Climate Change Economics Earns Nobel Prize

Sustainability Pushed Back Into Spotlight

Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, pioneers in adapting the western economic growth model to focus on environmental issues and sharing the benefits of technology, won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize.

In a joint award that turned the spotlight on a rapidly shifting global debate over the impact of climate change, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the duo’s work was helping to answer basic questions over how to promote long-term, sustainable prosperity.

Romer, of New York University’s Stern School of Business and best known for his work on endogenous growth – a theory rooted in investing in knowledge and human capital – said he had been taken by surprise by the award, but offered a positive message.

“I think one of the problems with the current situation is that many people think that protecting (the) environment will be so costly and so hard that they just want to ignore them,” he told a news conference via telephone.

“We can absolutely make substantial progress protecting the environment and do it without giving up the chance to sustain growth.”

Hours before the award, the United Nations panel on climate change said society would have to radically alter the way it consumes energy, travels and builds to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, and last year announced that he would withdraw the United States from a global pact to combat it reached in 2015 – calling the deal’s demands for emissions cuts too costly.

reforestation and carbon capture

Nordhaus, a Professor of Economics at Yale University, was the first person to create a quantitative model that described the interplay between the economy and the climate, the Swedish academy said.

“The key insight of my work was to put a price on carbon in order to hold back climate change,” Nordhaus was quoted as saying in a Yale publication this year. “The main recipe …is to make sure governments, corporations and households face a high price on their carbon emissions.”

Nobel committee chair Per Stromberg told Reuters Monday’s award was honoring research into the negative effects of growth on the climate and to make sure that this economic growth leaves prosperity for everyone.

Romer had shown how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to innovate, helping some societies grow many times faster than others. By understanding which market conditions favor the creation of profitable technologies, society can tailor policies to promote growth, the academy said.

Romer’s career has taken him outside the academic world. While on leave from the Stern School, he served as chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank until early this year. His work on endogenous growth theory is not universally admired.

Fellow Nobel economics Laureate Paul Krugman told the New York Times in 2013 that too much of it involved “making assumptions about how unmeasurable things affected other unmeasurable things.”

Worth 9 million Swedish crowns ($1 million), the economics prize was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of five awards set out in Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will.

Read The Full Story About The Economics of Climate Change

deforestation and climate change

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. It supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa that can address climate change, while defending critical ecosystems. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

 

Carbon Capture Market Gaining Momentum

Fossil Fuels Only Part Of The Equation

The global carbon capture and storage (CCS) market is expected to exceed US $8.75 billion by 2025, according to a new report. The rising global energy demand along with the growing awareness towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions in most of the industrial economies is anticipated to drive the CCS market.

Currently, meaningful industrial CO2 capture is required particularly in the power sector. The increasing adoption of gas injection techniques for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) across several matured petroleum reserves globally is expected to be one of the key factors driving CCS demand.

reforestation and forest conservation

Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is expected to account for the highest demand with a net worth estimated to reach over 6.18 billion by 2025. Prevalence of factors such as depleting oil reserves globally coupled with heavy dependence on crude oil imports mainly in the Asia Pacific region is anticipated to be one of the major reasons driving the demand for EOR activities globally.

CCS requirement in high purity industrial applications such as natural gas processing, coal to liquid (CTL), ammonia, and hydrogen production facilities holds immense potential for project demonstration. The segment is estimated to witness the fastest growth in terms volume of CO2 captured. Carbon capture and storage demand in the industrial sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2016 – 2025.

deforestation and climate change

Further key findings from the report suggest:

  • The global CCS demand exceeded 61 million t in 2015 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6% from 2016 – 2025.
  • Post-combustion capture technology is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR of 15.6% from 2016 – 2025.
  • Pre-combustion capture technology demand in the US is estimated to exceed a total volume of 80 million t by 2025.
  • Stringent regulatory framework for cleaner environment coupled with increasing CO2 injection EOR technique in most of the depleted hydrocarbon basins are expected to be the major factors driving demand in North America.
  • The Asia Pacific CCS industry is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 9.7% from 2016 – 2024.
  • Key players include Shell CANSLV, AkerSolutions, Statoil, Linde Engineering, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sulzer.
  • ACTL with North West Sturgeon Refinery CO2 Stream in Canada, Future Gen 2.0 Project in US, Preheat CCS & Don Valley Power Projects in UK are some of the upcoming projects over the next few years.

