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.
16 March 2020
How changes brought on by coronavirus could help tackle the climate crisis
By Glen Peters, The Conversation, 16 March 2020
Stock markets around the world had some of their worst performance in decades this past week, well surpassing that of the global financial crisis in 2008. Restrictions in the free movement of people is disrupting economic activity across the world as measures to control the coronavirus roll out.
There is a strong link between economic activity and global carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to the dominance of fossil fuel sources of energy. This coupling suggests we might be in for an unexpected surprise from the coronavirus pandemic: a slowdown of carbon dioxide emissions due to reduced energy consumption. Based on new projections for a sharp decline in economic growth in 2020, the impacts of the coronavirus might significantly curb global emissions.
Climate change: The rich are to blame, international study finds
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 16 March 2020
The rich are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, a study by the University of Leeds of 86 countries claims.
The wealthiest tenth of people consume about 20 times more energy overall than the bottom ten, wherever they live.
The gulf is greatest in transport, where the top tenth gobble 187 times more fuel than the poorest tenth, the research says.
That’s because people on the lowest incomes can rarely afford to drive.
The researchers found that the richer people became, the more energy they typically use. And it was replicated across all countries.
UN aviation body dumps dodgy carbon credits
By Sam Morgan, EURACTIV, 16 March 2020
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) decided on Friday (13 March) to restrict how airlines, already struggling with the impact of coronavirus, can offset their emissions under a new climate change-busting mechanism.
At a meeting of the ICAO council in Montreal, delegates agreed that carbon-offset programmes – examples of which include reforestation and renewable energy projects – should only be eligible if they were set up after 2016.
U.N. Unveils New Rules for Aviation Carbon Offsets
By Maxine Joselow, Scientific American, 16 March 2020
The United Nations last week took a major step toward reducing climate pollution from aviation—even as the airline industry reels from the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
At issue are rules released Friday by the International Civil Aviation Organization, an independent U.N. body tasked with regulating the sector.
The rules govern the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, known as CORSIA.
2020 Could Be ‘Humanity’s Finest Hour’: Why a Former Climate Leader Is Hopeful Despite Everything
By Hope Reese, OneZero, 16 March 2020
Christiana Figueres became perhaps the world’s most influential shaper of global climate policy when she was appointed executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2010. The timing couldn’t have been worse — that was just six months after the colossal failure of the world’s governments to reach an agreement on a treaty in Copenhagen. “The global mood on climate was really in the trash can,” she told OneZero.
Drop in emissions from virus will not solve climate crisis: UN chief
Business Report, 16 March 2020
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that while the global outbreak of coronavirus may have caused a temporary drop in emissions that cause global warming, it would not end the problem and might even divert attention from the fight. “We should not overestimate the fact that emissions have been reduced for some months. We will not fight climate change with the virus,” he said.
Planned Amazon roads could harm economies not just forests, researchers warn
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 March 2020
If governments follow through on plans to build thousands of kilometres of roads through the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, it will not only fuel deforestation but bring economic losses too, researchers said on Monday.
They examined the potential social, environmental and economic impact of 75 roads, totalling 12,000 km (7,456 miles), slated for construction in the remote Amazon basins of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru over the next five years.
Governments are set to spend $27 billion on constructing roads mainly to boost agriculture, including cattle-ranching and soybean production in Brazil, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Reporting off the grid: my visit to a tribe in Brazil’s Amazon
By Fabio Teixeira, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 March 2020
I was headed to Aldeia Nova, one of nine villages held by the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, a 300-person tribe living across 1.8 million acres in the upper Amazon basin.
I had initially planned to go to Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau territory to report on the tribe’s use of drones to document deforestation but when I learned of an important tribal meeting to discuss new ways to fight back against illegal loggers – with members coming in from six villages – the story gained a fresh urgency.
Few get the chance to meet the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, who only came into contact with outsiders about 40 years ago.
Extreme Weather Has Killed 150 in Brazil This Year. The Climate Crisis Is to Blame
By Jordan Davidson, EcoWatch, 16 March 2020
Brazil has faced a series of extreme weather events since the calendar flipped to 2020, with different states inundated with floods, torrential downpours, and mudslides that have killed 150 people in just a few months. Scientists say that the climate crisis is responsible, according to The Guardian.
