Transforming business as usual in Indonesia: an interview with Aida Greenbury

first_imgConservation, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporations, Deforestation, Ecological Restoration, Ecosystem Services, Exclusive, Featured, Forests, Interviews, Peatlands, Plantations, Pulp And Paper, Rainforests, Sustainability, Zero Deforestation Commitments Aida Greenbury is the former Chief Sustainability Officer at Asia Pulp & Paper, a forestry giant with extensive operations in Indonesia.Greenbury was the lead internal architect for APP’s 2013 forest conservation policy, which is today one of the most ambitious zero deforestation commitments in the plantation sector.Greenbury left APP in May and is today working on collaborative initiatives to protect and restore ecosystems. Perhaps no forestry company operating in Indonesia was more controversial from the late 1990s to the early 2010s in environmental circles than Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Throughout that period, the pulp giant was widely criticized by green groups and human rights NGOs for its destruction of over a million hectares of native Indonesian forests and its ongoing conflicts with local communities. APP garnered particular scorn for breaking promises to clean up its operations, including reneging on high-profile sustainability agreements with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Rainforest Alliance and losing its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Those continued transgressions provided ammunition for campaigners, which made the APP brand increasingly toxic and cost it tens of millions of dollars in lost business.Native forest and an acacia plantation in Riau, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Amid customer defections and intense campaigns by NGOs, in February 2013 APP adopted a comprehensive forest conservation policy, which established protocols for addressing social conflict and barred it from sourcing fiber from suppliers who clear forests and peatlands. Critically, the policy applied to all of APP’s current and future suppliers across its entire Indonesian supply chain, meaning it couldn’t outsource forest destruction to third party suppliers. In response to the policy, Greenpeace — arguably APP’s most damaging critic until that point — suspended its campaign.Within APP, the chief architect behind the 2013 deal was Aida Greenbury, the company’s Managing Director of Sustainability. Greenbury, who first joined APP as a general manager of sustainability in 2004, worked with The Forest Trust and Greenpeace to develop a policy that would be both acceptable to APP’s shareholders, management, and staff and viewed as credible to the company’s outside critics, a tall order given the level of animosity between the various parties, including skeptical NGOs. Transformation in any large company is not easy and requires time.Rainforest tree in Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Internally, Greenbury was viewed as the evangelist for sustainability and the enforcer of the forest conservation policy, a position that required her to sometimes take on tough fights to ensure APP’s myriad suppliers — some of whom would have been content to proceed on a business-as-usual course — were complying with the commitment. Externally, Greenbury became one of APP’s most public faces, regularly representing the company at events ranging from U.N. conferences to forestry industry meetings to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Over time, APP’s forest conservation policy came to be seen as one of the strongest No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NPDE) pledges globally. Customers who dropped the company began to return.Thus when the news broke in May that Greenbury was leaving APP*, many observers were caught by surprise. But Greenbury says that after more than a decade of building APP’s sustainability strategy “almost from scratch”, she felt it was time to move on addressing issues bigger than a single company’s supply chain.“I was with APP for over a decade — that’s 70 percent of my whole career life to date,” Greenbury told Mongabay in a July 2017 interview. “I have provided almost every bit of knowledge I have about forestry, pulp, paper and sustainability to the company and embedded that knowledge into its team. Now its sustainability team is strong and global. It’s time for me to move on, to share my knowledge and expertise more widely, to continue the fight in different ways, to innovate and deal with greater challenges.”Dismayed by ongoing degradation and destruction of natural systems, Greenbury wants to transform how landscapes are managed by convincing companies and governments to incorporate natural capital into their financial decision-making. Doing so will require long-term vision, new types of collaborations between parties that have traditionally been adversarial, and a plan to actively rehabilitate and restore damaged ecosystems.“Although a lot of people disagree or do not understand, at the end of the day saving forests is about money. It’s about business. And if you want businesses to support forest protection, you need to start talking about business risks or natural capital values,” Greenbury said. “Deforestation does not only destroy biodiversity; it destroys all the other values in the landscape as well such as water quality and quantity, and stored carbon. That in turn will destroy benefits relevant to any investment in the landscape, relevant to taxes and the income of the country. In reverse, halting deforestation, if designed properly, will maintain and increase these benefits.”“Due to the current social and economic situation in Indonesia, and the sheer number of people that rely on these landscapes, we must ensure this forest and peatland remains profitable by, in example, implementing a ‘protection, production and livelihood’ concept. We must make forest and peatland protection a profitable business for the people’s welfare.”In her interview with Mongabay, Greenbury discussed her ambitious vision for shifting business-as-usual in Indonesia and beyond, including saving and restoring the planet’s vanishing wild places.Aida Greenbury in a helicopter over Riau. Photo courtesy of Aida Greenbury.AN INTERVIEW WITH AIDA GREENBURYRhett Butler for Mongabay: What originally inspired you to choose forestry as your profession?Aida Greenbury: It all started with my father. I didn’t know much about him as a toddler – as soon as I was born he went away to study forestry at Minnesota University in the USA. For the first 5 years of my life I knew my father from the letters he sent that told us about the things he learned. At his return, the forestry industry was booming in Indonesia. My father was quickly recognized for his expertise and he travelled all over Indonesia and beyond to lend his forest management skills. When he came back home he would tell me all the stories about the jungles he visited, and the trees and animals he saw.While other children were outside playing, for the most part I was staying at home with my father, using color pencils to help him finalize the country’s forest maps. My father was the first person to be granted professorship for forestry management by the Indonesian President. He was the dean of the forestry faculty at Gadjah Mada university for 20 years, and I later became a student studying under him. As the dean’s daughter, I felt extra pressure to succeed in my studies. He was well respected; everyone in the industry knew my father. I wanted to continue his fight for responsible forest management, but I also realized that he left very big shoes to fill.One of the lullabies my father used to sing for me was the song ‘Hutanku Tak Akan Hilang’, which means ‘my forests will never disappear’. Today I fight to find innovative ways to contribute my forestry knowledge and make sure that old lullaby rings true.Mongabay: You recently transitioned from managing director of sustainability at APP. Can you describe what was involved with that role in recent years?Aida Greenbury on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo courtesy of Aida Greenbury.Aida Greenbury: It has truly been a pleasure to be able to work for APP for more than 13 years. The years I spent with the company were some of the most