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 April 2020
Will COVID-19 Remake the World?
By Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate, 6 April 2020
Crises come in two variants: those for which we could not have prepared, because no one had anticipated them, and those for which we should have been prepared, because they were in fact expected. COVID-19 is in the latter category, no matter what US President Donald Trump says to avoid responsibility for the unfolding catastrophe. Even though the coronavirus itself is new and the timing of the current outbreak could not have been predicted, it was well recognized by experts that a pandemic of this type was likely.
Climate: institutional collapse and a new agreement to win
By João Camargo, openDemocracy, 6 April 2020
The postponement of COP-26 in Glasgow, announced this week, is a decisive defeat for the longstanding impotent institutionalism made evident by the climate crisis.
Faced with such an overwhelming health crisis as the Covid19 pandemic and with an economic recession that threatens to pale the Great Depression in comparison, the British government has decided to postpone the climate summit. The conclusion must be this: governments and institutions still deal with the climate crisis as if it didn’t exist, despite the unequivocal fact that the worst scenarios for climate change are being surpassed even before the predicted times in which they were supposed to occur.
Coronavirus: Don’t bail out airlines, say climate campaigners
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 6 April 2020
More than 250 trades unions and environment groups have signed an open letter opposing plans for bailing out the aviation industry.
The letter to governments demands that any bailouts lead to better labour conditions and a cut in emissions.
They say aviation should make changes already evident in other sectors amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Thanks to a long-standing treaty, international aviation has largely been able to make its own rules.
Airlines urge UN body to ease climate goals for 2020s as traffic collapses
By Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, 6 April 2020
Airlines are putting pressure on the UN to make it easier for them to curb emissions in the 2020s as the industry reels from the collapse of air travel because of the coronavirus.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents the world’s airlines, said it wanted to change the baselines from which traffic growth will be judged in coming years to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Saving People From Coronavirus Can Teach Us How to Do the Same for Climate Change
By Reynard Loki, Common Dreams, 6 April 2020
Amid the terrible news about the spreading coronavirus epidemic, a scintillating fact has emerged that can energize the environmental movement: The global slowdown in human activity has given Mother Nature a much-needed breath of fresh air. Between travel restrictions, reductions in public transport and overall economic activity that generates emissions—such as coal burning, refining oil and producing steel—the climate is getting the kind of rest from destructive human activity it hasn’t gotten since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
The corona crisis: A catalyst for climate action?
By Annika Hedberg, Euractiv, 6 April 2020
While the policy-makers, media and people are currently focused on addressing the corona crisis, the other crisis – the existential climate and wider sustainability crisis – has not disappeared. It continues to cast a great shadow on Europe and the world.
It is essential that the EU does not lose a track of its global commitments and goals, including for climate neutrality, when addressing the ongoing health and the expected economic crisis. Greater sustainability must be a key as the EU shifts focus from immediate response to recovery plans.
Q+A: Research findings offer framework for effective carbon management
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News, 6 April 2020
In current conditions, the world’s total carbon budget will be spent in roughly eight years, increasing emissions-related global warming, and making it impossible to meet targets agreed under the U.N. Paris Agreement on climate change, according to scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In order to avoid catastrophic consequences of global warming, it is not only necessary to phase out fossil fuel use, but carbon in ecosystems must be protected and their storage capacity enhanced, a new study led by Conservation International demonstrates.
Tortoise Media’s ‘Uncomfortable’ Relationship With BP
By Sophie Yeo, DesmogUK, 6 April 2020
Just over a month ago, I was invited to speak on a panel about climate change, taking place at Newcastle University’s student union. The event was being hosted by Tortoise Media, a journalism start-up that was founded by James Harding, BBC’s former director of news, and launched in 2019. Tortoise’s purpose, to which its animal namesake alludes, is to produce “slow news”.
I followed the link to the Eventbrite page, and was surprised to see BP’s logo emblazoned across the banner. The subject of the debate was: “Whose job is it to fight climate change?”. I looked at the other speakers billed to attend. Two of them were from BP: Rishi Dorai, a carbon management analyst, and Jo Alexander, a purpose engagement manager and chartered geologist.
