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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Amazon invests $10 million to help conserve forests as part of climate change plan
CNBC, Annie Palmer,  21 April

CNBC covers the announcement from Amazon that the company will commit $10 million to conserve or restore forests in the northeastern U.S. as the first investment of their Right Now Climate Fund announced last year. The fund will commit $100 million in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to restore natural habitats as a climate solution.
EU sees 'Green Deal' delays but keeps climate target plan: draft document
Reuters, Kate Abnett,  16 April

Reuters writes about a draft document from the European Commission shows that certain climate-friendly policies are on the board for delay, but that the date for setting a new 2030 climate target will stay on track. Climate Home News writes on the four newest nations to express support for a green recovery; Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta. Bloomberg reports on the growing chorus from European ministers and business leaders who call for the economic recovery from the coronavirus to focus on climate and biodiversity goals. Tagesschau has more details on the business community's support for a green recovery (German). Meanwhile, BusinessGreen reports that the UK's Committee on Climate Change is set to provide new advice to the government on supporting "a resilient, low carbon economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis..." Down Under, Euractiv covers Austria's announcement that financial support for their aviation industry will be tied to climate commitments.
Televised raid on illegal Amazon mining angers Brazil government, leads to sacking
Reuters, Jake Spring and Lisandra Paraguassu, 14 April
Reuters writes that President Bolsonaro's administration fired Brazil's top environmental enforcement officer in response to a news broadcast showing a raid on an illegal mining operation. The raid was televised on the nation's largest broadcaster and followed environmental agents raiding illegal mining operations within indigenous reservations. Deutsche Welle reports from illegal mines on indigenous reservations about impacts on the land and on the potential of a new bill that would legalise more mining operations. Bloomberg covers the statements from Brazil's Vice President stating that environmental enforcement in the Amazon will increase after record-setting fires last year that contradicts the story of the Ibama enforcement officer's firing. Al Jazeera shares the risks indigenous peoples face from increased deforestation and illegal activities as environmental enforcements are rolled back during the COVID-19 crisis.

In other Brazilian news, Mongabay relays new research suggesting that continued Amazonian deforestation could become the source of new pandemic diseases. 
Mongabay also details another story to watch as agribusiness groups are uniting to create a new agricultural sector covering multiple states. Similar schemes have been completed within other areas of Brazil resulting in high-levels of 'legal' deforestation.
Investors hail Shell’s net-zero emissions pledge 
EurActiv, Frédéric Simon, 17 April
EurActiv reports the optimism from some in the investment community who see Shell's new climate commitment goals as something to applaud. The major oil and gas conglomerate committed to net-zero emissions from all Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as, reducing Scope 3 emissions 65% by 2050. The rest of the Scope 3 emissions are planned to be covered by offsets to achieve a total net-zero emissions budget by 2050. The Guardian covers the announcement and some of the immediate criticism from green groups such as Greenpeace that stated "'A credible net-zero plan from Shell would start with a commitment to stop drilling for new oil and gas.'" On the heels of the announcement, Reuters writes that Shell moved forward with a $6.4 billion investment to develop a coal seam gas production project in Australia. Ben Marlow for The Telegraph writes that the targets Shell announced "don't add up" as they continue to make these types of investments in the exploration and production of fossil fuels. BusinessGreen writes not the five key takeaways the world should embrace from the announcement.

In other corporate commitment news, Microsoft releases a new biodiversity and sustainability initiative to conserve more land than it operates on, and to build a planetary computer that will allow global citizens to better track and use our collective knowledge about the state of nature.
South Korea to implement Green New Deal after ruling party election win
Climate Home News, Chloé Farand, 16 April
Climate Home News writes that South Korea's ruling Democratic Party's decisive victory on April 15th will provide support for the implementation of its Green New Deal and become the first East Asian nation to strive for net-zero emissions by 2050. The manifesto calls for a "large-scale investments in renewable energy, the introduction of a carbon tax, the phase-out of domestic and overseas coal financing by public institutions, and the creation of a Regional Energy Transition Centre to support workers transition..." We're still gathering intel on what exactly this means for natural climate solutions. Although if precedent is anything to go on, in 2008, Korea's stimulus included a focus on river restoration, building energy efficiency, and green transport. And don't forget that Korea has made serious restoration efforts since the 1950s, with forest cover almost doubling to cover more than 60% of land area in the country. 
Upcoming fire season and disasters causing concerns in the COVID-19 era

