Times has revealed that 58 per cent of respondents agreed that judges should have the power to disqualify experts “who do not understand their role”.
8 November 2019
‘Greta Thunberg effect’ driving growth in carbon offsetting
By Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 8 November 2019
Growing concern about the climate crisis and the “Greta Thunberg effect” are driving huge increases in individuals and businesses choosing to offset their emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries.
NGOs and organisations involved in carbon offsetting have seen as much as a fourfold increase in investment from people who want to try to mitigate their carbon footprints.
The Carbon Bomb: A new report shows that deforestation released a shocking 626 percent more CO2 between 2000 and 2013 than previously thought
By Tom Evans and Sean Maxwell, Scientific American, 8 November 2019
Decarbonizing the world’s fossil fuel–dominated economy must happen, but many other parts of the solution to the climate crisis are based in nature. As part of this portfolio of approaches, new research shows that we should be taking much better care of our last great intact forests because doing so has remarkable climate benefits.
The numbers reveal a staggering increase in the estimated CO2 released by losses of intact tropical forest between 2000 and 2013—626 percent higher than previously thought.
CIFOR and ICRAF join 11,000 scientists to declare ‘climate emergency’
By Grace Susetyo, CIFOR Forests News, 8 November 2019
More than 11,000 scientists worldwide signed a paper published by the journal BioScience on Tuesday, raising the alarm that the planet is facing a climate emergency and urging action.
Scientists from more than 150 countries signed the “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” in an act of solidarity, 40 years after scientists from 50 countries expressed similar concerns at the World Climate Conference in Geneva.
RSPO conference rocked by multiple NGO reports of illegalities in member concessions
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 8 November 2019
As the world’s largest palm oil certification scheme was holding its general assembly in Bangkok earlier this month, a series of damning NGO reports were released exposing ongoing and unpunished crimes and legal irregularities by its member firms across Indonesia.
The allegations – many of which cover issues and legacy cases that have plagued RSPO for years – contradict the RSPO’s own positive portrayal of the implementation of its standards.
[Brazil] Poorly planned Amazon dam project ‘poses serious threat to life’
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 8 November 2019
The biggest hydroelectric project in the Amazon rainforest has a design flaw that poses a “very serious” threat to human life and globally important ecosystems, according to documents and expert testimony received by the Guardian.
The studies suggest engineers failed to anticipate the impact of water shortages on the Pimental dam at Belo Monte, which has been closed and turned into a barrier. This is forcing the operators to choose between a structural weakening of the 14km-wide compacted-earth barrier and a reallocation of water in the reservoir or on the Xingu river, which is home to indigenous communities, fishing villages and some of the world’s most endangered species.
Indigenous firefighters tackle Brazil’s blazes
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 8 November 2019
As global concern increases over the burning of the Amazon forest, the Brazilian government is keeping very quiet over one telling point: in many cases the people it is using to combat the flames are indigenous firefighters.
In August, the fires raging in the rainforest alarmed the world. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, variously blamed NGOs, the press and indigenous people for them, although there was plenty of evidence that many were deliberately caused by farmers and land grabbers wanting to clear the forest for cattle, crops and profit.
[Kenya] State launches strategy to achieve 10% forest cover by 2022
By Brian Otiendo, The Star, 8 November 2019
Kenyans are largely ignorant of the importance of forests in the country and that is why they attach little importance to afforestation, an environmental organization has said.
Active Environmental Team on Friday lauded the government’s initiative to create awareness on the importance of forest cover in the country in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.
Nepal set to unlock World Bank’s Forest Carbon Money
By Shree Ram Subedi, myRepublica, 8 November 2019
After decade-long preparations, Nepal is set to sign a deal next month with World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) unlocking potentials to attract up to US$ 45 million until 2025. The Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement (ERPA) will help the government, communities, and stakeholders to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Similarly, the agreement also rewards community-based forest management efforts to reduce carbon emissions and enhance carbon stock through forest management activities.
[UK] XR challenges government climate change adviser over net zero ambitions
By Gareth Simkins, ENDS Report, 8 November 2019
On Wednesday evening, senior figures from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and Extinction Rebellion (XR) went head to head on whether the UK should decarbonise sooner than 2050.
Climate scientist professor Corinne le Quéré, a member of the CCC and chair of its French equivalent said, “I hope we can get in position to strengthen the target” of reaching net zero within three decades.
[USA] Trump Again Misunderstands California’s Wildfires
By Jessica McDonald, FactCheck.org, 8 November 2019
For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump inaccurately attributed California’s rash of wildfires to poor forest management. He also falsely said other states don’t have “close to the level of burn” as California.
Most of the Golden State’s latest blazes aren’t in forests, experts explained, and therefore aren’t the types of fires that would benefit from better forest management. Wildfires also aren’t limited to California, even if the state gets more attention for them. So far this year, for example, wildfires in Alaska have burned nearly 10 times as much land as those in California.
US Govt says cooperation of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow continues
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 8 November 2019
Several months after the New York Southern District Court accepted the guilty plea of Renwick Haddow, widely known for his fraudulent Bitcoin schemes, the United States Government has submitted a brief letter at the Court.
The Government says that the defendant’s cooperation continues. At the very least, he is scheduled to testify at trial in the case targeting his co-conspirator Savraj Gata-Aura next month.
9 November 2019
Climate change deniers’ new battle front attacked
By Robin McKie, The Guardian, 9 November 2019
The battle between climate change deniers and the environment movement has entered a new, pernicious phase. That is the stark warning of one of the world’s leading climate experts, Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.
Mann told the Observer that although flat rejection of global warming was becoming increasingly hard to maintain in the face of mounting evidence, this did not mean climate change deniers were giving up the fight.
[Australia] NSW and Queensland bushfires: two dead and at least 100 homes destroyed
The Guardian, 9 November 2019
At least 100 homes have been destroyed in the New South Wales bushfires, with two people dead and seven unaccounted for.
More than 35 people were injured, including 16 firefighters, and 81 fires were still burning throughout the state as of Saturday afternoon.
10 November 2019
Saving the Amazon: fighting fires and illegal loggers in the world’s largest rainforest
By Matthew Campbell, The Times, 10 November 2019
It has rained heavily overnight and the back of our pick-up swings about like a motorboat on the muddy track. Iridescent blue butterflies flicker against the vegetal walls on either side of the path. A flash of red marks the startled flight of a macaw. For the past several hours we have been scouring the back roads of the Brazilian Amazon on a mission against illegal loggers who have bulldozed their way into the jungle in search of valuable hardwoods. Now the radio crackles into life again: “If you try and arrest us, we’ll fight,” says a voice.
[USA] How should Oregon manage its state forests? A jury is about to decide
By Connor Radnovich, Statesman Journal, 10 November 2019
The question of how Oregon should manage its state forests could receive an answer when a trial in Linn County wraps up this week between the state and 14 counties suing it for breach of contract.
The counties, including Marion and Polk, claim they are owed about $1.4 billion because the state didn’t adequately manage more than 600,000 acres of forest for maximum logging revenue, failing to uphold its end of a 1941 agreement to prioritize timber sales.