Natural Climate Solutions
Special Message from Nature4Climate's Chair, Lucy Almond
Dear friends and colleagues, our thoughts are with all of those who are suffering as a result of this global crisis. First and foremost, our message is one of solidarity with these people and communities.
As Earth Day approaches next week, the N4C team has been reflecting on what we can and should be contributing during these trying times. Our answer is to ensure our work focuses on what nature can do for people - how nature-based solutions can help people rebuild their lives, and help nations rebuild their economies, after COVID-19 passes and recovery begins. To that end, we are working on a developing a narrative for both global and domestic audiences that nature-based solutions are economically critical as well as essential for promoting health and restoring balance to the climate. To start, we are collecting relevant source material that can inform this narrative. If you or your organization is working on, or has worked on, any piece of work you think may be relevant to this, please take a moment or two to use the survey below to get in touch with us.
I would also like to draw your attention to the amazing work being done by the Planetary Emergency Group. More than 3,000 thought leaders and scientists have come together to launch an ambitious plan to protect our health, climate and nature. I encourage you to read their open letter
and consider showing your support by signing on.
Thank you for your continued support and engagement with this weekly briefing. Please stay safe!
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Chile to peak emissions by 2025, under strengthened climate pledge
Climate Home News, Megan Darby, 9 April
Climate Home reports that Chile has committed to peaking its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, in an updated national plan presented virtually to the UN climate chief last week. It sets a cap on annual emissions of 95 million tonnes CO2 equivalent by 2030, a substantially stronger target than Chile promised in its 2015 contribution to the Paris Agreement, and slightly stronger than the draft proposal. NRDC offers a good summary of what the new NDC means for natural climate solutions. In short, the NDC doubles the scale of Chile’s previous forest management and reforestation targets and makes them unconditional. It also adds new targets related to forest degradation and landscape restoration. This announcement follows positive signals from both the EU and South Korea that climate action and "green deal" thinking remains a top priority. On a similar note, The Guardian reports that Amsterdam will follow a 'doughnut' model to mend its post-coronavirus economy: "Out with the global attachment to economic growth and laws of supply and demand, and in with the so-called doughnut model devised at Oxford University as a guide to what it means for countries, cities and people to thrive in balance with the planet."
However, it wasn't all good news, as Climate Home also reports that China may wait for the results of the US presidential election in November before it announces an update to its climate plan.
EU weighs new requirements for firms against biodiversity, pandemic risks
Reuters, Francesco Guarascio, 7 April
Reuters reports that the European Commission is considering imposing new environmental restrictions as part of its response to the economic recession spurred by the coronavirus. Ideas such as tying executive pay to carbon reductions and requiring greater disclosure around biodiversity risks. BusinessGreen covers the European Commission's stance on ensuring the future of capital integrating "green" strategies and the call for expert input into the new policies it may develop. Reuters also reports that ten European nations joined together to call for a 'green recovery' plan last Thursday, and Euractiv reports on France and Germany joining the original group ten days after their announcement. Bloomberg shares that European business leaders have joined with policymakers to form a 180 member bloc calling for recovery efforts to focus on implementing the Green Deal. The Guardian reports that BlackRock has been hired by the EU to help develop recommendations for new environmental banking regulations that would be developed in response to the current recession. This announcement sounded alarms amongst the broader environmental community. The World Bank releases a new post calling for the COVID-19 recovery to be focused on recovering our relationship with nature.
As the EU drafts its plans for responding to the economic fallout of the coronavirus The Hill covers the Pope's comments that the coronavirus may be nature's response to human-induced environmental destruction. Media attention continues to focus on scientific evidence linking deforestation to the spread of viruses, a theme that will likely continue in the weeks ahead. TIME covers an interview with Lee Hannah, senior scientist at Conservation International, who says there are four critical facets of pandemic prevention: stockpile masks and respirators; have testing infrastructure ready; ban the global wildlife trade; and take care of nature. Other coverage in: New York Times, NBC, LA Times, The Hill, CBC, and ABC.
