Natural Climate Solutions
Weekly Briefing

Welcome to Nature4Climate's Weekly Briefing, which summarises content from international media outlets (and our partner organisations) on stories, developments and events that relate to natural climate solutions from 14 to 21 July, 2020. Our editorial policy is to circulate articles and opinion pieces whether we agree or disagree with viewpoints represented. 

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Featured Events
Launch of the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be launching the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions on Thursday the 23rd of July. Key stakeholders from government and civil society will be present for high-level addresses including insight into IUCN’s vision for Nature-based Solutions. This will be followed by a high-level panel session in the afternoon with representatives from across regions and sectors, discussing the opportunity and actions to be taken in the context of climate and biodiversity crises, as well as the green recovery post-COVID. Join stakeholders worldwide to listen and engage with a key step towards a just transition to a sustainable future. (I.e. This is a big milestone for NBS). 
Featured News

Nature-led coronavirus recovery could create $10tn a year, says WEF
The Guardian, Damian Carrington, 15 July
The Guardian covers the WEF's new report showing a 'nature positive' economic recovery will create 400 million jobs. BusinessGreen reports that the study found this would create $10 trillion per year in economic value. Reuters covers the report and highlights that the cost of a 'nature positive' recovery would need $2.7 trillion in investment. BusinessGreen covers a new report showing thousands of ‘shovel-ready’ projects for a green recovery are within reach of EU leaders. BusinessGreen also covers new comments from Environment Secretary George Eustice promising a green recovery, a new consultation would be launched setting new methods for Environmental Impact Assessments, and a new paper setting long-term targets on biodiversity, waste, water, and air quality.

The WEF report identifies three socio-economic systems - food, land and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and extractives and energy – as driving the largest threats to biodiversity, endangering almost 80% of the total threatened and near-threatened species [on the IUCN red list]. These systems, therefore, have a significant opportunity and responsibility to reverse nature loss. Together these systems represent over a third of the global economy and provide up to two-thirds of all jobs and have a tremendous amount to gain by embracing change now. The Future of Nature and Business sets out how 15 transitions across the three systems can form the blueprint of action for nature-positive pathways to halting nature loss while generating up to US$10.1 trillion in annual business value and creating 395 million jobs by 2030.
Biden, in new climate plan, embraces more aggressive steps
The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Dino Grandoni, 14 July

The Washington Post reports on Joe Biden's new climate change and environmental justice platform calling for $2 trillion in investments over four years. The plans call for a new Civilian Conservation Corps, investments in sustainable agriculture, and utilizing trees to offset emissions, amongst a range of other proposals. 
‘Not all biomass is carbon neutral’, industry admits
EurActiv, Frédéric Simon, 14 July
EurActiv covers recent comments from a large biomass company claiming not all biomass is sustainable. A representative of Enviva, a large US based biomass firm, qualified that “Not all biomass is good biomass,”. The EU relies upon biomass for almost 60% of its renewable energy, more than solar and wind combined. 
Siberia’s 2020 heatwave made ‘600 times more likely’ by climate change
CarbonBrief, Daisy Dunne, 15 July
CarbonBrief covers a new report showing Siberia’s record-shattering wildfires this spring and summer would have been “almost impossible” without global warming. CarbonBrief also shares scientific evidence and global data to contextualize growing wildfire risks. Total area burned by wildfires is decreasing while global warming increases the risk of their occurrence. In the past year the world has seen record-shattering wildfires occur. This piece explains in detail how, where, when wildfires occur, and the increasing risks  we can expect.
Another six planets needed to eat like most meat-loving countries
The Telegraph, Emma Gatten, 16 July

The Telegraph covers a new report showing we would need six more earths for everyone to eat like Argentina. The study analysed the resources needed to feed the top meat-eating countries and found their consumption unsustainable for the rest of the planet.
Make or Break Moment for REDD+
Mongabay, Carol J. Clouse, 14 and 15 July