Carbon Capture News via https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/26122016/carbon-capture-storage-market-to-2025/

Tanzania and Kenya wildlife conservation

Trees and forests can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, return the oxygen to the atmosphere and store the carbon for centuries. Deforestation is disrupting this vital system, while contributing to global warming and climate change. Trees and forests can absorb some of the carbon dioxide that we all produce in our daily lives. Unfortunately, our remaining forests are under siege, which also threatens endangered species and entire nations. We can reverse the trend now by demanding forest conservation and reforesting as much land as possible.

reforestation and climate change solution

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through it’s subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Deforestation Costing Tanzania Billions

Forest Conservation Vital To Future Of Tanzania

Deforestation in Tanzania could cost the national economy 5,588 billion Tanzanian Shillings (US$3.5 billion) by 2033. Investing in reforestation, forest conservation and agroforestry can reverse that drain on the economy and the nation.

Forest ecosystems in the transition to a green economy and the role of REDD+ in the United Republic of Tanzania took into account the market value of timber resources as benefits that arise from deforestation, and costs in terms of lost timber forest products in the future, as well as other forest ecosystem services that will be lost as a result of deforestation.

deforestation and climate change

“Forests provide a whole host of ecosystem services to national economies that are not captured in national development planning, and this latest assessment, from Tanzania, provides further evidence of the economic damage that can be wrought when we do not appreciate the full value of nature,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“Implementation of REDD+, which goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation to include the role of conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, can be an important vehicle for Tanzania, and other nations, to transition to an economic model based on reduced deforestation and increased investment in the sustainable use of forest resources and significant benefits for local communities.”

Loss of forest ecosystem services such as water regulation can have adverse impacts on the value added of other sectors such as agriculture, tourism and energy. For example, more irregular water availability due to deforestation can impact agricultural output or lead to higher costs for hydroelectric utilities. These costs are not incurred by the forestry sector, but in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures of other sectors. Other services, such as biodiversity, are currently not included in national accounts.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

The Tanzania Forest Services prepared the report in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the UN-REDD Programme to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, and the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa. The group based its analyses on the annual deforestation rate of 372,816 hectares per year between 1995 and 2010, an estimate provided by the National Forest Monitoring and Assessment 2014.

The report provides an economic rationale for Tanzania to invest in more sustainable use and conservation of its forest assets by showing that the one-off financial benefits of deforestation, mainly from the sale of timber, are outstripped by the long-term losses. Some of these losses are compatible with the SNA and can be reflected in GDP.

The report also shows that investments in the forestry sector to stimulate output lead to higher rural incomes than equal investments in the agricultural and wood paper printing sectors, with clear implications for poverty reduction. This presents a case for the government to tackle the direct and underlying drivers of deforestation, and transit to an economic model that stimulates sustainable use and conservation of forest ecosystems by implementing REDD+.

lion conservation Africa

The Tanzanian report is part of a range of activities by the UN-REDD Programme to support Tanzania by enabling it to build the economic case for sustainable management and conservation of the country’s forest ecosystems as part of REDD+ implementation. The analysis provides insights and recommendations for government authorities on how to tackle the rising costs of deforestation, including:

  • The Natural Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs could assess how the value of the country’s natural capital can be linked to its national accounts, for example by developing an Inclusive Wealth Account that includes the value of the natural capital in addition to social, manufactured and other types of capital.
  • The Tanzanian Forest Services (TFS) could use the findings of this report to advocate for additional domestic resources to tackle the driving forces behind deforestation, which in itself could deprive the TFS of 2 billion shillings in revenue between 2013 and 2033.
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism could consider investing in the forestry sector as a potential way to alleviate poverty as the report found that investments in the forestry sector leads to comparatively higher income for rural populations than equal investments in the agricultural and wood paper printing sectors.

Similar national forest valuation studies have been completed for Kenya, Panama and Zambia, and UNEP is currently working with the Governments of Nepal, Ethiopia and Indonesia. A synthesis combining the findings of this forest conservation work work will be released soon.

To help address these problems, Sacred Seedlings works with NGO’s and community stakeholders across Tanzania and East Africa. We have 15 projects that are ready to make an immediate impact on many levels. We seek partners, sponsors, donors, grants, volunteers and in-kind donations.

Forest Conservation News via: http://www.unep.org/NewsCentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=26830&ArticleID=35226#sthash.RLUTXLF5.dpuf

reforestation and climate change solution

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Illegal Amazon Deforestation Escalating Again

Deforestation Rate Double Last Year’s Pace

The illegal deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has accelerated rapidly in the past two months, exposing the failures of the government’s forest conservation policies.

