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.
9 December 2019
Climate change: UN negotiators ‘playing politics’ amid global crisis
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 9 December 2019
UN negotiators meeting in Madrid have been accused of “playing politics” while the climate crisis grows.
The talks – now in their final week – are bogged down in technical details as key countries seek to delay efforts to increase their pledges, observers say.
Ministers are due to arrive in the Spanish capital this week to try to secure an ambitious outcome.
Carbon offsets have patchy human rights record. Now UN talks erode safeguards
By Jocelyn Timperley, Climate Home News, 9 December 2019
Rules proposed to protect communities from carbon-cutting projects have been eroded at UN climate talks, raising fears human rights abuses under the previous system will be repeated.
From 2020, projects such as hydropower dams and sustainable forestry and agriculture will be able to sell credits for carbon emissions reductions on a new global market.
COP25: World leaders debate global carbon trading playbook
By Matt Maynard, Geographical, 9 December 2019
Any good parent knows you should never make a rule that you can’t enforce. In the first week, however, of the UN COP25 climate change conference, the troublesome Article Six policy of the Paris Agreement was a 2015 promise some nations were perhaps beginning to regret. Article Six allows countries and companies to potentially leverage emissions savings they create overseas for continued or even increased emissions at home. The mechanism is currently as vague as it sounds.
CLARA recommendations for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
www.ambienteysociedad.org.co, 9 December 2019
The world’s climate, and its biodiversity is in crisis. There is no carbon budget left to continue discussions around ‘offsetting’ emissions. In light of that, any outcome under Article 6 must achieve real emission reductions while promoting sustainable development, ensuring ecological integrity and avoiding double counting, as well as protecting human rights, the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and gender equality. Based on current negotiations, there is an increasing risk that an Article 6 outcome not properly framed at COP 25 will severely undermine the Paris Agreement and progress toward <1.5°C pathways. The following requirements are fundamental to ensuring the good governance of all activities under Article 6.
Hopes dim as COP25 delegates dicker over Article 6 and world burns: critics
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay, 9 December 2019
Climate sensation Greta Thunberg drew 500,000 people to a boisterous rally in central Madrid on Friday evening, near the end of the first week of negotiations at the 25th United Nations climate summit (COP25).
“We are getting bigger and bigger, and our voices are being heard more and more,” Thunberg told the crowd. “But of course that does not translate into political action. I sincerely hope that world leaders, the people in power, grasp the urgency of the climate crisis because right now, it doesn’t seem like they are.”
Humans Already Slowed The Climate Crisis Once, New Research Shows
By Mike Mcrae, Science Alert, 9 December 2019
Decades before we marched in protest over the growing climate crisis, a giant hole in the ozone layer demanded our attention. It’s a good thing we acted on it, too – without the changes that followed, our future would be looking even hotter.
Thanks to regulations on emissions of ozone-destroying class of greenhouse gas called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), projected global temperatures for 2050 are at least one degree Celsius cooler than what they might have been otherwise.
Fighting the climate crisis need not mean halting economic growth
By Joseph Stiglitz, The Guardian, 9 December 2019
It is clear: we are living beyond our planet’s limits. Unless we change something, the consequences will be dire. Should that something be our focus on economic growth?
The climate emergency represents the most salient risk we face and we are already getting a glimpse of the costs. And in “we”, I include Americans. The US, where a major political party is dominated by climate-change deniers, is the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases and the only country refusing to adhere to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. So there is a certain irony in the fact that the US has also become one of the countries with the highest levels of property damage associated with extreme weather events such as floods, fires, hurricanes, droughts and bitter cold.
The hidden threat from the fires ravaging our planet
By Tatiana Vasilieva, Greenpeace, 9 December 2019
This year people from all over the world saw our planet literally go on fire. From Russia to Brazil, from Indonesia to Canada and the US, from Israel and Lebanon to even Greenland, massive fires swept through forests and other landscapes. Right now, terrifying bushfires are still raging across Australia. Orangutans, bears and koalas are dying. People are losing their homes, their belonging and their loved ones, and as the climate crisis intensifies, we ask ourselves: what will burn tomorrow? Will 2020 be as disastrous as this year? But while these questions torment us, a silent threat looms behind the smoke and the haze: the huge amount of CO2 emitted by the fires.
Corruption: An Obstacle To Fighting Climate Change
By Dave Keating, Forbes, 9 December 2019
Today, as the world marks international anti-corruption day, global negotiators meeting at a climate summit in Madrid are considering greatly expanding a system that some say is already greatly compromised.
Delegates at the COP25 UN climate summit in Madrid are setting rules for a new international carbon market, which will allow wealthy countries to meet their climate goals in part by buying carbon credits to offset their own emissions. Those credits will be used to fund massive clean energy projects in the developing world. But critics worry that much of this money could disappear since it’s very dependent on local governments, which are sometimes plagued by corruption.
2020 Vision: The super year for the planet (and ourselves)
By Marco Lambertini (WWF), The Forum Network, 9 December 2019
From the fresh air we breathe to the clean water we drink, nature provides the essentials we all rely on for our survival and well-being. The loss of nature threatens these essentials: damage to biodiversity is not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue. It affects us all and all aspects of our lives.
About 100 countries at UN climate talks challenge Australia’s use of carryover credits
By Adam Morton, The Guardian, 9 December 2019
Australia’s plan to use an accounting loophole to meet its international emissions targets has been formally challenged at UN climate talks, with about 100 countries wanting the practice banned under the Paris agreement.