UK forests 'could do more harm than good'
BBC, Roger Harrabin, 7 April
BBC writes on a new government report that finds that current plans to plant trees as a climate solution, often in the UK's peat bogs, would release more carbon dioxide than they would sequester. The Independent also covers the report and the advice from the authors that a more careful approach of 'planting the right trees in the right places' would meet the goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, but requires rigorous monitoring. Confor responds in an official complaint to the BBC stating that no forestry community experts were given a chance to respond and the use of emotive language which could be considered 'sensationalist reporting'.
Wildlife destruction 'not a slippery slope but a series of cliff edges'
The Guardian, Fiona Harvey, 8 April
The Guardian shares the details of a new report warning that the existing biodiversity in the world's oceans and certain landscapes may collapse by the 2020s and 2040s respectively if global warming is left unchecked. EcoWatch writes that 73 percent of the Earth's species would face rising temperatures that put them at risk within the same time frame according to the research. PRI reports on the UN plan for conserving 50 percent of the earth to protect against further biodiversity loss and the Center for Biological Diversity's call for the United States government to declare biodiversity loss a national emergency and to take appropriate action.
Tolkien was right: giant trees have towering role in protecting forests
The Guardian, Jonathan Watts, 9 April
The Guardian reports new scientific research that highlights the importance of "giant, slow-reproducing trees" in maintaining the health of old forests. The findings show these types of trees contribute more than their fair share in carbon sequestration and maintaining biodiversity within their forests. The research supports the need for greater protection these trees and biodiversity more broadly according to the report authors.
The Lead Economist and Advisor on Global Partnerships and Strategy at the World Bank share their approach to COVID recovery, which includes a "green stimulus framework." They argue that to respond to the crisis, we do not need to start from scratch. "We can use projects already identified in countries’ national or sectoral masterplans, as well as climate change adaptation plans and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the Paris Agreement." The authors go on to argue that restoring degraded forestlands and landscapes could create many jobs over the short term while also generating net benefits worth hundreds of billions of dollars from watershed protection, better crop yields, and forest products.
In a similar vein, Alex Rudee argues that investing in planting and sustainably managing trees could remove gigatons of carbon dioxide while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs (many more jobs per dollar spent than in carbon-intensive industries like aviation or oil and gas, which have previously been the focus of stimulus discussions).
COVID-19: Nature’s $10 Trillion Dollar Wake Up Call to the Finance Sector
Forest Trends, Andrew Mitchell, 8 April
Andrew Mitchell details how humans' relationship with nature has led to the coronavirus pandemic and why that means the finance sector needs to reinvent itself to maintain Earth’s immune system, and not to degrade it.
Johannes Vogel says that the crises we face today are interconnected and can all be traced back to our abusive relationship with our natural world. The time to change that relationship is now. Tomorrow may be too late.
Geoffrey Lean writes that the cleaner air and water as a result of reduced human activity in response to the coronavirus may "provide a tiny grain of hope, amid the nightmare of so much suffering, for a better, prosperous and more resilient world."
Climate negotiations rely on the intricacies and nuances of human interaction that can't be replicated through digital channels according to seasoned COP participants in this piece by Forbes Contributer David Vetter.
The former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Leader of the House of Commons writes, “We cannot solve the world’s problems without China. If we want to prevent catastrophic climate change, as well as promote global health, protect bio-diversity, save the oceans, stop nuclear proliferation, restore a prosperous global economy and prevent dangerous new arms races on Earth and in space, we need the Chinese and they need us."
The author, co-founder of Community Forests International, says that Canada has a vital opportunity to utilize nature-based solutions to help meet climate goals, but the level of ambition and a focus on planting long-standing forests needs to increase to meet the challenge.
Philip Fearnside writes in Mongabay that the next pandemic the world sees could come from any location where humans are encroaching upon nature, and the Amazon is a likely hotspot for this eventual outcome.
With agriculture leading to 80% of the deforestation that makes events like the coronavirus more likely, Anne Lappé and Daniel Moss share success stories of how we can transform our food systems to protect nature.
The Commercial Director of Taking Root explains how the developers of Nature-Based Climate Solutions can help communities meet the COVID-19 challenge.
