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.
30 March 2020
COVID-19-led ban on wild meat could take protein off the table for millions of forest dwellers
By Robert Nasi and John E. Fa, CIFOR Forests News, 30 March 2020
Conservationists have greeted China’s recent clampdown on wild animal hunting and consumption with enthusiasm.
The government made the move based on scientific theories that COVID-19 was transmitted from a pangolin or a bat to humans in a market in the city of Wuhan.
A similar response to the capture and consumption of wild meat occurred during the Ebola outbreak, which originated in an animal-human interaction and raged in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. At that time, conservationists suggested the disease was good for wildlife because people would not be eating wild animals as a result.
Indigenous Peoples at increased risk due to coronavirus
IWGIA, 30 March 2020
As the spread of COVID-19 continues, Indigenous Peoples worldwide are in increasing danger of losing their lives and having their rights stripped away.
Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders at Risk
Alongside the dangerous threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Indigenous Peoples are facing a second dangerous problem: the targeting of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders under cover of the disarray or scaling up of emergency measures.
“We are striving to be safe. The entire region of Luzon is under lockdown and we cannot move. Our organizations, networks and allies cannot mobilize and deploy a quick reaction response because of the prevailing lockdown. Those in control and command of the national action plan against COVID-19 are military generals – we fear the easy intensification of crackdown and widespread attacks against human rights defenders including indigenous peoples’ rights defenders,” Windel Bolinget, chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, said.
COMMENT: ICAO’s carbon market report offers valuable lessons for Article 6 talks
By Gilles Dufrasne (Carbon Market Watch), Carbon Pulse, 30 March 2020
As part of the work to establish an international carbon market for aviation, CORSIA, a group of experts recently recommended restrictions for the types of carbon offsets that can and cannot be used by airlines. These restrictions were adopted by the UN aviation agency’s (ICAO) decision-making Council in early March.
The Technical Advisory Body (TAB) set up by ICAO assessed 14 organisations which had applied for their carbon credits to be recognised under CORSIA. Specific quality criteria, the Emissions Unit Criteria (EUC) had been adopted by the ICAO Council last year and were used to assess the programmes.
Greta: We must fight the climate crisis and pandemic simultaneously
By Adam Vaughan, New Scientist, 30 March 2020
The world needs to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and climate change simultaneously, and guard against people who try to use the current crisis to delay action on cutting carbon emissions, Greta Thunberg has urged.
The Swedish climate activist, who revealed last week that she and her father are likely to have had covid-19, said the response to the outbreak revealed societal shortcomings, as well as our ability to change in the face of a crisis, but had also proved that we are able to act fast.
A more sustainable capitalism will emerge from Covid-19
By Gordon Power, City A.M., 30 March 2020
The main concern that is paralysing the financial markets right now is uncertainty. Investors and the business community are questioning how long this crisis will last, and when consumer and investor confidence will return, with no end in sight.
But while none of us can predict the future, when it does return, one possible outcome is that the crisis could cause an unprecedented shift in capital — potentially for the better. Why? Because coronavirus is a test of which companies will be most resilient to another global crisis: climate change.
As COVID-19 rages, evangelical pastor may contact remote Amazon tribes
By Sam Cowie, Mongabay, 30 March 2020
As coronavirus cases spiral upward into the thousands in urban Brazil, indigenous leaders from one of the Amazon’s most remote frontiers have denounced what they say are the latest plans by a notorious U.S. missionary to contact and convert the region’s isolated tribal groups to Christianity — even though remote indigenous peoples are known to have little resistance against infectious disease.
Complaints by Marubo and Mayoruna indigenous leaders were first published in O Globo last week, reporting that Andrew Tonkin, from North Carolina, USA, and a leader of the Baptist missionary group Frontier International, is planning a trip into Brazil’s vast Javari Valley Indigenous Reserve in Amazonas state near the border with Peru.
Brazil thanked Johnson for climbdown over Amazon fires
By Alexandra Hael and Andrew Wasley, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 30 March 2020
Boris Johnson has been lambasted after documents obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed the Brazilian government had personally thanked him for refusing to support action over the Amazon fires.