Delegates from developing countries led by Belize and Costa Rica have introduced a ban on using carryover credits from the Kyoto protocol into the text of the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement, which is being debated at a meeting in Madrid.
New biomass map to take stock of the world’s carbon
European Space Agency press release, 9 December 2019
The first of a series of global maps aimed at quantifying change in carbon stored as biomass across the world’s forests and shrublands has been released today by ESA’s Climate Change Initiative at COP25—the United Nation Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Madrid.
Germany set to cancel up to 250m EUAs by 2030 – analysts
By Nora Kamprath Buli and Julia Demirdag, Monetel News, 9 December 2019
Germany may cancel up to 250m EUAs over the next decade in step with its plans to exit coal-fired power production, analysts told Montel on Monday.
“This is indeed a new turning point in the discussion about coal phasing out,” said Marcus Ferdinand, carbon analyst at Icis, following the environment ministry’s announcement this morning it would cancel surplus EUAs from 2021 – though it had yet to determine the number.
Oil Palm Growers Exposed to USD 0.4-5.9B in Social Compensation Risk
Chain Reaction Research, 9 December 2019
Oil palm plantation development and its effects on land clearing has likely impacted areas of critical value to local communities. While palm growers have made progress in quantifying and compensating loss for areas with environmental value, they have made less headway regarding compensation for clearing of land with social and cultural values. If palm growers cannot effectively mitigate these risks and compensate for the losses, complaints and conflicts with local communities are likely to ensue. In Indonesia, evidence shows that growers experience substantial operational, stranded land, and market access risks from social conflicts.
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron & BP Could Be Legally & Morally Liable for Climate Crisis in Philippines
Democracy Now!, 9 December 2019
The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines has just determined that 47 major companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Total, could be found legally and morally liable for human rights harms to Filipinos resulting from climate change. The commission found the companies could be held accountable under civil and criminal laws. Climate activists have hailed the decision as a landmark victory for climate justice. According to Greenpeace, this marks the first time big polluting companies have been found responsible for human rights harms resulting from the climate crisis. We speak to Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the former chief climate negotiator for the Philippines.
Tanzania’s Withdrawal from the African Court on Human and People’s Rights: A Wrong Move for the Country and for the Continent
Oakland Institute, 9 December 2019
Amidst growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent, Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s latest move takes away the ability of individuals and NGOs to file cases against the government in the African Court on Human and People’s Rights—continental court that Tanzania hosts. This is not only a grave threat to human rights in the country but also sends the wrong message to African governments and thwarts African efforts to establish continental human rights bodies.
10 December 2019
Climate change protests at COP25: Are carbon markets the way forward?
ETNowNews, 10 December 2019
On December 6, climate change activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Madrid to join over 500,000 protesters and activists marching through the city to voice their concerns over the inaction of world leaders at the COP25 climate talks. Shortly after the commencement of talks on December 2, a comprehensive “carbon budget” report was published revealing how far the world currently is from meeting the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Madrid climate negotiators seek to break deadlock on role of carbon markets
By Susanna Twidale, Valerie Volcovici, and Jake Spring, Reuters, 10 December 2019
Negotiations on how carbon markets can be used by countries to meet their global warming goals under the Paris accord go down to the wire this week as United Nations climate talks enter their final days in Madrid.
Technical experts worked past midnight on Monday, but left some of the thorniest issues for environment ministers and senior officials – who have arrived in Madrid for the high-level section of the talks on Tuesday.
Climate summits in Madrid and Santiago
By Tony La Viña, Manila Standard, 10 December 2019
The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP 25) of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change was meant to take place in Santiago, Chile, from Dec. 2-13, 2019. Unfortunately Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced at the end of October that, due to the civil unrest taking place in the country, his government would no longer be able to host the conference. Subsequently, Spain came forward to convene the COP 25 in Madrid with Chile to remain COP President and so every agreement here in Madrid will most likely be described with a Santiago appellation as if it was agreed upon in Chile’s capital city.
Can sustainable finance really help solve the climate crisis?
By Basil Oberholzer, Social Europe, 10 December 2019
It is wrong to believe the financial sector will contribute to ecological transformation. Economic and environmental policies remain key.
The financial sector should take responsibility and contribute to the decarbonisation of the global economy. This is increasingly how think tanks, bankers, economists and policy-makers advocate for ‘sustainable finance’. It is even a pillar of the Paris agreement. While sustainable finance is most often advanced with regard to climate change, the same notion is applicable to biodiversity and, for that matter, weapons, child labour and drugs.
Can The Airline Industry Survive Climate Change?
By Andy Stone, Forbes, 10 December 2019
The latest United Nations climate change conference, COP25, is underway in Madrid, with the key goal of hashing out the rules by which countries may trade emissions reductions across international boundaries. The issue of emissions transfers, more commonly known as offsets, is of vital interest to the global airline industry, which has come under fire for its outsized climate impact. Commercial airliners pump out 2.5 percent of total global warming gasses. The industry’s trade group, the International Air Transport Association, expects emissions to triple over the coming twenty years as ridership takes off in Asia and mature markets like the U.S. continue to expand.
Revealed: fires three times more common in Amazon beef farming zones
By Alexandra Heal, Andrew Wasley, Sam Cutler, and André Campos, The Guardian, 10 December 2019
Fires were three times more common in beef-producing zones than in the rest of the Amazon this summer, according to a new analysis.
The findings once again draw attention to the links between Brazil’s powerful beef industry and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, just as the world debates climate change at COP25.