Mongabay shares a two-part series on the current state and future of the UN REDD+ program. Part One focuses on the challenges the program has faced and recent developments that give supporters hope. Part Two analyses the private sector's new exuberance for natural offsets and disagreements on the international stage of who owns those carbon credits.
Brazil reassigns deforestation data manager, raising question of political influence
Reuters, Jake Spring, 13 July

Reuters reports the reassignment of a key manager in Brazil's space agency. The agency, INPE, is responsible for monitoring deforestation. Environmentalists' concerns of political interference in the agency are increasing with the move. The Independent shares photos taken by Greenpeace activists of illegal fires occurring during Brazil's new fires ban. Yale Environment360 shares a new report that finds "22 percent of soy and 60 percent of beef exported from Brazil to the European Union is linked to illegal deforestation." Mongabay covers a report on which large Brazilian cattle and soy firms saw the most fires within their 'potential buying zones' in 2019. 
Take the Trillion Trees Challenge on UpLink is the Trillion Trees Platform, launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos. Set up as a 10-year effort, aims to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. It is a global, multistakeholder platform that connects governments, businesses, academia, ecopreneurs and community leaders, with the goal of accelerating and scaling successful forest conservation, restoration and reforestation activities globally.

From July to September 2020, the Trillion Trees Challenge Competition will run via UpLink, a digital platform to crowdsource top innovations. The challenge is a global call for solutions, initiatives, fresh perspectives and ideas to help meet the Trillion Trees goal. Submissions will be accepted from 1st to 31st of July.

Learn more about the Competition here and join our action group to stay connected.

$10 Trillion per Year

The expected value created annually by a global 'nature-positive' recovery.
Want to Fight Climate Change? Keep Nature Intact
In the light of the coronavirus, a healthy natural ecosystem is vital to protect future pandemics but even more crucial is nature's ability to stem climate change. Conservation International released a powerful new video showcasing how nature is irreplaceable in our efforts to solve the climate crisis and calls for action to be taken now to protect, restore, and fund nature.

Featured Commentary

The Times view on natural healing: Green Prescriptions
The Times, 20 July
The Times writes an editorial encouraging an initiative to prescribe UK citizens to experience nature for their health.

We won’t let your money destroy our future
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Fridays for the Future, 16 July
20 female young activists from the Global South co-author a letter to G20 finance ministers demanding action on climate change as part of coronavirus recovery efforts.

Recovering tourism and saving nature
Nature4Climate, Mark Spalding, July
Mark Spalding, Senior Marine Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, shares his take on how the travel and tourism industry can change to better incorporate the value of nature which they are dependent upon.

Celebrity campaigns undermine successful conservation and human rights
Resource Africa, 14 July
Over fifty community leaders, representing millions of people across southern Africa, urge UK-based celebrities to stop using their influence to undermine the human rights of impoverished people and jeopardise wildlife conservation in the region.

China's V-shaped rebound is built on Leninist industrial excess and ecological vandalism 
The Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 16 July
The Daily Telegraph's Business Editor slams China’s economic recovery for failing to protect nature.

Our environmental paradox: The conservation fund dependent upon oil and gas money
The Hill, Tate Watkins, 20 July
Tate Watkins, a research fellow at PERC, shares the complexities inherent in America's reliance on  the destructive oil and gas industry to fund its efforts to preserve nature.

Here's how to improve Americans' health and aid the environment: Plant trees
USA Today, Leslie Jones and Maggie Cordish, 18 July
Leslie Jones and Maggie Cordish make the argument that America's economic and health recovery can be accomplished by expanding urban tree cover.

‘In the plantations there is hunger and loneliness’: The cultural dimensions of food insecurity in Papua
Mongabay, Sophie Chao, 14 July
Sophie Chao shares her experiences as an anthropologist amongst the Marind people of southern Papua who are suffering while working for the infamous corporations of the palm oil industry.