The burning questions about Africa’s wood fuel
By Anggrita Cahyaningtyas, CIFOR Forests News, 6 April 2020
Wood fuel especially charcoal has been associated with deforestation and climate change but it also has a positive socio-economic impact. On this episode we will take you to Africa where wood fuel remains a major energy and livelihood source for many rural and urban poor households. We talk to Phosiso Sola, ICRAF scientist who is currently focusing on governance of wood fuel with the aim to develop a sustainable charcoal value chains in African drylands.
MAAP #116: Amazon gold mining, part 2: Brazil
By M. Finer and N. Mamani, Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, 6 April 2020
We present the second part of our series on Amazon gold mining, with a focus on Brazil.
Specifically, we focus on mining in indigenous territories in the Brazilian Amazon.
Extractive activities, such as gold mining, are constitutionally not permitted on indigenous lands, but the Bolsonaro administration is advancing a bill (PL 191) that would reverse this.
Bushfires threatening forests in northern Laos
Xinhua, 6 April 2020
Thousands of hectares of forests in the north of Laos have been destroyed by bushfires, the blazes are yet to be brought under control.
According to local authorities, bushfires have been reported in northern Lao province of Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang and Phongsaly provinces, which bordering China, Myanmar and Vietnam.
[New Zealand] Local Focus: Wairoa forestry ‘scaring the hell out of this community’
By Patrick O’Sullivan, New Zealand Herald, 6 April 2020
It wasn’t far from anyone’s lips at the recent East Coast Farming Expo – big money being paid for farms, with Wairoa District getting more than its fair share of forestry because its land is suitable and at the right price.
The trend, from pasture to plantation, is accelerating thanks to trees being eligible for carbon credits.
The credits can be sold in advance for good money, offsetting pollution through the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
[UK] Farmers urged to make most of Woodland Carbon Scheme
FarmingUK, 6 April 2020
Farmers looking at alternative ways of generating income are being urged to consider signing up to a new government tree planting scheme.
The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a new scheme which incentivises tree planting by ‘selling’ the carbon dioxide they capture in the form of ‘carbon credits’.
If farmers or landowners have spare land where they can plant trees, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a ‘great way’ of earning reliable extra income, Fisher German says.
[USA] Industry Groups Ask California To Delay Pollution Rules, Citing Pandemic
By Miranda Green, Huffington Post, 6 April 2020
Industry groups are pushing for California regulators to delay new environmental measures, including those meant to promote clean air. Their reason: the economic stress the COVID-19 pandemic is putting on their businesses.
Groups have sent at least six letters to California officials in the past two weeks requesting delays or modifications to new pollution limits on the oil and gas, transportation, building and agriculture sectors, according to documents shared with HuffPost. The rules are set to go into effect later this year, but industry is asking to push back or indefinitely delay those implementation dates.
7 April 2020
Tropical forests’ damage spreads catastrophically
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 7 April 2020
Tropical forests are vital in the campaign to limit global heating. Here’s how to blunt them as a force – just put a clearing, or a plantation, a road or a ranch in the pristine wilderness. And then, as absorbers of atmospheric carbon, the trees up to 100 metres deep into the jungle will lose their edge.
Along that 100 metre width, the canopy height, leaf mass and phosphorus levels per square metre will begin to change. All three are measures of a tree’s capacity to grow vigorously and store carbon.
It Takes More Than Markets: First Governance Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Louis Meuleman, IISD, 7 April 2020
We are still in the middle of the first pandemic of this century, but it is never too early to draw fresh lessons on governance, and to see how they can be used to further the societal transitions linked to the 2030 Agenda. Three first lessons are about the critical value of having an effective public sector, the importance of culturally sensitive governance, and the feasibility of transformative change.
Can the world’s most influential climate report carry on?
By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 7 April 2020
With science around the world grinding to a halt as a result of efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is struggling to keep the world’s next big global-warming report on track.