colorful years of my life; I found friends and family while working there, which made leaving APP a very hard decision for me. When I started my career at APP I was a general manager of sustainability, back in 2004. It was a challenge, especially for an Indonesian woman in a male dominated industry. I initially tackled the most basic issues such as material traceability, transparency, and developing baselines for environmental and social foot-printing. They were basic, but even those simple elements were crucial components of the strong foundation atop which APP declared their Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in February 2013. It was a great moment, a victory for all of us. My career at APP was undoubtedly rewarding, but at the same time, it was a roller coaster of a journey. I had to reach out and face the unexpected, such as by embracing our harshest critic, Greenpeace. We had to transform rapidly to being transparent and open about our plans and performance. APP was the first pulp and paper company to come out with a zero-deforestation commitment with the FCP, so no one really knew how it would work. At times, it felt like I was jumping off a cliff and only growing my wings on the way down.Mongabay: Did you face much resistance within APP in trying to drive sustainability? If so, did this change over time and how did you overcome it?Aida Greenbury: It was difficult to introduce the implementation of the zero-deforestation policy to any of the stakeholders because it was uncharted territory, and we went in without any blueprints in hand. The key approaches to overcome those issues were to be persistent, patient, innovative and to repeat the message over and over again.Mongabay: What would you say were your biggest achievements while at APP?Aida Greenbury: My greatest achievements in the previous company I worked for were definitely centered around our innovations. How we challenged the industry; from human rights audits and environmental and social foot-printing, through to establishing a visionary sustainability roadmap. There were even more opportunities for innovations in the challenges that I faced after the implementation of the zero-deforestation policy because then I couldn’t limit myself to the company and its supply chain anymore; I had to start looking at things at the landscape level. It opened me up to more innovative thinking such as jurisdictional approaches, connecting the green and blue carbon, and natural capital valuation. But for me my biggest achievement was definitely ensuring that we became the catalysts for the zero-deforestation movement, and how it pushed us all to think outside the box, move away from ‘business as usual’, and innovate.Aerial view of acacia harvesting on a plantation in Riau. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: How do you respond to critics who say companies — whether APP in Indonesia or Cargill in the Brazilian Amazon — have used sustainability commitments to facilitate the development of infrastructure (mills, roads, ports, channelization projects) that effectively lock-in long-term demand for raw materials?Aida Greenbury: Locking in long term demand for raw materials is not an issue. Businesses always want to maximize their profits and have certainty of a long term raw material supply to effectively use up their production capacity and enable them to fulfill the market requirements. The issue is, what raw materials will be used? The challenges being faced by many natural resource-based companies revolve around three things: one, they need to establish a very robust system so only responsible raw materials can enter their supply chain; two, this system needs to be replicated to reach 100% of every aspect within their supply chain; three, it must include monitoring systems which support different platforms such as internal and external monitoring.Mongabay: And now that you’ve moved on from APP, what are you working on?(Left) Aida Greenbury at the Marrakech COP. (Right) Greenbury with Greenpeace’s John Sauven. Photo courtesy of Aida Greenbury.Aida Greenbury: I want to contribute my skills, expertise and passion towards saving more forests, at a level greater than merely one company’s supply chain. Many forest programs don’t work because these programs have been implemented in silos. There are no clear collaborations between stakeholders, and there is not enough understanding and respect. Nelson Mandela once said: if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Saving the forest is not easy. You need a lot of support from different type of stakeholders, and that support will not come if you don’t speak their language. To understand how you can get community support, you need speak their language and understand what the community needs to better their lives. Unfortunately, forest protection and restoration is very expensive. You need from $500 to even more than $5000 per hectare to protect and restore forests. Although a lot of people disagree or do not understand, at the end of the day saving forests is about money. It’s about business. And if you want businesses to support forest protection, you need to start talking about business risks or natural capital values. Humans derive a wide range of services from natural capital, the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things, which make human life possible (and business profitable in the long run). The UN Goodwill ambassador once said: “…there are both serious risks to business, as well as significant opportunities, associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. There is also a need for business to quantify and value its impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, in order to manage these risks and opportunities and enable a better future for all”. Moving forward, I want to work on these issues. I want to support my country and beyond to close these gaps that exist in forest protection initiatives, and to remove these language barriers. Forest protection could be about profitable business.Mongabay: What do you see as the big obstacles for making progress on deforestation in Indonesia?Aida Greenbury: Again, it’s about providing better understanding to all – the government, the businesses, the communities, and the NGOs – about the value of our natural capital. Deforestation does not only destroy biodiversity; it destroys all the other values in the landscape as well such as water quality and quantity, and stored carbon. That in turn will destroy benefits relevant to any investment in the landscape, relevant to taxes and the income of the country. In reverse, halting deforestation, if designed properly, will maintain and increase these benefits. This is why I have been supporting the high carbon stock approach (highcarbonstock.org) as the co-chair. The basis of a proper natural capital valuation must be a clear definition of what forests need to be protected.Indonesian lowland rainforest. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: Some observers say that one of the biggest problems in Indonesia is the government’s focus on process over outcomes. Would you say that’s a fair assessment?Aida Greenbury: In some cases, that might be a fair assessment. Establishing and following the right process is key in order not to have certain situations be abused by irresponsible parties. With the current situation in Indonesia, including its rates of deforestation (840,000 hectares per year according to Nature Climate Change in 2014) and social and political atmosphere, emphasized by the current global climate change condition and the set target to keep the change in global temperatures well below 2.0C, we need to do more than simply implement the right process.I agreed with a recent statement by the Ministry of Environment of Morocco about the four-axis approach in saving the planet. In an Indonesian context, the first approach concerns data collection; to know where we stand, or the baseline establishment. We should not try to reinvent the wheel. The data in Indonesia is quite comprehensive; we can start from there. The second is to establish robust standards (including processes) to meet the target, rolling out the introduction of the standards, and capacity building. The third is the MRV system. The fourth approach is crucial. It’s about establishing