Data sent to The Guardian showed an increase in extreme rainfall as the earth continues to heat up. Extreme rainfall events are when more than 80mm (approximately 3.1 inches) falls within 24 hours. Those remarkable events have increased in frequency over the past 30 years in the capitals of the southeastern states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, where the deadly rains happened.
[India] Gauhati High Court dismisses claim over Forest Dwellers’ Rights
The Sentinel, 16 March 2020
The Gauhati High Court has dismissed a PIL (45/2017) through which seven Scheduled Tribe petitioners sought forest dwellers’ rights for them and other villagers who have been residing in ‘forest villages’ inside Chariduar Reserved Forest (RF) for 35-40 years since early 1980s. The division bench comprising Chief Justice of the High Court Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia, however, directed the respondents (the Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam and other top officials of the Environment and Forest Department/Ministry) to ensure that the “encroachers” are removed from all forest lands after following due process provided under the Act of 2006 and other related legislations.
17 March 2020
Rainforest and reef systems face collapse
By Tim Radford , Climate News Network, 17 March 2020
The entire Amazon rainforest could collapse into savannah – dry grassland with scrub and intermittent woodland – within 50 years as a result of human action.
And the study of what it takes to alter an enduring natural ecosystem confirms that, within as little as 15 years, the rich Caribbean coral reef system could be no more.
A new statistical examination of the vulnerability of what had once seemed the eternal forest and the glorious coral reefs confirms that once large ecosystems begin to change, they can reach a point at which the collapse becomes sudden and irreversible.
Coronavirus could cut emissions this year but spell worse news for the climate crisis
By Louise Boyle, Independent, 17 March 2020
The novel coronavirus outbreak has transformed life as we know it: schools, offices and places of worship have closed, bars and restaurants are shuttered and leaders are pleading for calm amid scenes of panic-buying as the world struggles to get a grip on the pandemic. Some 7,019 people have died and confirmed cases have topped 173,000, according to the World Health Organization.
While the race to ‘flatten the curve’ of Covid-19 cases is at the forefront of global consciousness, the pandemic likely heralds long-reaching consequences in fighting climate change.
Natural solutions to the climate crisis? One-quarter is all down to Earth
By Zhang Nannan (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Phys.org, 17 March 2020
Joint research conducted by the Nature Conservancy and the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, calculated the carbon-storing power of global soils and showcased approaches like agroforestry designed to capitalise on untapped potential.
A critical, nature-based approach to mitigating climate change has been right at our feet all along, according to a new study reporting that soil represents up 25% of the total global potential for natural climate solutions (NCS) – approaches that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it into landscapes, including forests, croplands and peatlands.
BlackRock Converts Money Market Portfolio to Environmental Fund
Chief Investment Officer, 17 March 2020
BlackRock is converting its BlackRock Money Market Portfolio to the BlackRock Wealth Liquid Environmentally Aware Fund (WeLEAF), which the firm says is the first environmentally aware money market product dedicated for the US wealth market.
“Client interest in our LEAF series has revealed tremendous demand for sustainable liquidity management,” Thomas Callahan, BlackRock’s head of global cash management, said in statement. “WeLEAF was designed to answer the call of our private wealth distribution partners, who are seeking a money market fund product that appeals to the growing segment of their clients that care deeply about sustainability and climate risk.”
Green Violence: ‘Eco-Guards’ Are Abusing Indigenous Groups in Africa
By Richard Schiffman, YaleEnvironment360, 17 March 2020
n recent years, conservation groups such as WWF have been embroiled in controversy as the poorly trained “eco-guards” these organizations have funded in Africa have been accused of abusing indigenous people in their ancestral territories in national parks and preserves. Last week, a draft report released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) found that some WWF-funded guards had routinely beaten members of the Baka forest community, burned down some of their camps, and severely limited their access to a proposed national park in the Messok Dja forests in the northern Republic of the Congo, a stronghold of iconic species like forest elephants. These alleged abuses occurred despite assurances that the Baka — members of a larger group of forest dwellers sometimes referred to as Pygmies — would be allowed continued access to the homeland on which they depend for food and medicine.