Hundreds of scientists are working with the international panel to assess the science of climate change as well as the efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and prepare for inevitable impacts. The next big report — the IPCC’s first in about seven years — is due out next year, and is intended to guide government actions. But that timeline is already under threat due to government lockdowns, travel bans and university closures.
Global lockdowns might reduce CO2 emissions but won’t halt climate crisis, scientists say
By Nicole Mortillaro, CBC, 7 April 2020
The normally traffic-clogged streets of big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are empty. Shopping malls are shuttered. Restaurants sit in the dark.
This isn’t just the case across Canada, but across the globe.
Worldwide shutdowns over COVID-19 are having a deep economic impact, but they’re also having an unintended positive outcome: a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Thousands of studies reveal the best ways to cut your carbon footprint
Nature, 7 April 2020
Ditching cars altogether is one of the most effective steps that people can take to shrink their carbon footprint, according to a sprawling analysis of changes that individual consumers can make to cut their carbon emissions.
Household activities account for about two-thirds of the heat-trapping gases that are released globally. To identify which strategies are best for reducing household emissions, Diana Ivanova at the University of Leeds, UK, and her colleagues analysed nearly 7,000 studies on the topic.
Coronavirus Won’t Change Minds On Climate Change
By Brentan Alexander, Forbes, 7 April 2020
As the global population is ravaged by the novel coronavirus sweeping across countries and continents, those searching for a silver lining have begun to suggest that the painful lessons of the current COVID-19 crisis may help change hearts and minds in the fight to curb climate change. The argument goes like this: if the parallels between the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis can be properly explained to populations and their leaders, they will collectively see the need for action.
How to report on climate change during a pandemic
By Arthur Wyns, International Journalists Network, 7 April 2020
The year 2020 was tipped as a super-year for the environment, one with a packed line-up of key political meetings and developments around biodiversity, climate change and oceans. Now, as political momentum and people’s priorities have shifted to responding to COVID-19, journalists should consider where and how to cover that other existential threat we are facing: the climate crisis.
Below are some suggestions on climate change reporting angles during a health crisis from Arthur Wyns, a climate change researcher at the World Health Organization (WHO). These can be seen as complementary to tips for journalists provided by IJNet and others.
Climate Security Cannot Ignore the Military
By Ben Cramer, Green European Journal, 7 April 2020
It grows increasingly obvious that climate change is a security question. But as generations mobilise to save the climate, more traditional military mobilisations are doing much to destroy it. After the disappointment of COP 25 in Madrid, and looking ahead to future negotiations, the carbon footprint of the military needs to be on the table.
While COP 26 in Glasgow has been postponed, it is becoming urgent to see how the question of military activities can be integrated into decision-making processes on the future of the climate.
Workers and Climate Must Be Priority in Aviation Industry Bailouts, Campaigners Say
By Jocelyn Timperley, DesmogUK, 7 April 2020
Any public money used to bailout airlines must ensure that workers and the climate are put first, says an open letter backed by over 250 organisations in 25 countries.
The campaign, launched yesterday by the Stay Grounded network, is urging governments to avoid rushing into bailouts which lack social and environmental conditions or proper protection for workers.
Instead, the “unintended pause” in aviation should be used to build a climate-safe transport sector and create resilience for future crises, the letter says.
Documents reveal airline industry plan for tax breaks, subsidies and voucher refunds
By Luke Barratt, Unearthed, 7 April 2020
Lobbyists are coordinating a massive effort on behalf of airlines to push governments and airports around the world to roll back environmental taxes and set up bailout funds in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, confidential documents seen by Unearthed reveal.
Even as the world’s borders close, a strategy document produced by the airline industry shows it is lobbying for public money to be poured into funds to restart or maintain air travel and for any planned tax increases to be delayed for up to a year.
Lufthansa Group decides on first restructuring package
Lufthansa Group press release, 7 April 2020
The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly. According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels. Based on this evaluation, today the Executive Board has decided on extensive measures to reduce the capacity of flight operations and administration long term.
The decisions taken today will affect almost all flight operations of the Lufthansa Group.
At Lufthansa, six Airbus A380s and seven A340-600s as well as five Boeing 747-400s will be permanently decommissioned. In addition, eleven Airbus A320s will be withdrawn from short-haul operations.
