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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'The world is ready': Campaigners and academics call on government to scale up Nature Based Solutions
BusinessGreen, James S. Murray, 6 May 
BusinessGreen reports on a new letter signed by a group of leading academics, campaigners, and executives, including Christiana Figueres, Nick Stern, and Paul Polman, calling "for governments to accelerate efforts to scale up the deployment of Nature-Based Solutions".
Study pours cold water on oil company net zero claims
BBC, Matt McGrath, 12 May 

BBC covers the findings of a new report showing that the six large European oil and gas firms' commitments to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement are not sufficient. The report from the Transition Pathway Initiative states that the best of the plans comes close to, but do not achieve the emissions reductions consistent with a 2 degrees Celsius warming scenario. All of the plans rely heavily on carbon capture and sequestration and natural climate solutions, but do not specify the extent to which they will need to rely on these options to meet their targets. Reuters, The Times, Bloomberg and Heated all cover the report as well.
A coronavirus crimewave: How illegal loggers are profiteering
Al Jazeera, Nick Clark, 7 May 

Al Jazeera reports that global illegal deforestation is accelerating, further increasing the risk from zoonotic diseases like COVID-19. ABC covers how the coronavirus may be providing cover for greater deforestation to occur specifically in Brazil as deforestation rates are 50% higher in 2020 than in 2019. CBS  and The Guardian also carry the story. 
Brazil opens 38,000 square miles of indigenous lands to outsiders
Mongabay, Mauricio Torres and Sue Branford, 8 May
Mongabay reports that Brazil’s indigenous agency is allowing outsiders to lay claims within indigenous lands that are still in the process of gaining official recognition, breaking with long-standing policy. Unearthed shares analysis that deforestation within Indigenous territories increased by 59% for 2020 over the same time period last year. Mongabay reports that applications for gold mining applications have increased by 91% under the Bolsonaro administration. Mongabay also reports that a top environmental official who curbed deforestation on indigenous lands has been fired. The Guardian releases a comprehensive article on why fires are occurring in the Brazilian Amazon, the loopholes that legitimise them,  and how it affects a multitude of people left in their wake.  Climate Home News calls the rollback of government protections, risk of fires, and the coronavirus as a 'perfect storm'. Vatican News reports that all 67 Bishops of the Brazilian Amazon have written a joint letter calling upon the government to protect indigenous peoples living in the rainforest from development and the risk of COVID-19. Reuters and BBC both cover President Bolsonaro's move to put the army in charge of fighting Amazon destruction.
India’s push to relax environmental assessment rules amid pandemic draws criticism
Science, Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, 7 May
Meanwhile in India, concerns are being raised that the country is joining the ranks of those relaxing environmental regulations in response to COVID19. Science reports that environmentalists in India are criticising government moves to continue to approve major industrial projects, and to relax the nation’s environmental assessment rules, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated public oversight and canceled potential field reviews. 
Deforestation in Africa accelerates: UN food agency
AFP,  7 May

AFP covers new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that finds Africa is the only continent in the world where deforestation is accelerating. Mongabay also covers the report -- the Global Forest Resources Assessment  -- leading with the finding the world has lost 178 million hectares, roughly the size of Libya, since 1980. Bloomberg also covers the findings of the report.
Government challenged over 'inadequate' tree planting plans
The Telegraph, Emma Gatten, 5 May
The Telegraph reports that lawyers for the environmental group Friends of the Earth are warning the UK government that it may be breaching its legal duties with “inadequate” tree-planting targets.
New bill could legalize ‘land banking’ by Indonesian plantation firms
Mongabay, Loren Bell, 10 May 
Mongabay reports on a little-known provision in a sweeping deregulation package now before the Indonesian parliament, which could make it easier for plantation firms to preserve forests within the areas they have been licensed to manage — or fuel a new wave of speculative “land banking” by large corporations. "The amendment, part of the 'omnibus' bill on job creation, would eliminate an article in the 2014 Plantation Act requiring firms to use 30% of their land concessions within three years and plant 100% within six years, or risk having the land deemed as “abandoned,” seized by the state and given to someone else to develop... Eliminating the rule could have major implications for how palm oil companies manage land. Indonesia is the world’s top producer and exporter of the commodity, used in everything from processed foods and cosmetics to biofuels." Mongabay also reports on another bill that would eliminate a requirement that palm oil companies reserve 20% of their landbank for smallholder farmers. The requirement was meant to ensure the rural population would benefit from the palm oil industry's profits, "but the government now sees it as a hindrance to investment."
178 Million Hectares