NCS COMMUNITY SURVEY
Dear readers, from time to time we will be introducing short, informal surveys on topical issues, the results of which we will publish in the following week’s newsletters. We hope this will provide interesting food for thought. No individual responses will be disclosed and all participation will be kept anonymous. We will share the overall results in the next newsletter.
Do you expect your country to direct funds towards nature as part of its response to the coronavirus driven recession?
Science-Based Targets for Nature
Science-based targets for nature are being developed by the Science Based Targets Network. The Network is developing methods and resources to enable companies and cities to set science-based targets for the interrelated “systems" of freshwater, biodiversity, land and the ocean across their value chains. Watch this recorded webinar to learn more about how you can get involved with the development of science-based targets for nature.
The percentage of Earth's species that would face an unprecedented temperature increase within their ecosystem within the same timeframe under new climate change models.
Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners
Superfund, Meet Super Plants
New York Times, Wudan Yan, 7 April
75% of New Infectious Diseases Come From Wild and Domesticated Animals
One Green Planet, Elize Erskine, 6 April
How habitat conservation and restoration support better human health outcomes
WWF, Craig Beatty, 2 April
Characterizing and evaluating integrated landscape initiatives
FOREST NEWS, James Reed, Natalia Estrada-Carmona and Rachel Carmenta, 10 April
Climate change could be worse than models predict as trees cannot sequester more carbon, study claims
The Telegraph, Giovanni Torre, 12 April
Despite COVID, Amazon deforestation races higher
Mongabay, 11 April
Chernobyl Wildfires Reignite, Stirring Up Radiation
New York Times, Maria Varenikova, 11 April
Deforestation isn't just an environmental problem. It's a public health crisis.
ABC, Sony Salzman, 7 April
Illegal loggers uncowed by coronavirus as deforestation rises in Brazil
Reuters, Jake Spring, 10 April
Can 'smart' roads save the Amazon?
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, 8 April
Machetes in hand, women join forces to fight logging in Solomon Islands
Thomson Reuters Foundation, John Beck, 9 April
Logging is rampant at Prey Lang, report says
The Phnom Penh Post, Ry Sochan, 13 April
In Brazil, COVID-19 outbreak paves way for invasion of indigenous lands
Mongabay, Sam Cowie, 10 April
Environmental Enforcement in Brazil, Southeast Asia Weakened Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Chain Reaction Research, 7 April
Ghana’s cocoa production relies on the environment, which needs better protection
The Conversation, Stephen Appiah Takyi and Owusu Amponsah, 5 April
These are the climate risks the finance sector should be planning for
GreenBiz, Rob Bailey, 8 April
Fires Where They Are 'Not Supposed To Happen' In Australia's Ancient Rainforest
NPR, Nathan Rott, 28 March
Cattle put Paraguay’s Chaco biome at high risk, but report offers hope
Mongabay, Sarah Sax, 8 April
Responsible Soy - 10 Years On
Solidaridad Network, 9 April
Tabung Haji Plantations to Develop New Oil Palm Concession, Once Again Breaching Buyers’ NDPE Commitments
Chain Reaction Research, 9 April
Gamification used to revitalize forest that helps supply 20M Filipinos with fresh water
UpgradeMag, 9 April
Conservation club plans to plant 1 million trees
My San Antonio, Scott Fraley, 13 April
How Burning Wood, Once a Viable Power Source, Fell Out of Favor in the U.S.
Bloomberg, Will Wade, 7 April
How A Trillion More Trees Could Combat Climate Change
Forbes, Robert Rapier, 9 April
Negative Emissions Technologies
Survey investigates carbon dioxide use in oil recovery and underground storage
Phys.Org, Cathy Evans, 10 April
Agriculture and Soil Health
Can regenerative agriculture deliver on its promise?
GreenBiz, Jim Giles, 10 April
Soil carbon needs more work
Farmers Weekly, Annette Scott, 7 April
Cargill-led fund to pay farmers for carbon capture, exchange credits
Reuters, Karl Plume, 9 April
Low-carbon farming in Brazil can benefit farmers and curb climate change
Climate Home, Barbara Brakarz, 9 April
Australian dairy farmers invited to take part in soil carbon project
Dairy Reporter, Jim Cornall, 7 April
The kelps are alright: Studies reveal resilience in kelp forests
Mongabay, Liz Kimbrough on 2 April
How Asia’s megacities can benefit from mangroves and other natural climate solutions
Eco-Business, Neo Chai Chin, 3 April
Should water be transferred from east to west to save the Mekong Delta?