EU carbon market collapses as Covid-19 causes ‘perfect storm‘: IHS
By Bernd Radowitz, Recharge, 7 April 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned Europe’s carbon price upside down, with prices dropping by 40% since early March when they were still trading at about €24 ($26) per metric ton, analyst IHS Markit said.
The current trading levels of between €16-18 per metric ton are roughly two thirds of the level of the high of 2019 of €29 per metric ton.
“This is a perfect storm for Europe’s carbon market, and it may well lead to some challenging questions about its role in Europe’s decarbonisation strategy once the COVID-19 crisis has passed,” said IHS Markit director Coralie Laurencin.
[Indonesia] Balancing nature, indigenous identity and development: An interview with anthropologist Chris Chancellor
Mongabay and the Gecko Project, 7 April 2020
When the people of Aru discovered that most of the land in their islands was to be converted to a giant sugar plantation, it presented them with a dilemma familiar to rural people across Indonesia. On the one hand, they desired the investment, infrastructure and jobs that such a project might bring. On the other, they feared losing the farmland and forests that provided them with food and clean water.
8 April 2020
Airlines lobby to rewrite carbon deal in light of coronavirus
By Gwyn Topham and Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 8 April 2020
Airlines are lobbying to rewrite the rules of a global agreement designed to tackle aviation emissions, with the coronavirus outbreak expected to make its targets tougher to meet.
Campaigners accused airlines of attempting to “dodge their obligations”, but the industry said it was “a matter of survival”, with most international travel currently frozen in the Covid-19 crisis.
Human impact on wildlife to blame for spread of viruses, says study
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 8 April 2020
Hunting, farming and the global move of people to cities has led to massive declines in biodiversity and increased the risk of dangerous viruses like Covid-19 spilling over from animals to humans, a major study has concluded.
In a paper that suggests the underlying cause of the present pandemic is likely to be increased human contact with wildlife, scientists from Australia and the US traced which animals were most likely to share pathogens with humans.
Wildlife destruction ‘not a slippery slope but a series of cliff edges’
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 8 April 2020
Wildlife species will die out and natural ecosystems collapse in the near future if the climate crisis goes unchecked, scientists have warned, as new research shows that the natural world is at far greater risk from climate breakdown than previously thought.
Catastrophe could strike this decade for some species, as key temperature thresholds are crossed. Instead of the anticipated gradual decline of species, there are likely to be a series of sudden collapses.
In Crisis, Learning from Ecologies of Care
By Guarav Madan, Friends of the Earth, 8 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly brought the world to a standstill. Amidst the shutdown, pain from the growing loss of life and livelihoods has brought with it anticipatory grief — not only for what is happening, but for what may still come. In the immediate, supporting frontline workers is of utmost priority, while quarantines and social distancing have become our new norm.
China’s forest footprint: Time for action on the ground
By Christian Mounzéo and Essylot C. Lubala, Fern, 8 April 2020
At first glance, by adding a prohibition on buying illegally sourced timber, China’s draft changes to its Forest Law seem to be an important step forward for the climate and environment. It is feared, however, that China’s unrelenting demand for timber will continue to strip forests elsewhere – fuelled by a patron-client approach to business that exacerbates corruption, as in Africa.
[EU] Forest related policy initiatives: How Covid-19 will affect them
Fern, 8 April 2020
With borders closed and staff working from home, Covid-19 is affecting most of the work the EU has planned for 2020. This quick explainer looks at ongoing processes that will have an effect on forests to see which timings have changed.
The European Parliament (EP) may be closed, but activities have not been suspended. Although many Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have returned to their respective countries and events have been cancelled, online work continues as much possible.
Indonesia cites pandemic to set aside its commitments to FLEGT
Fern, 8 April 2020
Following its “omnibus” legal package to encourage investment through deregulation of labour and environmental laws (FW 253), the Government of Indonesia is citing the COVID-19 pandemic to justify by-passing Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) protections for its forests and forest-dependent people.