Change from the ground up: achieving net-zero through forests and soils
BusinessGreen, Beth Burks, 21 July
Emissions are expected to rise again as economies restart after Covid-19, but net zero may still be possible with help from the world's forests and soils, explains Beth Burks of S&P Global Ratings.
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Some Good News: Tree planting to be prescribed on the NHS
The Telegraph, Emma Gatten and Christopher Hope, 20 July
The Telegraph covers news that the UK National Health System will prescribe citizens plant trees or take nature walks under a £4 million plan to help tackle health effects of COVID-19 and quarantining. The i newspaper says: “It marks the first time formal ‘green prescriptions’ will be handed out in England by the health service. NHS Shetland in Scotland has been issuing ‘nature prescriptions’ for rambling, birdwatching and beach walks since 2018, while New Zealand GPs have been using the idea for decades.”

Media Round-Up

Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners

A healthy recovery from Covid-19 means investing in people and the planet, experts urge
Telegraph, Jordan Kelly-Linden, 15 July

Procter & Gamble’s Climate Commitment Leaves Most Emissions Untouched
Bloomberg, Akshat Rathi, 16 July

Moss, the fintech that wants to give liquidity to carbon credits (using blockchain) 
Capital Reset, Natalia Viri and Vanessa Adachi, 17 July

Senate Dems: Next stimulus must fund conservation jobs
E&E News, Jennifer Yachnin, 16 July

Traditional practices and beliefs in landscape management
Forest News, Sandra Cordon, 15 July

Saving Africa's biggest trees to help Earth breathe, Anna Nordseth, 14 July

GOP lawmaker wants vote on public lands bill delayed over decline in oil and gas revenue
The Hill, Rachel Frazin, 20 July


Indonesia's push to cut red tape sparks forest fire concerns
Reuters, Harry Jacques, 15 July

Amazon soya and beef exports 'linked to deforestation'
BBC, Helen Briggs, 18 July

World Bank says Indonesia's reforms may hurt environment, labour rights
Reuters, 16 July

Traders Tout Progress in the Cerrado, But Deforestation Risks Remain High
Chain Reaction Research, 9 July

Pandemic upheaval creates 'perfect storm' for land rights abuses
Reuters, Carey Biron, 16 July

BlackRock’s Slow Pace on Ag, Deforestation Opens It to Further Criticism
Chain Reaction Research, 15 July


An Africa-focused “micro-forestry” startup has raised $28 million to plant a billion trees
Quartz Africa, Yomi Kazeem, 14 July

Uganda is Getting 3 Million New Trees
Treehugger, Melissa Breyer, 15 July

Eden deploys drone technology to help plant one tree at a time
ZDNet, Aimee Chanthadavong, 14 July

Sustainable Forestry

Delayed investigations raise questions about FSC mandate
Eco-Business, Robin Hicks, 17 July 

In Mexico, groups push for reforms to law promoting sustainable forest use
Mongabay, Thelma Gómez Durán, 15 July

Negative Emissions Technologies

Norway’s €2.1bn carbon-capture mega-project gets approval
EurActiv, Sam Morgan, 17 July

This Solution to Runaway Emissions Starts With Crushed Rocks
Bloomberg, Akshat Rathi, 14 July

Carbon Capture Tax Credits—A New Tool in the Climate Change Arsenal
Bloomberg Law, Maureen Gorsen, 15 July

Tennet's Lager Starts Work on £2.6M Carbon Capture Plant
The Drinks Business, Phoebe French, 20 July

GE awarded $717k for carbon-capture project
Times Union, Michael Williams, 20 July

Agriculture and Soil Health

Fruit-picking robots and carbon-saving animal feeds: Government confirms £24m agri-tech funding boost
Business Green, 20 July

Land O’Lakes And Microsoft Form Strategic Alliance
Successful Farming, 15 July

Could a Detroit Experiment Unleash the Power of Urban Soil?
Civil Eats, Brian Allnutt, 16 July

British countryside is 'becoming less fertile' with nearly 40 per cent of arable soils in England and Wales 'degraded' due to loss of carbon, study shows
DailyMail, Jonathan Chadwick, 17 July