As the rainforest burned last summer – fuelled by a sharp rise in deforestation that critics blame partly on Bolsonaro’s agenda – Johnson criticised a threat by President Macron of France to block the EU’s Mercosur trade deal with Brazil.
[China] Forest fires ignite across Yunnan
By Vera van de Nieuwenhof, GoKunming, 30 March 2020
As warm and dry weather is once again upon us, another seasonal occurrence has also returned. Several forest fires have been put out across the province.
Only this morning a fire that started on Sunday and spread across 40 hectares in Yulong County, Lijiang Prefecture, was put out with the help of 579 fire fighters and the mobilization of three helicopters. One international news source suggested the fire may have been caused by a villager during tomb-sweeping, which usually involves burning incense.
Over 2,000 sent to put out forest fire in China’s Sichuan
Xinhua, 30 March 2020
Over 2,000 people were dispatched to put out a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, a local fire department said.
The fire started at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Muli County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. It is estimated that the fire has spread over 15 hectares.
A total of 2,182 people were dispatched to the site on Monday. Artificial precipitation will also be implemented to help put out the fire.
Indonesia risks timber trade with EU after scrapping license rules
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 30 March 2020
The European Union is seeking an explanation for Indonesia’s decision to scrap a highly regarded timber legality verification system, which the bloc uses to ensure it imports only sustainably sourced wood products.
Indonesia’s trade ministry issued a regulation in February, to take effect from May 27, that says exporters will no longer need to obtain licenses verifying that their timber and finished wood products come from legal sources. The so-called v-legal (“verified legal”) licenses are at the heart of Indonesia’s timber legality verification system, or SVLK, which took the country a decade to develop and implement in an effort to tackle illegal logging.
New maps of Malaysian Borneo reveal worsening carbon losses along forest edges
Arizona State University press release, 30 March 2020
Tropical forests are heavily fragmented as they are cleared for agricultural expansion and logging. Forest fragmentation leads to declines in carbon storage beyond just those trees that are cleared—the remaining forest at the edge of each clearing experiences environmental alterations such as increased sunlight and decreased soil moisture that can impact growing conditions for trees. These “edge effects” describe habitat disturbances that can lead to decreased tree growth and increased mortality, which change forest structure over time.
Norway proposes new oil exploration blocks, but none in Barents Sea
By Nerijus Asomaitis, Reuters, 30 March 2020
Norway on Monday offered oil firms the chance to bid for 36 new offshore exploration blocks in an annual licensing round in mature areas, but for the first time in a decade that did not include any new acreage in the Arctic Barents Sea.
The energy ministry, announcing the plan on Monday, said it was still important to plan for the future despite the challenging environment, which has seen oil prices slump.
Chiang Mai chokes as fires rage in the north of Thailand
By Greeley Pulitzer, The Thaiger, 30 March 2020
Northern Thailand is choking under a toxic shroud and it’s not getting any better. Air pollution across the upper North remains “at critical levels,” in many areas, including some of the main population centres. Authorities are monitoring almost 400 active hotspots in Chiang Mai alone yesterday.
The air quality didn’t improve this morning, with IQAir recording “very unhealthy” air quality and hazardous PM2.5 dust levels at around 200 in parts of Chiang Mai and up to 270 around Chiang Rai today (below).
3,000 more officials deployed to fight Thailand’s northern wildfires
Pattaya Mail, 30 March 2020
About 3,000 officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment from the South were assigned to fight wildfires in the North.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said the officials were moved from the South to the North to control the fires although the government was concerned about the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
31 March 2020
Bailouts are back, thanks to coronavirus. Now they must help people, not corporations
By Zoe Williams, The Guardian, 31 March 2020
As Easyjet grounds its flights and Richard Branson asks his considerable airline workforce to take eight weeks of unpaid leave, it is plain that the state will soon step in.
Rudimentary details of such action are already out there: workers furloughed rather than fired, with the government paying 80% of their wages. This, rather than putting money directly into the hands of the individual, makes sense: it will be better for any economic recovery if people with jobs keep them, if companies don’t go bust.