The government has published a regulation allowing export of forestry products without the legal documents required under the SVLK (the Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System under the VPA); the rationale is to facilitate timber exports in order to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy.
[Netherlands] Amsterdam to embrace ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-coronavirus economy
By Daniel Boffey, The Guardian, 8 April 2020
A doughnut cooked up in Oxford will guide Amsterdam out of the economic mess left by the coronavirus pandemic.
While straining to keep citizens safe in the Dutch capital, municipality officials and the British economist Kate Raworth from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute have also been plotting how the city will rebuild in a post-Covid-19 world.
How to improve forest governance in Republic of Congo
Fern, 8 April 2020
Despite undeniable progress, forest governance in the Republic of Congo (RoC) remains weak. Two new studies highlight that only radical reforms to fight corruption, increase accountability and transparency, strengthen law enforcement and better involve civil society will permit Congolese forests to fully engage in the fight against climate change.
[Ukraine] Forest Fires Around Chernobyl Have Pushed Radiation to 16 Times Normal Levels
By David Nield, Science Alert, 8 April 2020
More than 30 years on, the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster is safe enough for humans to visit again, albeit briefly – but a recent forest fire has caused radiation to spike once more, up to 16 times higher than typical levels in the area.
The problem is that these fires release radiation previously locked away in the soil, leaves and wood of the forests around the 30-kilometre (19-mile) Chernobyl exclusion zone. While for short periods it has become relatively safe to wander around these forests again, that changes dramatically when a fire starts.
US: Using legislation to address human rights abuses and deforestation
Fern, 8 April 2020
As in the EU, some US states are proposing to tackle tropical deforestation through legislation to ensure deforestation-free supply chains. In February 2020, California legislators introduced the California Deforestation Free Procurement Act which, if passed into law, will require all state contracts for products containing commodities that risk causing deforestation (known as forest-risk commodities – for example, palm oil, soy, rubber, paper, beef and timber) to affirm that they were produced without causing tropical deforestation. If they cannot affirm this, they will be barred from state procurement contracts.
9 April 2020
Mass die-offs from climate crisis will happen soon unless urgent action is taken – a new study
By Tomy Carnie, Daily Maverick, 9 April 2020
There are still widespread perceptions that the more severe effects of climate change may only manifest themselves gradually towards the end of the century.
But a new study in the leading science journal Nature suggests that serious disruptions to critical elements of the global ecology (and the people who depend on it) may begin far more abruptly than anticipated – conceivably within the next 10 years unless concerted action is taken to “flatten the [climate change] curve”.
Tolkien was right: giant trees have towering role in protecting forests
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 9 April 2020
Scientists have shown to be true what JRR Tolkien only imagined in the Lord of the Rings: giant, slow-reproducing trees play an outsized role in the growth and health of old forests.
In the 1930s, the writer gave his towering trees the name Ents. Today, a paper in the journal Science says these “long-lived pioneers” contribute more than previously believed to carbon sequestration and biomass increase.
The World Is on Track to See Its Biggest Yearly Drop in Carbon Pollution Ever
By Yessenia Funes, Gizmodo, 9 April 2020
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the world is in sleep mode. We already knew that this has resulted in air pollution dropping dramatically, but several analyses are now showing that our greenhouse gas emissions are dropping, too. In fact, the pandemic may lead to the largest annual fall in emissions ever recorded.
Carbon Brief, a UK-based environmental news site, crunched the data and published an analysis today that found the pandemic could cause carbon emissions could dip 1,600 megatonnes this year. That’s equivalent to taking more than 345 million cars off the road and would be the biggest annual drop in emissions ever recorded. It may also be an underestimate as we wait for more data to become available from other countries and sectors hit by what is a global pandemic.
Coronavirus: plane-free skies spur research into warming impact of aviation
By Alister Doyle, Climate Home News, 9 April 2020
Mass groundings of flights caused by the coronavirus are giving scientists a rare chance to study plane-free skies and pin down how far aviation stokes global warming.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, air traffic has slumped in a manner not seen since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
Scientists with Nasa and European research groups hope to use clear skies to narrow down massive uncertainties about the warming effect of condensation trails – the wispy white lines that criss-cross the skies in the wake of jets engines.