a large enough or landscape level pilot program, to implement the best available practices as well as the innovations resulting from the second and third approaches. There’s a clear reason why the fourth approach is crucial – we simply cannot afford to lose any time in saving the planet, the habitats of key species, and our forests. We have passed the deadline to transform our BAU. We should not be afraid of conducting trial and error in the implementation of the pilot program, although the size and scope can be limited to mitigate risks. The trials and any errors that may occur while implementing best practices are what we need to speed up our efforts to deliver our Paris Agreement commitment. The above four approaches must be done in parallel to succeed.Mongabay: What do NGOs need to do to become more effective agents of change in Indonesia?Aida Greenbury: Just as businesses need to change their business as usual, so do NGOs. Their responsibilities go further than merely campaigning or criticizing; they also need to reach out and embrace the entities who are perceived to be their enemies to find real long-term solutions. In order to conserve forests in Indonesia all the players are going to have to work together and do their part.Aida Greenbury with a community in Riau Province. Photo courtesy of Aida Greenbury.Mongabay: What would it take to really catalyze the private sector to embrace conservation in Indonesia? For example, is criticism over haze something companies care about? Are there any concerns about degradation of ecosystem function like subsidence, flooding, and water availability? What about market-based incentives?Aida Greenbury: It’s a combination of many factors. One factor, which I already mentioned previously, is understanding natural capital values for the benefit of businesses while removing the risks for their sustainability. The second factor, which is also crucial, is for there to be incentives, and penalties, from both the government and the market. These conservation and sustainability values need to be translated into monetary value and incorporated into accounting systems both by businesses and by the government.Peat swamp in Riau, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: What are the other big opportunities for forest and peatland protection?Aida Greenbury: A recent study places Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo (RoC) as the most important countries in the world for tropical peat carbon stocks. It has been estimated that 30 gigatonnes of carbon is stored in the Congo basin. And 68.5 gigatonnes of carbon is stored in tropical peatland in Southeast Asia (van der Meer, 2010). However, the peatland in Indonesia in particular has suffered damage or loss, primarily due to infrastructure development, forest fires or drainage for agricultural use.Now it is the crucial time for us to design a proper long-term roadmap for forest and peatland protection. A collective Zero Deforestation declaration by 2020 is not enough anymore. Deforestation must stop now, and it’s time to build the roadmap for forest and peatland protection, restoration and rewilding. Designing and building this roadmap is not easy as this is uncharted territory for many. In Indonesia, for example, peatland draining has been happening perhaps for centuries, since the Dutch colonized Indonesia. How can we reverse this?Due to the current social and economic situation in Indonesia, and the sheer number of people that rely on these landscapes, we must ensure this forest and peatland remains profitable. We must make forest and peatland protection a profitable business for the people’s welfare. Other than conventional ecotourism, what other innovative approaches are there? I’m a huge supporter of research on alternative species, paludiculture and the reintroduction of microbes and mycorrhiza to revive the soil and peat. However, this research is undertaken over the course of years, and to use the results for commercial purposes the trials for commercial scale must be undertaken in advance, otherwise there is simply too much risk. The roadmap must cover all of this, so we are talking about a roadmap covering at least the next 25 years. It’s a massive opportunity, but also a huge and challenging project.Forest loss in Sumatra is putting species like the Sumatran elephant at greater risk. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: What role does forest and peatland mapping and monitoring play in all this?Mongabay: Forest and peatland mapping and monitoring play a very crucial role. First, we must define what forests are and where the forests and peatland are located in order to be able to monitor their protection, any land-use change, or restoration, as close to real time as possible. The challenges are that we need a larger scale implementation of high resolution forest identification and peatland mapping. We need the technology and incentives to make this identification and monitoring exercise as cheap and as user friendly as possible. And we need it soon.Mongabay: What’s your overall outlook for forests in Indonesia going out 20 or 30 years?Aida Greenbury: The biodiversity, conservation values, carbon, peatland and community mapping and monitoring are the foundation of the roadmap to support proper planning to create stabilized land use, with the end goal of achieving a low carbon economy and green growth. Once we have this long-term roadmap finalized and implemented, once we have the financial mechanisms for forest protection while supporting community welfare in place, then I have hope that in 20 or 30 years Indonesia’s forests will remain and be better managed.A pulp and paper plantation neighboring peat forest in Riau, Sumatra in 2015. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Peatlands regulation and governanceMongabay: GAPKI and APHI recently filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court so that farmers with “local knowledge” would no longer be allowed to use fire to clear small plots of land. Do you think the exemption should be scrapped?Mongabay: I really think that a proper stakeholder consultation needs to be done. We need to talk to these farmers and the local community directly and listen to what they really need, what real challenges they are facing. This issue needs a bottom-up approach. I don’t think there is enough understanding on what is really going on and what is needed by the community. Once we have a full understanding on the issues, then we can come up with a solution.Mongabay: The lobby groups also asked the court to edit the environment and forestry laws so that companies would no longer be held strictly liable for fires that occur on their land. Do you think that’s a good idea?Aida Greenbury: Fires have destroyed so much. Not just in Indonesia, but globally. It’s the way nature tries to tell us something is not right. It means we need to understand that we need to move away from business as usual, and that means everybody, not just businesses. Everybody must fulfil their legal obligations, that’s very clear, but fire prevention is not just about legal compliance. It’s about responsible landscape management. Every stakeholder in the landscape is responsible for the damage done in any part of the landscape because fires and hydrology destruction do not recognize administrative boundaries. There is a need for collective responsibility for fire prevention and addressing the underlying causes.The completion of PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mill in South Sumatra — which has greater production capacity than initially advertised — has raised concerns among NGOs whether APP will be able to maintain its zero deforestation commitment. Photo of an acacia plantation in various stages of harvest by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: Lobby groups and industry ministry officials have said 2014 Peatland Protection Law should be edited so that a peatland is not considered “damaged” if the water table drops below 40 centimeters. Do you have thoughts on that?Aida Greenbury: Peatland is a very complicated system. Peatland is not always submerged under water. It acts as a sponge that regulates the water table naturally and water level fluctuates through the seasons. If we want to prevent peatland from being damaged, we