Satellite data indicates that land clearance in August and September has doubled over last year’s pace as loggers and farmers exploit loopholes in regulations designed to protect the world’s largest forest.

rainforest conservation Amazon

Figures released by Imazon, a Brazilian nonprofit environmental organization, show that 402 square kilometers of virgin forest – more than six times the area of the island of Manhattan – was cleared in September.

The government has postponed the release of official figures until after next Sunday’s presidential election, in which incumbent Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ party faces a strong challenge from Aécio Neves, a pro-business candidate who has the endorsement of Marina Silva, the popular former environment minister.

But the official numbers are expected to confirm a reversal that started last year, when deforestation rose by 29 percent after eight years of progress against deforestation.

Among the reasons for the setback are a shift in government priorities. Under Rousseff, the government has put a lower priority on the environment and built alliances with powerful agribusiness groups. It has weakened the Forest Code and pushed ahead with dam construction in the Amazon.

forest tribes and forest conservation

The environment ministry has tried to step up monitoring operations and campaigns to catch major violators, but farmers and loggers have also become more sophisticated by clearing areas of less than 25 hectares – below the range that can be detected by the Deter satellite, which the government had been using until recently.

More precise images should be available with a new satellite that has come into operation, but it is thought that better pictures will be likely to show even sharper deterioration.

Covert GPS surveillance of timber trucks by Amazon campaigners has shown how loggers evade the authorities. Much of the timber is laundered and sold to unwitting buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China, Greenpeace revealed this year.

Despite the worsening situation in the Amazon – and São Paulo’s most severe drought since records began – the environment has played little part in the debates between the two presidential candidates.

Alarmed by these trends of environmental degradation and political complacency, Imazon, the Environmental Research Institute of Amazonia and Friends of the Earth have come together to urge the next administration to make diversity and sustainability official priorities for the Amazon basin.

deforestation and climate change

“It’s time to realize that current investments in the Amazon do not promote development, and deforestation is impeding development. Based on this, you need to design and implement a regional development policy based on the biodiversity of the territory,” said Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth.

The Amazon rainforest is located in South America and covers 2.1 million square miles of land. Brazil has 60 percent, Peru has 13 percent, and Columbia has 10percent while other countries have very small parts of the rainforest within their borders. Altogether there are nine nations that enjoy all that the Amazon rainforest has to offer. The Amazon rainforest has existed for at least 55 million years. The Amazon rainforest is home to a very diverse range of species, many of which are not found elsewhere in the world. The basin is 2.7 million square miles while the Amazon covers 2.1 million square miles of it. If the Amazon rainforest was a country, it would rank 9th in size. The Amazon rainforest accounts for more than half of the entire world’s remaining rainforests. The Amazon rainforest is home to 10% of the known species in the world.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/19/amazon-deforestation-satellite-data-brazil?CMP=twt_gu

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Brazil’s Election May Dictate Future Of Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Deforestation Depends On Election

Most Brazilian voters are focused on what incumbent President Rousseff and top competitor Silva have to say about the sluggish economy. Their prescriptions will have a major impact on environmental protection in the Amazon rainforest. Environmentalists rolled their eyes when Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff boasted about her country’s environmental success at last week’s United Nations climate summit.

forest tribes in Amazon

Her assertions – that Brazil reduced annual deforestation by 79 percent over the past decade and prevented 650 million tons of carbon pollution annually – were true. But just days ahead of the tight Oct. 5 presidential election, she left out crucial facts: that the measures were the brainchild of her rival, Marina Silva, a former environment minister, and that President Rousseff’s administration has dialed back forest preservation laws and opened the Amazon to new farms, dams, and roads.

Most voters are focused on how the two candidates will kick the economy into gear after four years of sluggish growth. But those tactics will have a major impact on environmental protection – a concern not only in the Amazon, which covers more than one-third of Brazil and accounts for more than half the world’s tropical forests, but beyond Brazil’s borders as well.

Jaguar habitat vanishing in South America

“Can we develop the Amazon region in a sustainable way that reduces the social and environmental impacts?” asks Celio Bermann of the Institute of Energy and Environment at the University of São Paulo. “This is the challenge of the next president.”

