N4C Weekly Brief: Jan 1-9
Briefing Room 11.01.24
A Happy New Year to all! We are excited to continue our work in 2024 to help raise the profile of nature as a solution for a net-zero and nature-positive future. At the beginning of each year, we launch a Reader Survey to collect your input to ensure we are sharing the most useful resources for this community. Next week, the Briefing will include the survey and we’d like to thank you in advance for taking the 5 or so minutes it will take to complete it as we plan for the year ahead.
For forests, COP28 was better than expected, but worse than needed
Mongabay, Alec Luhn, 28 December
Mongabay recaps the outcomes for forests at COP28 finding that the climate summit in Dubai was a mixed bag for forest conservation as a climate mitigation strategy. The final text included the goals from the 2021 Glasgow Declaration, which calls for halting deforestation by the end of the decade. However, the summit failed to make progress on paying countries to keep forests standing to offset emissions elsewhere, which has run into trouble following carbon offset scandals. Observers say the COP30 summit in Brazil in 2025 will see a larger push for forest protection. The Independent shares a commentary from Lord Zac Goldsmith and CEO of Conservation International M. Sanjayan explaining why restoring nature is the best thing we can do to ensure the safety and prosperity of our world. The Guardian previews what we can expect at COP29 in Azerbaijan with a look at the nation’s chosen COP-President, another former oil executive. Carbon Pulse reports that the next biodiversity COP has been confirmed to be held in Colombia starting in late October and will be the next major international moment for nature on the global calendar. Reuters covers the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2024 that finds for the second year in a row that over the next ten years executives interviewed for the report perceive environmental risks, including biodiversity loss and critical change to the Earth’s systems, as the most important issues.
Will carbon markets go from a year of reckoning to one of redemption in 2024?
Eco-Business, Samantha Ho, 2 January
Eco-Business dives into the future of carbon markets after COP28, a remarkable year of debate and new efforts to ensure integrity across demand and supply of credits. The final results for the market’s performance in 2023 have yet to be counted but anecdotally, the uncertainty in the markets is still weighing on demand for carbon credits heading into 2024. Mongabay attempts to address similar questions in a five-part series that starts with asking whether forest carbon credits in the voluntary market are a solution or a distraction? Mongabay continues with Part Two of the series reviewing whether carbon credit programs provide meaningful support to communities attempting to protect nature and Part Three dives into the emerging threat of carbon project developers looking to high-jack the market’s growth for personal gain.
Ecosystem Marketplace shares a commentary that stresses quality and integrity can be achieved in REDD+ carbon credit programs if updates to the system like market registry non-profit Verra has recently made are implemented. Thomson Reuters‘ Director of ESG content & advisory services pens an article arguing that the future of the carbon market will depend on building and maintaining trust to attract reputable participants. Mongabay reveals that several companies registered in Latin American countries claiming to have U.N. endorsement have persuaded Indigenous communities to hand over the economic rights to their forests for decades to come. According to community sources, the claims of U.N. backing were the main selling point for agreeing to put their forests on the market, but the U.N. denies supporting the developers in their efforts.
The Financial Times reports that Lawmakers in Brazil are advancing a bill that would establish a “cap-and-trade” system, in which projects that would reduce or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — such as tree planting — would sell tradeable permits for companies to cover emissions. However, critics point out that the bill exempts livestock and primary agriculture. Quantum Commodity Intelligence reports Brazil’s President has revoked a federal voluntary carbon market stimulus programme championed by his predecessor and created a working group to propose new alternatives instead. Eco-Business shares that Singapore’s much-anticipated list of approved international carbon credits will only accept REDD+ projects from Papua New Guinea if they consider deforestation across entire jurisdictions, as opposed to specific areas defined by individual project developers.
Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon halved in 2023
Phys.Org, 5 January
Phys.Org reports that Brazil cut Amazonian deforestation in 2023 to less than half of what occurred in 2022. However, the news was far less bright from the crucial Cerrado savanna below the rainforest, where clear-cutting hit a new annual record last year, rising by 43 percent from 2022. Reuters covers the passage of a new bill in Brazil’s lower house of Congress that will relax environmental licensing to make possible paving a new highway cutting through the heart of the Amazon that scientists say will threaten the future of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
UK fleshes out anti-deforestation laws for supply chains and publishes domestic nature conservation plans
Edie, Sarah George, 9 December
Edie covers new details about the UK Government’s due diligence rules intended to ban imports of commodities linked to illegal deforestation and its delivery plan for achieving its domestic conservation goals through 2030. Sky News shares a report from a UK Parliament committee that finds the world’s forests are being put under an unsustainable level of pressure by the UK’s appetite for commodities like soy, cocoa, palm oil, beef and leather. Forest Trends reports that a bipartisan set of lawmakers in both chambers of the US Congress have re-introduced the FOREST Act bill which would prevent imports of commodities tied to overseas illegal deforestation into the US. Politico covers New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s veto of a bill that would have required companies that sell goods to the state to show they don’t contribute to tropical deforestation. Mongabay shares a commentary that notes both the new UK law and proposed US law to address overseas deforestation leave action on coffee off the menu.
