ECHA has assessed the health and environmental risks posed by intentionally added microplastics and has concluded that an EU-wide restriction would be justified. If adopted, the restriction could result in a reduction in emissions of microplastics of about 400 thousand tonnes over 20 years.
The definition of microplastic is wide, covering small, typically microscopic (less than 5mm), synthetic polymer particles that resist (bio)degradation. The scope covers a wide range of uses in consumer and professional products in multiple sectors, including cosmetic products, detergents and maintenance products, paints and coatings, construction materials and medicinal products, as well as various products used in agriculture and horticulture and in the oil and gas sectors.
EPN have published their third report on the state of the global paper industry, presenting an analysis of the world’s pulp and paper industry, and the commercial, social and environmental risks and opportunities facing it. The report examines the performance of the industry against each of the goals of the Global Paper Vision; 1) reducing global paper consumption and promote fair access to paper, 2) maximising recycled fibre content, 3) ensuring social responsibility, 4) sourcing fibre responsibly, 5) reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 6) ensuring clean production and 7) ensuring transparency and integrity. Key themes include the need to bring paper consumption down to sustainable levels, to address climate chain impacts across the supply chain and to drive action around commitments.
- Environmental Paper Network
- Climate chain
- ensuring clean production
- ensuring transparency and integrity
- Global Paper Industry
- Global Paper Vision
- maximising recycled fibre content
- Paper consumption
- promote fair access to paper
- pulp and paper industry
- reducing global paper consumption
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- sourcing fibre responsibly
- suring social responsibility
the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the U.S. and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China launched the IPE Green Supply Chain Map, the only tool in the world to openly link leading multinational corporations to their suppliers’ environmental performance. Based on publicly available data from the Chinese government, IPE’s database and map provide real-time data and historical trends in air pollution emissions and wastewater discharge for nearly 15,000 major industrial facilities in China and access to environmental supervision records for over half a million more.
A new research published by the journal Conservation Letters studies the industrial palm oil plantations and regional greenhouse gas emissions levels. The paper summarizes the results of a case study focused on an oil palm operation in Gabon, and suggests that tropical African countries could largely offset the emissions created by converting the land to palm oil plantations if they enact mandatory policies regulation which forests can be cleared and how much remaining forest must be set aside for conservation. If those mandatory measures are lack, unsustainable levels of climate-warming carbon emissions could be created by converting Africa’s tropical forests into monoculture palm plantations.
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.
A new report by the Rainforest Action Network provides further evidence of the benefits of greater local land rights in conserving tropical forests. The research follows a separate report published in 2014 by the World Resources Institute, an international environmental NGO. That study showed deforestation rates were 11 times lower in zones licensed to local communities than in other lands.
The Mongabay article reports that Indonesia targeted 2.5 million hectares of land for community-based forest management between 2009 and 2014 but only 13% of this had actually been allocated for community-based forest management by the end of 2013. The article points to criticisms by some that many licenses vulnerable to abuse with one commentator claiming that some loosely organized communities will simply sell their land to the highest bidder – often industrial companies.
A study published in August in the journal Environmental Research Letters reveals that more than half of the fire emissions originate from outside timber and oil-palm concession boundaries. Several studies have shown a similar finding, which is that the dominant cause of fire in both Sumatra and Kalimantan is rural communities. Only targeting plantation companies as the government and NGOs are doing at the moment won’t work. The Indonesian fire and haze problem is complex, with multiple actors playing a role. To address the problem, the government should be more specific in its management, including law enforcement, localized approaches, taking the costs of development into consideration.
Environmentalists have called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s commitments on reducing deforestation and supporting renewable energy ‘weak’ and representing little more than maintaining the status quo. Greenpeace Brazil say the target of restoring 12 million hectares of forest represents only half of the reforestation requirements under Brazil’s Forest Code and are just another commitment to comply with existing laws, not a bold new initiative.
Brazil has, however, worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than any large country over the past decade, with emissions from all sectors having fallen by around 40% since 2005, with an 85% cut in carbon dioxide from deforestation.
A new study of 14 nations by WWF and think tank Climate Advisors shows that only 4 (Indonesia, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru) have set targets to succeed by 2020. WWF say that if zero net deforestation by 2010 was achieved in these 14 countries, three gigatonnes in annual carbon dioxide could be saved by 2020 – more than the annual emissions of India and Germany combined.
Negotiators in Bonn reached agreement on Redd+ scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation which will form part of Paris climate pact. One major issue was the protection of indigenous peoples and valuable ecosystems generated from protecting forest. In the process, tougher safeguards and transparency are necessary, and better communication and more field visits are key to the result. Also a deep base of sharing of knowledge and trust are needed to move forward.