Nowhere is that more evident than in Manaus, a congested port and manufacturing hub of 2 million people deep in the Amazon. Spanning the largest tributary of the Amazon River there is a futuristic, two-mile-long bridge that Rousseff inaugurated in 2011 and that marked a first step in connecting Manaus – a four-hour flight from São Paulo – by road to the rest of the country. Next up, in theory, is rebuilding the impassable mud highway that extends out from the bridge to the south.

But political pledges by Rousseff’s Workers’ Party to pursue that construction are sparking anger among environmentalists.

“When you open up a road, the deforestation rate increases,” says Philip Fearnside of the National Institute for Research in the Amazon in Manaus. It makes it easier for outsiders to get to parts of the country that were previously only accessible by small boats or on foot – and to bring in development that is foreign to the region.

deforestation and climate change

Amazon development is heavily influenced by the agriculture and construction sectors, according to Prof. Fearnside. He says those interests helped drive Rousseff to amend Brazil’s Forest Code in 2012 to ease forest restoration rules and grant amnesty for many who had illegally cleared land in the Amazon.

That shift has left its mark: last year deforestation rose by 28 percent, swallowing up an area the size of Delaware and marking the first increase since 2009, according to political scientist Sergio Abranches, who focuses on international environmental issues.

Brazil has always defended its sovereign right to develop the Amazon, be it for agricultural use or energy to power the world’s seventh-largest economy. But observers say the scale has tipped firmly in favor of development and away from conservation over the past four years.

“Dilma’s positions for a ‘fast development’ have hardened,” says José Goldemberg, a minister of environment and education in the early 1990s.

Rousseff describes Brazil’s bounty of rivers and underground oil as gifts – ones that can bring economic gain and to help pull Brazilians out of poverty. A prominent campaign commercial shows her wearing a hard hat and inaugurating an array of roads, bridges, oil projects, and dams across Brazil, including in the Amazon, while a voiceover says “Dilma is implementing the most infrastructure projects in the world and of our history.”

The president has pushed dozens of dams across the Amazon, with another 61 planned for construction over the next five years. Having come into office pledging to end poverty and provide more support for the poor, she has said the Amazon projects are necessary to fuel Brazil’s growing middle class.

 But these projects also lead to deforestation and community displacement, critics say. The massive Belo Monte Dam, for example, floods 250 square miles of forest and its construction has displaced 20,000 indigenous villagers.

A total of four protected forest areas have been created during Rousseff’s four-year tenure. But that is a sharp drop from the 270 protected areas created during her predecessor’s eight-year tenure, according to Paulo Adario, the Amazon campaign director for international watchdog Greenpeace.

Some of the greatest gains in creating new protected areas can be seen 1,000 miles to the southwest of Manaus, in Silva’s home state of Acre. The massive deforestation that occurred here in the 1980s and 1990s is still visible around the state capital, where scrubby farmland stretches to the horizon in every direction.

Born into a poor family of rubber-tappers, Silva led protests alongside the famed environmental activist Chico Mendes, and later became Brazil’s youngest federal senator. From 2003-2008, she was minister of environment and initiated anti-deforestation programs that created a Greece-sized area of new protected lands. She eventually resigned in protest of new infrastructure proposals for the Amazon under former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Acre now has some of Brazil’s most progressive environmental policies, including a carbon-trading plan that essentially pays the state to save trees.

Silva – who has been critical of road construction near Manaus, and the subsequent arrival of farming and logging – says Brazil needs to recognize the ecological value of its forests, not just their economic power. She is expected to provide economic incentives for farmers to stop clearing land, increase forestry oversight, and encourage production of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and ethanol. The aim is to reduce reliance on hydro and fossil fuels, which are central to the growth plans developed by Rousseff, a former energy minister.

Silva insists she understands the importance of the farming sector – Brazil is the world’s top exporter of beef, chicken, coffee, and soy – and recognizes its role in providing jobs for 15 percent of the workforce and producing one-fourth of total exports. She’s running with a pro-agribusiness vice-presidential candidate. But, she says, development can be integrated with protecting the environment.

“There are ways of conserving and managing the Amazon more sustainably, ways of combining ranching with forest conservation in a positive way that retains carbon and biodiversity,” says Peter May, a professor of ecological economics at the Federal Reserve Rural University of Rio de Janeiro.

Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2014/1002/On-eve-of-Brazil-presidential-election-is-the-Amazon-at-stake-video

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Half Of Global Deforestation Illegal

Food Production Driving Deforestation

In the past decade, demand from the international market for agricultural products such as palm oil, soy, beef and timber caused the deforestation of tropical forests at an average rate of five football fields every minute. This has resulted in a total loss of 200,000 square kilometers of land, an area twice the size of South Korea.

palm oil plantation deforestation

This is according to a new study released by Washington-based non-government organization (NGO) Forest Trends on Thursday, which revealed that 49 percent of all tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2012 was caused by illegal clearing for commercial agriculture, and that trade in products grown on illegally converted land was worth a total of US$61 billion. A staggering 40 percent of internationally traded palm oil is grown on illegally deforested land, said the report.

Titled Consumer Goods and Deforestation: An Analysis of the Extent and Nature of Illegality in Forest Conversion for Agriculture, the report also found that this illegal deforestation generated 1.47 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year between 2000 and 2012. This is equivalent to a quarter of the European Union’s annual emissions from burning fossil fuels.

deforestation and climate change

Michael Jenkins, president and chief executive of Forest Trends, said that although the link between agricultural production and deforestation was well established, “this is the first report to show the major role that illegal activities play in the production of hundreds of food and household products consumed worldwide.”

The export of agricultural commodities grown on illegally cleared forest land was responsible for 25 percent of all tropical forest destruction between 2000 and 2012, according to the report. A majority of the demand for products grown on this land – such as beef, leather, soy, palm oil and wood products originated from China, India, Russia, the United States, and the European Union.

The report revealed that a fifth of all soy, a third of tropical timber, and 14 percent of all beef traded internationally came from land that had been illegally deforested.

Sam Lawson, lead author of the report, noted that given the rapid speed at which illegal deforestation was taking place, “there is hardly a product on supermarket shelves that is not potentially tainted”.

Brazil and Indonesia were pinpointed as the biggest producers of agricultural exports. Together, the two countries also had the highest rates of land clearance in the world, with 90 percent of Brazil’s deforestation and 80 percent of Indonesia’s forest clearance deemed illegal.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

Other countries such as Tanzania and Bolivia also grappled with this problem, with their forests making way for crops such as jatropha (a biofuel plant) and soy respectively.

The problem was even spreading to new tropical regions where deforestation rates had traditionally been low, said the report. It pointed to the Republic of Congo as an example, where illegal palm oil projects were set to double the country’s deforestation rate.

The study found that companies which destroyed forests illegally often did so using fraudulent permits obtained from corrupt officials.

In other instances, companies flouted environmental protection laws when planting or clearing land, which resulted in environmental degradation and violated the rights of local people and indigenous communities dependent on the forest for food and income.

These illegal practices could only be fully addressed by governments, said the report, though it lauded corporate efforts such as “zero deforestation” commitments by some consumer goods companies. To this end, the report recommended a set of actions for the governments of countries that produced and consumed these agricultural goods.

Recommended measures for governments of producer countries included:

  1. Enforcing a moratorium on all forest conversion until a clear legal framework and enforcement systems were in place;
  2. Improving law enforcement by improving information sharing between government agencies;
  3. Imposing harsher penalties on culprits;
  4. Using technology such as satellite images to monitor deforestation more effectively.

“Urgent action is needed to help countries where these agricultural products are being grown, both for governments to enforce their own laws and regulations, and for businesses aiming to produce commodities legally and sustainably,” said Jenkins.

The report also made several recommendations for consumer countries which were donors to the global program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a mechanism through which developing countries receive international funding to preserve their forests.

For example, the report suggested that REDD+ donor countries could insist that donated funds are used to make improvements to forest governance and legal frameworks, ensure that nationally-governed financial institutions do not do business to companies associated with illegal forest clearance, and provide technical support to civil society groups tackling these issues.

Governments of all consumer countries, regardless of their REDD+ status, could also act to curb the demand that fuels illegal deforestation. Some measures include requiring that all government purchases of agricultural products are from legal and sustainable sources, making it an offence to sell or import agricultural commodities grown on illegally cleared land, and ensuring that the penalties are high enough to discourage others from flouting these regulations.

“The current unfettered access to international markets for commodities from illegally cleared land is undermining the efforts of tropical countries to enforce their own laws,” said Lawson. “Consumer countries have a responsibility to help halt this trade.”

“Reforming the complex, conflicting and unclear laws and regulations that govern the forest and agricultural sectors is a critical step, alongside improving the enforcement and compliance of national and international laws. These must all be prioritized if global commitments to stop tropical deforestation are going to be achieved,” Jenkins added.