The ‘super year for biodiversity’: Undermined by a wildlife market?
By Janice Weatherley-Singh, EUractiv, 31 March 2020
2020 was the year we’d all been waiting for – the so-called “super year for biodiversity.”
Conservationists have been working for many years to try and get EU leaders and policy-makers to pay attention and take action to tackle the biodiversity crisis. Since the Paris agreement in 2015 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), EU leaders have made action on climate change one of their highest policy priorities.
This year it felt as though the same was finally going to happen for biodiversity.
FAO: Mapping Peatlands Helps Countries Adapt and Manage Resources Better
By Lauren Andersen, IISD, 31 March 2020
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a publication with recommendations on how to manage the world’s peatlands. Titled ‘Peatland Mapping and Monitoring,’ the publication amalgamates the work of 35 expert authors from 14 countries, and highlights experiences from tropical peatland countries such as Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru, as well as temperate regions.
Producing legal, sustainable and zero-deforestation cocoa in Cameroon won’t be easy
By Guillaume Lescuyer, CIFOR Forests News, 31 March 2020
Global demand for goods produced under legal and sustainability standards is on the rise. These days, many consumers demand reassurance that they are not generating negative impacts on the forest with the products they buy.
Cameroon, a net exporter of tropical commodities, is naturally concerned by these new market requirements.
Nineteen killed in massive China forest fire
AFP, 31 March 2020
Eighteen firefighters and one forestry guide died while fighting a huge forest fire in southwestern China, the local government said Tuesday.
State television footage showed large flames shooting into the sky from the mountains above the city of Xichang in Sichuan province, turning the sky orange.
Heavy clouds of smoke billowed above the buildings and roads of the city, which has a population of some 700,000 people.
For years firms that bribed Indonesian officials have evaded justice. Could this be about to change?
Mongabay and The Gecko Project, 31 March 2020
For years, this eastern Indonesian village of fishermen and seaweed farmers simmered with anger over the pollution of its coastline by a nickel mining company.
Heavy rains sweeping over a razed patch of forestland carried metal-rich soils into the sea, turning the water a rust-red colour, ruining seaweed harvests and scaring away fish. The constant flow of barges loaded with nickel ore damaged fish traps and nets. Local livelihoods dwindled and disappeared.
[USA] Trump Admin Weakens Clean Car Standards Despite Its Analyses Showing Rule Favors Big Oil Over Health, Climate
By Dana Drugmand, Desmog, 31 March 2020
The Trump administration today announced the final rule that rolls back Obama-era clean vehicle standards, a move that, according to the government’s own analyses, is expected to benefit the oil industry and harm consumers, public health, and the climate.
Experts also warn it will result in litigation and global market inconsistency to the detriment of automakers.
[USA] Climate Crisis: COVID-19 Brings Big Oil Deregulation, Low Auto Emissions, No Green Stimulus
By Steve Horn, The Real News Network, 31 March 2020
One of the weirdly positive planetary side effects of the COVID-19 outbreak is the accidental case study of humanity’s daily greenhouse gas and pollution footprint. By essentially turning off the economic machine for days at a time and forcing people to work from home—while also shutting most public and private gathering spaces to maintain “social distancing”—we get clearer air and a rare view of how much pollution daily activity produces in the United States.
1 April 2020
Coronavirus forces postponement of COP26 meeting in Glasgow
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 1 April 2020
A key climate summit in Glasgow will be delayed until next year due to disruption caused by the coronavirus.
The announcement was made in a joint statement from the UK and UN after a “virtual” meeting of officials.
Dozens of world leaders were due to attend the COP26 gathering that was set to run in Glasgow from November 9 this year.
It is expected that the conference will now take place by the middle of next year.
We Need Our Tropical Forests More Than Ever
By Jeff Conant (Friends of the Earth US), Earth Island Journal, 1 April 2020
The rapid worldwide spread of coronavirus is proving to be a massive shock to everything we know, from our daily lives to the global economy. There is no doubt that the most pressing need now is to do everything possible to prevent the spread and lend urgent support to the people and the communities most susceptible. At the same time, the drastic change of pace may afford us a moment to reflect on the conditions that lead to the outbreak — and to widen the frame to see glimmers of the world we hope to see once this pandemic subsides.
