Natural Climate Solutions
Weekly Briefing

Welcome to Nature4Climate's Weekly Briefing. This weekly newsletter summarises content from international media outlets (and our partner organisations) on stories, developments and events that relate to nature-based solutions to climate. Our editorial policy is to circulate articles and opinion pieces whether we agree or disagree with viewpoints represented. In this new version, we feature the week's top NCS related news stories and analyse themes in coverage.

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'We Belong Here': Racist Central Park Video Shows Why We Need Diversity Outdoors
Earther, Yessenia Funes,  27 May 
Global coverage of the protests that are raging around the U.S., and around the world, after George Floyd was killed while in police custody last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to that, a now-viral video was released of Amy Cooper, a white woman, calling the cops on Christian Cooper, a black man, who was birdwatching in Central Park. The events of the past couple weeks has once again drawn attention to lack of diversity in outdoor spaces and within the environmental community at large: people of color are severely underrepresented in mainstream environmental groups; are less likely to identify as “environmentalists;” and are less likely to participate in outdoor recreation. Earther reports on the ongoing racism that people of color—especially black people—experience when they try to enjoy the outdoors. "If we’re to succeed in protecting our delicate ecosystems, we need to find ways for people of color to safely enjoy them. Until the environmental movement can work with communities to figure that out, the outdoors—and, in turn, environmental advocacy—will continue to be a source of discomfort and even danger among people of color." Heated reports on the "deafening silence of climate leaders," and the widely held belief that racial talk is too divisive  or that the two issues are not related. Sam Grant, the executive director MN350, Minnesota’s chapter of, says, “Our funding community like our mainstream environmental organizations have bought into the myth that the objective of environmentalism is to protect nature from people. They don’t realize that our objective is to protect people, who are part of nature.” The Nature Conservancy's CEO Jennifer Morris has released a statement explaining why addressing race and justice issues is absolutely critical for the environmental and climate movement.
‘Going in the Wrong Direction’: More Tropical Forest Loss in 2019
The New York Times, Henry Fountain,  2 June
The New York Times covers a new report showing the world lost a football pitch-sized area of tropical rainforest every six seconds in 2019. The Guardian writes that the total forest cover lost is nearly 12 million hectares with one-third of that being dense old-growth forest in 2019 alone. WRI writes on their blog that this forest loss was 2.8% higher in 2019 than in 2018, and 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to 400 million cars, were released as a result.
‘Do no harm’: EU recovery fund has green strings attached
EurActiv, Frédéric Simon,  27 May 
EurActiv reports that the new €750 billion recovery deal reserves 25 percent of funds for climate action and a "do no harm" taxonomy test for investments excluding fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, the taxonomy only includes the mandate of looking at biodiversity in the context of avoiding significant harm. What it misses is consideration of the direct and indirect benefits nature-based solutions can offer economic recovery efforts,  including many of the initiatives and ideas outlined in the Commission's Biodiversity Strategy.   The Guardian reports that the plan will create at least one million green jobs every year, but is receiving criticism that there are no 'hard' guarantees of the money seeping into dirty projects. 