Associated Press reports that Brazil is suing major meatpacker JBS SA and three other slaughterhouses for allegedly purchasing cattle raised illegally in a protected area in the Brazilian Amazon. Reuters covers Indonesia’s fine of $310 million dollars for palm oil companies found operating within protected forest areas. Associated Press also shares the results of their investigation into illegal cocoa production in protected conservation areas in the Omo Forest Reserve of Nigeria. Reuters also reports that Brazil has expanded its efforts to crackdown on illegal gold mining in new territories across the nation.
Could 2024 be the year nature rights enter the political mainstream?
The Guardian, Jonathan Watts,1 January
The Guardian reviews the swelling coalition of organizations and experts supporting a global campaign for ecosystems and other species to have legal rights and even political representation. The initiatives are exploring bold tactics to further their cause, including authorship claims for forests, policy advocacy on behalf of bears and whales, and fungal strategies to spread ecological thinking.
SPOTLIGHT – Nature Talks
At COP28, the Nature Positive Pavilion promoted Nature Talks, a platform where influential speakers and experienced leaders converged to deliver impactful TED-style talks on leading nature for climate action. Diverse experts shared transformative ideas, innovative solutions, and personal insights that inspire change and ignite conversations surrounding the crucial role of nature in addressing climate challenges for people and the planet.
Check out the first entry in this series featuring Ralph Chami, a financial economist with 25 years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and co-founder of Blue Green Future and Rebalance Earth.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
UK Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) finds that UK consumption is unsustainable, with the nation’s appetite for commodities including soy, cocoa, palm oil, beef and leather putting enormous pressure on forests.
ART announces the publication of TREES Concepts for Burkina Faso and Mato Grosso, Brazil, on the ART registry. ART also accepts two TREES Documents submitted by Ghana, now available for stakeholder comments on the ART registry.
USDA calls for applications to the first in an anticipated series of Landowner Support for Forest Resilience grant opportunities under the Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.
EDF discusses guidance published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on voluntary carbon credit (VCC) derivative contracts listed on designated contract markets (DCMs).
Climate Policy Initiative releases a summary of Brazil’s progress on implementing the Forest Code.
The Nature Conservancy publishes a report on potential incentive structures and business models for high forest, low deforestation areas.
National Science and Technology Council shares a report laying the groundwork for the Data for the Bioeconomy Initiative, describing existing federal data infrastructure, data gaps, and data and computational infrastructure needs.
IETA publishes a blog post on implementing Article 6 following setbacks at COP28.
UNEP shares insights into UNEP FI’s TNFD pilots obtained from a global pilot project that aimed to assess an integrated climate-nature approach to sustainability reporting, looking at existing synergies between the TCFD-TNFD frameworks and climate-nature scenarios.
Capital for Climate, in collaboration with the High-Level Champions and Race to Zero, shares a limited first release of a new platform intended to enable allocators to see the landscape of climate opportunity in one place.
IUCN releases a report outlining the available pathways to include NbS in corporate climate strategies.
UNDP publishes a report on how developing countries are establishing transparency in climate policy and action by sharing their successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
Environmental Research Letters shares a perspective on mitigating near-term climate change, synthesizing three key criteria for a rigorous framework to measure near-term climate impacts.
WCS announces a new initiative focusing on High Integrity Forest (HIFOR) units, which are a new tradable asset that recognizes and rewards the essential climate services and biodiversity conservation that intact tropical forests provide, including ongoing net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Natural ecosystems are embedded into every aspect of our lives, but the crucial role that natural ecosystems play in helping regulate our climate is still not prioritized. Enter Nature4Climate’s naturebase: a new free data platform that turns peer-reviewed science into actionable information. The platform, available on a beta version from November 27, integrates an array of data and information acquired through various technologies, including satellite data analysis and land system modelling, as well as machine learning.
N4C is compiling an index of NBS case studies, together with an interactive map, to highlight action on the ground. Each week, we will be choosing a case study to present, to help give concrete examples of work being done to bring NBS theory into practice.
Regreening Ferlo, Senegal: Putting local pastoralists at the heart of restoration
WHERE: FERLO, SENEGAL
TYPE OF NCS SOLUTION: RESTORE
Over the next ten years, this WeForest project aims to restore 10,000 hectares of land through direct planting, assisted natural regeneration, and enrichment planting. Through collaboration with local pastoralist communities, the project has restored 54 hectares of land, with over 13,000 trees growing.
NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 1/2
Satellite monitoring shows that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in 2023 was cut in half compared to 2022. However, the crucial Cerrado savanna hit a new record for nature loss in 2023 seeing a 43 percent increase when compared to 2022.
After winning a historic lawsuit, Indigenous Siekopai communities in Ecuador finally obtained legal ownership of their land in a protected area — 80 years after being forcibly displaced. The ruling is historic because it’s the first time an Indigenous community whose ancestral territory lies within a nationally protected area will receive title to the land. According to experts, this new ruling may change the approach communities use to obtain their ancestral lands in Ecuador, and the country may see more communities filing similar lawsuits to obtain lands locked away for state conservation.