As our global society attempts to recover from the first waves of the coronavirus pandemic the implications of handling a natural or manmade disaster under these conditions have raised concerns. Soon, the traditional fire seasons experienced by heavily forested nations will begin unless new preventive actions are taken. These fires often lead to mass evacuations of people, polluted air from the smoke and confusion amongst authorities. A potentially lethal combination with an easily transmittable respiratory virus.

NPR details how normal disaster response plans won't work if the coronavirus continues to plague us and new precautionary measures need to be designed preemptively. CNN shares that the upcoming hurricane, flood, and storm season for the US are predicted to be worse than average.
Mature trees could be less effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than previously thought, suggesting Earth may be closer to climate tipping point
Daily Mail, Michael Thomsen,17 April

Daily Mail covers new scientific research that measured the capacity of mature trees to absorb CO2 and found that while the trees absorb CO2, they didn't hold on to the gas for an extended period of time. The release of CO2 back into the atmosphere could mean current climate change models are too optimistic. Carbon Brief writes on separate analysis that incorporates feedback loops like the release of CO2 from mature forests that significantly changes the range of outcomes from traditional climate models.
65% by
The Scope 3 carbon emissions reduction target announced by Shell this week. This target covers the emissions created by its customers' use of its products. The other 35% of the emissions will be offset to meet Shell's overall net-zero by 2050 goal.
Featured Opinion/Commentary
Why I have high hopes for nature this Earth Day
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Naoko Ishii, 17 April
Naoko Ishii shares her optimism for Earth Day 2020 as humanity responds to the coronavirus crisis with greater empathy and a recognition that our relationship with nature needs systemic change.

Organizing on the Coasts Won’t Save the Planet
The Nation, Jane Fleming Keeb, 20 April
Rural areas are fertile ground for climate action if campaigners and experts invest in their unique needs when facing the expansion of fossil fuels and the impacts of climate change writes the author of Harvest the Vote: How Democrats Can Win Again in Rural America.
Nik Nazmi writes that the blanket ban on palm oil that ignores the sustainable production of this staple Malaysian crop is poorly designed and poorly timed at this time of economic crisis.

Biodiversity, pandemics and the circle of life
GreenBiz, Joel Makower, 20 April
The Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group explains why we should keep biodiversity and nature front of mind when addressing today's challenges. 2020 was meant to be a 'super year' for action on protecting nature and to prevent the exact type of crisis the coronavirus pandemic presents. Letting our intention for fixing our approaches to protecting nature would set us up for future failures.
Marianne Martinet of the Earthworm Foundation argues that options to achieve sustainable supply chains are within reach for major chocolate companies, but for years they have given promises and a lack of results.

The Carbon We Can’t Afford to Lose
Scientific American, Allie Goldstein, 15 April
There is a wealth of carbon dioxide stored within nature. To protect it from entering the atmosphere we must change our approach to protecting nature from conserving space for individual species to broader ecosystem guardianship writes Allie Goldstein.
Listening to the Earth
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Listening to the Earth team, in partnership with Nature4Climate, Climate & Sustainability and Narayan, is keen to contribute to the amazing energy and achievements of this group by hosting a webinar with an inspiring array of speakers on “Listening to the Earth – why and how?”, followed by a collective meditation. See more details here.

How To Join Earth Day From Home
Since 1970, Earth Day has been a moment to celebrate and protect the planet through tree plantings, cleanups, and other in-person community gatherings. Here are eight activities you can do to ring in Earth Day from your own home, backyard, or, yes, Zoom screen

Media Round-Up

Natural Climate Solutions and Nature4Climate Partners

Why The Solutions To Coronavirus And Climate Change Are The Same
Huffpost, Amanda Schupak, 15 April

Listening to the Earth with James Lloyd, Nature4Climate
Listening to the Earth Podcast, 16 April

How the mass planting of trees could transform our cities and tackle air pollution
CNBC, Anmar Frangoul, 17 April

