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.
6 January 2020
Biodiverse forests better at storing carbon for long periods, says study
Earth Institute, Columbia University press release, 6 January 2020
As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt around the world, possible solutions—from reducing fossil fuel emissions to capturing carbon—have come to dominate policy discussions. Planting new forests and restoring existing ones have emerged as some of the best ways to capture CO2, since trees pull carbon out of the air during photosynthesis, then store it in their trunks and roots.
[Nigeria] One mangrove, a thousand hopes
UN environment programme, 6 January 2020
Mangrove ecosystems support the planet and people in unique ways. Many Nigerians living near the river in Cross River State know that. “Mangroves provide the best firewood, as people who roast fish know,” says Idem Williamson, a villager living in Esierebom community in Cross River State. “But by cutting the wood, the mangroves disappeared. And without the mangroves, water floods our houses.”
The need to restore mangroves inspired Williamson to get involved for a REDD+ project that saw the whole community come together to plant more than 10,000 seedlings.
7 January 2020
Indigenous peoples key to saving threatened forests
By Patrick Galey, Phys.org, 7 January 2020
More than a third of the world’s vanishing pristine forests are managed by indigenous peoples under threat from development and deforestation, scientists said Tuesday, calling for greater protection.
As deadly bushfires ravage Australia’s east coast, a new assessment of how wild forests are maintained showed that indigenous people have tenure over 36 percent of Earth’s remaining intact forest landscapes.
Diversifying approaches to conserving nature
By Mucha Mkono, Jason I. Ransom, Katarzyna Nowak, and Patrick O. Onyango, ScienceX, 7 January 2020
Conservationists don’t always agree about the best ways to reinforce the protection of nature. Debates about it can become confrontational.
But at the heart of the issue is how to include more people in conservation efforts. As a group of scientists, we believe it is important to steer the discussion towards a more diverse and inclusive blueprint for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
Forest fires: Have we reached a tipping point
By Puhsp Bajaj, Down to Earth, 7 January 2020
Forest fires have always been a part of Earth’s natural cycle. But the recent spurt — wildfires have affected the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe in the last year and is wreaking havoc in Australia — is anything but natural.
The ongoing months-long bushfire disaster in Australia, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) provinces, is unprecedented and with no end in sight. Since the fires started in September 2019, more than 25 people have died along with hundreds of thousands of animals. Several species have been endangered.
Viewpoint: EU carbon market braces for Brexit
By Jonathan Sims and Kate Abnett, Argus Media, 7 January 2020
The future of the UK’s participation in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) will continue to dominate carbon price moves in the early part of 2020.
But participants will also await confirmation of more ambitious long-term EU emissions reduction goals and begin to prepare for transition to the ETS scheme’s fourth trading phase in 2021.
8 January 2020
In the battle against climate change, carbon trading is not efficient, ethical or fair
By Ranvir Nayar, Arab News, 8 January 2020
Carbon trading is often hailed as the perfect solution to the problem of incessantly rising emissions around the world.
For more than two decades, businesses and governments, as well as many environmental organizations, have welcomed the idea of letting markets impose a financial penalty on polluting companies. This is done by setting a quota for an acceptable annual level of carbon emissions for the industries in a country. Each business is then given a set amount of “carbon credits” and if it exceeds this emissions limit, it has to purchase extra credits from other businesses in the same country or elsewhere in the world. The more businesses that exceed their quotas and have to buy credits, the higher it drives the price of credits, forcing polluters to pay heftier penalties.
Pension funds urge Barclays to stop lending to fossil fuel firms
By Kalyeena Makortoff, The Guardian, 8 January 2020
Barclays is being urged to stop offering loans to fossil fuel companies as part of the first ever shareholder climate resolution aimed at a UK bank.
A group of 11 pension and investment funds managing more than £130bn worth of assets have filed a resolution calling for Barclays to set clear targets to phase out services to energy companies that fail to align with Paris climate goals.
9 January 2020
Forest loss moves swiftly once 50% deforestation ‘tipping point’ reached
Mongabay, 9 January 2020
Scientists believe they’ve uncovered a tipping point in the deforestation of landscapes across Earth: Once an area loses half its forest, the rest of the forest is often swift to fall.
Deforestation of the first half takes more time, as humans chip away the forest to create hodgepodges of forests and agricultural lands, for example, or as anthropogenic climate change levels its effects, the researchers reported in the journal Geophyscial Research Letters on Dec. 3.
Environmental enthusiasts spearhead efforts to make climate issues
By Crispin Gerald, IPPmedia, 9 January 2020
The Conference of Parties is the supreme decision making body of the convention and the association of all countries that form part of it.
The annual meeting brings together 197 nations and territories called Parties that have signed on to the framework convention; it is attended by environmental experts, ministers, head of states and non-governmental organizations.
It’s Time to Talk about Expectations for Super Year 2020
By Faye Leone, Lauren Anderson, and Lynn Wagner, IISD, 9 January 2020
Global advocacy groups have nicknamed 2020 a “super year” for activism and action, highlighting the 21 SDG targets that are expiring in under 12 months and the need to set the course for achieving the 2030 Agenda in its remaining decade. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed calls 2020, “the year we must change course,” and hopes to set off a Decade of Action for implementing the SDGs.