Brazil halts mobile group’s anti-slavery operations due to coronavirus
By Fabio Teixeira, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 17 March 2020
Brazil has put anti-slavery operations by its special mobile enforcement group on indefinite hold due to fears of coronavirus infecting its staff or rescued victims, authorities said on Tuesday.
The freeze is expected to have an impact on the number of workers rescued from slave labor this year, said Magno Riga, one of four coordinators of the government-funded mobile group that is part of the Labor Inspector’s Office.
Bringing Christ and coronavirus: Evangelicals to contact Amazon indigenous
By Sue Branford, Mongabay, 17 March 2020
Ethnos360, an evangelical Christian missionary group, is embarking on a controversial new project, just as the coronavirus begins spreading widely in Brazil.
The organization, formerly known internationally as the New Tribes Mission, and based in Sanford, Florida, USA, plans to use a newly purchased aircraft to contact and convert isolated Amazon indigenous groups — even though such contact is banned explicitly by FUNAI, Brazil’s indigenous agency, and implicitly under the nation’s 1988 Constitution.
The fundamentalist Christian group’s venture could also spread dangerous infectious diseases, like COVID-19, to isolated tribes utterly lacking resistance and immunity.
[Indonesia] Palm oil firm has farmers jailed for harvesting from land it stole from them
By Indra Nugraha and Yusy Marie, Mongabay, 17 March 2020
Police in Indonesia have jailed three indigenous farmers for allegedly stealing oil palm fruit from a plantation company that is itself accused of stealing their land.
Police in East Kotawaringin district, in the Bornean province of Central Kalimantan, arrested Dilik Bin Asap and Hermanus Bin Bison from Penyang village on Feb. 17. They were accused of harvesting palm fruit on land claimed by the villagers but cultivated illegally by PT Hamparan Masawit Bangun Persada (HMBP), an affiliate of the BEST Group.
18 March 2020
‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 18 March 2020
Mayibout 2 is not a healthy place. The 150 or so people who live in the village, which sits on the south bank of the Ivindo River, deep in the great Minkebe Forest in northern Gabon, are used to occasional bouts of diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever and sleeping sickness. Mostly they shrug them off.
But in January 1996, Ebola, a deadly virus then barely known to humans, unexpectedly spilled out of the forest in a wave of small epidemics. The disease killed 21 of 37 villagers who were reported to have been infected, including a number who had carried, skinned, chopped or eaten a chimpanzee from the nearby forest.
Coronavirus Shows Us Rapid Global Response To Climate Change Is Possible
By Jamie Margolin, Teen Vogue, 18 March 2020
You know that gnawing feeling of “oh, God, we’re in the midst of something horrible” you have because of the coronavirus? Are you looking around at this crisis sweeping across the world and feeling helpless because you have limited power to stop it?
That’s how many of us have long been feeling about the climate crisis.
The way the world has been able to mobilize itself and shut down in the blink of an eye to properly respond to the coronavirus is proof that political leaders actually do have the ability to make rapid change happen if they want. So where is that rapid response for the climate crisis?
Coronavirus slows developing nations’ plans to step up climate action in 2020
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 18 March 2020
The coronavirus is threatening developing countries’ plans to step up climate action this year as meetings are being postponed and resources are needed to combat the pandemic.
Five years after the Paris Agreement was adopted, governments are under pressure to submit tougher climate plans to the UN ahead of a critical climate summit in Glasgow, or Cop26, still scheduled for November.
This is the first test of the ratchet-up mechanism built in the Paris accord.
Frack, consume, recycle: The ugly truth behind Big Oil’s push for plastics
Global Witness, 18 March 2020
Every week, we are each ingesting a credit card’s worth of plastic, a recent study suggests. Plastic waste has invaded every corner of the planet — including our bodies. And here’s an ugly truth: We cannot recycle our way out of this problem. Tackling the crisis of plastic pollution means taking on the industry that props up plastics: Big Oil & Gas.
We have a serious plastic problem. More than 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 — that’s more than one ton for each living person on Earth. Plastic pollution can now be found in every pocket of the earth, and even in our own bodies as we consume thousands of bits of plastic each year.