Animal Viruses Are Jumping to Humans. Forest Loss Makes It Easier.
By Catrin Einhorn, The New York Times, 9 April 2020
The destruction of forests into fragmented patches is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans, according to a study from Stanford University published this month.
The research, which focused on contact between humans and primates in western Uganda, holds lessons for a world reeling from the coronavirus outbreak and searching for strategies to prevent the next global pandemic.
Analysis: Coronavirus set to cause largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions
By Simon Evans, CarbonBrief, 9 April 2020
The global coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold at a staggering pace, decimating lives, livelihoods and the normal functioning of society, as well as interrupting energy demand and CO2 emissions.
Previous Carbon Brief analysis showed that the crisis temporarily cut CO2 emissions in China by 25%, with emissions still below normal more than two months after the country entered lockdown.
Covid-19, climate, and what comes next
By Flo Stuart-Leach, Greenpeace UK, 9 April 2020
In this moment, there is no question that the government’s first priority should be to protect the vulnerable among us – those most at risk from Covid-19, and those already suffering from the financial impact of the crisis. And then they must protect our future.
Once we have defeated Covid-19, we will still have a climate crisis to tackle, oceans to protect, and forests to save.
But how do you protect both people and the planet at a time when the world feels like it’s been turned upside down? Answer: you do it all at once.
Will we learn lessons for tackling climate change from our current crisis?
By Ban Ki-moon and Patrick Verkooijen, CNN, 9 April 2020
Crises tend to bring out some of the best and the worst in us. We have watched in awe and admiration as health care professionals have responded with superhuman dedication to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have heard neighbors serenading each other across balconies. Car manufacturers are retooling to produce respirators and face masks that are so desperately needed by hospitals right now. Around the world, 1.7 billion people are staying at home to slow down the spread of the virus, according to The Guardian. Never, it seems, have there been so many visible acts of collective solidarity, and of such magnitude.
The Planet Can’t Afford a Coronavirus Feud
By Daniel K. Gardner, The New Republic, 9 April 2020
It could have been an opportunity to set aside differences and work together. Instead, the coronavirus outbreak has further strained relations between the United States and China. In the past few months, the world has been treated to senseless squabbling over xenophobic virus-origin theories, what to call the virus, and which leader’s initially dismissive response to the outbreak was more reckless.
Airline Bid to Cut Pollution Cost May Wipe Out Carbon Demand
By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 9 April 2020
Airlines are seeking to change the rules of a global system that’s set to limit their pollution starting next year.
The adjustment would make 2019 the only baseline year against which the airline’s carbon emissions are measured, an adjustment the industry says is necessary to reflect the grounding of many flights during the caronavirus pandemic this year. Currently, baseline emissions are set to be measured over 2019 and 2020.
Flights are grounded – is this the moment we give up our addiction to flying?
By Nicole Badstuber, The Guardian, 9 April 2020
Passenger air travel has come to a virtual standstill. EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet, and Ryanair has announced it will not resume commercial flights before June. British Airways has elected to suspend 36,000 staff and has closed its operations at Gatwick and London City airports until further notice. Overall, passenger flights have decreased by up to 95%. With job losses for airline and airport staff likely to reach hundreds of thousands, the government’s priority is, unsurprisingly, securing workers’ income and keeping strategic routes open.
Climate crisis: in coronavirus lockdown, nature bounces back – but for how long?
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 9 April 2020
The environmental changes wrought by the coronavirus were first visible from space. Then, as the disease and the lockdown spread, they could be sensed in the sky above our heads, the air in our lungs and even the ground beneath our feet.
While the human toll mounted horrendously from a single case in Wuhan to a global pandemic that has so far killed more than 88,000 people, nature, it seemed, was increasingly able to breathe more easily.
Investors caution cement, steel firms on EU climate lobbying
By Kate Abnett and Simon Jessop, Reuters, 9 April 2020
Cement and steel companies are being warned by investors over their lobbying on planned European Union carbon costs, saying they are effectively asking to be compensated twice over.