Meanwhile, the WHO has released a manifesto calling for a green recovery that relies heavily on revitalizing nature for economic and health gains. 
Key UN climate talks delayed until November 2021
Widespread coverage of the decision to delay COP26 until November 2021 to give world governments time to focus on response to the coronavirus crisis. The next COP will be co-hosted by the UK and Italy in Glasgow, Scotland. Postponing the COP will give governments time to respond to coronavirus and may allow a new US leader to join talks. The Guardian reports that green campaigners and climate leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments around the world to make stronger new commitments on the climate crisis. 
Climate change hastens decline of old forests
The Times, Ben Webster, 29 May
The Times covers a new study that shows the impact climate change and forestry practices are having on native forests leads to a die-off of older trees that are replaced by new, shorter trees. NPR and The Guardian also cover the study, which finds that climate change is making it harder for old forests to recover from floods, fires and other events that normally occur. The World Economic Forum publishes a piece from the researchers behind another study showing that 2 degrees of global warming will create a climate tipping point for most tropical rainforests turning them into a net-emitter of GHG emissions, further highlighting climate changes impacts on trees today. The Washington Post publishes an article from a scientist that shows summers are lengthening and winters becoming shorter across the globe and sharing specific findings for the US. These types of weather pattern changes can have significant impacts on the health of trees as some areas studied saw their summer weather period extend 30 days longer than in 1960.
Can Planting a Trillion Trees Stop Climate Change? Scientists Say it’s a Lot More Complicated
Inside Climate News, Bob Berwyn, 27 May
Inside Climate News dives into the issue of tree planting as a solution to climate change, a topic that is continuing to attract more and more media attention. ICS looks at  the Trillion Trees Act in the U.S. and the risks of creating incentives that would cause more environmental and climate harm than good.  The piece concludes with a quote from University of California, Santa Cruz restoration ecologist Karen Holl:  "People love trees, and there are good reasons they love trees," Holl said. "We're not saying tree-planting is bad. But it's more complicated than it seems." 
Brazil minister advises using COVID-19 to distract from Amazon deregulation
Mongabay, Jenny Gonzales on 26 May
First, Mongabay reports that Environment Minister Ricardo Salles was caught on video declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed more than 23,000 of his fellow citizens offers a distraction during which the government can 'run the cattle herd' through the Amazon, 'changing all the rules and simplifying standards.' Then, the following day Mongabay reports that an environmental officer was attacked by loggers in April and the Bolsonaro administration's subsequent silence on the subject. President Bolsonaro has been vocal about his displeasure with his environmental agency's decision to burn the equipment confiscated from illegal logging operations. The government's opposition to enforcing environmental protections is in line with  reporting from the The Rio Times and The Guardian on new studies showing the deforestation in the Amazon increasing this year. Reuters reports that a controversial law that would have weakened forest protections will not appear before the Brazilian Congress in time, causing the measure to fail. Mongabay covers a new study that connects taxpayer dollars to the cattle industry, which is responsible for a significant portion of Amazonian deforestation. The Daily Mail reports a study conducted by MapBiomas showing that Brazil lost an area of Amazon forest equivalent  to 1,900 football pitches a day in 2019. Devdiscourses and Grist both carry articles on the plight indigenous peoples in Brazil face as deforestation and development continue, and as the coronavirus is introduced to their vulnerable populations.
Scientists warn of ‘zombie fires’ in the Arctic
EurActiv, Cecilia Keating, 28 May 
EurActiv covers warnings from scientists of 'zombie fires'---fires that burn underground and reignite on the surface. They fear that last year's record-breaking fires in Siberia could be coming back to life. The Washington Post, Fox News, The Sun, and The Moscow Times all carry the story. 

Staying with the topic of fires, the Wall Street Journal reports how coronavirus is heightening California’s wildfire threat. 
Sundarbans devastated by cyclone, as virus halts migration
Associated Press, Aniruddha Ghosal, 2 June
Associated Press covers the devastation people and the Sundarbans mangroves of Bangladesh and India have experience in the wake of Typhoon Amphan. The Times of India reports that the Sundarbans, a  UNESCO world heritage site, around 40% have taken significant damage. Mongabay writes that the mangroves have lost 24.55 percent of their mangroves over the past three decades.
1,900 Football Pitches a Day
The amount of Amazon forest lost to deforestation and fires each day in Brazil according to a new study from MapBiomas reported in The Daily Mail.

Friends of Nature, Friends of COP 
NCS champions Professor Nathalie Seddon, Director of Oxford's Nature-based Solutions Initiative, and Justin Adams, Co-Director of Nature Based Solution for the World Economic Forum and Executive Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance, have both been designated as 'Friends of the COP' for COP26. They will advise the UK Government and inspire action from their sectors ahead of the conference. 

India's first 'green' village adapts to life without tourists

The Guardian, Anne Pinto-Rodrigues, 28 May

The Guardian shares the story of Khonoma, India, a village that has weathered the economic toll coronavirus has had on their community by relying on their relationship with nature. Coming together as a community to support each other as their tourism and incomes drop with the closure of their prized nature sanctuary, Khonoma shows that nature can provide what people need beyond money.
Featured Opinion/Commentary
The Amazon Will Soon Burn Again
The New York Times, Bruno Carvalho, 27 May
Professor Bruno Carvalho calls attention to the growing threat of a worse Brazilian fire season for the Amazon with Brazil's President Bolsonaro more prepared for international backlash.