Climate Futures launching blockchain-based system to super-charge climate finance markets
Climate Futures press release, 18 March 2020
Climate Futures, an environmental project developer and portfolio manager, specializing in reducing carbon emissions that cause climate change. announced today the upcoming launch of the 1PLANET Marketplace, a ready-to-use blockchain system, and DApp powered by the 1PLANET (1PL) token. 1PLANET enables individuals and businesses to take action against climate change by granting easy and transparent access to carbon markets.
Airlines are begging for a bailout, but they’ve used 96% of their cash on buybacks over the past 10 years. Their plight highlights an ongoing controversy over how companies have been spending their money.
By Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Business Insider, 18 March 2020
The Trump administration has responded to the airline industry’s request and proposed a $50 billion bailout as part of its massive $1 trillion stimulus package. The ultimate goal is to jolt the American economy by flooding it with cash.
Major airlines are reeling from massive wave of cancellations as Americans stay home and governments around the world implement travel bans to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We cannot afford to wait long for assistance,“ the trade association Airlines for America said in a statement, warning that some companies could be bankrupt by June.
Travel clampdown threatens Glasgow climate summit
By Jim Pickard, Chris Giles and Camilla Hodgson, Financial Times, 18 March 2020
International climate talks scheduled for Glasgow in November have been thrown into doubt as the global clampdown on travel intensifies because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Government officials said it was increasingly likely that the annual UN gathering would be postponed given the fast-changing situation. “Nothing is definite yet but from my vantage point I would bet on it being cancelled pretty soon,” said one Whitehall official. One senior figure close to the talks said that it was “near impossible” to do the requisite diplomatic heavy lifting required in the lead-up to the summit: “It makes some sense to push back the timetable,” he said.
Study: global banks ‘failing miserably’ on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels
By Patrick Greenfield and Kalyeena Makortoff, The Guardian, 18 March 2020
The world’s largest investment banks have funnelled more than £2.2tn ($2.66tn) into fossil fuels since the Paris agreement, new figures show, prompting warnings they are failing to respond to the climate crisis.
The US bank JP Morgan Chase, whose economists warned that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity last month, has been the largest financier of fossil fuels in the four years since the agreement, providing over £220bn of financial services to extract oil, gas and coal.
Coronavirus: Could COP26 climate summit be held by video conference?
By Kate Ng, Independent, 18 March 2020
As the coronavirus crisis continues to shut down borders and keep people apart, event organisers worldwide are faced with questions of whether or not to cancel, postpone or move their occasions online – including the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
Uncertainty around how long the outbreak will last has raised doubts about COP26’s future. The climate change conference has been billed as the “biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted” and is expected to welcome over 30,000 delegates to coordinate on tackling the climate emergency.
Coronavirus to force permanently tougher climate emissions limits on airlines
By Jon Stone, Independent, 18 March 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to force airlines into following unexpectedly strict limits on their carbon emissions into the future, potentially helping the fight against climate change, experts have said.
In 2016 a UN deal between 192 countries agreed to hold net carbon emissions from international flights at 2020 levels, with any future growth having to be offset elsewhere.
Coronavirus enters Liberia after observer returns from Green Climate Fund meeting
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 18 March 2020
An observer to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has become the first reported case of coronavirus in Liberia, after attending the fund’s board meeting in Switzerland last week.
The meeting was moved from the GCF headquarters in Songdo, South Korea, to the Swiss city of Geneva at a time when South Korea had become one of the world’s hotspots for the virus.
In a notice sent to participants on Tuesday, the GCF said an observer to the meeting “has been diagnosed positive with the Covid-19 virus upon returning to their country”.
[UK] Cop26: Boris Johnson urged to resist calls to postpone climate talks
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 18 March 2020
Nicholas Stern, one of the most prominent global experts on the climate crisis, has urged Boris Johnson to resist calls to postpone vital UN climate talks this year, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Ministers and officials have privately discussed the possibility of postponing the Cop26 talks scheduled for Glasgow this November, but no decision has yet been taken. Travel bans and the shutdown imposed in many countries because of the virus have resulted in cancelled meetings and officials working remotely.