Vietnam Net Global, Mai Lan, 2 April
Plankton may help oceans to soak up twice as much carbon
The Times, Ben Webster, 7 April
New Science, Research, Policy and Tools
The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment
Nature, April 2020
Research published in Nature modeled how old-growth forests would manage their carbon cycle with higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air. The results showed that there was increased carbon uptake, but the effect had a ceiling and increased carbon uptake did not continue alongside increased carbon dioxide levels.
Climate change could cause sudden biodiversity losses worldwide
University College of London, April 2020
A warming global climate could cause sudden, potentially catastrophic losses of biodiversity in regions across the globe throughout the 21st century, finds a new UCL-led study.
Climate-Smart Forestry: the missing link
ScienceDirect, April 2020
A new discussion paper has been published that links various benefits together of Climate-Smart Forestry (CSF) as an important, but often overlooked global decarbonization strategy. The paper argues CSF should increase the effectiveness of carbon removals and enhance forest resilience, and that policy needs to balance wood production, biodiversity protection and ecosystem services.
Soil structure and its benefits
The Royal Society, April 2020
This report synthesis research on the relationship between soil structure and four benefits. The final part of the report provides four illustrative examples of what a future policy on soil could look like.
World’s Largest Chocolate Companies Rated on Efforts to End Environmental and Labor Abuses
Mighty Earth, Green America and Be Slavery Free
Mighty Earth, Green America, and Be Slavery Free published a joint Easter scorecard, analyzing what the world’s biggest chocolate companies are doing to address social and environmental concerns.
An observation-constrained assessment of the climate sensitivity and future trajectories of wetland methane emissions
Science Advances, April 2020
Wetlands are a major source of methane and contribute between 30 and 40% to total global emissions. Global warming will affect these emissions and this research aims to answer questions about the feedbacks between natural methane production and climate change.
WEBINAR: Aligning Deforestation-free Commitments and Capital Flows for Progress in Producer Countries
Date: 14 April
Host: UNEP Finance Initiative
WEBINAR: Climate change: Aaron Bernstein (Harvard University)
Date: 15 April
Host: Global Landscapes Forum
WEBINAR: REDD+ Learning Session: Benefit Sharing at Scale: Tools and Good Practices for Results-Based Land Use Programs
Date: 15 April
WEBINAR: Natural Rubber and ESG Risk
Date: 16 April
Hosts: CFA Institute and ZSL SPOTT
WEBINAR: Enhancing NDCs in the Agriculture Sector
Date: 16 April
Hosts: WRI, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, UNDP, Oxfam, FAO, Ministries of Agriculture of Vietnam and Uruguay
WEBINAR: Introduction to Global Forest Watch Resources for Journalists
Date: 17 April
Host: Rainforest Journalism Fund, WRI Indonesia, Pulitzer Center
WEBINAR: Food systems - Lawrence Haddad (GAIN)
Date: 21 April
Host: Global Landscapes Forum
WEBINAR: Law, climate change, and agriculture - legal tools in the arsenal
Date: 22 April
Host: International Bar Association
WEBINAR: Jurisdictional Exchange Network – Webinar Series
Date: 23 April
Host: Tropical Forest Alliance
Digital Forum: Food without Farmers
Date: 23 April
Host: Global Landscapes Forum
Earth Optimism Summit
Dates: 23-26 April
The Tree Conference
Dates: 2 May
Location: Cambridge, UK
Rainforest Alliance Sustainability Summit
Date: 13 May
Host: Rainforest Alliance
Global Landscapes Forum Bonn Digital Summit
Dates: 3-5 June
Host: Global Landscapes Forum
Please reach out with any feedback or thoughts on this version of the newsletter. If you want to be removed from the distribution list, please use the unsubscribe link below. Please join the conversation #NatureNow @nature4climate or get in touch.
Lucy Almond, Director and Chair of Nature4Climate