The area of forested land the world has lost since 1980.

From writing to VR, finding ways to connect to nature during isolation
Mongabay, Carinya Sharples 4 May

Therapists, scientists and creative workers are finding ways to tap into the positive mental health benefits of being in green spaces. From mindful bird listening to virtual reality interactions, they’re showing that staying in doesn’t have to mean shutting off.
Featured Opinion/Commentary
Can we tackle both climate change and Covid-19 recovery?
Financial Times, Christiana Figueres and Benjamin Zycher, 7 May
Financial Times runs two opposing letters from Christiana Figueres and Benjamin Zycher on whether the COVID-19 economic recovery response can afford to prioritize climate solutions.
Will the Coronavirus Crisis Trump the Climate Crisis?
The New York Times, Steven Erlanger, 9 May
NYT's chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe says that nature’s revival has come at enormous cost, with Europe’s economy projected to decline 7.4 percent this year. "So for many, like the suddenly unemployed, concerns about climate — which seemed urgent just a few months ago — can seem less so now."
Feed your neighbor, solve big problems
Mongabay, Darrel Webber on 5 May
Rich countries must quickly invest in tropical forest nations if they expect them to keep their forests standing in the name of fighting climate change, argues Darrel Webber, managing director of global forest strategies for the nonprofit Earth Innovation Institute.

COVID-19 opportunity to enhance our environmental commitments
The Jakarta Post, Puspa Amri, Kurnya Roesad and Yose Rizal Damuri, 5 May
Members of CSIS Indonesia and the Global Green Growth Institute Indonesia write that public opinion is key to ensure the Indonesian government initiates a green response to the recession.

Not all forests are equal
United Nations Association – UK, Robin L. Chazdon, 27 April
A University of Connecticut Professor and Senior Fellow at WRI delves into several fallacies about tree-planting plans that must be overcome if we are to truly utilize forests' full power.

Burning wood is not a solution to climate change
The Hill, Philip Duffy, William Moomaw, John Sterman and Juliette N. Rooney-Varga, 5 May
In response to a recent op-ed in the same publication, the authors of this piece argue wood can't be burned sustainably citing lifecycle analysis that suggests wood releases more emissions than fossil fuels. 

This pandemic is an environmental issue
EveningStandard, Tony Juniper, 7 May
Tony Juniper says the pandemic is an environmental issue. He says that human expansion, often for agriculture, is bringing us into contact with new diseases and forces us to make a choice on how we want to cohabitate this planet with the rest of the natural world.

Biodiversity Or Bust
The Asean Post, Tudor Alexis, 5 May
Tudor Alexis, a diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argues that biodiversity and the preservation of nature can no longer be seen as anything other than essential to how we redesign society moving forward.
NRDC shares a post on biomass and the deforestation occurring across the Southeastern US to meet demand.