While such measures have been successfully implemented to combat trade in illegally sourced timber, it remains to be seen how they can be applied to other agricultural commodities, the report said.  

“Increased agricultural production will be necessary for food security and to meet the demand of the emerging global middle class,” said Jenkins. “However, the world must also wake up to the scale of how much of this agricultural production is taking place on land that has been illegally cleared.”

Source: http://www.eco-business.com/news/how-our-food-drives-illegal-deforestation/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Ancient Forests In Britain Face Development

Biodiversity Schemes Raising Eyebrows Among Stakeholders 

By Sian Atkinson

In January, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson created waves by suggesting irreplaceable ancient woodland could be included in biodiversity offsetting schemes. But it was his hasty subsequent reassurance “there are no plans to change the current protections for ancient woodland” that led the Woodland Trust to launch Enough is Enough.

reforestation and forest conservation

Despite supposedly ‘strong’ protection for ancient woodland, the Woodland Trust is aware of more than 440 ancient woods under threat of damage or destruction from development.

Woodland Trust analysis has revealed that at least 84 ancient woods are threatened by the proposed route of High Speed 2 alone. Extending the HS2 Chilterns Tunnel by 10.4km could save over 30% of all the ancient woodland at risk from Phase 1 – yet it’s not in the Government’s plans.

Over the years this precious resource, which covers only 2% of the UK, has continued to be damaged or destroyed by quarrying, housing, roads, and other schemes.

We don’t even know how much forest has been destroyed

How much? It is impossible to tell. Losses of ancient woodland are not systematically recorded. New threats such as fracking hover on the horizon.

Arguably, ancient woodland as a whole enjoys better protection than any other habitat. It receives specific mention in national planning policy guidance, with a clear presumption against its clearance for development.

And for three decades we have had a spatial record of ancient woodland – the Ancient Woodland Inventories – enabling its easy identification by local planning authorities and potential developers considering sites for building on.

But the system is not working. The value of ancient woodland is still not clearly understood, there are loopholes that make it all too easy to override protection measures.

And when all else fails, light-touch ecological assessments, inconsistencies in site classification and gaps in data mean it’s too easy for developers to call into question whether a wood is ancient or not – and use this to undermine such protection measures.

If we have this much difficulty protecting ancient woodland, the jewel in the crown of our natural habitats, what hope is there for the rest?

reforestation and carbon capture

Trees Are Living History

The concept of ancient woodland has been around for a long time, but was developed and actively promoted from the 1970s by ecologists such as George Peterken and Oliver Rackham, who recognized that the wildlife communities of ancient woods were generally richer than those of more recent woods, and contained a high proportion of rare and vulnerable species.

In addition these woods have cultural meaning and value. Relative lack of disturbance means archaeological features may be well preserved. They are like living history books, telling us the story of past woodland management and other land use.

Ancient woods are those thought to have been wooded continuously since at least mediaeval times, before tree planting became more common. Some may even be continuous with the first woodland established after the last Ice Age.

For convenience, the threshold date for identifying ancient woods was set at 1600, the point at which maps became more available (though in Scotland this has been revised to 1750 in line with best available map evidence).

Ancient woodlands have plenty of official recognition

Government recognizes that ancient woodland is irreplaceable. Our ancient woods are quintessential features of England’s much-loved landscapes – irreplaceable, living historic monuments …”.

Not the Woodland Trust’s words, but taken from Keepers of Time, written as a statement of Government policy to better protect and value ancient woodland.

In England, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that “planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland … unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss”.

Natural England’s Standing Advice to local authorities on ancient woodland reinforces this guidance.

deforestation and climate change

Valuation Of Forests

But how are the costs and benefits of destroying such a habitat to be weighed. Benefits can be more easily quantified in monetary terms, for example through jobs created or journey times reduced.

It is much harder to evaluate the social and economic contribution of an ancient wood, even when reduced to the ‘ecosystem services’ it provides.

Owen Paterson’s comments in The Times newspaper on biodiversity offsetting – suggesting 100 trees could be planted for every one cut down – completely missed the point about the value of ancient woods.

These are ecologically diverse and complex habitats in which the trees are just one player. They support rare and vulnerable species that rely on the stable conditions ancient woodland provides and are very slow to disperse, so unable to colonise new habitats easily.

As repositories of so much biological diversity, ancient woods are key to creating the essential improvements to habitat networks demanded by the Lawton Review in England.