Fires in Amazon forest rose 30% in 2019
By Eduardo Simoes, Reuters, 9 January 2020
The number of fires in the Amazon rainforest grew 30.5% in 2019 from the previous year, according to data released by space research agency INPE on Wednesday.
According to INPE, the number of fires detected in the Amazon region was 89,178 in 2019 compared with 68,345 fires in 2018. Although the number of fires rose, it was still below the historic average of 109,630 fires in the Amazon each year.
Carbon emissions from Australian blazes near Amazon fire levels
By Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 9 January 2020
Climate-heating emissions from Australia’s devastating bushfires are now nearly on a par with those caused by fires in the Amazon rainforest last year, scientists have calculated.
Australia’s bushfires, from September to Jan. 6, emitted 370 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the European Union’s ECMWF Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).
[Kenya] Why conservancies are clashing with villagers
By Wario Malicha, Standard Digital, 9 January 2020
From Artic to Serbia, Patagonia to Philippines and Botswana to Kenya there is the emergence of individuals, conservationists, and charities buying up swathes of unprotected land in the name of preserving the ecosystem.
But is this the best practice to save the environment?
In May 2019, residents of Isiolo took to the streets to demand the immediate termination of Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) conservancy operations in the county claiming they amounted to modern-day imperialism.
First U.S. Airline Goes Carbon Neutral
By Jenessa Duncombe, Earth & Space Science News, 9 January 2020
JetBlue announced on Monday that it will purchase carbon offsets for all U.S. domestic flights starting in July to curtail fossil fuel emissions, a decision that experts both applauded and criticized as an answer for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
JetBlue will offset their carbon dioxide emissions by funding projects that include forest conservation, landfill gas capture, and renewable energy. The airline will also use sustainable fuel to power planes leaving from San Francisco International Airport. JetBlue did not release a cost estimate for the changes, but a spokesperson told CBS News that the decision would not raise ticket prices.
10 January 2020
10 reasons why indigenous peoples are the world’s best conservationists
Survival International, 10 January 2020
Evidence proves indigenous peoples understand and manage their environment better than anyone else. Here are ten reasons why:
1. They are experts in animal behavior
The Baka people of central Africa have more than 15 different words for “elephant” depending on the animal’s age, sex and temperament. They believe their ancestors walk with the animals through the forest.
10 Big Changes for Forests Over the Last Decade
Global Forest Watch, 10 January 2020
The last decade was pivotal for the world’s forests. The 2010s saw the rise of unprecedented new commitments — from governments and the private sector alike — to bring deforestation to heel. The UN REDD+ framework, the New York Declaration on Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals set out ambitious targets to conserve and restore millions of hectares of forests.
Climate change could intensify Amazon forest fires, turning it from a carbon sink to source, scientists warn
By Kashmira Gander, Newsweek, 10 January 2020
Climate change will likely intensify fires in the Amazon rainforest, which could turn it from a carbon sink into a carbon source, scientists have warned.
Some 16 percent of the forest in the southern Brazilian Amazon may burn by 2050 “as the climate becomes drier and hotter in the next few decades,” according to the authors of a study published in the journal Science Advances. That amounts to global warming doubling the area burned by wildfires in this region in the next three decades, they fear.
Activists seek purge after Indonesia court rules forest plantations illegal
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 10 January 2020
Environmental activists have called on the Indonesian government to swiftly crack down on plantation companies operating in protected forests, after the country’s highest court ruled such activities illegal.
The Supreme Court ruling, delivered at the end of 2019, was the culmination of a legal challenge filed by green activists against a controversial provision in a 2015 regulation issued by President Joko Widodo. The provision, aimed at making it easier for forest areas to be degazetted for plantations, allowed companies with plantation permits for concessions that include protected forests to continue operating until the end of the crop cycle.
Indonesia’s leadership in peatland management in focus at COP 25
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News, 10 January 2020
At U.N. climate talks in Madrid, Indonesia, which has committed to restore 2.4 million hectares of drained peatlands, presented various strategic approaches to conservation, restoration and sustainable management.
Its centrally located pavilion attracted a broad range of speakers from the global peatlands and environmental communities. Even Former U.S. Vice President and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore stopped by to deliver a motivational talk in his capacity as founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project.
[USA] Surprise! BlackRock and JetBlue are going green
By Zoya Teirstein, Grist, 10 January 2020
Governments around the world are falling behind on their emissions reduction targets, but companies are increasingly stepping up to the plate. Just this week, three surprising corporations announced plans to get a little more climate-friendly.
JetBlue, New York City’s hometown airline, announced on Monday that it aims to go carbon-neutral on all domestic flights by July. Flying is the most carbon-intensive activity that most Americans do, and aircraft account for 3 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. To help meet its target, JetBlue purchased a suite of relatively fuel-efficient Airbus planes, and it will offset the rest of its emissions by buying up carbon credits.
11 January 2020
12 January 2020
How bad can the climate crisis get if Trump wins again?
By Emily Holden, The Guardian, 12 January 2020
Climate pollution in the US is up under Donald Trump and threatens to undermine international efforts to stall the crisis, especially if he wins re-election this year and secures a second term in the White House.
While US climate emissions fell 2.1% in 2019, they rose significantly in 2018, according to estimates from the economic analysis firm Rhodium Group. On net, emissions are slightly higher than in the beginning of 2017, when Trump’s administration began enacting dozens of environment rollbacks aimed at helping the oil and gas industry.