World Bank urged to rethink investment in one of Brazil’s big beef companies
By Alexandra Heal and Andrew Wasley, The Guardian, 10 December 2019
The World Bank should reconsider its investment in one of Brazil’s biggest beef producers because of the industry’s links to deforestation and the climate crisis, according to two UN-appointed experts.
Minerva is Brazil’s second largest beef exporter, and some of its product is supplied, both directly and indirectly, by cattle farmers based in the Amazon rainforest.
Calls grow for laws requiring firms to reveal links to deforestation
By Bibi van der Zee, Alexandra Heal, and Andrew Wasley, The Guardian, 10 December 2019
There is growing support in the UK and Europe for laws that would make due diligence on issues such as deforestation and human rights abuses mandatory for large businesses.
NGOs have been pushing for regulatory action for at least a decade. But this year governments and, more surprisingly, the private sector have swung behind the cause.
Putting forests at the heart of climate action
By William Baldwin-Cantello, WWF, 10 December 2019
Tackling the climate crisis is essential if we’re to reverse the catastrophic decline in nature — and reversing the decline in nature is essential if we’re to tackle the climate crisis.
As world leaders gather in Madrid for the latest UN climate change conference, there’s a growing awareness of this fact, but finance and policy commitments do not go far enough in response.
Brazilian Researchers Defy The Government To Reveal The Truth About Amazon Fires
By Christine Ro, Forbes, 10 December 2019
The Amazon’s dry season is coming to an end, but there’s persistent concern about the effects of its devastating wildfires. One challenge to determining and publicizing all of the effects and causes is the science-shunning administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has denied the devastation of these fires. Bolsonaro has blamed the media for exaggerating them, and even actor–activist Leonardo DiCaprio for supposedly funnelling money to NGOs that deliberately set the fires.
Amazon deforestation paces ahead of recent historical norm
By Rhett A. Butler, Mongabay, 10 December 2019
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is continuing to pace ahead of recent historical norms despite global outcry over ongoing destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest, reveals data released by Brazil’s national space research agency INPE.
INPE’s satellite-based short-term deforestation detection system has recorded 8,683 square kilometers of forest clearing since January 1, the highest on record since the agency started releasing monthly data in 2007. 2019’s figure is 79% higher than a year ago.
World Bank and Chile sign agreement to reduce forest emissions, improve local livelihoods
The World Bank, 10 December 2019
Chile has signed an agreement with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership housed at the World Bank, unlocking up to $26 million to increase carbon sequestration and reduce emissions from forests. Chile is the first Latin American country to reach this milestone deal that will run until 2025. With this Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) in place, Chile is now eligible to receive results-based payments through its ambitious emission reductions program.
Indonesia drafting regulations for the sale of carbon credits
By Wilda Asmarini, Reuters, 10 December 2019
Indonesia is drafting regulations for the sale of carbon credits to take advantage of carbon reserves stored in peatlands, rain forests and mangroves, a minister said on Tuesday, estimating that such sales could generate up to $100 billion a year.
Indonesia does hold large carbon reserves, but the country is also criticized by some experts as being among the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases due to deforestation and fires that regularly hit the country during its annual dry seasons.
[Indonesia] Revealed: Government officials say permits for mega-plantation in Papua were falsified
Mongabay and The Gecko Project, 10 December 2019
Indonesian government officials have alleged that permits underpinning a multi-billion dollar plantation project in Papua province were falsified, leading to the criminal clear-cutting of a vast area of rainforest.
The land is being opened up by investors whose identity is hidden behind anonymously owned companies, as part of a plan to develop an oil palm plantation almost twice the size of London in the remote region.
Research group takes down controversial Indonesia fire analysis
By Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Nature, 10 December 2019
How much did Indonesia burn this year? An international research organization has taken down an online report that suggested fires burnt more than 1.6 million hectares of land in the country during 2019, 40% more than the government’s own calculations for the same period.
The Indonesian government and local scientists had criticized the analysis, by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), saying that it relied on satellite data that hadn’t been confirmed with ground observations. The environment ministry’s own calculations suggest that just under 950,000 hectares were burnt between January and October.
Imperilled Ape: Dam Company’s Use of ‘Local Wisdom’ Reeks of Greenwashing
ALERT Conservation, 10 December 2019
An international team of researchers and conservation practitioners is intensely worried about the fate of the world’s rarest ape.
The Tapanuli orangutan is the rarest great ape in the world. Fewer than 800 animals remain, divided into three tiny sub-populations in the Batang Toru highlands in Sumatra, Indonesia.
[Solomon Islands] Forest sector eyes bio-economy
Solomon Star, 10 December 2019
Hopes to filling the gap of diminishing logging industry in the country and help mitigate climate change issues was discussed during the recent visit of His Royal Highness (HRH), The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles to the country.
Forest Minister, Hon. Ishmael Avui and the Permanent Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu met and briefly discussed with His Royal Highness (HRH) the available opportunities to assist developing and transforming the forestry sector that currently does and depends on round log export into a more resilient and buoyant bioeconomy to address many contemporary economic, social and environmental issues, starting in 2020.
The foundation of administration structures inside Paris and Sweden
Industry Global News, 10 December 2019
The Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) consented to a collaboration arrangement uninvolved of COP25 to dispatch the Mobilizing Article 6 Trading Structures (MATS) Program, a pilot venture planned for building up Article 6 Activities under the Paris Agreement. The target of this joint coordinated effort is to catalyze worldwide exchanging of relief results on the side of the expanded atmosphere aspirations required under the Paris Agreement.