Pitting the environment against the economy

The environment cannot not be pitted against the economy as if it were a simple question of balancing the books. Healthy, functioning ecosystems are vital for our well-being, delivering food, fuel, clean air and water, and resilience in the face of environmental change. They are the foundation on which social and economic benefits can be built.

Ancient woods are an irreplaceable wildlife-rich source from which damaged and degraded ecoystems can be restored. How can we put a monetary value on this?

Yet at Oaken Wood in Kent, 32 hectares of ancient woodland will be lost through permission granted for quarrying after a public inquiry, because the benefits were deemed to outweigh the loss.

At Smithy Wood in South Yorkshire, we see ongoing fragmentation of natural habitats as an area of ancient woodland cut into four by the M1 in the 1960s is now threatened by both a motorway service station proposal, and HS2.

The first step in creating more resilient landscapes for wildlife and people is to protect the best we already have, which means addressing the shortcomings in the protection for ancient woodland as a matter of urgency.

Ancient woodland deserves conservation

Our campaign Enough is Enough sets out eight steps that Government, through its appropriate departments and agencies, could take to tighten ancient woodland protection:

  1. Confirm that ancient woodland will not be included in the scope of biodiversity offsetting schemes.
  2. Significantly increase the designation of ancient woods as Sites of Special Scientific Interest – only 15% of ancient woods have this statutory protection.
  3. Complete and extend the Ancient Woodland Inventory in England. Produced 30 years ago, the inventory is no longer adequate given the degree of detailed scrutiny it receives through the planning system.
  4. Complete Natural England’s overdue revision of standing advice to local authorities on ancient woodland, to apply to all types of development, including where Government departments are involved.
  5. Address the information gap, so that loss of ancient woodland to development, infrastructure projects and other causes such as unapproved felling is systematically recorded.
  6. Review the effectiveness of the NPPF in protecting ancient woodland, in the light of recent planning decisions that have consented to major loss and damage.
  7. Speed up consideration of voluntary legal mechanisms such as Conservation Covenants to ensure binding and long-term protection for important habitats.
  8. Review the effectiveness of the role of statutory consultants in influencing the quality of decisions on proposals that impact on ancient woodland.

Source: http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2316316/enough_is_enough_protect_britains_ancient_woods.html 

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Clinton Foundation Supporting Reforestation

Trees Planted To Offset Carbon, Generate Income

In addition to market-driven agricultural efforts, the Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI) works with the government of Rwanda and other NGOs to reverse deforestation through a large-scale carbon-offset program. CHDI has worked with the Rwandan government to help communities plant 2.5 million fruit and forest tree seedlings in 40 new nurseries. These seedlings will help reforestation by improving erosion control, fruit production, and nitrogen fixing.

reforestation and forest conservation

CDI established the Trees of Hope Project in the Dowa and Neno districts of Malawi to reverse deforestation, mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, and bolster a self-sustaining marketplace by making tree farming profitable and attractive for smallholder farmers. The Trees of Hope project coordinates community-led efforts in climate change mitigation and has assisted in establishing over 400 profitable and ecologically viable community nurseries. In the current season, community nurseries in the region grew 630,000 seedlings.

Since the inception of the program, more than 2.6 million trees have been planted by more than 2,500 smallholder farmers. This has resulted in a carbon offset of over 200,000 tons of C02.

Farmers earn credits for the amount of carbon they offset, which are sold for additional revenue.

Source: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/our-work/clinton-development-initiative/programs/reforestation#sthash.NNF1L67H.dpuf

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Reforestation In Mexico Will Create Jobs

Reforestation A Growth Industry

Mexican authorities hope to grow hundreds of thousands of trees and create a few thousand jobs in an indigenous community in Mexico. A reforestation concept that Sacred Seedlings embraces and promotes.

On December 17 the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (NCDIP) in Mexico announced the start of a reforestation program in the Purepecha community of Angahuan, Michoacan. It marks the second large-scale reforestation effort in the heavily indigenous state of Michoacan since 2012.

reforestation and forest conservation

In a press event in Angahuan, NCDIP Director Nuvia Mayorga asserted that the project will help reforest the area, diminish environmental decay and reactivate the local economy with a source of lasting income.

“We want to spur on this type of project, and the communities can count on the NCDIP to follow along with this so that it will have a major impact,” Mayorga continued. “We don’t want projects that die in a year, but ones that last and produce results.”

