Ministers attending the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC adopted the 'Ministerial Katowice Declaration on Forests for Climate', which highlights the significant role of sustainable forest management in achieving climate change commitments in the Paris Agreement.
India “has the capacity to clean up, but not the political will”. This piece from the Economist’s Asia edition cites political apathy towards pollution and failures to listen to middle classes as two of the most significant factors in India’s continuing struggle with environmental protection. The country also shows mixed responses to their climate change commitments, as data shows a significant preference for coal power generation over cleaner gas-fired plants.
The Norwegian parliament voted to make Norway the world's first country to ban its biofuel industry from importing deforestation-linked palm oil starting in 2020. A 2017 report by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) showed palm oil-based biofuels have a more detrimental effect on climate change than using fossil fuels. The resolution calls on the government "to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk."
NRDC is working alongside the Waswanipi Cree First Nation to protect the last of their intact boreal forest homeland from Quebec’s aggressive logging proposal. Quebec’s plan would be devastating for the Waswanipi, who have already had more than 90 percent of their traditional hunting grounds, located in the old-growth forests of the boreal forest, severely impacted by industrial logging. In addition, the expanded logging would destroy critical habitat for the threatened boreal caribou, and degrade an ecosystem crucial to mitigating global climate change.
Latin American countries, regions and cities demonstrated clear ambition and leadership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany. Mexico and Costa Rica joined 23 other countries in signing on to a new global coalition committed to phasing out coal and supporting clean power policies and investments, while restricting financing for coal plants. Buenos Aires, Caracas, Mexico City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile were among 25 global cities that committed to develop and implement more ambitious climate action plans before 2020.
More than 30 environmental groups have signed a statement against the renewal of regional forest agreements (RFAs) for the logging of Australian native forests. A report shared last week by the National Park Association of NSW showed that the logging has resulted in an increase of threatened species. It also noted that the agreements designed in 1990 didn’t acknowledge how the loss of forests would contribute to climate change. The environmental groups stand firm and will not accept any extensions, rollovers or renewals.
The importance of tropical rain forest for addressing climate change was formally recognized in the Paris Conference of Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC. The Paris Agreement advocates countries to incorporate forests and ecosystems protection into country plans for reducing emissions. To combat climate change, except protecting and restoring forests, it is also essential to maintain the full faunal composition to ensure long term survival and maximize full capacity. Last but not least, recognizing the role of maintaining core areas of intact primary forest through parks, reserves, indigenous territories and other protected areas to ensure that restoration of forests takes place in a way that fully restores those forests to their many ecosystem service roles is also important.
Over a dozen African countries to tackle Climate change and boost development by restoring 100m hectares of forest across the continent over the next 15 years. The initiative known as the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) was launched during COP21. It will be underpinned by a $1bn investment from the World Bank in 14 African countries over the next 15 years and by $600m of private sector investment over the same period.
The initiative will also be supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the World Resources Institute.
A report from Prince Charles' International Sustainability Unit has found that we are still some way from realising the full potential of tropical forests in stabilising global climate, agricultural yields, ecosystem services and local livelihoods. The report, Tropical Forests: A Review, argues that forests have such incredible potential because of their dual role as carbon sinks. Less deforestation means less carbon is released and as the forest continues to grow, more carbon is locked in to the biomass. The report also highlights the importance of tropical forests to regional and global rainfall cycles. This is particularly relevant for Brazil where a severe drought has impacted cities and major agricultural areas. Modelling has shown that deforestation in the Amazon and Congo Basin could affect rainfall patterns across Europe and North America. The report urges forests be prioritised as a significant solution as we approach binding international agreements on climate change.
According to a recently published report in the Nature Climate Change magazine, Indonesia’s deforestation rate doubled that of Brazil in 2012, and since the Millennium it has lost forested land equivalent to one-third the size of mainland Spain. The report found that the 2011 moratorium on deforestation from intact forests actually led to vast quantities of deforestation in unprotected forests. The report has received the support of the new Indonesia President, Joko Widodo.
A recent study in Nature Climate Change suggests that the rate of Deforestation in Indonesia is twice what is reported by the Government and that the Government’s 2011 regulations to combat deforestation have been largely ineffective. The report cites a Science report on the disparity between deforestation rates reported by the Indonesian government and the rate of deforestation calculated from satellite data. Green groups lobbying against palm oil deforestation and tropical forest loss claim the findings strengthen the argument that the Indonesian Government’s anti-deforestation legislation needs strengthening.
GPS technology is being used to help define ancestral land boundaries by indigenous people in Indonesia. As land rights are intrinsically linked to sustainability, the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights will help to slow deforestation, whilst also securing community livelihoods and reducing land conflicts.
A new £15m forestry research centre at Birmingham University will study how climate change is affecting Britain's woodlands and examine how trees can be protected from the threat of invasive pests and diseases, such as the Chalara fraxinea virus which has caused the spread of Ash dieback across the country.
A new decree signed by the Indonesian president to create a national agency aimed at combating greenhouse gas emissions signals progress in the country’s efforts to tackle global warming, said a scientist with the Center for International Research.
The REDD+ (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation) agency, which will report directly to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, fulfills one among several criteria detailed in a climate change partnership agreed in 2010 with Norway. Under the terms of the agreement outlined in a letter of intent, the two countries opened the door to developing policy on REDD+, a U.N.-backed framework for reducing emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will require companies in its portfolio to ‘to manage risk associated with the causes and impacts of climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions and tropical deforestation.’ The move comes after campaigners had targeted the fund for continuing to invest in companies associated with deforestation while the Norwegian government had committed $522 million to protecting the world’s forests. Questions considered in assessing company risk will include: disclosure on tropical forest footprint; commitment to international standards for sustainable production of agricultural commodities; and reporting on the implementation of its commitments.
An article covering a new report from the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR) on how REDD+ is facing major implementation challenges. One of the major issues is ‘who gets paid?’ It can create a perverse incentive for some actors to say ‘I intend to deforest; pay me not to’. Added to this, it is being supported by voluntary markets. To take off in earnest requires firm global targets to be set on reducing emissions; then an effective cap-and-trade system can be put in place which would see major investment in REDD+ projects. However, the authors still conclude that REDD+ has a future due to the realities of climate change and the role preventing deforestation has to play in mitigating climate change.