As investment giant BlackRock pulls back from coal, NGOs urge the same for biomass energy
Mongabay, Julian Catanoso, 17 April 

Can A Trillion New Trees Really Combat Climate Change?, Robert Rapier, 16 April


Pamphlets Signed by FARC Dissidents Invite Deforestation of the Amazon
El Espectador, 16 April

$3 million and an official apology: Brazil’s Ashaninka get unprecedented compensation for deforestation on their land
Mongabay, Naira Hofmeister, 16 April

Using satellites to alert an Amazonian indigenous community of coca encroachment
Mongabay, Rhett Butler, 13 April

SLC Agricola Moves Forward with Clearing 5,200 Hectares of Native Vegetation
Chain Reaction Research, 17 April

In a Colombian wetland, oil woes deepen with the arrival of fracking
Mongabay, Mauricio Ochoa and Semana Sostenible, 15 April

Finnish MEP: ‘Political fight begins’ over Europe’s old-growth forests
EurActiv, Frédéric Simon, 17 April

Logging threatening endangered caribou
Biengineer.Org, Dr. Tal Avgar, 15 April

'The trees are my grandparents': the Ecuador tribe trying to save its culture
The Guardian, Lianne Kolirin, 16 April

Forest fires rage in northern Thailand
Eco-Business, Sonia Sambhi, 16 April

Brazilian indigenous chiefs act to halt illegal logging in historical landmark area
Mongabay, Spensy Pimentel, 16 April 

Kashmir fells trees in effort to fight coronavirus panic
Reuters, Ashutosh Sharma, 15 April

More Logging in National Forests on Trump Anti-Virus Agenda
Bloomberg, Bobby Magill, 14 April

Researchers show how forest loss leads to spread of disease
Technology.Org, 15 April

Wood smuggling, wildlife poaching cases up
Himalayan Times, 16 April


Plant power for the future
The Ecologist, Clare Dubois, 14 April

Massive replant of B.C.'s fire-ravaged forests threatened by fears of spreading COVID-19
CBC, Betsy Trumpener, 15 April

How tree growing can mitigate the environmental impact of displacement
FOREST NEWS, Ahtziri Gonzalez, 15 April 

Could An Innovative Reforestation Program Help Stem Climate-Change-Fueled Wildfires Worldwide?
Elle, Molly Langmuir, 20 April

Indonesia’s miners exploit loopholes to avoid restoring mining sites
Mongabay, Hans Nicholas Jong, 16 April 

Sustainable Forestry

Study projects 30% more forest cover if wood biomass is managed right; critics call it a disaster
Mongabay, Lauren Crothers, 15 April

Construction industry progress towards sustainability with renewable materials
Recycling Magazine, 14 April

Lessons from #ForestSummit19. Expansion of nursery capacity is crucial to meet Armenia’s goal to double its forest cover by 2050
Aravot, Jason Sohigan, 19 April

Negative Emissions Technologies

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage under the Paris Agreement
The Hill, Morgan Bazilian and Kipp Coddington, 15 April

Agriculture and Soil Health

Iowa’s soy farmers to be paid for sustainable soil and water outcomes
Impact Alpha, Jessica Pothering, 14 April

Smallholder farmers: If you want to save forests, pay more for sustainable rubber
Eco-Business, Feng Zengkun, 15 April

Pollution to solution – is the key to soil health buried inside brown coal?
Get STEM, April


Estuaries Are Warming At Twice The Rate Of Oceans And Atmosphere
Science Mag, 14 April

New Science, Research, Policy and Tools

Resilient Amazon: From Emergency to Sustainable Development
Governors Climate & Forest Task Force, April 2020
This document is a statement of leadership from subnational governments in the Peruvian Amazon who are committed to take actions necessary to improve economic conditions and keep forests standing. 

Interpreting the UNFCCC’s provisions on ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’ in light of the Paris Agreement’s provision on ‘loss and damage’

Taylor and Francis, April 2020
This article examines how the introduction of a specific provision on loss and damage in the Paris Agreement affects the construction of provisions on ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’ as established within the treaty framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Disclosure in a time of system transformation: Climate-related financial disclosure for food, agriculture and forest products companies
World Business Council for Sustainable Development, April 2020
In this report, the Food, Agriculture and Forest Products TCFD Preparer Forum provides a commentary on key areas of the TCFD’s recommendations based on members’ individual experience of implementing them. This commentary is supported by examples of effective practices that are consistent with the recommendations.