In-depth Q&A: How will tree planting help the UK meet its climate goals?
By Josh Gabbatiss, CarbonBrief, 18 March 2020
The UK has just three decades to reach net-zero emissions and tree planting has emerged as a prominent part of the government’s plan to get there.
With technological solutions in their infancy, trees are for now the only scalable “negative emissions” strategy and can come with additional benefits for wildlife, flood management and health.
19 March 2020
Shedding light on how much carbon tropical forests can absorb
International Institute for Applied Systems, 19 March 2020
Tropical forest ecosystems are an important part of the global carbon cycle as they take up and store large amounts of CO2. It is, however, uncertain how much this ability differs between forests with high versus low species richness. New IIASA research sheds light on this question, aiming to enhance predictions of tropical ecosystem strength as global carbon sinks.
The world is coming together to fight coronavirus. It can do the same for the climate crisis
By Helen Regan, CNN, 19 March 2020
While the coronavirus pandemic and climate change are inherently different issues, they share two important characteristics: both are global crises that threaten the lives of millions of people.
Yet only one crisis has inspired widespread, drastic action from countries across the globe.
As Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, spreads, governments, businesses and individuals around the world have undertaken unprecedented, wartime-esqe measures.
China’s rethink on car pollution could signal retreat on climate
The Straits Times, 19 March 2020
Beijing’s move toward relaxing vehicle emissions standards will ratchet up concern that policymakers around the world could scale back their climate goals as they seek to rescue their economies from the ravages of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government is said to be debating whether to ease restrictions on the amount of harmful particles that vehicles emit from their tailpipes – a measure known as particle number, or PN. The move would help automakers battling an unprecedented slump as the pandemic slows economic activity. It could be just one of the steps by the government in Beijing to shore up key sectors.
LIBERIA: MoA, FDA, Support Farming on Degraded Lands -Launch Cassava Production in Bomi County
By Cholo Brooks, GNN Liberia, 19 March 2020
The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), under the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) have launched a cassava harvest production containing 15 hectares of land in Tehr District, Bomi County.
Through the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAP), funded by the World Bank and the Government of Norway, authorities say investing in degraded lands for agriculture provides many benefits for Liberia and Liberians.
Inside Liberia’s forest sector
ProFor, 19 March 2020
68% of Liberia’s land surface is covered by forests, making it the most forested country in West Africa; and the forests have a high biodiversity and commercial value. Liberia’s forest sector contributes 10% to the national economy and serves as an important source of livelihoods and employment for more than a third of Liberia’s population that lives in forested areas.
[USA] Amid Climate Crisis and Raging Pandemic, Trump Blasted for ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Multibillion-Dollar Big Oil Bailout
By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams, 19 March 2020
Climate advocacy groups responded with swift condemnation Thursday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will recommend that President Donald Trump ask Congress for as much as $20 billion to purchase oil in what Barron’s reported “would essentially equate to a bailout of the U.S. oil industry, because several U.S. producers would likely go out of business if demand and prices stay low.”
Let’s go out and buy… Fill up the reserve,” Mnuchin said in a Thursday morning interview with Fox Business Network, referring to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The secretary’s comments about potential purchases that could fill the SPR for a decade came after Trump declared Friday that “we’re going to fill it right up to the top.”
20 March 2020
‘We should start thinking about the next one’: Coronavirus is just the first of many pandemics to come, environmentalists warn
By Louise Boyle, Independent, 20 March 2020
The novel coronavirus will not be the last pandemic to wreak havoc on humanity if we continue to ignore links between infectious diseases and destruction of the natural world, environmental experts have warned.
Dr Enric Sala, marine ecologist and part of National Geographic’s Campaign For Nature, told The Independent: “I’m absolutely sure that there are going to be more diseases like this in future if we continue with our practices of destroying the natural world, deforestation and capturing wild animals as pets or for food and medicine.”
Five (or six) solutions for saving the world’s forests and restoring landscapes
By Robert Nasi and Tony Simons, CIFOR Forests News, 20 March 2020
We’ve heard a lot about ambitious tree planting initiatives in recent months. Laudable as these may be – and we offer congratulations and celebrate the community-minded impetus behind them – we need a lot more than tree planting to restore degraded landscapes and to save the world’s forests.