A review of public consultation responses by Reuters shows lobbyists want the EU to maintain an existing scheme to support firms with carbon credits at the same time as it introduces a new carbon border tax to shield them from outside rivals.
Manufacturers of cement and steel contacted by Reuters said such concerns were misplaced and they are fully committed to the EU’s goal to decarbonise its economy by 2050.
[Malaysia] The Chain: Tabung Haji Plantations to Develop New Oil Palm Concession, Once Again Breaching Buyers’ NDPE Commitments
Chain Reaction Research, 9 April 2020
Malaysian palm oil company Tabung Haji (TH) Plantations has submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the development of 8,094 hectares (ha) of an oil palm plantation in Mukim Tembeling (Jerantut District, state of Pahang, Malaysia). The landowner, Deru Semangat Sdn Bhd, is 55 percent owned by Tabung Haji. The remaining 45 percent is owned by a relative of the Sultan of Pahang. THP Agro Management Sdn Bhd, TH Plantation’s subsidiary, is the project developer.
[UK] Environmental campaigners warn on the impact of years of deforestation
By Katie Williams, Rhyl, Prestatyn & Abergele Journal, 9 April 2020
Trees absorb just 10% of the carbon dioxide emitted in Denbighshire every year, figures reveal.
Environmental campaigners warn that years of deforestation has left areas of the UK lacking in “one of its biggest natural allies” in the fight against climate change.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main greenhouse gas – from the air and convert it into wood and oxygen in a process known as carbon sequestration.
The US election is even more crucial with UN climate talks delayed to 2021
By Thom Woodroofe and Brendan Guy, Climate Home News, 9 April 2020
The postponement of the Cop26 climate summit due to the Covid-19 pandemic means the United States presidential election takes on newfound significance in the international fight against climate change.
The November election comes at a critical juncture in the world’s efforts to accelerate climate action, five years on from the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
10 April 2020
When Dealing with Climate Crisis, Forests and Dung Beetles Matter
By Frank Carini, ecoRI, 10 April 2020
As the world grapples with a pandemic, with many parts of it still failing to appreciate the importance of physical distancing, another predicament will be waiting for us when the curve is flattened and life resets with a new normal: the climate crisis.
This global emergency requires a more complex series of actions than simply staying away from people. The world, however, has been slow to embrace these solutions, even though many of them are obvious. It will need to when the COVID-19 fire is extinguished.
Characterizing and evaluating integrated landscape initiatives
By James Reed, Natalia Estrada-Carmona, and Rachel Carmenta, CIFOR Forests News, 10 April 2020
The pressing environmental and social challenges driven by deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, poverty and food insecurity often intersect in tropical landscapes of the Global South.
Addressing these challenges holistically is thought to be an effective strategy for achieving better (i.e. ethical and ecological) outcomes and “integrated landscape approaches” are now widely endorsed across research, policy and practice.
Why one writer says coronavirus is like climate change on steroids
By Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front, 10 April 2020
If you’ve been following climate change, the coronavirus pandemic will feel oddly familiar these days. Countries, including the U.S., have implemented radical policies that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago to slow the spread of the virus. Is this what it will take to solve the climate crisis?
On the latest episode of our Trump on Earth podcast, one climate reporter and writer says the coronavirus pandemic can’t be separated from the coming climate crisis. Last year Emily Atkin launched the HEATED newsletter which, in her words, is for people who are pissed off about climate change.
Climate Justice in the Time of COVID: 5 Lessons From Women and Girls Leading the Fight
By Pat Mitchell and Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Thrive Global, 10 April 2020
COVID-19 is a health, economic and social crisis, but it also holds out an opportunity for the world to move forward into a more equitable and green recovery. Women climate leaders sounded notes of hope, solidarity, and urgency during a webinar convened by the Skoll World Forum in partnership with Connected Women Leaders and The Rockefeller Foundation.
Brazil’s uncontacted tribes in peril from the COVID-19 crisis
Survival International, 10 April 2020
The Javari Valley in the Brazilian state of Amazonas is home to an estimated nineteen uncontacted tribes, more than any other territory on Earth. There are also seven contacted tribes who live in the reserve, including the Matsés, the Matis, and the Marubo, who are related to some uncontacted groups and can understand their languages.