11 December 2019
Dodgy carbon market rules risk undermining the Paris Agreement
By Kaisa Amaral, Carbon Market Watch, 11 December 2019
The UN carbon market talks are at a crossroads in Madrid as ministers take over today. Carbon Market Watch calls on governments to only accept a deal that bans old Kyoto credits, includes rules to avoid double-counting, and to ensure that markets reduce emissions, and include strong environmental and social safeguards.
Climate change: Major emitters accused of blocking progress at UN talks
BBC News, 11 December 2019
Delegates from developing countries have reacted angrily to what they see as attempts to block progress at the COP25 meeting in Madrid.
One negotiator told the BBC that the talks had failed to find agreement on a range of issues because of the blocking actions of some large emitters.
Carlos Fuller from Belize said that Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and China were “part of the problem”.
UN Talks Undermine Progress on Human Rights Comments from members of CLARA – Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance
ambienteysociedad.org.co, 11 December 2019
“The EU might be undermining the integrity of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and other UN conventions by commodifying nature using the current ‘Article 6′ carbon trafficking scheme. This trade deal will only further lay siege to our common nature in the way that UNSG Guterres warned us at the beginning of this climate conference. Ecosystems and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities should not be up for grabs for a carbon trade bet against emerging climate tipping points. Offsetting is unacceptable in the face of the scale and pace of emission reductions required. We urge governments not to trade away our future!” — Jannes Stoppel, Greenpeace Europe
5 Reasons Nature Will Help Solve the Global Climate Crisis
By Andrea Becerra, NRDC, 11 December 2019
We often take nature for granted. The very air we breathe is a by-product of trees transforming carbon into oxygen via photosynthesis. Trees even help remove harmful particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution. Pollinators like bees, bats, and butterflies provide the food on our table—approximately one of every three bites of food in the U.S. diet is a result of bee pollination. And, finally, the particles, microbes, and chemical charge present in healthy soils can help remove metals, chemicals, and other pollutants from our freshwater sources. Some microbes found in soil have even been found to transform crude oil into non-toxic substances. Nature is a true force to be reckoned with and a very capable ally in the fight against climate change.
At COP25, UN Agencies Commit to Turn the Tide on Deforestation
UNFCCC, 11 December 2019
At COP25 in Madrid today, Heads of UN agencies met for a high-level Leadership Dialogue on how to turn the tide on deforestation and committed to the common goal of helping countries reduce deforestation and improve forest management.
According to the UN, up to 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions derive from the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector.
However, a myriad of forest-based solutions taking place on the ground show the real and promising results that forests can deliver.
Climate Finance Must Stop Excluding Indigenous Communities
By Beto Borges and Iza Hoyos, Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 December 2019
Natural Climate Solutions have taken year-end climate talks by storm, with dozens of companies pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to saving forests and planting trees. With the pledges come calls for rigorous carbon accounting to ensure the money is actually generating the benefits people claim – accounting that could, if poorly applied, give short shrift to the forest communities that have long been the most effective guardians of the forest.
COP25: A new carbon market offers hope for Asia’s forests
By Peter Guest, Nikkei Asian Review, 11 December 2019
A rough trail leads from the village of Toal, on the edge of the vast Prey Lang nature reserve in northeastern Cambodia, to the ranger station at Spong in its interior. Traversing the road — a slalom of shifting white silt, punctuated by slippery riverbeds veined with tree roots — takes an organ-jarring two hours on the rangers’ Honda motorbikes, first through broken forest and farmland, then into denser woodland.
‘Very terrible new reality’: Australia’s ‘astonishing’ climate change ignorance revealed
By Alex Carlton, new.com.au, 11 December 2019
Historically, humans don’t like solving potential problems. They don’t care much about anything until it smacks them in the face.
We avoid dealing with that mole on our shoulder until the cancer diagnosis. We turn a blind eye to our credit card debt until suddenly it means we can’t get a home loan.
It’s part of what made ancient us successful when we were running round the jungles with sabre toothed tigers. All our brainpower was spent looking for the immediate sabre-toothed tiger threats. It didn’t leave much energy left to worry about what was going to happen to tomorrow.
Don’t invest in Brazilian meat, warn deforestation campaigners
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 11 December 2019
An international group of 30 non-profit groups published an open letter on Wednesday warning investors considering buying shares in two Brazilian meat giants of their exposure to deforestation.
Billions of dollars of shares held by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) in JBS and Marfrig – two of the world’s biggest meat companies – will reportedly go on sale next year. The letter says that both companies have been linked to destruction of the Amazon forest – where deforestation soared this year while fires in August reached a nine-year record. BNDES declined to comment.
World’s first fully electric commercial aircraft takes flight in Canada
The Guardian, 11 December 2019
The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes.
“This proves that commercial aviation in all-electric form can work,” said Roei Ganzarski, chief executive of Australian engineering firm magniX.
Colombia’s Amazon forest gets boost with $366 million protection fund
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11 December 2019
Norway, Germany and Britain said on Thursday they would spend up to $366 million over the next five years to help Colombia reduce deforestation in its vast Amazon rainforest.
The three nations have backed Colombia’s efforts to preserve forest areas covering almost 60 million hectares since 2015, with about $180 million invested so far.
Europe must lead on the climate crisis. The European Green Deal shows how
By Ursula von der Leyen, The Guardian, 11 December 2019
Humanity faces an existential threat. Forests burn from America to Australia. Deserts are advancing across Africa and Asia. Rising sea levels threaten our European cities as well as Pacific islands. Mankind has seen such phenomena before, but never at this speed.