need to try to mimic the natural patterns as much as possible. Peatland’s natural behavior cannot really be measured in centimeters.Mongabay: While the 2014 peat law requires plantation managers to maintain a water table of at least 40 centimeters, the rule is widely disregarded because the government has yet to establish a system for measuring the water table, and there is now a debate over what that system should look like. What do you think it should look like?Aida Greenbury: This is related to forest and peatland monitoring, as I mentioned earlier. We need innovative technology that is cheap and user friendly, which can be used to monitor not just forest and peatland restoration but also water tables in peatland. We need to look at large scale radar satellite technology to be able to monitor this regularly. Climate change funding needs to be used to support crucial programs such as this.Mongabay: APHI has called for companies whose licenses precede Jokowi’s regulation of last December to be allowed to develop peat in their concessions, because enforcing the rule will hurt business certainty. Do you agree?Aida Greenbury: Define ‘peat development’. If it requires deforestation or uncontrollable and irresponsible drainage, then it should not be allowed. We have done enough damage to our forests and peatlands.Rainforest in Riau’s Bukit Tigapuluh National Park on the island of Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Mongabay: Is corruption and nepotism in the land allocation process a major driver of deforestation? How can the government rein it in and do you believe the government should be more supportive of the KPK (Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission)?Aida Greenbury: The KPK, which according to its constituting act number 30/2002 began operation in 2003 under the Megawati administration, was not truly a result of the political will of the sovereigns to combat corruption (Masduki, 2005). Politically motivated, this agency was created to rectify the poor public image of Habibi’s regime and more as a result of the international monetary fund’s recommendations (Roby Arya Brata, 2014). Lacking the political will, it was initially created as a PR façade. It doesn’t surprise me that the KPK doesn’t function as it should. Indonesia needs to truly take ownership of the KPK. Perhaps now it is time for Indonesia to review the KPK’s scope and functions, without additional external pressures, to ensure that it is truly functional and that law enforcement is implemented properly to support the agency, including a review on corruption in the natural resources sector and the nepotism eradication commission needs to be installed or not.* Greenbury is continuing to provide advice on the more technical aspects of sustainability as one of the APP’s external consultants.Editor’s note (July 26, 2017): We added the disclosure that Greenbury is continuing to provide advice to APP on the more technical aspects of sustainability as one of the company’s external consultants. Article published by Rhett Butlercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

eBay is outselling the darknet in the illegal wildlife trade, fret researchers

first_imgRepeated searches of markets on the dark web have found negligible trace of illegal wildlife products.This news is troubling, conservationists say, because it suggests that traders are content to sell wildlife products on mainstream websites like eBay, where they rely on the sheer volume of transactions and lack of regulation to mask their activity.Regulating the wildlife trade on sites like eBay can be complex because the legality of sales is difficult to establish.Machine learning — developing computer systems capable of monitoring and policing online transactions — holds promise for enforcement on the surface web, but is currently hampered by online market operators’ failure to engage with the issue. Beneath the readily available surface web lurks the “darknet” (or “dark web”) — a secretive hub for anonymous exchanges that often involve illicit goods like narcotics and child pornography. In a 2016 study published in Conservation Biology, scientists searched these dark corners of the internet for illegally traded wildlife products, such as rhino horn and elephant ivory. But they found almost nothing.A year later the researchers repeated their search. Again, they reported little sign of the illegal wildlife trade on the darknet. For conservationists, the news was troubling.“Criminals can trade on the surface web without facing charges for the most part,” said Julio Hernandez-Castro, a co-author of the paper and a cybersecurity expert at Kent University, U.K. “That’s why they don’t feel compelled to move to the darknet as other criminals, selling drugs or firearms, are forced to.”The dark webMost internet users only see the tip of the digital iceberg — sites that are indexed and readily accessible through search engines like Google or Bing. This tier of the World Wide Web, otherwise known as the “surface,” accounts for only five percent of the internet’s total depth. Beneath that hides the dark web.It uses undocumented domain addresses to hide the identity and location of users and conceal communication between them. And it can only be accessed using servers like The Onion Router, or TOR, named for its method of granting anonymity by burying user information in layers of encrypted code. As the 2016 study notes, even if it were possible to search through 10,000 addresses on the dark web per second, it would take 3.8 trillion years to catalogue them all.Black markets such as Silk Road and AlphaBay have bloomed in these conditions, allowing traders to buy and sell anything.However, when Hernandez-Castro and his colleagues trawled through 9,852 items on sale in darknet markets, they found only one wildlife product: San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), a plant caught in the flood of drug traffic due to its hallucinogenic properties.A report by Interpol this year also found “limited but clear evidence” of dark-web trading in wildlife products from endangered species, such as rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger parts.Yet overharvesting remains the second-largest cause of global species decline and extinction. The illegal wildlife trade, worth $19 billion to $26.5 billion per year to transnational organized crime, is the world’s fourth most profitable illegal trade, after drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting.Caption: African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Botswana. At least 20,000 elephants a year are poached for their ivory according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Dark web vs. surface webFor Hernandez-Castro and his team, the conspicuous absence of wildlife trade on the dark web suggests that traders are content to hide in plain sight on the surface by using popular auction sites such as eBay. Since online trading is poorly monitored, the traders simply rely on the sheer volume of transactions to mask their activity.“This is a very sad state of affairs … The scale of trade on the darknet is, for now, heavily correlated to the success in policing on the surface web,” said Hernandez-Castro. “And hence very, very limited.”Even in the relative openness of the surface web markets, regulating the wildlife trade can be complex because the legality of sales is difficult to establish. Hernandez-Castro explains that species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) cannot be legally sold without a permit, for instance. There are also rules under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and national laws to consider that further complicate where each sale stands in legal terms.“It isn’t just CITES, which is what most people discuss [the illegal wildlife trade] in relation to,” said David Roberts, a fellow co-author and researcher at Kent University. “CITES permits are essentially void if the trade is not in accordance with national law.”Since the internet has streamlined cross-border trade, the legality of each transaction can become entangled in the respective laws of the seller’s and buyer’s countries. For enforcement agencies, this means laboriously sifting through individual transactions for evidence of anything that could break national or international laws. The product’s ultimate origin is also important to consider. Is the ivory in a traded antique from the tusk of an endangered elephant, or from the bones of a less threatened species?