Why Old-Growth Trees Are Crucial to Fighting Climate Change
By Brooke Jarvis, Wired, 1 April 2020
Ken Bible steps over a carpet of bracken and vanilla leaf to get closer to the big Douglas fir. He gives its furrowed bark an affectionate slap, as if introducing a prize racehorse.
“It’s about 70 meters tall and 2.6 meters in diameter,” Bible says, leaning back to take in the behemoth stretching above him. From way down here on the shady floor of the forest, he has no hope of seeing all the way to the tree’s top. But thanks to a 279-foot-high tower that rises above the trees, Bible, who helps manage this site on behalf of the US Forest Service, has had the chance to know this old Doug from above as well as below.
Coronavirus: the real impact on the climate
By Matt Maynard, Geographical, 1 April 2020
How should our global population react to a planetary emergency? In the case of Covid-19 we’ve taken drastic action, grounding planes, restricting production as well as consumption. We’ve compromised the global economy and limited personal freedoms. On every channel we are sharing information about the gravity of the crisis, communicating why such radical changes to our lives are needed to limit the extent of a global catastrophe.
No bailout for airline industry
By Keith Parkins, Travel Writers, 1 April 2020
Airlines and tour companies trashed the planet, spread coronavirus around the world, now they are asking for a bailout.
January, the world should have suspended flights from China. Then as coronavirus spread, suspended flights from other coronavirus hotpots.
In UK, airports are still open, inbound flights from China, Iran, Italy and New York. There is no temperature screening at the airports. The only permitted flights, rescue and essential supplies. The irony, China has banned foreigners from entering the country.
Financial help for airlines ‘should come with strict climate conditions’
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 1 April 2020
Financial help from taxpayers to airlines hit by the coronavirus crisis must come with strict conditions on their future climate impact, the former EU climate commissioner and a group of green campaigners have said.
“It must be conditional, otherwise when we recover we will see the same or higher levels of carbon dioxide [from flying],” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU climate commissioner who led the bloc to the Paris agreement, in an interview with the Guardian. “We know the level of emissions we have to commit to [under Paris]. They [airlines] are worried about survival and will need lots of support, lots of liquidity – that gives them a big responsibility.”
Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry and help save the climate?
By Damian Carrington, Jillian Ambrose, and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 1 April 2020
The plunging demand for oil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war has left the fossil fuel industry broken and in survival mode, according to analysts. It faces the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they say, one that will permanently alter the industry. With some calling the scene a “hellscape”, the least lurid description is “unprecedented”.
Domestic policies alone can’t tackle wood fuel challenges
By Bravedo Mwaanga, CIFOR Forests News, 1 April 2020
Most of sub-Saharan Africa remains off-the-grid. As such, wood fuel is the main source of energy for cooking for over 60 percent of families, who rely on charcoal or firewood to prepare their meals and meet their nutritional needs.
Africa’s population is rapidly growing and becoming more urban, and city dwellers are expected to nearly triple by 2050, reaching 1.34 billion – a phenomenon likely to further drive a soaring demand for wood fuel, particularly charcoal. Unsustainable wood fuel use leads to negative environmental effects through physical disturbance of the continent’s vast forests. And the lack of affordable, adoptable and reliable alternatives (linked to economic and socio-cultural factors) means that the demand for wood fuel will continue to increase for years to come.
Amazon Guardian, indigenous land defender, shot dead in Brazil
Survival International, 1 April 2020
Zezico Guajajara, an indigenous Amazon Guardian, has been shot dead. His killing comes less than five months after the murder of another Guardian, Paulo Paulino Guajajara.
The circumstances of Zezico’s death are still unclear, but the Guardians have been mercilessly targeted by powerful logging mafias illegally exploiting the valuable hardwoods in the Arariboia indigenous territory, home to both the Guajajara indigenous people and uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.
Cameroon women denounce ‘destruction’ of forests and community by agribusiness giants
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 1 April 2020
The campaign against Cameroon’s agribusiness titans was re-energised in March after women living near several controversial plantations denounced the loss of community lands and rights, and the destruction of native forests.