The recently flood-hit communities in areas around England know all too well the cost and damage that extreme weather can cause.Science tells us that we can still stop this epidemic, but we are running out of time. The new European commission is wasting no time. On Wednesday, we present the European Green Deal.
World Bank says Indonesia forest fires cost $5.2 billion in economic losses
By Gayatri Suroyo and Tabita Diela, Reuters, 11 December 2019
The total damage and economic loss from forest fires in Indonesia this year amounted to at least $5.2 billion, equal to 0.5% of gross domestic product, the World Bank said in a report on Wednesday.
The estimate was based on its assessment in eight affected provinces from June to October 2019, though analysts at the multinational bank said fires had continued to rage through to November.
Nigeria to launch registry to issue transfer mitigation outcomes
EnviroNews Nigeria, 11 December 2019
On Tuesday, December 10, 2019 Minister of Environment, Dr. Mahmood Mohammad Abubakar, met with the CEO of Global Environmental Markets (GEM), Wayne Sharpe, through the Director, Department of Climate Change (DCC), Dr. Peter Tarfa, with Dr. Eugene Itua of Natural Eco Capital Ltd, a sustainability consultancy firm in Nigeria working in collaboration with GEM on National Registry and Carbon Exchange at COP25 in Madrid.
According to sources, Nigeria recognises the need for a National Carbon Registry and will enter final discussions to use GEM Technology to deliver the ITMO Registry for registering and issuing International Transfer Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) projects.
ICC Partners up with Singapore Based AirCarbon
By Prerna Sengupta, The Coin Republic, 11 December 2019
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has decided to use the AirCarbon exchange to foster a carbon credit-trading network for air travel.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is one of the most important and most representative business organizations in the world, and they have over 45 million members globally whose area of interest varies across diverse fields.
[USA] Smaller Trees Stump Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Project
By John Dillon, VPR, 11 December 2019
The Nature Conservancy says its innovative plan to use a Vermont forest to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution in California did not turn out as hoped after a timber inventory showed the project was not economically feasible.
The Vermont chapter of the conservancy had hoped to enroll its 5,400-acre piece of northern Franklin County into a California market aimed at reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Essentially, companies in California can buy carbon credits to count toward the carbon dioxide they’re mandated to reduce.
12 December 2019
No Country on Path Compatible with Paris Climate Targets, 2020 Climate Index Warns
By Catherine Benson Wahlén, IISD, 12 December 2019
New Climate Institute, Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network (CAN) released the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which tracks the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 57 countries and the EU. Published annually since 2006, the CCPI aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics by highlighting countries with best practice climate policies and noting those countries that have failed to take ambitious climate action.
The coming green colonialism
By Nnimmo Bassey, nnimmobasseynet, 12 December 2019
We have entered the era of Nature-based colonialism. Call it the Green Colonialism. The gloves are coming off. The climate crisis in the world is being approached as a mere unfolding change, as business opportunities and not as an emergency that requires drastic action. Nations are comfortable to spend decades on talks and pretend they have ample time to procrastinate or deflect actions. However, this is not a time for propping up fictional ideas and carbon mathematics as though the cycles of Mother Earth are ordered according to some calculus or algorithms.
UN summit ‘parallel universe’ to climate emergency: NGOs
By Patrick Galey, AFP, 12 December 2019
Campaigners denounced the United Nations climate process as a “parallel universe” on Thursday, as vital talks make glacial progress despite the increasing global challenges of the climate emergency.
Nations are at the COP 25 summit in Madrid to finalise the rulebook for the landmark 2015 Paris accord, which aims to limit temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius.
To Combat Climate Change, See the Forest for the Trees
By Isabella Kaminski, Undark, 12 December 2019
When most people conjure a forest, they imagine a dense network of trees, their crowns arching high above, with spots of sunshine flashing between the leaves. Some might also think of birdsong and insects, or summon thoughts of thick foliage in the understory, the crunch of leaves or pine needles underfoot, or overgrown trails meandering into the thicket.
How an Obscure Part of the Paris Climate Agreement Could Cut Twice as Many Carbon Emissions — Or Become a ‘Massive Loophole’ for Polluters
By Ciara Nugent, Time, 12 December 2019
The science of climate change is, at its heart, fairly simple. When we emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, more heat gets trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, raising global temperatures and destabilizing the climate.
The political path to stopping that from happening is infinitely more complex – a complexity embodied in one of the main topics of this year’s U.N. climate negotiations in Madrid: international carbon markets.
These 3 supertrees can protect us from climate collapse. But can we protect them?
By By Eliza Barclay, Umair Irfan, and Tristan McConnell, Vox, 12 December 2019
Dozens of countries have extraordinary tropical forests, but three stand out: Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These countries not only have the largest areas of tropical forest within their borders; they also have the highest rates of deforestation.
We traveled to protected areas deep inside these countries to learn the superpowers of three tree species that play an unusually important part in staving off environmental disaster, not just locally, but globally. These trees play many ecological roles, but most impressive is how they produce rainfall, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and support hundreds of other species.
Reach ‘peak meat’ by 2030 to tackle climate crisis, say scientists
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 12 December 2019
Livestock production needs to reach its peak within the next decade in order to tackle the climate emergency, scientists have warned.