Covid-19 has given us the chance to build a low-carbon future
The Guardian, Christiana Figueres, 1 June
Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, writes that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed our global economy and emissions, but lasting solutions to our crises comes from making systemic changes to protect nature.

Seeing the Forests as well as the (Trillion) Trees in Corporate Climate Strategies
One Earth, Frances Seymour, 22 May
Largely driven by the corporate sector, the recent surge of interest in trees as a solution to climate change has a distinct emphasis on planting trees, Frances Seymour writes. Realizing anticipated benefits will require managing the risks and trade-offs of land-use interventions and embracing the imperative of protecting existing forests.

Jared Diamond: lessons from a pandemic
Financial Times, Jared Diamond, 28 May
Author and historian Jared Diamond shares how the coronavirus might provide our species with new motivation to address our existential threats, such as climate change and unsustainable relationship with nature.

EU agricultural imports and deforestation
Ecologist, Nicole Polsterer, 28 May
Nicole Polsterer, a campaigner with Fern, calls on the EU to take responsibility for their demand for agricultural goods that are sourced from Brazil as the Bolsonaro administration lets the country's protections against deforestation and the coronavirus collapse.

Faced with a health crisis, a plea for trees and agroforestry
Mongabay, Emmanuel Torquebiau et al, 28 May
A group of ecologists and naturalists call for forests to be reintegrated into our agricultural lands to increase biodiversity and reduce the risks of future zoonotic diseases.
Survey Results

Dear readers, last week we asked you to provide input on selecting a title for our new initiative to consolidate the research on the economic value of nature-based solutions (NBS). Here are the results: 

There were some great additional suggestions that will help us refine this even further. We felt this particular response in the comments box was worth sharing and may provide insight:

"I think you always include people if you can. Both the economy and climate are things you can't touch and many don't understand. But people is very understandable."
Thank you to all who responded! (Please also get in touch if you're interested in the work itself). 

Media Round-Up

Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners

Trees as Nature-Based Solutions
One Earth, 27 May

How Guatemala Blended Existing REDD+ Projects Into a New National Strategy
Ecosystem Marketplace, Stasiek Cabezas, Mercedes Fernández and José Maria Michel, 27 May

Natural, biodiverse forests more reliable at fighting climate change than plantations
Mongabay, Neha Jain, 25 May

Campaigners in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region oppose $21m conservation project
Mongabay, Daniel Quinlan, 27 May

FAO hails Moroccan sustainable biodiversity project
The North Africa Post, 27 May

3 Steps to Scaling Up Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation
WRI, Jonathan Cook, 21 May

Forests for People: Myanmar Puts its REDD+ Safeguard Information System into Practice
REDD+, Thinn Thitsar Kyaw and Kristin DeValue, 28 May

Hopes rise for global nature pact as Nigeria, others mark environment day
The Guardian Nigeria, Chinedum Uwaegbulam, 1 June

Trump administration looks to fast track logging on public lands
The Hill, Rebecca Beitsch, 29 May



How to reverse-engineer a rainforest
Engadget, Casey Halter, 25 May

Sustainable Forestry

Cocoa Industry Appears to Make Small Improvements in Tree Loss
Bloomberg, Eric Roston, 2 June

Bamboo for a New Zimbabwe Economy
News of the South, Tinashe Chidau and Tichaona Kamikani, 28 May

Country’s Tallest Wooden Building Rising in Cleveland
Mansion Global, Konrad Putzier, 26 May

Negative Emissions Technologies

U.S. Treasury unveils rules for carbon capture tax credits
Reuters, Valerie Volcovici, 29 May

Gamechanging CCS technology in the climate change battle, C-Capture talks to gasworld
gasworld,  Joanna Sampson, 26 May 

Trump's CCS rule: Details, doubts and EPA disputes
E&E News, Carlos Anchondo, 1 June

Agriculture and Soil Health

In the Amazon, a farmer practices the future of sustainable cattle ranching
Mongabay, Maria Fernanda Ribeiro, 28 May

Climate-friendly almond farmers coax life from drying Spanish soil
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Isla Binnie, 27 May

Partial budgets help analyze cover crop decisions
Farm Progress, Michael Langemeier, 28 May

Agroforestry: Boost Food Production And Reduce Climate Change
Medium, Dave Olsen, 26 May


Is Blue Carbon The Climate Solution We’ve Been Looking For All Along?
Grit Daily, Sandra Ponce de Leon, 26 May

Vulnerable marshes become latest weapon in climate battle
The Herald, John-Paul Holden, 29 May

New Science, Research, Policy and Tools

Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world
Science, May 2020
The authors show that shifts in forest dynamics are already occurring, and the emerging pattern is that global forests are tending toward younger stands with faster turnover as old-growth forest with stable dynamics are dwindling.