“When it comes to online trade it is even more difficult as you only have a phone to identify if it is ivory, then it’s a question of whether it is pre- or post-CITES,” Roberts said.Monitoring online wildlife tradeTo distinguish between legal and illegal trade, Hernandez-Castro and Roberts have proposed an application of machine learning. This involves training computer programs to recognize patterns and intercept transactions which are likely to break restrictions.In fact, the team managed to detect illegal elephant ivory with 93 percent accuracy on an antiques section of eBay using an automated system they developed. Despite the proven potential of their prototype, the pair have struggled to attract the necessary funding to develop it as a tool for enforcement.“There is not enough interest and resources to police it properly on the side of marketplaces,” said Hernandez-Castro.eBay’s animal and wildlife products policy forbids the listing of pets and most live animals for sale, with some exceptions including insects and molluscs used for food or bait. Anyone wishing to sell animal parts, pelt or skin is advised to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and “follow applicable laws”, but the trade in any species included in CITES Appendix I (including elephants, tigers and rhinoceros) is prohibited.“The fact that I have students that with only 10 minutes training can find elephant ivory easily just goes to show [eBay’s] systems aren’t as effective as they could be,” Hernandez-Castro argued.Mike Carson, a senior manager at eBay, recently defended his company’s record on wildlife trafficking by highlighting their success in removing over 25,000 listings for illegal goods this year. Carson claimed eBay had begun to work closely with experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare to train staff in detection techniques, while their executives penned a letter to the European Commission in support of a total ivory ban throughout the EU in July.Although frustrated with the rate of change, Hernandez-Castro conceded that progress was at least being made.“To be fair, when we did our initial study… elephant ivory made up seven percent of items we searched through, now it’s around the one to two percent mark.”Online ennui may enable the illegal trade, but Roberts believes that conservationists have also failed in apprehending wildlife crime as it crosses the technological threshold.“Currently the agenda is focused on boots-on-the-ground enforcement and demand reduction, which has, in my opinion, a poor evidence base [of success],” Roberts said. “Online trade fits into a nebulous space between enforcement and demand reduction, and therefore falls through the gaps when it comes to funding research and intervention.”Entire species have similarly fallen through cracks because of regulation that is overly concerned with charismatic fauna like tigers and rhinos, Roberts argues. From his background in botany, he cites the example of cycads in South Africa: plants which do not garner as much public attention and have quietly disappeared through the wildlife trade. “Cycads are prehistoric,” he said. “They are architectural plants, so people want them for gardens, golf courses, hotels … Cycads sell for thousands of pounds and as a result, three species are now extinct in the wild, seven have fewer than 100 individuals, and 25 are critically endangered. One species [of cycad] declined from 9,600 individuals to 390 in a matter of years. Now imagine the same decline in a charismatic species.”Fewer than 200 individuals of the critically endangered Wolkberg Cycad are estimated to remain in the wild. Photo by JMK via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Philip Muruthi, vice president of species protection at the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), however, defended the fixation with tigers and rhinos among international NGOs tackling wildlife crime, insisting that “one has to be pragmatic and focus efforts.”“They should expand efforts while still continuing to track the most trafficked and valued products, like pangolins, rhino horn, elephant ivory and valuable timber,” he said.But Roberts argues that as long as popular species and photogenic solutions continue to receive the lion’s share of attention and resources, teaching computers to regulate the activities of online markets will remain a difficult sell.“No funder seems to want to pick up this ball,” he said.CITATIONS• Harrison, J. R., Roberts, D. L., & Hernandez‐Castro, J. (2016). Assessing the extent and nature of wildlife trade on the dark web. Conservation Biology, 30(4), 900-904.• Hernandez-Castro, J., & Roberts, D. L. (2015). Automatic detection of potentially illegal online sales of elephant ivory via data mining. PeerJ Computer Science, 1, e10.• INTERPOL. (2017). Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Darknet. INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation.• Roberts, D. L., & Hernandez-Castro, J. (2017). Bycatch and illegal wildlife trade on the dark web. Oryx, 51(3), 391-399.Header Image: The pangolin – a relative of the anteater whose scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine – is the world’s most trafficked mammal. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay Article published by Maria Salazar Animals, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environmental Crime, Illegal Trade, Interns, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

‘A vicious cycle towards extinction:’ Hunting and trade can push even abundant wildlife populations to the brink

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Elephants, Environment, Extinction, Mammals, Saving Species From Extinction, Wildlife Article published by Mike Gaworecki Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Researchers at the University of Queensland looked at something called the anthropogenic Allee effect (AAE), a theory that proposes a critical population level threshold below which the likelihood of a species going extinct increases substantially due to rising prices for rare animals incentivizing more hunting.Using mathematical models to determine how quickly wildlife populations can decrease as prices for animal products rise in response to animal scarcity, the researchers found that the population thresholds proposed by AAE theory can drastically underestimate extinction risks.While these findings would appear to call into question the biological sustainability of trophy hunting, the debate over trophy hunting is typically centered on social and economic outcomes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement in November that it was lifting a ban on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia — an order President Donald Trump said in a tweet two days later that he had put on hold — was merely the latest flashpoint in a debate that has been raging for years.Proponents of trophy hunting insist that it generates revenue that can be directed towards conservation efforts and creates incentives for local populations to conserve particular species. Opponents counter that there is no research proving these claims to be true and that there are better alternatives, such as eco-tourism, the benefits of which are more established and do not rely on killing animals for sport.According to the Matthew Holden, an applied mathematician at University of Queensland in Australia whose work focuses on how human behavior reacts to and impacts conservation policies, we don’t know enough about how trophy hunting affects wildlife populations to say with any certainty whether or not the legalization of the transport of elephant trophies could drive African elephants to extinction.“Both sides of the trophy hunting debate make seemingly logical arguments, but actually very little is known about the social and economic side of trophy hunting and that’s a big concern,” Holden said in a statement.Holden is the lead author of a study recently published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology that adds a significant new dimension to the debate, however. He and a colleague at the University of Queensland looked at something called the anthropogenic Allee effect (AAE), a theory that says species extinctions can be driven by the increasingly high prices people are willing to pay for wildlife and wildlife products as target species become more rare due to hunting and other pressures.