By Chris Lang
This week’s REDD notes. For a lot more links to news about forests, the climate crisis, natural climate solutions, the oil industry and so on, please follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
A Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace reveals that in a January 2020 meeting, then-energy secretary Andrea Leadsom told BP its is a “key stakeholder” in the now postponed climate conference COP26. According to the notes of the meeting, the aim of the January meeting was to “fully recognise the continuing importance of oil and gas in the global economy,” while acknowledging “the increasing public challenge to fossil fuel use and need to transition to net zero by the middle of the century”.
Sriram Madhusoodanan at the NGO Corporate Accountability points out that BP “should be barred from interfering at any level of climate policymaking”.
“Having BP at the table is inviting the fox inside the hen house and will only mean less progress, less ambition and less justice from the UK government and from the UNFCCC process itself.”
The UK government’s website for COP26, which is now planned for 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow, tells us that “The world has woken up to the need to curb emissions and invest in climate resilience.” Obviously,t he UK government doesn’t provide any evidence for this optimism.
At COP26, we need governments, businesses, cities, the global scientific community and civil society to work together to accelerate the transformation of our economies, deal with the inevitable impacts of the climate change we have already created, and bend the curve on global emissions.
Meanwhile, the UK government has set up a “Friends of COP” to advise the government and “inspire action from their sectors ahead of the conference”. With this lineup, we can confidently predict that natural climate solutions – and offsetting, planting one trillion trees – will play a large role in the COP26 negotiations:
We can also confidently predict that the urgent issue of leaving fossil fuels in the ground will once again not be on the agenda.
Five years ago, I went vegan. I’d just finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, “Eating Animals” and just couldn’t justify eating meat any longer.
In his new book, “We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast”, Foer argues that we need to dramatically cut down on eating meat to address the climate crisis.
Recently Foer wrote a piece in the New York Times under the headline “The end of meat is here”. He goes through a series of arguments in favour of not eating meat: The spread of the coronavirus in slaughterhouses and meat processing and packing facilities; We can’t protect the environment and continue eating meat; Eating animals is inevitably cruel; We can’t stop pandemics while continuing to eat meat regularly; Factory farms are more dangerous than wet markets; A plant-based diet is healthier.
Plant Based News agrees that we should stop eating meat, but disagrees with Foer that the end of meat is already here. The arguments is based in part on the steady increase of meat production globally over the past 50-odd years:
Climate Home News reports on the International Air Transport Association’s lobbying to weaken the aviation industry’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The baseline for this scheme was to be the average of aviation emissions in 2019 and 2020. Because of the coronavirus crisis, emissions in 2020 are extremely low. So IATA is lobbying to change the baseline to pre-coronavirus 2019 levels.
IATA argues that could save airlines US$15 billion in avoided carbon credit purchases.
IATA’s proposal will be discussed at the Council meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization from 8-26 June 2020 in Montreal. A group of carbon traders and their NGO supporters has written to ICAO Council members urging them “to promote and protect the integrity and stability of CORSIA”:
As the Stay Grounded Network points out, instead of offsets, “We need solutions that go to the roots of the problems. For air traffic this means a substantial reduction of flights.”
Some carbon offsetting schemes can support projects which reduce emissions.
❗️ BUT they should be going ahead anyway, without their benefits being cancelled out by businesses using these schemes to continue polluting.
— Stay Grounded Network (@StayGroundedNet) May 29, 2020
Documents obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency reveal that European firms are involved in importing illicit Myanmar teak to Europe through Croatia. Teak is much sought after in the yacht-building industry in the EU.
Faith Doherty, EIA’s Forest Campaign Leader says,
“The documents we obtained relate to ten shipments over the last three years, weighing about 144 tonnes, and worth a conservative US$1 million. Those are imports, but substantially more as it goes through processing and end use.”
EIA’s report, “The Croatian Connection Exposed: Importing illicit Myanmar teak through Europe’s back door”, names the companies involved and urges the EU to uphold its illegal timber regulations.
Seven years ago, REDD-Monitor wrote about a report by Global Witness looking at a land grabbing crisis in Laos and Cambodia. I asked whether REDD could stop the land grabbing:
The clear answer is “NO!”. This week human rights groups Equitable Cambodia and Inclusive Development International put out a joint statement about one of the firms in the Global Witness report: Hoang Anh Gia Lai. Earlier this year, while Indigenous communities were sheltering in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the company cleared 742 hectares of their land:
The company bulldozed two spirit mountains, wetlands, traditional hunting areas and burial grounds. The clearances destroyed old-growth forest and caused irreparable harm to land of priceless spiritual value to the communities.