They are calling for governments in all but the poorest countries to set a date for “peak meat” because animal agriculture is a significant and fast-growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Estimates of ecosystem carbon mitigation improved toward the goal of the Paris agreement
Chiba University press release, 12 December 2019
Approximately 30 percent of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere by human activities, mainly through the use of fossil fuels and deforestation, is taken up by terrestrial ecosystems such as forests and grasslands. Recent reports from the IPCC concluded that new land-use options to enhance this terrestrial carbon sink are needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate. Masayuki Kondo, an assistant professor at the Center for Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University, says, “Yet, it is important to understand the best science-based estimate of where atmospheric CO2 is fixed in terrestrial ecosystems today, and our study makes a significant step in that direction.”
Meliá Hotels International, The First Hotel Company In The World To Apply Environmental Blockchain To Offset Its Carbon Footprint
HospitalityNet, 12 December 2019
Combatting climate change is one of the biggest challenges on the global agenda, a priority for the travel industry, and one of the key drivers of the Meliá Hotels International Sustainability Master Plan, which includes public commitments made within the framework of the Paris 2015 COP21 agreement and including an objective of reducing emissions by 50% by 2035.
The Green Jobs That Could Help Save the Amazon
By Esha Chhabra, Vice, 12 December 2019
Bia Saldanha has an unusual commute to work. First she crosses the Acre river by boat, surrounded by the green of the Amazon in northwestern Brazil. Then she takes a brisk hike up from the river bed for her monthly meeting with a community of rubber tappers, referred to as seringueros in Portuguese—or as she likes to call them, “guardians of the forest.”
Ghana deploys nature-bases solutions to tackle climate change
Ghana News Agency, 12 December 2019
Ghana has deployed nature-based solutions to tackle climate change in the forestry sector as part of effort towards achieving its climate action strategies.
To this end, Ghana has placed a ban on illegal mining and took necessary steps to reverse destroyed water bodies, vegetation and forests.
[Ghana] Tropical Forest Alliance, Forestry Commission to fuel implementation of REDD+
By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, Ghana News Agency, 12 December 2019
To redress deforestation problems in cocoa, oil palm and rubber landscapes, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), in partnership with the Forestry Commission has engaged stakeholders on how to fuel implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP).
Indonesian dam raises questions about UN hydropower carbon loophole
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay, 12 December 2019
COP25 isn’t only attended by delegates, NGOs, and activists; it also attracts national and transnational companies, all seeking something from the UN climate policy process.
An Indonesian power company, PT North Samatera Hydro Energy (PT NSHE), is a good example. Its representatives trekked to the 25th United Nations climate summit (the firm also had a presence at COP24 in Poland) to defend its reputation and salvage a $1.6 billion dam project whose future financing is in doubt due to strong socioenvironmental opposition.
[Indonesia] Analysis: Papuan politicians want to protect the region’s peerless forests. Can they do it without protecting the rule of law?
Mongabay and The Gecko Project, 12 December 2019
When Indonesian government officials received a credible allegation that the permits underpinning a giant oil palm plantation project in Papua province had been falsified, the logical next step would have been to launch a criminal investigation.
After all, the consequences were huge: The project would result in the destruction of an area of rainforest twice the size of London, affecting thousands of indigenous people. If the allegation stood up, it was a fraud perpetrated against the government itself.
Forest restoration and democracy: Making communities visible in Madagascar
By Steven Lawry and Patrick Ranjatson, CIFOR Forests News, 12 December 2019
Landscape restoration will not be fully effective unless it contributes to social as well as ecological benefits.
Recent discussions at the Global Landscapes Forum in Accra, Ghana, which revolved around tenure policy and forest landscape restoration in Madagascar, shed light on some of the issues impeding progress toward achieving positive social and ecological restoration outcomes globally.
13 December 2019
COP25 Was Moved to Spain to Conceal Chilean Government’s Human Rights Violations
By Dimitri Lascaris, The Real News Network, 13 December 2019
The concept of “loss and damage” and carbon markets are a sticking point at the UN’s climate summit, and protests are continuing in Chile, the original site of the talks. Oxfam’s Nafkote Dabi and Gary Hughes of Biofuelwatch discuss the realities of COP25.
Can ‘nature-based solutions’ be more than a buzzword?
By Michael Igoe, Devex, 13 December 2019
“Nature-based solutions” have received top billing at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
The term, which describes a wide range of efforts to protect and restore ecosystems that can store carbon, mitigate climate-change impacts, and protect biodiversity, is scattered throughout the COP25 schedule. From the main plenary hall to side events on topics ranging from mangroves to entrepreneurship to cities, nature-based solutions have stood out as one of the more optimistic-sounding components of a negotiation process that is struggling to match the urgency of the climate crisis.
Are carbon offsets still a thing?
By Lloyd Alter, TreeHugger, 13 December 2019
Carbon offsets used to be a big deal on TreeHugger, but even if you go back to our How To Go Green guide of a dozen years ago, we questioned their value, writing that actions were better than offsets.
Implementation of real changes in your life will have more impact than any carbon offset you purchase. You see all these statistics about it being the equivalent of taking x number of cars off the road. Catching the train, tram, bus or riding your bike also takes a car off the road! Voting with your physical presence carries more weight than a mostly invisible deduction on your bank statement.
Brazil Amazon deforestation climbs more than 100% in November over same month last year -gov’t agency
By Marcelo Teixeira, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 December 2019
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jumped to the highest level for the month of November since record-keeping began in 2015, according to preliminary government data published on Friday.
Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest totaled 563 square km (217.38 square miles) in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to the country’s space research agency INPE.