Coalition aims to fend off mining near Okefenokee
E&E News, James Marshall, 15 July

Build back better with a sustainable ocean economy
GreenBiz, James Richens, 16 July

Mangrove Forests To Hereafter Not Be Converted Into Ponds: Minister
Indonesia Tribune, 16 July

New Science, Research, Policy and Tools

Tropical forestry companies failing to protect millions of hectares of tropical forest
ZSL SPOTT, July 2020
Despite international agreements, this analysis reveals widespread failure of timber companies to guarantee environmental protections for at least 11.7 million hectares of tropical forest. This new analysis of 100 of the most significant tropical timber and pulp companies, published by conservation charity ZSL shows that over half (54%) do not publicly commit to protect biodiversity (49/90 companies).

The rotten apples of Brazil's agribusiness
Science, July 2020
This research addresses the interlinkage between illegal deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado—the largest Brazilian biomes with the highest rates of deforestation—and EU imports of Brazil's soy and beef, the country's major agricultural commodities. Although most of Brazil's agricultural output is deforestation-free,  2% of properties in the Amazon and Cerrado are responsible for 62% of all potentially illegal deforestation and that roughly 20% of soy exports and at least 17% of beef exports from both biomes to the EU may be contaminated with illegal deforestation. 

The Future Of Nature And Business
World Economic Forum, July 2020
COVID-19 is a stark reminder of how ignoring biophysical risks can have catastrophic health and economic impacts at the global scale. If recovery efforts do not address the looming planetary crises – climate change and nature loss – a critical window of opportunity to avoid their worst impact will be irreversibly lost. 

Heat stress: The climate is putting European forests under sustained pressure
Science News,  July 2020
No year since weather records began was as hot and dry as 2018. A first comprehensive analysis of the consequences of this drought and heat event shows that central European forests sustained long-term damage. Even tree species considered drought-resistant, such as beech, pine and silver fir suffered. 

FMCGs’ Lagging Efforts in NDPE Execution Lead to Deforestation, USD 16-82B Reputation Risk
Chain Reaction Research, July 2020
This report analyses the key performance indicators needed to reduce risks and positively impact the reputational value for FMCGs sourcing palm oil and its derivatives. The report estimates the potential costs and, mainly reputational, benefits of a best-in-class approach.

A map of African humid tropical forest aboveground biomass derived from management inventories
Nature, July 2020
Introducing the Congo basin Forests AGB (CoFor-AGB) dataset that contains AGB estimations and associated uncertainty for 59,857 1-km pixels aggregated from nearly 100,000 ha of in situ forest management inventories for the 2000 – early 2010s period in five central African countries. 

Past variance and future projections of the environmental conditions driving western U.S. summertime wildfire burn area
Earth's Future, July 2020
Averaged over seasonal and regional scales, other environmental variables demonstrated to be relevant to flammability, moisture abundances, and aridity‐‐such as precipitation, evaporation, relative humidity, root zone soil moisture, and wind speed‐‐can be used to explain observed variance in wildfire burn area as well or better than VPD. 


VIRTUAL EVENT: Finance for Nature Virtual Global Series
Date: 20-21 July
Host: UNDP, UNEP, Global Ethical Finance Initiative, New York Declaration on Forests Global Platform, Climate Advisers

WEBINAR: Strategies and Policies to Achieve 2050 Net Zero Emissions in EU and Korea
Date: 21 July
Host: EU-Korea Climate Action Team and Energy Transition Forum

WEBINAR: Setting the Stage: From Crisis to Climate Action
Date: 21 July
Host:  International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

WEBINAR: How Does the Palm Oil Spot Market Contribute to Deforestation?
Date: 22 July
Host:  Chain Reaction Research

WEBINAR: Is climate change making wildfires worse?
Date: 22 July
Host:  Carbon Brief

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Lucy Almond, Director and Chair of Nature4Climate
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