LandCam, an EU-funded project run by several NGOs working to improve land rights in Cameroon, released a statement on behalf of women “living in the vicinity of agro-industries” decrying their treatment by major palm oil, rubber and sugar companies.
The release was general in tone, but named Hevecam, Sudcam, Socapalm, PHP, Biopalm, Semry, Rubbercam and Sosucam as the intended recipients.
The Chain: Food Shortages in China May Increase Reliance on Brazil
Chain Reaction Research, 1 April 2020
China’s reliance on imported soy and beef could continue to rise as the country is facing food shortages and worries persist that the coronavirus pandemic may cause further supply chain interruptions. This situation is stimulating incentives for exporting countries such as Brazil to increase volumes to China. A combination of limited labor, seeds, and fertilizer is leading to disruptions in China’s domestic food market, which is causing prices to spike. Food inflation recently reached the highest level in 12 years. At the same time, the domestic meat market is contending with the ongoing African Swine Flu, which has cut the domestic supply of hogs by about half for the past two years. Although this development has lowered soy imports, it has increased meat volumes from Brazil.
2 April 2020
It’s Time to Clean Ecofascism Out of Environmentalism
By Stephen Corry, CounterPunch, 2 April 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is lethal, but could there be a silver lining beyond the pain? Social media is awash with how the newly cleaned environment is hosting wildlife not seen for years. Dolphins are swimming in Venetian canals: except they aren’t, they’re really near Sardinia as usual. Swans? Yes, but they’ve always been there. The canals may be cleaner but the story’s fake.
The Coronavirus’ Impact on Workers Is Like Climate Change on Warp Speed
By Brian Kahn, Gizmodo, 2 April 2020
The coronavirus has clarified the question of who is an essential worker in the truest sense of the word—the people who provide us with the bedrock on which society rests.
And how we treat those workers today is a bleak, precise preview of what’s to come in the climate crisis. So far, it’s a massive failure of largely unfettered capitalism, one that’s doomed to be repeated in a rapidly heating world unless corporations are held to account for treating employees like single-use plastic bags.
The Virus is Not the Only COVID-19 Health Crisis: Just Ask a Half-Billion People
By Benson Kibiti and Laura Stachel, IISD, 2 April 2020
As Europe and the US experience growing panic over the coronavirus and the challenge of tens of thousands of people to access intensive health care services, hundreds of thousands of people in Africa and southern Asia live each day knowing they cannot access any healthcare at all.
One barrier to accessing healthcare? A lack of reliable electricity. And the current virus is amplifying the urgency for a solution, as emphasized by Bill Gates, who warned recently that COVID-19 could overwhelm health systems in sub-Saharan Africa and have “very, very dramatic” consequences.
UN Creates Fund with Three Windows for COVID-19 Response, Future Resilience
By Faye Leone, IISD, 2 April 2020
The UN Secretary-General has announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and launched a report serving as a call to action. Both the Fund and the Call to Action take a long-term view, stressing that the world must address the issues that “make us all unnecessarily vulnerable to crises,” with the 2030 Agenda serving as the roadmap to achieving this.
Governments still due to submit tougher climate plans in 2020, despite Cop26 delay
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 2 April 2020
Governments are still under pressure to submit tougher climate plans and ramp up ambition before the end of the year, despite delays to critical UN climate talks into 2021.
In a resounding call for governments to stay on track to address the climate crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, the international climate community have urged countries to submit increased climate plans to the UN by 31 December – in line with the Paris Agreement texts adopted in 2015.
‘We must use this time well’: climate experts hopeful after Cop26 delay
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 2 April 2020
Green campaigners and climate leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments around the world to make stringent new commitments on the climate crisis, as a vital UN climate summit was delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cop26 talks were scheduled to take place this November in Glasgow, but the UK hosts won a delay on Wednesday night from the UN and other nations, after weeks of speculation the talks would be cancelled.
NGOs fear COP26 postponement could scuttle climate change policy
By Kathleen Schuster, DW, 2 April 2020
The UN’s highly anticipated climate change conference, COP26, was officially postponed this week due to COVID-19.