Media Round-Up

Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners

Listening to the Earth with Elise Buckle from Climate & Sustainability
Listening to the Earth Podcast, Elise Buckle, 6 May

In Montana, Children File Suit to Protect ‘the Last Best Place’
Inside Climate News, Judy Fahys, 30 April

Aiming for conservation and development in a corner of Mexico’s Mayan jungle
Mongabay, Thelma Gómez Durán, 6 May

Better Place Forests Honors COVID-19 Frontline Heroes with $1M in Memorial Trees
Apeksha News Network, 6 May

As visitors vanish, Madagascar’s protected areas suffer a ‘devastating’ blow
Mongabay, Malavika Vyawahare, 5 May


Forest clearing proceeds for dam in Sumatra despite locals’ land claims
Mongabay, Barita News Lumbanbatu, 7 May

Activists challenge Indonesia deregulation bill that threatens environment
Mongabay, Hans Nicholas Jong, 8 May

Soy made the Cerrado a breadbasket; climate change may end that
Mongabay, Sarah Sax and Maurício Angelo, 5 May 

Takeover of Nigerian reserve highlights uphill battle to save forests
Mongabay, Orji Sunday, 4 May

Nicaragua failing to protect indigenous groups from land grabs: Report
Mongabay, Ashoka Mukpo, 4 May

Massive illegal forest clearing found in Koh Kong province
Khmer Times, Khuon Narim, 7 May

India’s push to relax environmental assessment rules amid pandemic draws criticism
Science, Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, 7 May

Top palm oil producer Wilmar drops out of climate change group
ASEAN Today, Zachary Frye, 6 May

Forest clearing proceeds for dam in Sumatra despite locals’ land claims
Mongabay, Barita News Lumbanbatu, 7 May

Palm oil crisis: ASEAN’s largest agri export shaken by risk of UK rule changes and ‘backstabbing’ by Malaysia
Food Navigator, Pearly Neo, 6 May

Razing the Stakes
Global Witness, Ed Davey, 6 May

Tribes seek delay in Trump's Tongass rule
E&E News, Marc Heller, 8 May

Myanmar’s illegal timber trade continues despite COVID-19
ASEAN Today, Skylar Lindsay, 8 May

Global Finance Enabling Community Exploitation, Human Rights Abuses - and the Destruction of one of the World's Most Biodiverse Rainforests
Global Witness, 11 May

Cross River task force bans illegal logging
Voice of Nigeria, 5 May

Poaching, deforestation reportedly on the rise since COVID-19 lockdowns
Conservation International, Kiley Price, 30 April

Golden Agri-Resources responds to complaints to RSPO
Oils & Fats International, 8 May

Industry hammers Trump admin in Black Hills harvest debate
E&E News, Marc Heller, 11 May


Maybe Humans Are Changing Their Minds About Being Jerks to Mother Earth
Esquire, Clifford Olanday, 5 May

2.5 Million Trees Planted in Mississippi
Our MS Home, 5 May

Sustainable Forestry

Indonesia decides on SVLK conditions for timber exports
TimberBiz, 6 May

Formalizing artisanal logging in Central Africa
FOREST NEWS, Ahtziri Gonzalez Arnauld Ulrich Chyngwa, 8 May

Re-greening Sarawak part of post COVID-19 economic recovery plan
Dayak Daily, Nancy Nais, 6 May

Renewable power: Modvion installs 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower
BusinessGreen, Cecilia Keating, 5 May

Negative Emissions Technologies

Aker Solutions' carbon-capture technology approved for use
Reuters, Nerijus Adomaitis, 29 April

Treasury IG: A decade of carbon-capture tax credits were faulty
Roll Call, Benjamin J. Hulac, 30 April

Agriculture and Soil Health

Rising temperatures may unleash dirty carbon tsunami
E&E News, Chelsea Harvey, 8 May

Can Tom Steyer Move the Needle on Climate Change?
Heated, Lisa Held, 4 May

Meeting tomorrow’s challenge – The measure of a sustainable soil
CPM,  Tom Allen-Stevens, 5 May

Zero-emission tractors, cattle that belch less gas can help curb global warming: McKinsey
Reuters, Dominique Patton, 5 May

New Zealand's school climate-change curriculum vexes farmers
Reuters,  Stefica Nicol Bikes and Praveen Menon, 6 May


Canada's Rich Carbon Sink Peatlands Need Urgent Protection. Story Map Shows
The Energy Mix, Gaye Taylor, 6 May

New study a call to action for Myanmar’s mangroves
AEC News Today, 10 May

New Science, Research, Policy and Tools

Deforestation and world population sustainability: a quantitative analysis
Nature, May 2020
This paper provides a quantitative analysis of the sustainability of current world population growth in relation to the parallel deforestation process adopting a statistical point of view. 