On International Day of Forests, we join with the United Nations to draw attention to the urgent need for general recognition of the key role these treed landscapes play in combating climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets aimed at alleviating poverty.
As We’re Working to “Flatten the Coronavirus Curve,” We Badly Need to Do the Same for the Climate Crisis
Blue Virginia, 20 March 2020
As we respond aggressively, and for good reason(s), to the Coronavirus crisis – social distancing, stay-home orders, massive economic rescue packages, the race for treatments and a vaccine, etc, etc. – it’s striking how we haven’t had a similar reaction to what is, in many ways, an even (far) more threatening crisis. That would be the climate crisis, and unlike the Coronavirus – which sucks, for sure, but which can be managed and, ultimately, resolved without utter disaster – radically heating up the planet threatens unmitigated, massive global catastrophe.
Coronavirus Crisis, Says Coalition, Must Force Wall Street to Finally Recognize Perils of Climate Shocks ‘Barreling Towards Us’
By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, 20 March 2020
Stop the Money Pipeline, a coalition that aims to end Wall Street’s funding of climate destruction, is calling on Congress to hold the line against the financial industry—and give it no special deregulatory treatment—as the federal government responds to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
“Now is not the time to relax rules on financial institutions’ ability to weather future crises, particularly the climate crisis, the impacts of which continue to unfold even as we deal with COVID-19,” Moira Birss, climate and finance director of Amazon Watch, said in a statement Friday.
Planting trees the right way
By Will Baldwin-Cantello, WWF, 20 March 2020
Planting a tree is a universally recognised act — it’s a symbol of caring for our environment. From presidents to primary school children, we all want to get involved.
On Saturday, we will celebrate the International Day of Forests, an annual event that raises awareness about forests.
Coronavirus Could Alter Plans for Global Aviation Emission Cuts
By James Munson, Bloomberg, 20 March 2020
The new coronavirus is threatening much tougher greenhouse gas emission targets on the global airline industry, prompting governments and regulators to look at how they can soften the impact.
Airlines are concerned because they could be hit with a sharp rise in compliance costs just as they’re trying to exit a period of lost revenue caused by the global pandemic.
‘This is a yes-we-can moment’: What the coronavirus response means for climate action
By Sam Meredith, CNBC, 20 March 2020
Climate scientists believe the unprecedented measures in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic give a glimpse of what could be possible when it comes to fighting the climate emergency.
The coronavirus outbreak and the climate crisis are two inherently different global risks, but both have a potentially devastating human cost. Despite this, only one has kickstarted widespread action across the globe in recent weeks.
Response to one pandemic, COVID-19, has helped ease another: Air pollution
By Liz Kimbrough, Mongabay, 20 March 2020
Air pollution has significantly decreased over China amid the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, signaling unanticipated implications for human health.
“Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural — if admittedly strange — question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself,” Stanford University environmental resource economist Marshall Burke wrote in the global food, environment and economic dynamics blog, G-FEED.
“Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is a clear ‘yes,’” he added.
Cambodia scraps plans for Mekong hydropower dams
By Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian, 20 March 2020
A Cambodian government decision to postpone building new hydropower dams on the Mekong river has been welcomed by campaigners, who say it will provide welcome relief to the tens of thousands of people whose livelihood depend upon its rich resources.
Cambodia announced on Wednesday that it would not build any new hydropower dams on the mainstream Mekong for the next decade, allaying fears that the river’s fragile biodiversity could be further devastated by development projects.
‘The forest is everything’: indigenous tribes in India battle to save their home from Adani – in pictures
By Brian Cassey, The Guardian, 20 March 2020
Australian photographer Brian Cassey visits Hasdeo Arand, one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest in central India. The area is rich in biodiversity, containing many threatened species including elephants, leopards and sloth bears. A rash of newly approved mines could further destroy swathes of the Hasdeo Arand forest – and with it the wildlife local villagers depend on for survival.