Europe threatens U.S. with carbon tariffs to combat climate change
Colman, Politico, 13 December 2019
European countries frustrated by inaction on climate change are taking a lesson from President Donald Trump’s trade wars — and threatening carbon tariffs on laggards like the United States.
By imposing tariffs on goods from the U.S. and other countries that lack tough climate policies, the Europeans would help their own industries avoid being handicapped by the EU’s greenhouse gas efforts. But if they hit the U.S., they would risk a worsening trade war with the Trump administration, which has already threatened hefty tariffs on goods such as French champagne and German autos over a range of competition disputes.
Indonesian fires could cost palm oil companies up to $15bn
By Luke Barratt, Unearthed, 13 December 2019
Palm oil companies would have faced increased costs of 15 billion US dollars if a carbon tax had been levied on fires in Indonesia between 2015 and 2018, analysis by Unearthed has found.
World-leading brands Mondelēz, Nestlé, P&G and Unilever, buy palm oil from producers heavily linked to fires, according to a report released earlier this year by Greenpeace.
A subsequent Greenpeace report, released last week, found that many of these fires occurred within Indonesia’s carbon-rich peatlands. It calculated that between 2015 and 2018, fires in land set aside for palm oil released 200 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the amount 52 coal plants emit in a year, or the combined annual emissions of the Netherlands and Norway.
Indonesia urged to follow ‘game-changer’ Malaysia on palm oil maps
By Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 December 2019
Environmentalists on Friday urged Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil grower, to follow the lead of rival producer Malaysia by allowing plantation and land maps to be made public to help fight deforestation and forest fires.
Industry watchdog the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), published members’ land maps for peninsular Malaysia and the state of Sarawak on Thursday after being given legal go-ahead to do so by the Malaysian government.
Indonesia’s fires burned mostly abandoned and degraded land, not forests
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 13 December 2019
It was large swaths of degraded and idle land, and not forested land, that accounted for much of the burned area during this year’s fire season in Indonesia, according to new findings.
The preliminary analysis by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) contradicts the prevailing narrative that rainforests accounted for the landscape hardest hit by the fires in Indonesia.
“There was no hard evidence to support that notion,” said CIFOR landscape ecologist David Gaveau.
Philippines’ mangroves could generate first-of-its-kind blue carbon credits in Asia-Pacific
By Neo Chai Chin, Eco-Business, 13 December 2019
The Philippines could be home to the first blue carbon project in Asia-Pacific that uses a ground-breaking method to calculate the amount of carbon stored in mangroves.
Blue carbon refers to carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrasses, which are rich carbon sinks that store more carbon than terrestrial forests.
[UK] We must adapt to climate decline
By Rupert Read, Green World, 13 December 2019
There is no use in hiding from the bitter truth. As I’ll explain, the decisive Conservative victory means the Green Party must reassess its demands and aspirations, and make significant changes in the face of our new, darker post-election reality.
Greens moved forward powerfully at this election, more by some measures than any other party did, especially in our target seats, and also elsewhere. Well done us, well done everyone for their hard work and devotion. And yet we made no gains. And we are still quite far from an actual second MP.
[USA] Deforestation Not ‘an Immediate Priority’ for Walmart Despite Financial Risks
Chain Reaction Research, 13 December 2019
By revenue, Walmart is the largest company in the world, employing about 2.2 million people and serving over 265 million customers a week. Private-label products sold by Walmart contain commodities that contribute to deforestation. For the forest-risk commodities – palm oil, pulp and paper, soy, and beef – Walmart has set zero net deforestation goals for 2020. Although Walmart encourages its suppliers to address deforestation in their supply chains, the company does not have a system in place to track and monitor the origin of these four commodities.
14 December 2019
Big Polluters and Northern countries are throwing gasoline on the fire of the climate crisis, knowingly paving the way for even more fossil fuels
Demand Climate Justice, 14 December 2019
Before COP25 even began, it was clear that Big Polluters — including the fossil fuel, agriculture, forestry, and carbon market industries — plan to lock the world into catastrophic warming in the next few years. Intended fossil fuel expansion by 2030 is at least 50% beyond a 2C target and 120% beyond what may be compatible with the global commitment to limit heating to 1.5C. The vast majority of this expansion is projected to come from the U.S. and Canada.
Anger erupts at U.N. climate summit as major economies resist bold action
By Matthew Green and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 14 December 2019
Major economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments as a U.N. summit in Madrid limped toward a delayed conclusion on Saturday, dimming hopes that nations will act in time to stop rising temperatures devastating people and the natural world.
Australia and Brazil carbon credits will put 1.5C out of reach, 31 countries say
By Jocelyn Timperley, Climate Home News, 14 December 2019
Carbon market rules being pursued by Australia and Brazil are not in line with the 1.5C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, according to 31 countries who broke from tense discussions at the UN climate talks in Madrid.
Led by Costa Rica, they published a set of 11 benchmarks they said represented the “minimum” standard to ensure integrity of the global carbon trading system due to come into effect next year.
If only saving the planet was as easy as planting a tree before speeding off in our SUVs
By Catherine Bennett, The Guardian, 14 December 2019
There is one thing, still, that we all agree on. Trees. Everybody loves trees. In theory, anyway. So long as the trees don’t interfere with a prime view, or foundations, or a luxury housing development, like the ancient – but inconvenient – Bethnal Green mulberry in London, which Crest Nicholson got permission to dig up. Or the massacred Sheffield planes. Or the 30 Thameside trees that Boris Johnson and Joanna Lumley hoped to fell, as twin visionaries of the Garden Bridge (failed, at a public cost of £43m).