The NCDIP will spend 233,000 pesos to fund a forest nursery in Angahuan that will start with 3,000 trees and will eventually lead to the growing of 220,000 trees that will cover over 543 acres in the areas conservation district. The Angahuan Forest Participatory Group will oversee the operation which, according to NCDIP estimates, will result in close to 3,000 jobs. This forest nursery will be designed to grow three large rows of pine tree that is native to Michoacan, known as the Pseudostrobus, Leuyopilla and Michoacan.

monarch butterflies in Mexico forest

Later that day, Director Mayorga and other state and local officials also met with representatives of the nearby Mariposa Butterfly Biosphere Council to discuss ways that the government could help fund the butterfly sanctuary.

In December of 2012, the Michoacan town of San Francisco Pichataro celebrated the planting of over 1 million trees, 300,000 water channels and other natural borders as part of the massive reforestation effort in the northern part of the state.

Source: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/03/large-scale-reforestation-indigenous-michoacan-mexico-152956

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

California Creating Carbon Market

Carbon Market Funding Conservation

California kicked off its cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The California Air Resources Board says that carbon credits were sold at auction for slightly more than the $10 opening. That has enabled the state to raise $233 million in round one — money to be allocated to customers who are expected to pay higher electricity prices, all resulting from a shift away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner fuels. The major point, say the plan’s architects, is that the first auction has drawn lots of participants and that the process will become more vibrant.

deforestation and global warming

“By putting a price on carbon, we know we are beginning the process of breaking our dependence on fossil fuels,” says Mary Nichols, chair of the resources board, in a San Jose Mercury News story. She says that the state also expects to see new economic development.

The latest move by California is part of an earlier law passed there in 2006, called AB 32. That law now requires the state’s utilities to provide a third of their fuel offerings in the form of green energy by 2020.

About 350 companies, and around 600 facilities, are impacted by the cap-and-trade provisions. To keep business costs down, 90 percent of the tradable credits will be free for two years. By 2016, all such allowances will be sold. And by 2020, carbon emissions are supposed to be at 1990 levels.

In a cap-and-trade system, government sets pollution limits and then credits are either auctioned or allocated to industry. Those companies that are able to exceed the expectations can either bank their allowances for future use or sell them to other businesses that are unable to meet their obligations. As the ceilings come down, overall emissions then fall.

air pollution and global warming

Many California businesses have argued that forcing reductions in carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade platform will cause industry to move out-of-state. In fact, just prior to the auction, the California Chamber of Commerce filed suit to prevent subsequent auctions. It is arguing that the trading scheme is nothing more than a tax established on the state’s businesses by unelected officials.

“What was not authorized by AB 32 is the Board’s decision to withhold for itself a percentage of the annual statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances and to auction them off to the highest bidders, thus raising from taxpayers up to $70 billion or more of revenue for the state to use,” according to the complaint.

But the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously in October 2011 to enact such a program that is expected to cover 85 percent of the state’s emission sources, reasoning that it would be healthier for both the economy and the environment. The November 14th auction was able to sell all of the credits it offered. Each credit allows for the release of one ton of carbon.

The theory is that businesses may initially find it cheaper to purchase credits as opposed to invest in new pollution controls. But as the pollution caps become tighter and as the price of carbon rises, they would then buy more efficient equipment. New business lines would then sprout up while the environment would become cleaner.

“The auction itself was designed to be done on a confidential basis,” says Chairwoman Nichols, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. “These are private decisions that businesses are making — whether they will reduce emissions or purchase allowances.”

The same news story goes on to quote Rob Day of Black Coral Capital in Boston, which is a venture capital firm. He says that the facts speak for themselves — that all of the credits were sold during the auction’s debut. The opening price of the carbon allowances is less important, he adds, although it will “change” over time. The bottom line: The state is pricing carbon and a market is forming around it, meaning that the relevant companies will have to focus on their carbon footprints.

The thinking varies as to what the economic impact would be of a national carbon cap-and-trade system. Gross domestic product would initially take a hit, says the Pew Center on Climate Change. But as the United States would move increasingly toward a carbon-constrained environment, the next-generation economy would take off.

Considering the stakes, California’s early attempts at establishing a cap-and-trade mechanism went off without a hitch and in the eyes of regulators, it was a success. But the state’s quest is a work-in-progress that will need to win-over apprehensive businesses if it is to be replicated around the country.

source: http://www.energybiz.com/article/12/11/california-s-cap-and-trade-program-creating-carbon-market

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support.