[USA] Federal Reserve to lend additional $1 trillion a day to large banks
By Christopher Rugaber, Associated Press, 20 March 2020
The Federal Reserve moved with unprecedented force and speed Friday to pump huge amounts of cash into the financial system to ease disruptions that have escalated since the viral outbreak.
The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it will offer $1 trillion of overnight loans a day through the end of this month to large banks. That is in addition to $1 trillion in 14-day loans it is offering every week. Banks, so far, have not borrowed nearly as much as the New York Fed is offering, and the loans are quickly repaid. None of the funding is from taxpayer dollars. Wall Street analysts say the huge number is intended to calm markets by demonstrating that the Fed’s ability to lend short-term is nearly unlimited.
21 March 2020
International Day of Forests 2020: As Fires Ravage Forests, Can ‘Nature Super Year’ Salvage Global Biodiversity?
The Weather Channel, 21 March 2020
On March 21, the world celebrates the International day of forests every year since 2012 to raise awareness about the importance of all types of forests. The theme this year is ‘Forests and biodiversity: too precious to lose’. As research and observations show that global biodiversity is deteriorating at an accelerated pace and millions of hectares of forests are being lost every year, the theme seems more apt than ever before.
“2020 has been referred to as a “Nature Super Year” and must be the year where we turn the tide on deforestation and forestry loss,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Forests 101: The green infrastructure sustaining life on earth
By Anggrita Cahyaningtyas, CIFOR Forests News, 21 March 2020
The second episode of our podcast series “Let’s Talk Trees” highlights forests’ invaluable role for the earth and for humanity. CIFOR Director General Robert Nasi shares his views on the most pressing challenges in forest conservation and management, how the climate crisis changes things and how we can overcome these challenges. “The answer to all these problems are deceptively simple, but how to do that is a different story.”
Natural forest regeneration: A good choice for biodiversity
By Mauel R. Guariguata, CIFOR Forests News, 21 March 2020
Forests are full of surprises.
Parts of the Amazon, Panama’s Darien and many other places we think of as home to pristine primary forests are actually the outcome of centuries-old natural forest regeneration. Much of this regrowth in the Americas happened when Amerindians, around the time of European colonization, abandoned their fields and dramatically reduced their farming activities, while at the same time the need for forest conversion by early colonists was insignificant.
EnKing International Wins a Bid for Selling Methane Credits to PAF of The World Bank Group
EKI Energy Services Limited press release, 21 March 2020
EnKing International is one of the 15 winners in the auction who paid $0.30 for the right to sell a carbon credit to the PAF at a good price. The World Bank Group auctioned $8.25 million of climate funds on March 3rd, 2020, and this could lead to a reduction of the equivalent of 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2020.
[USA] Rural angst on the rise
By Emily Ireland, Wairarapa Times-Age, 21 March 2020
Critical water restrictions, a drought, cattle diseases, and now covid-19 – Tararua farmers are at their wits’ end, stressed, and burnt out.
Add into the mix the “alarming” rate of forestry conversion for carbon credit, and a storm is brewing for rural communities, Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis says.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor took to the skies on Thursday morning along with the mayor, council chief executive Blair King, and Wairarapa Labour List MP Kieran McAnulty to see the impact of drought and forestry conversion in the Tararua district.
22 March 2020
U.S. airlines don’t need a bailout to stay in business
By Richard Squire, Washington Post, 22 March 2020
With flight bookings in free fall, U.S. airlines have gone to Washington with their hands out, asking for more than $50 billion in loans, guarantees and outright cash grants. And President Trump wants to give them the money, explaining in a White House briefing last week, “We don’t want airlines going out of business.”
Yet there is no danger that the airlines are about to disappear, leaving the flying public grounded after the coronavirus crisis passes. Without a bailout, the air carriers would renegotiate their terms of credit with their lenders outside court, or they would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Either way, they would keep flying.
Fewer oaks, more conifers: Britain’s forests must change to meet climate targets
By Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 22 March 2020
Last century the Forestry Commission sparked anger with a mass planting of conifer trees designed to provide a national reserve of timber because the shortages of the first world war had highlighted a national need.
Now a leading expert is calling for similar action again, arguing that if the UK is serious about offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions it must plant tens of millions of trees from imported species on open land.