“Our research isn’t specific to elephants and trophy hunting,” Holden said, “but the existence of price rarity relationships have been shown time and time again in fish, mammals and even butterflies. These relationships can be detrimental to animal populations.”AAE theory holds that there is a critical population level threshold below which the likelihood of a species going extinct increases substantially. “Past theory says that if the price for animal products — like elephant trophy hunting expeditions — were to skyrocket as animals declined, this would create extra financial incentive to sell these products,” Holden said. “The theory says that more animals then die from increased hunting, which would then skyrocket product price further, in a vicious cycle towards extinction.”Using mathematical models to determine how quickly wildlife populations can decrease as prices for animal products rise due to animal scarcity, Holden and team found that the population thresholds proposed by AAE theory can drastically underestimate extinction risks.“Our analysis shows that this threshold can be much higher than the original theory suggests, depending on initial harvest effort. More alarmingly, even species with population sizes above this Allee threshold, for which AAE predicts persistence, can be destined to extinction,” Holden and co-author write in the study. “Introducing even a minimum price for harvested individuals, close to zero, can cause large populations to cross the classic anthropogenic Allee threshold on a trajectory towards extinction. These results suggest that traditional AAE theory may give a false sense of security when managing large harvested populations.”While these findings would appear to call into question the biological sustainability of trophy hunting coupled with unrestricted trade and transport of animals and animal parts, the debate is typically centered on social and economic outcomes. For instance, a 2015 report by US-based NGO Safari Club International, one of the largest trophy hunting advocacy organizations in the world, claimed that trophy hunting contributes as much as $426 million every year to the economies of eight African countries — Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe — while creating more than 53,400 jobs.But a subsequent report released earlier this year by the Humane Society International, the international arm of the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States, examined those claims and found that SCI had “grossly overstated the contribution of big game hunting” to those eight countries’ economies, and that, in reality, tourism in Africa “dwarfs” trophy hunting as a source of revenue.If even large animal populations that are considered safe from extinction can be threatened by trophy hunting, however, that must certainly be taken into account by decisionmakers like those at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who are weighing whether or not to allow sport hunters to bring their trophies home — which would only incentivize more hunting and could possibly trigger the “vicious cycle towards extinction” identified by Holden.“Our study shows this process can start when the population is much larger than previously thought,” Holden said. “It suggests large populations predicted safe by previous theory may in fact be in danger. African elephants may fit this category — they are abundant.”Elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler.CITATIONHolden, M. H., & McDonald-Madden, E. (2017). High prices for rare species can drive large populations extinct: the anthropogenic Allee effect revisited. arXiv preprint arXiv:1703.06736. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.06.019last_img read more

Red flags as Indonesia eyes relocating its capital city to Borneo

first_imgArticle published by Basten Gokkon The Indonesian government will build a new capital city on the island of Borneo within the next five years, and without clearing any protected forest, the planning minister says.The exact location for the so-called forest city hasn’t been announced yet, but the plan has already raised fears about the impact to the environment and to local communities who are dependent on the region’s dwindling forests.Mining, logging, and oil palm cultivation have already taken a heavy toll on Borneo’s rainforests and wildlife, including critically endangered orangutans.The influx of migrants from other parts of Indonesia has historically been a flash point, sparking sometimes deadly conflicts with indigenous communities, and activists fear an escalation in both conflicts and land grabs as more people move to the new capital. JAKARTA — Indonesia’s proposed new capital city on the island of Borneo will be built in just five years and without the need to raze any protected rainforest, a government official claims.President Joko Widodo declared his intention to relocate the capital from the bustling, traffic-choked and polluted metropolis of Jakarta following his April 17 re-election. While the idea of moving the capital has been floated by previous presidents, Widodo says he is serious about implementing it.Construction is expected to begin as soon as 2021, with a completion date of 2024, when Widodo’s second and last term in office ends, according to Bambang Brodjonegoro, the planning minister. But the government has still not said where the new capital will be located within Indonesian Borneo, a region known as Kalimantan and spanning 544,000 square kilometers — an area twice the size of New Zealand.“The masterplan that we’ve been developing will hopefully become an ideal city, and most importantly, will be the standard for the development of big cities in metropolitan areas in Indonesia,” Bambang told reporters in Jakarta on Aug. 1.The first phase of the city slated for completion in 2024 will span 20 square kilometers (8 square miles), nearly six times the size of New York City’s Central Park. By 2045, the new capital will be spread over 2,000 square kilometers of land — and no protected forests will have to be deforested for the new development, according to the planning minister.That’s because the new capital will have at least 50 percent “open green space,” which includes recreational parks, a zoo, botanical garden, and sports complex “integrated into the natural landscape such as hilly areas and river systems,” Bambang said.“The open green space won’t mean it’s cleared land, but an actual green area, and our concept is that of a forest city,” he said. “So as we build the new capital from zero, we will also restore the environment in Kalimantan. This is our strategy to ensure that the environment will not be disturbed as the development of new capital takes place.“Our big commitment is that this won’t reduce the size of protection area forest in Indonesia,” he added.President Widodo, center, visits the Bukit Suharto area in East Kalimantan province in July with regional government officials. Image courtesy of the East Kalimantan government.Mining, logging, palm oilBambang has not shared with any outside environmental groups or experts what the concept of a “forest city” entails, or how it would be possible to create extensive urban space within a forested environment without disturbing the ecosystem.One thing it should have over Jakarta, consistently rated as having some of the worst traffic anywhere in the world, is a more efficient and better-integrated public transportation system, according to Bambang. It will also promote eco-friendly vehicles, such as electric cars. “We must build a city that doesn’t rely heavily on using private vehicles,” he said.The new city also promises to address a host of other present-day problems. Bambang said there would be drinkable tap water (not available at present in Indonesia); waste-to-energy facilities (the country is the second-biggest source of the plastic trash in the oceans, and is looking at burning some of that waste to generate electricity); and a sustainable drainage system (Jakarta’s sewers are notoriously ineffective, overflowing after even moderate rain, thanks to decades of indiscriminate littering).