“The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26,” COP26 President Alok Sharma wrote in a press release.
How our responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked
By Arthur Wyns, World Economic Forum, 2 April 2020
We live in an age in which intersecting crises are being lifted to a global scale, with unseen levels of inequality, environmental degradation and climate destabilization, as well as new surges in populism, conflict, economic uncertainty, and mounting public health threats. All are crises that are slowly tipping the balance, questioning our business-as-usual economic model of the past decades, and requiring us to rethink our next steps.
How the new coronavirus offers hope for the climate crisis
By Harriet Wood, The Yucatan Times, 2 April 2020
Gravely addressing a small cluster of journalists in Mexico City and the rest of the nation on live video, Mexico’s Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell perhaps unwittingly took up the philosophies and rhetoric employed by climate activists for decades: ‘In an active, synchronised, and consistent way’, he said, ‘we will need to adopt all of the instructive measures, not only those which pertain to personal protection, or to our immediate environment.’
Lab-grown meat can help combat the climate crisis. It can also deepen inequalities
By Sarah Duignan, Scroll.in, 2 April 2020
In the climate crisis era, one of the most revolutionary options to create more sustainable foods is lab-grown meats. These are meat products that are sometimes referred to as “clean meat” because they are grown from the stem cells taken from a live animal, but without the need for slaughter.
The world is facing a major food and water crisis, so the novelty of lab-grown meat provides an enticing and seemingly sustainable solution for North American meat consumption. But with this technology still in its infancy, it’s a good time to consider the social and cultural challenges that may become more amplified in North American food systems with the advent of clean meats.
The COVID-19 Crisis and Climate Lobbying
Influence Map, 2 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has required dramatic action on a global scale to limit its toll on human health. The introduction of extreme social distancing rules, travel restrictions and other measures has meant some forms of economic activity have almost ceased, threatening jobs and livelihoods. This, in turn, has led many governments to make massive, rapid disbursements of financial aid for individuals and businesses.
Corporate lobbyists have been highly active in this chaos. Much of this lobbying activity is for immediate relief for the worst hit industries and businesses, particularly in hospitality and other services sectors, which employ large numbers of people. However, another trend emerging relating to the climate emergency is the use of the COVID-19 crisis by lobbyists to advocate in a manner counter to the Paris Agreement.
[India] 2,000 forest fires in Karnataka as miscreants exploit lockdown
By Chiranjeevi Kulkarni, Deccan Herald, 2 April 2020
The nine-day lockdown has seen forest fires in more than 2,000 locations with officials reporting more than 300 fire incidents on Wednesday alone even as the department has stepped up efforts to contain such incidents amid the COVID-19 crisis. Forest Minister Anand Singh stated that the state government has requested the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be on standby with helicopters to help fight fires. “They have readily assured us full support,” the note from the minister said.
Indonesia’s secret forests: Underground water world
CIFOR Forests News, 2 April 2020
Gunung Sewu, on the Indonesian island of Java, takes its name — which means “thousands of mountains” — from its sweeping landscape of conical hills. The area, which is a UNESCO geopark, stretches 120 kilometers east to west from the hills to the coast.
But its real treasure lies deep underground, in a mysterious world of rivers and caverns, adorned with crystals, stalactites and stalagmites and inhabited by unusual creatures. Sculpted by water over millions of years, this subterranean system is a magnet for adventure seekers and a key reservoir for local communities.
Japan and Singapore Submit 2020 NDCs
By Beate Antonich, IISD, 2 April 2020
Japan and Singapore have submitted their 2020 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The 2015 Paris Agreement decision requested parties to communicate every five-years either a new NDC, or an update on their existing one, depending on the respective NDC timeframe. Parties decided that their NDCs would reflect each country’s highest possible ambition, and new NDCs would have to represent a progression from the previous ones.
3 April 2020
Survival International calls for protection of indigenous territories as “a matter of life and death”
Survival International, 3 April 2020
The protection of indigenous lands around the globe is critical to prevent thousands of tribal people dying from coronavirus, Survival International said today.