Amazonian leaders’ long campaign for climate justice
By Paula Dupraz-Dobias, AlJazeera, 14 December 2019
Some of them have not been home for nearly three months. Representing indigenous communities from across the Amazon rainforest, several dozen activists arrived in Europe in October to attend a Vatican synod on the environmental crisis in their region. It came during a year marked by unprecedented fires, oil spills and increasing deforestation for agriculture, forestry and mining.
‘Black gold’ in the heart of Borneo
By Audrey Tan, Straits Times, 14 December 2019
Indonesian peat scientist Daniel Murdiyarso slid his right arm into the earth, slowly going deeper until he was shoulder-deep in muck.
Then he pulled out a fistful of dirt and showed the black, gooey substance to journalists from the region who had gathered in Central Kalimantan last month for a workshop on peatlands and their link to climate change.
“Sapric,” Dr Murdiyarso said, referring to the wet substance.
15 December 2019
Irreconcilable rift cripples UN climate talks as majority stand against polluters
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 15 December 2019
The rift between a growing climate vanguard and a handful of countries obstructing progress meant countries failed to finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement at talks that finished on Sunday.
The UN’s longest-ever climate summit drew to a close after two additional days and nights of difficult negotiations.
UN climate talks in Madrid ended without resolving their toughest issue
By Umair Irfan, Vox, 15 December 2019
An exhausting international negotiation session on climate change concluded Sunday with an agreement among countries to take on more ambitious goals. That agreement, however, failed to resolve the main issues on the table, like creating rules for trading carbon emissions credits and helping developing countries pay for climate damages.
Climate change: Call for ‘flexibility’ to reach consensus at talks
By Matt McGrath and Paul Rincon, BBC News, 15 December 2019
The Chilean official leading UN climate talks in Madrid has called on delegates to show flexibility, as they struggle to reach agreement on crucial measures needed to tackle climate change.
The negotiations, which were scheduled to end on Friday, continued throughout Saturday and into Sunday morning.
Carolina Schmidt said a deal was almost there but the outcome needed to be ambitious.
COP25 summit fails to address key carbon markets issue
By Alasdair Fotheringham, AlJazeera, 15 December 2019
After lengthy negotiations, delegations from nearly 200 countries at the COP25 climate summit have reached an agreement on stepping up the global response to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
However, negotiators on Sunday stalled on an agreement on the regulation of carbon markets, one of the most critical and contentious issues at the climate change conference.
Major states snub calls for climate action as U.N. summit wraps up
By Matthew Green and Jake Spring, Reuters, 15 December 2019
A handful of major states resisted pressure on Sunday to ramp up efforts to combat global warming as a U.N. climate summit ground to a close, angering smaller countries and a growing protest movement that is pushing for emergency action.
The COP25 talks in Madrid were viewed as a test of governments’ collective will to heed the advice of science to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly, in order to prevent rising global temperatures from hitting irreversible tipping points.
Least Developed Countries left disappointed after COP25
LDC Climate Change, 15 December 2019
Earlier this afternoon, the UN Climate Change Conference concluded with the adoption of a cover decision titled ‘Chile Madrid Time for Action’, but which left key issues unresolved.
Mr. Sonam P Wangdi, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group said “This COP was not able to meet our expectations in raising ambition to address the concerns of our people at home and youth around the world. Now while responding to the request to submit nationally determined contributions, countries must make transformational improvements to the targets and related elements of their NDCs by 2020 that put us on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5°C.”
COP25 was meant to tackle the climate crisis. It fell short
By Tara John, Arwa Damon, Ingrid Formanek and Sheena McKenzie, CNN, 15 December 2019
The message from climate activists was passionate, the warning from the scientific community and countries already experiencing the effects of climate change, urgent. The action from world powers has been excruciatingly slow and inadequate.
What had been scheduled as a 12-day summit aimed at hammering out the rules of the 2015 Paris Climate accord, instead dragged on two extra days and highlighted the huge disconnect between the world’s biggest polluting nations, and the global community demanding change.
COP 25: Countries Don’t Need to Wait for the UN To Boost Climate Ambition Through Carbon Markets
By Nathaniel Keohane, Environmental Defense Fund, 15 December 2019
After a fortnight marked by rancor and disappointment but little progress, countries left the UN climate talks in Madrid having failed to reach agreement on major issues including guidance for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which relates to international cooperation among countries through carbon markets. Importantly, the lack of a decision does not prevent countries from cooperating through markets or international trading, or from using market-based policies to meet their national targets.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro dismisses COP25 ‘game’
AFP, 15 December 2019
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, on Sunday dismissed as a “commercial game” the result of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid.
He particularly singled out rich European nations as the players.
Brazil was meant to host this year’s global climate meeting but withdrew its offer more than a year ago, citing financial restrictions shortly after Bolsonaro’s election.
“I don’t know why people don’t understand that it’s just a commercial game,” Bolsonaro told reporters outside his official residence.
[UK] Ex-policeman behind contract murder of a Liverpool dad embroiled in £16.9m scam
By Tom Duffy, Liverpool Echo, 15 December 2019
A former police officer who organised the murder of a Liverpool boxing promoter is being pursued for £6.5m for his role in a ‘illegal’ investment scheme worth nearly £17 million.
Mark Heaver organised the murder of boxing promoter Michael Donovan who was stabbed and beaten to death in April 1994.
Heaver, a former police officer turned security boss, was found guilty of organising the murder and jailed for 15 years. Michael, 32, died in his Walton home while his two children slept upstairs.