“There won’t be electricity poles and cables above ground anymore,” Bambang added. “All households will be connected to the gas system. So there won’t be any more stories about using 3-kilogram LPG tanks, which get a lot of subsidies, cause many problems, and aren’t environmentally friendly.”Kalimantan is home to 370,000 square kilometers (143,000 square miles) of tropical forest, about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) of which is designated as protected areas, according to the national statistics agency. It’s the third most populated region in Indonesia, after the islands of Java and Sumatra (both of which are significantly smaller in size), and the government estimates the current population of about 16 million will increase by nearly a third to more than 20 million by 2035.The region is home to indigenous communities whose lives revolve around intact forests, as well as to critically endangered species such as Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus).But industrial-scale forest clearing in recent decades — for mining, logging, and oil palm cultivation — has threatened the well-being and lives of both human and animal inhabitants of Kalimantan. The extensive draining of the island’s peat forests to make way for agriculture has also rendered the organic-rich soil highly flammable. In 2015 alone, nearly half of the deforestation recorded in Indonesia, or nearly 8,000 square kilometers (3,100 square miles) of forest loss, occurred in Kalimantan.A recent study evaluating large-scale road-building projects in Kalimantan, ongoing and planned, shows that they will fragment the forests further, threatening the forest corridors vital to the wildlife. Such a transformation, the authors say, is “worrisome” because the region hosts one of the world’s largest tracts of native tropical forest, spanning an area a quarter the size of Alaska.An intact forest in Gunung Mas district, Central Kalimantan province, in 2014. Image courtesy of Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace.Indigenous lands at riskJakarta is one of the largest cities in the world, with a greater urban area home to some 25 million people. It lies on the northwestern coast of Java, the world’s most crowded island. The relocation would relieve the city of the dual burden of serving as both the commercial and political capital of Indonesia, one that has exacerbated issues ranging from constant traffic jams to frequent flooding and ongoing land subsidence.President Widodo is expected to make an announcement about the location of the new capital later in August. He has teased several potential sites, with pictures on his social media accounts showing him visiting Bukit Suharto in East Kalimantan province, and Palangkaraya, Katingan and Gunung Mas in Central Kalimantan province.The governor of Central Kalimantan, Sugianto Sabran, told journalists his government had already allocated large swaths of land in those areas for the new capital: 660 square kilometers (250 square miles) in Palangkaraya, 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) in Katingan, and 1,210 square kilometers in Gunung Mas.For the host sites, the relocation promises to be lucrative: Bambang has estimated the cost of moving the capital at $32 billion, much of it raised from private investors and through public-private partnerships.“We have predicted that [moving the capital] would boost national economic growth by 0.1 to 0.2 percent, but for Kalimantan, it would be much higher than that,” he said.But the plan has sparked worries it will exacerbate environmental and social problems in Kalimantan, which has a long history of deadly conflicts between the indigenous population and migrants from other islands. Indigenous rights activists warn there could be a surge in land grabs as speculators look to cash in on demand for land.“To date, the indigenous communities have not been approached for a discussion,” said Rukka Sombolinggi, secretary general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago, or AMAN. “From our observation, it has only been the elite representatives of the society” who have been consulted about the relocation.She added that some of the candidate sites, Palangkaraya and Gunung Mas, are home to large areas of customary lands. She called on the government to hold open discussions with indigenous communities to defuse the threat of conflicts arising as a result of large numbers of people flooding into the new capital.“In 50 years’ time we don’t want the next generation to say that their elders were lied to by the government, when in actuality they just didn’t get the complete information,” Rukka said.Bambang said the anticipated influx would be limited, given that the new capital would be the seat of government and legislative services, and would not replace Jakarta as Indonesia’s business and commercial hub.“We will only be relocating government services, while others will remain in the old capital,” he said.“One of the criteria for the location is a place where the people are open to outsiders, because there will be many civil servants relocating there,” Bambang said.He also said the government had conducted anthropological assessments to pick the location, and that his office was working closely with the land ministry and environment ministry to ensure clarity about land ownership at the proposed site.A village in Gunung Mas district. The district is one of several sites across Borneo being considered to host Indonesia’s new capital city. Image by Sandy Watt for The Gecko Project.‘Disaster or success’Laretna Trisnantari Adhisakti, an architecture lecturer at Gadjah Mada University, said the new capital must also uphold and protect the natural landscape in Kalimantan.“The world is watching us because relocating the capital to Kalimantan means it can become either a disaster or a success: A disaster, because it could destroy further the lungs of the world; a success, because it could improve the lungs of the world,” she said.Bernardus Djonoputro, the president of the Indonesian Association of Urban and Regional Planners, said the design of the new capital must also adapt to the new milieu, with its high rainfall and extreme humidity.“One of the consequences of such a forest-based concept is that the buildings cannot be tall,” he said. “But if [the government] could truly create a city that is forest-based, it would a huge contribution to global city planning.”Sibarani Sofian, the secretary general of the Association of Indonesian City Planning Experts, said the new development must also be in line with Indonesia’s global commitment to reduce carbon emission by 30 percent by 2030.“The challenge is to resolve bigger problems, such as the impacts of mining in Kalimantan, or expanding the size of forest area there, instead of bringing the problems of Jakarta to a new place,” he said.Bambang said that the government would enforce strict compliance with regulations to tackle environmental and social damage, and ensure the new capital was sustainable.“There mustn’t be any changes driven by the private sector to zoning plans,” he said, in reference to speculators seeking to repeal protected-area status for forests in order to snap up the land. “I’m not necessarily anti-developer, but there are so many cases where people feel that a city is too driven by developers instead of the authorities.”Rukka, the indigenous rights advocate, said the key was to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities in whichever area was chosen as the location of the new capital.“The government must lay out to these communities the positive and negative consequences of the relocation,” she said.Citation:Alamgir, M., Campbell, M. J., Sloan, S., Suhardiman, A., Supriatna, J., & Laurance, W. F. (2019). High-risk infrastructure projects pose imminent threats to forests in Indonesian Borneo. Scientific Reports, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-36594-8FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Cities, Development, Environment, Forests, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

COP25 may put climate at greater risk by failing to address forests