Nature-Based Solutions to 21st Century Challenges
Robert C. Brears, May 2020
This book provides a systematic review of nature-based solutions and their potential to address current environmental challenges.

Soil Carbon Sequestration in Rainfed and Irrigated Production Systems in a New Brazilian Agricultural Frontier
MDPI, May 2020
This study evaluates whether rainfed and irrigated agriculture in Western Bahia were able to sequester carbon and re-establish the soil organic carbon content (SOCC) lost due to land use change. 

Restoring the Economy with Climate Solutions - Recommendations to Congress
C2ES, May 2020
C2ES releases a new set of policy recommendations for the U.S. Congress to develop as a response to the COVID-19 economic recession including reforestation and conservation.

Sources of seasonal wetland methane emissions in permafrost regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Nature, May 2020
This study focused on systematic soil methane cycle geochemical monitoring in a typical gas hydrate region in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Interim Report – The Dasgupta Review: Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity

HM Treasury, April 2020
The Dasgupta Review is an independent, global review on the Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta (Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge). The independent Review will explore the sustainability of our engagements with Nature – what we take from it; how we transform what we take from it and return to it; why we have disrupted Nature’s processes; and what we must urgently do differently to enhance our collective wealth and well-being, and that of our descendants.

Soil organic matter stoichiometry as indicator for peatland degradation
Nature, May 2020
A comparison to peat Carbon and Nitrogen stores from mostly intact peatlands of the Northern hemisphere reveals that agriculture and, to a lesser extent, forestry induce a progressed state of soil degradation.

Soil invertebrate diversity loss and functional changes in temperate forest soils replaced by exotic pine plantations

Nature, May 2020
This research team found a significant loss of soil carbon and a major reduction in taxonomic and functional diversity of soil invertebrates in pine plantation sites. Soil biotic and abiotic characteristics of plantations differed significantly from native forests in plantation-dominated south-central Chile, with profound consequences for ecosystem processes and resilience to future climate change.

Long-Term Monitoring of Soil Carbon Sequestration in Woody and Herbaceous Bioenergy Crop Production Systems on Marginal Lands in Southern Ontario, Canada

MDPI, May 2020
This study quantified the long-term Carbon sequestration potentials at the system-level in nine-year-old woody, hybrid willow clone, and herbaceous, switchgrass bioenergy crop production systems on marginal lands in Southern Ontario, Canada. 


WEBINAR: Forest Mapping and Monitoring with SAR Data
Dates: 12, 14, 19, 21 May
Host: NASA

WEBINAR: The Value of Carbon Capture and Storage
Date: 13 May
Host: Global CCS Institute

Rainforest Alliance Sustainability Summit

Date: 13 May
Host: Rainforest Alliance

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: Building a foundation for a carbon negative future
Date: 13 May
Host: Air Miners

WEBINAR: Natural Climate Solutions: The Role of Agriculture and Carbon Capture in the Transition
Date: 13 May
Host: Climate XChange

WEBINAR: Deforestación y crisis en América Latina ¿Estamos a tiempo?
Date: 13 May
Host: Initiative 20x20

WEBINAR: Wetlands and Disaster Resilience: Leveraging Ecosystem Services for Community Preparedness
Date: 19 May
Host: Environmental Law Institute

WEBINAR: Sustainable food, land, water and ocean
Date: 20 May
Host: ETH Zurich

WEBINAR: Nature-based solutions for climate change: from ambition to action
Date: 22 May
Host: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Global Landscapes Forum Bonn Digital Summit
Dates: 3-5 June
Host: Global Landscapes Forum

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Lucy Almond, Director and Chair of Nature4Climate
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