Abrupt changes in Great Britain vegetation carbon projected under climate change

Global Change Biology, May 2020
Numerous climate‐driven abrupt shifts in vegetation carbon are projected in a high‐resolution model of Great Britain's land surface driven by two different climate change scenarios. 

Environmental, Economic, and Social Consequences of the Oil Palm Boom

Annual Reviews, May 2020
A palm oil production and consumption trends review of environmental, economic, and social consequences in different parts of the world. 

The impact of long dry periods on the aboveground biomass in a tropical forests: 20 years of monitoring

Carbon Balance and Management, May 2020
Prolonged droughts influence the mortality of large trees, leading to a decline in aboveground carbon stocks. Here, and in other neotropical forests, recent droughts are capable of shutting down and reversing biomass carbon sinks. These new results add to evidence that anthropogenic climate changes are already adversely impacting tropical forests.

What is Climate-Smart Forestry? A definition from a multinational collaborative process focused on mountain regions of Europe

Ecosystem Services, June 2020 
Climate-Smart Forestry (CSF) is an emerging branch of sustainable forest management that aims to manage forests in response to climate change. This paper describes the step-by-step process that developed a comprehensive and shared definition of CSF, and the process for selecting indicators that assess the “climate-smartness” of forest management.

New method for capturing carbon via root exudates in wild forests

Phys.Org, May 2020
Carbon is often said to be the building block of life, and in this research, Makita and Akatsuki were able to show that a large amount of this carbon is released from the root system of trees as exudates. By being able to accurately measure how much carbon a type of ecosystem of tree and its symbiotic microbial associations exudes from its roots into the soil, more precise estimates of the carbon cycle on a local and global scale can be made. 


WEBINAR: Sustainability after COVID-19: Valuing nature in the post-pandemic world
Date: 2 June
Host: Green Growth Knowledge Partnership

The Future of Food Digital Conference
Dates: 2-3 June
Host: Innovation Forum

WEBINAR: Wood Utilization, Land Use and Global Outlook - BTG Pactual
Date: 3 June
Host: Forest Carbon Working Group, Michigan State University

WEBINAR: Building with Nature: the role of the natural environment in our infrastructure landscape
Date: 4 June
Host: Institution of Civil Engineers

Global Landscapes Forum Bonn Digital Summit
Dates: 3-5 June
Host: Global Landscapes Forum
Relevant Sessions: Why peatlands matter for food securityContribution of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry to sustainable Food Security and Nutrition in a time of crisisSustainable wood-fuel value chains for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa

WEBINAR: Which companies are most exposed to deforestation-driven fires in their supply chains?
Date: 5 June
Host: Chain Reaction Research

WEBINAR: Nature-Based Solutions as a Force for a Green and Resilient Recovery
Date: 5 June
Hosts: WWF and OECD

World Environment Day
Date: 5 June

WEBINAR: Agricultural Solutions to Mega Global Challenges
Date: 9 June
Host: North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance

WEBINAR: REDD+ Learning Session: The NDCs we want – Forests in the Focus
Date: 10 June
Host: REDD+

WEBINAR: Unleashing the Potential of Finance to Green the Recovery
Date: 12 June
Hosts: WFF and OECD

VIRTUAL EVENT: Building business resilience: How collective leadership will reverse nature loss
Date: 15 June
Hosts: World Economic Forum, WBCSD, ICC, UN Global Compact, IUCN, Business for Nature

WEBINAR: How to source soy responsibly? Corporate action for deforestation-free soy
Date: 23 June
Host: CDP

WEBINAR: Forest Management and Land Cover Change under Changing Climate
Date: 23 June

Dates: 7-9 July
Host: Nature-based Solutions Initiative, Oxford

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Lucy Almond, Director and Chair of Nature4Climate
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