Uncontacted tribes have no resistance to common diseases like flu or measles, let alone coronavirus. They are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet; it is not uncommon for over 50% of the population to die of illnesses contracted from first contact.
[Ukraine] Village evacuated as forest fires in Chernobyl exclusion zone continue to burn
By Alasdair Sandford, Euro News, 10 April 2020
Firefighters in Ukraine have continued to battle wildfires that broke out last weekend in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the north of the country, bringing a spike in radiation levels.
Residents from one village in the territory were moved from their homes by police, who were sent to evacuated the area around Poliske on Thursday.
The region is largely unpopulated, although some 200 people have remained living there since the 1986 nuclear accident — when an explosion sent a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe in what is still the world’s worst-ever nuclear accident.
11 April 2020
Aircraft emissions fall sharply as pandemic grounds flights
By Aleksandra Wisniewska, Leslie Hook and Tanya Powley, Financial Times, 11 April 2020
Aeroplane emissions fell by almost a third last month as the coronavirus lockdown grounded flights around the world, a drop in emissions equivalent of taking about 6m cars off the road.
An FT analysis of more than 6m flights, using data from FlightRadar24, found that as much as 28m fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted in March as nearly 1m flights were cancelled globally. This is equivalent to a month of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions and constitutes a drop of 31 per cent from the comparable period last year.
[Thailand] A forest lockdown will fuel more fires
By Sanitsuda Ekachai, Bangkok Post, 11 April 2020
With strong wind and fast-approaching forest fires, a group of forest dwellers on Doi Mon Dok mountain in Chiang Mai’s Samoeng District are racing against time to stop the flames from engulfing their village.
“This is the ninth time the fires have erupted near our home,” said Prue Odashao, 49, a Karen grassroots environmentalist and community leader of Ban Pa Ka village. “The forest fires this year are the worst in my lifetime.”
[USA] Climate Crisis: Bye Bye Bernie, Big Oil Secrecy, California Fracking and Wildfires
By Steve Horn, The Real News Network, 11 April 2020
his week, Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign to become the Democratic Party’s next presidential nominee.
There were many post-mortems and reckonings that tackled what Sanders’ decision means for the country, along with a collective mourning of the loss and celebration of what was won by Sanders supporters. For the youth wing of the climate justice movement and progressives at-large, it also meant figuring out what comes next. Just hours after the announcement, progressive organizations published an open letter of demands to the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden.
12 April 2020
Coronavirus is a fire drill for climate change
By Jennie Rosenn, Forward, 12 April 2020
This Passover, abandoning bread for matzah will hardly register as a disruptive change. Our experience of the coronavirus has upended everything. It turns out our world is much more fragile than we thought.
Things we have always taken for granted — that grocery stores will be stocked with food; hospitals will have available beds and health-care workers proper protective gear; that we can go to school and work; that we can spend time in gyms and synagogues; and that we can hug our family and friends — are no longer the realty.
We Must Be Honest About What the Coronavirus Outbreak Will Mean for Climate Action
By Anders Lorenzen, EcoWatch, 12 April 2020
In the wake of the global Covid-19 outbreak which has caused the biggest disruption to life as we know it and to the economy since World War II, many have been celebrating the drop in emissions from reduced industrial activity, travel and so on.
But we really must be careful about how we communicate these wins and indeed celebrate them.
BlackRock to advise EU on environmental rules for banks
By Jasper Jolly, The Guardian, 12 April 2020
BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investors in banks and fossil fuel companies, has been hired by the EU to work on potential new environmental rules for banks.
Campaigners raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest, given BlackRock’s widespread financial interests in sectors that could be directly impacted by new environmental rules.
[India] Telangana records over 6,000 forest fires in 20 days
The Times of India, 12 April 2020
Telangana has recorded 6,424 forest fires in the last 20 days and stands among the top states in the country to have recorded the highest number of fires in 2019-2020.