1. Zero deforestation commitments. 2015 may be the year that many of the zero deforestation commitments are actually implemented.
2. Joko Widodo’s forest commitments. As Indonesia’s new president takes on the challenge of reforming the forestry sector, look out for greater scrutiny of concession licensees, as well as a crack-down on forestry-related corruption.
3. The Brazilian Amazon. There are concerns that Brazil’s current downward deforestation trajectory may not last.
4. Will Paris product a binding climate framework? Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is expected to have a central role in the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.
5. Where are the new deforestation hotspots? Data from the WRI suggests that deforestation may be rising in several countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ecuador and Ghana amongst others. 2015 will also uncover new studies and tools that will help better quantify change in forest cover.
6. Falling commodity prices. Lower prices reduce the profitability of converting rainforests for palm oil plantations. On the other hand, companies may be less likely to adopt environmental measures if they have less cash on hand.
7. Myanmar. As Myanmar opens up further to foreign investors, concerns about the fate of the country’s forests will rise.
8. Dams in the Amazon. Indigenous groups and environmentalists are ready to fight against Brazil’s hydro projects in the Tapajos basin.
9. RSPO and zero deforestation. If the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) does move towards zero deforestation it has a critical tool in place to do so: last year members were required to submit the GPS coordinates of their concessions.
10. Jurisdictional initiatives. Sub-national efforts to develop forest-friendly policies and initiatives will move forward in 2015.
Sir Jonathon Porritt, a leading environmentalist and adviser to the Prince of Wales, has suggested that poor countries should be allowed to chop down half of their forests as long as the agreed to the preservation of those containing the greatest volume of carbon. As chairman of the palm oil industry-funded High Carbon Stock Study, Sir Jonathon’s suggestion comes in response to trying to determine which forests contain the most carbon and should therefore be protected because clearing would result in massive greenhouse gas emissions. Sir Jonathon told the Times “It’s trade-off time. You can’t develop a new palm oil business in West Africa if you don’t cut down a tree. So the real story now is what kind of deforestation is acceptable within an understanding of the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases but secure real economic benefits for people in poor countries.” The following article by the Guardian Why zero deforestation is compatible with a reduction in poverty (8th September) explores the difficult choices that companies and countries have to make around the complex question of sustainability.
New research due to be published in the journal ‘Global Change Biology’ has revealed that the amount of carbon lost from tropical forests is being significantly underestimated. The degradation of tropical forests by selective logging and fires causes large amounts of ‘hidden’ emissions. Degradation is a slow moving process and hard to measure, adding to the fact that it is underestimated. This new study attempts to overcome these limitations by using on-the-ground assessments.
The Rainforest Alliance has agreed to conduct an audit of Asia Pulp and Paper’s progress in implementing the the zero deforestation policy the forest giant signed last year. The organisation will evaluate APP’s progress in meeting four commitments in its forest conservation policy including protecting high conservation value areas and high carbon stock forests, managing peatlands to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and obtaining free, prior informed consent from local communities before developing new plantations.
The UN Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) aims to pay developing countries for storing carbon in forests. To monitor how countries are conserving their forests under REDD+ the UN will rely on a combination of satellite measurements and field checks.
Communities living alongside the world's tropical forests can estimate an area's carbon stocks as effectively as hi-tech systems, according to findings published in the journal Ecology and Society. The study found that community members in four South-East Asian countries using sticks and ropes were able to gather the same results as satellites. The research team aim to convince policy makers of the vital role local communities can play under the UN’s Redd+ programme which aims to curb GHG emissions from deforestation and land-use change.
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.
MPs and policymakers from 33 of the world’s major economies gathered at the first GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit in London. The Summit concluded with a pledge which recognises that forest loss contributes approximately 17 per cent of GHG emissions each year and commits the legislators to promote and advance the REDD+ mechanism in their own countries. REDD+ offers forest nations access to new finance in return for the development of effective and independently assessed forest protection schemes.
A synthesis report has been published for REDD+ policymakers at the current UN climate talks in Doha. It is the first report of its kind taking a comprehensive country-by-country look at the drivers of deforestation. Agriculture is judged to be the main driver of an estimated 80 per cent of global deforestation. REDD+ is a climate mitigation scheme that provides financial incentives to developing countries to avoid GHG emissions associated with forest clearance. The report classifies both direct (e.g. urban expansion, infrastructure, mining, logging or agriculture) and indirect (e.g. changes in economic growth, population growth, commodity prices and governance) drivers of deforestation and says the drivers conspire to influence the level of forest clearing. The authors believe that countries which would finance REDD+ want to see the money directed towards addressing the drivers of deforestation before committing large sums.
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.