Lessons Learned from Pilot Assessments of Countries' International Transfer Readiness Under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement
The World Bank, April 2020
While the bottom-up approach of Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement presents an opportunity to broaden and deepen markets, it is very important to ensure that there is no double-counting and maintain the environmental integrity of markets. Overall, pilot results showed that significant capacity building is still needed to align countries’ institutional frameworks and infrastructure with the Paris Rulebook and evolving procedures of Article 6.

Focus on the role of forests and soils in meeting climate change mitigation goals: summary
IOPScience, April 2020
It is clear that reducing greenhouse gas emissions alone is insufficient to avoid large global temperature increases. This focus collection includes papers that address three important aspects of the role for forests in meeting climate change mitigation goals: (i) Carbon Accounting of forest sinks and reservoirs, process emissions and carbon storage in forest products, (ii) the carbon dioxide dynamics of using Forest Bioenergy and (iii) the carbon cycle of Tropical Forests.

Is Bioenergy Truly Sustainable When Land-Use-Change (LUC) Emissions Are Accounted for? The Case-Study of Biogas from Agricultural Biomass in Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy
MDPI, April 2020
One of the ways to cope with the greenhouse effect, and the consequent climate change caused by the global extensive use of fossil fuels, is to close the carbon cycle in nature by the use of renewable fuels. The aim of this study is to assess the sustainability of Emilia-Romagna REP accounting for the required indirect land-use-change (ILUC), due to the bioenergy crop expansion, potentially needed to reach the targets.

Soil Erosion and Gaseous Emissions
MDPI, April 2020
Accelerated soil erosion by water and wind involves preferential removal of the light soil organic carbon (SOC) fraction along with the finer clay and silt particles.  Multi-disciplinary and watershed-scale research is needed globally to measure and model the magnitude of SOC erosion by water and wind, multiple gaseous emissions at different landscape positions, and the attendant changes in NPP.

REDD+ Benefit Sharing at Scale: Tools and Good Practices for Results-Based Land Use Programs
WWF, April 2020
In this learning session, the World Bank and Conservation International explore key themes of benefit-sharing arrangements and will highlight how these resources can provide practical and operational materials for countries to draw upon in preparing benefit-sharing arrangements.

Indigenous and local knowledge in sustainability transformations research: a literature review
Ecology and Society, April 2020
Through a systematic literature review, we investigated how indigenous and local knowledge is represented in peer-reviewed empirical scientific papers that apply this knowledge in contexts of transformation, transition, and change. 

Climate change causes critical transitions and irreversible alterations of mountain forests

Wiley Online, April 2020
This research shows that even moderate warming corresponding to current policy targets could result in critical transitions of forest ecosystems and highlight the importance of topographic complexity as a buffering agent.


WEBINAR: Food systems - Lawrence Haddad (GAIN)
Date: 21 April
Host: Global Landscapes Forum

WEBINAR: Charting our Carbon Future: Opportunities for Action
Date: 21 April
Host: UNEP

WEBINAR: Sustainability After COVID-19: Voices from Leading International Organizations (GGGI, OECD, UNEP and the World Bank)
Date: 21 April
Host: Green Growth Knowledge Partnership 

WEBINAR: Law, climate change, and agriculture - legal tools in the arsenal
Date: 22 April
Host: International Bar Association

WEBINAR: How Can Economic Stimulus Packages Help Address Climate Change?
Date: 22 April
Host: Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative

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

WEBINAR: Enhancing NDCs - Opportunities in Forest Sector
Date: 23 April
Host: WRI

Earth Optimism Summit
Dates: 23-26 April

WEBINAR: GLF Live with Robert Nasi and Annika Terrana - Deforestation and COVID-19
Date: 27 April
Host: Global Landscapes Forum

The Tree Conference
Dates: 2 May
Location: Cambridge, UK

Rainforest Alliance Sustainability Summit

Date: 13 May
Host: Rainforest Alliance

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

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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