Although the entire world now understands how dangerous new diseases can be, Brazil’s President Bolsonaro is actively encouraging fundamentalist missionaries to make contact with uncontacted Amazonian tribes, who lack resistance to outside diseases.
Brazil: coronavirus fears weaken Amazon protection ahead of fire season
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 3 April 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is weakening Brazilian state protection for the Amazon rainforest and its people ahead of this year’s fire season, according to indigenous communities and international NGOs.
Fewer law enforcement officials are going out into the field and monitoring missions are being scaled back, opening the door for more land invasions and forest clearance, they warn.
[UK] HS2 wood clearance to go ahead as Chris Packham legal bid fails
By Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, 3 April 2020
The clearing of ancient woods for HS2 is to proceed this month after the high court refused an emergency injunction and judicial review of the government’s decision to proceed with the high-speed railway.
HS2’s felling of woodlands in spring when birds are nesting has been widely condemned by wildlife charities but the conservationist Chris Packham’s attempt to halt “enabling” works was rejected after the court decided there was “no real prospect of success” for a judicial review.
4 April 2020
OPINION: Land seizures and COVID-19: the twin threats to Brazil’s indigenous peoples
By Richard Pearshouse and Jurema Werneck (Amnesty International), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 4 April 2020
Across Brazil, many Indigenous peoples have gone into voluntary isolation, barricading access roads to protect their villages from the COVID-19 pandemic. As one Indigenous nurse told recently Amnesty International by telephone: “I explain the importance of not leaving our villages. We are over 400 people in this Indigenous territory. If one person gets COVID-19, it can contaminate us all.”
Worries about the spread of the virus among Indigenous peoples have increased, as this week the first case among Brazil’s Indigenous peoples was confirmed: in Amazonas state, a 20-year-old Indigenous Kokama woman tested positive for the virus.
Special Issue: How We Will All Solve the Climate Crisis
By Nicholas Thompson, Wired, 4 April 2020
Not long ago, in more innocent times, I was driving with my three sons back from trying to ski on a mountain that doesn’t really have snow anymore, and we were talking about climate change. This was before the pandemic, and before our conversations shifted to discussions of what viruses are and why soap, miraculously, can kill them.
The kids are 11, 9, and 6, and they’re worried about the present and upset about the future, as they should be. They know that their adult years will be spent in a world of raging fires, flash floods, and mass extinction. They love Greta and resent their elders. The future feels different and vaster when the actuarial tables give you 80 years to go, not 40.
[Ukraine] Chernobyl: Radioactive forest near nuclear plant catches fire
DW, 4 April 2020
A forest caught fire in the exclusion zone around the former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in Ukraine on Saturday.
Around 90 firefighters were deployed to extinguish the blaze, which quickly spread over 20 hectares, according to the civil protection agency in Kyiv.
A helicopter and two water-carrying aircraft were also called upon to help battle the fire.
5 April 2020
Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline
By Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 5 April 2020
I’m going to tell you the single worst story I’ve heard in these past few horrid months, a story that combines naked greed, political influence peddling, a willingness to endanger innocent human beings, utter blindness to one of the greatest calamities in human history and a complete disregard for the next crisis aiming for our planet. I’m going to try to stay calm enough to tell it properly, but I confess it’s hard.
After COVID-19, The Oil Industry Will Not Return To “Normal”
By Wal van Lierop, Forbes, 5 April 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered the world’s economies, overwhelmed healthcare systems and taken loved ones from us. Politicians have promised their citizens a “return to normal” following the pandemic. However understandable, this longing for “normal” will lead us to a mirage. Worse, our recovery from COVID-19 could be a short-lived victory if we aspire only to have a “normal” economy again.
Spanish Government Aims to Roll Out Basic Income ‘Soon’
By Rodrigo Orihuela, Bloomberg, 5 April 2020
The Spanish government is working to roll out a universal basic income as soon as possible, as part of a battery of actions aimed at countering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Economy Minister Nadia Calvino.
Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva is coordinating the project and plans to put some sort of basic income “in place as soon as possible,” with the main focus on assisting families, Calvino, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in an interview Sunday night with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.