first_imgAdaptation To Climate Change, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Footprint, Carbon Market, Carbon Offsets, Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Trading, Clean Energy, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change And Forests, Climate Change Negotiations, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, climate policy, Climate Politics, Climate Science, Controversial, Emission Reduction, Energy, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Environmental Politics, Forest Carbon, Forests, Global Environmental Crisis, Global Warming, Global Warming Mitigation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Law, Monitoring, Pollution, Research, United Nations COP25, originally slated for Brazil, then Chile, but starting today in Madrid comes as global temperatures, sea level rise, wildfires, coral bleaching, extreme drought and storms break new planetary records.But delegates have set a relatively low bar for the summit, with COP25’s primary goal to determine rules under Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement for creating carbon markets among nations, cities and corporations as a means of incentivizing emission-reduction strategies.Policy experts warn that global forest conservation is not yet being actively incentivized as part of carbon market discussions, a possible lapse apparently backed by Brazil and the government of Jair Bolsonaro which has declared its plan to develop the Amazon basin — the world’s largest remaining rainforest and vital to sequestering carbon to curb climate change.COP25 also seems unlikely to address the UN biomass carbon accounting loophole, which allows nations to convert obsolete coal plants to burn wood pellets to produce energy, with the carbon emitted counted as “zero emissions” equivalent to solar and wind. Scientists warn that biomass burning, far from being carbon neutral, is actually worse than burning coal. Flags of welcome. Madrid, Spain is host to the 25th annual United Nations Climate Summit (COP25) from December 2-13. The event draws more than 20,000 participants from 196 nations. Madrid had just one month to prepare for the summit after the earlier host, Santiago, Chile, backed out in November because of civil unrest. The event had originally been scheduled for Brazil. Image courtesy of the UNFCCC.Never have the stakes been higher, nor perhaps planetary politics or nature more unsettled, as participants gather for the annual United Nations Climate Summit. Indicative of a global sense of urgency, the European parliament just last week declared a “climate and environmental emergency,” urging EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Yet as delegations representing 196 nations gather today for two weeks in Madrid, Spain, for COP25, the Conference of the Parties, observers expect not breakthrough initiatives or pledges of deep new carbon cuts. Rather, negotiators have set a narrow agenda with modest outcome expectations a year prior to the agreed official 2020 implementation of the Paris Agreement.“This COP is a stepping stone in what has to happen next year,” explained David Waskow, the World Resource Institute’s international climate initiative director, during a teleconference with journalists. “This is a can-do moment at this COP to rally around the multilateral agreements and show we can achieve those ambitious commitments we need by next year.”But “Wait until next year,” along with the inaction that statement implies, could be the official motto of every COP since Paris 2015, even as global carbon emissions soar to record levels not seen in 3-5 million years, bringing staggeringly high temperatures (the world’s top 5 warmest years on record all occurred since 2014), and raging nature — accelerating sea level rise, worsening ice melt, wildfires, deluge and drought triggering mass migration and famine.This year’s COP has among its highest priorities the establishment of the rules for creating carbon markets among nations, cities and corporations as a means of incentivizing aggressive emission-reduction strategies in a variety of sectors, including forests — deemed crucial to slowing relentless global warming.Emission-cutting incentives are clearly needed, but whether those new rules will be effective is another question. In the face of mounting evidence and impacts, the world’s 20 largest economies, accounting for 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, have stubbornly refused to increase their carbon curbing ambitions required under the Paris Agreement.UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres was so disappointed by the outcome of COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018, that he called a special summit in New York City in September specifically for nations to increase their climate mitigation targets. Some 66 nations did, but they represented only 8 percent of global emissions. The world’s 20 largest economies, and biggest carbon polluters, did not commit to greater climate ambition. Image courtesy of the UNFCCC.The widening emissions gapAfter the failed attempt in New York in September by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to get the world’s major greenhouse gas polluters to commit to bigger emission cuts, COP25 participants are instead largely staking their hopes on a mechanism for creating carbon markets with the goal of placing a price on carbon.That mechanism? Article 6 of the Paris Agreement — a portion of the Paris rulebook too complex and contentious to finish a year ago at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.“We all know there is a significant emissions gap between where emissions are headed versus where they need to be to avoid the worst climate impacts,” Kelly Levin, a senior associate with World Resources Institute said in a conference call. “We need to make sure Article 6 aids rather than undermines the ambition of the Paris Agreement.”Levin’s statement was given greater emphasis by the November 26 release of the UN’s annual Emissions Gap Report. “The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, with emissions increasing too fast in the wrong direction — up 1.5 percent year after year for the past decade. To stay within the estimated “safe limits” of global warming and avoid climate calamity, global emissions must decline dramatically, by 7.6 percent annually between 2020 and 2030.Partially bleached hard and soft corals damaged by rising ocean temperatures at Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Coral reefs provide breeding habitat and sanctuary to 25 percent of all aquatic life. Photo credit: mattk1979 on Visual hunt / CC BY-SAArticle 6 explainedWith so little urgency on display among nearly all industrialized nations, slashing emissions at such a high annual rate would require a quick energy policy pivot, and be a longshot at best.“Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heat waves, storms and pollution,” said UN General Secretary Guterres in a statement.So, can Article 6, with its promise of tapping market forces, do the job? Here’s how it is meant to work: countries with low emissions would be allowed to sell their unused pollution allowance to larger emitters who need more pollution capacity. There would be an overall cap on emissions to ensure a net reduction. Supply and demand for emissions allowances would, ideally, lead to the establishment of a global carbon price that would financially punish those countries that exceed their emission pledges under the Paris Agreement.What could go wrong? Plenty, according to experts. Accurate carbon accounting is critical. Double counting — with both countries claiming the same reduction credit — must be avoided. Likewise, funded projects that offer carbon offsets (clean-energy development, for example), must be legitimate and effective in actually reducing emissions.“The rules matter; we can’t afford to lock in carbon market rules that undermine the integrity of the NDCs,” voluntary Nationally Determined Contributions to carbon emissions reductions under Paris, said Kelly Kizzier, an international climate expert with the Environmental Defense Fund. “Viable carbon markets can make considerable increases in ambition possible at no extra cost, but only if we get the rules right.”Deforestation, like that shown here in the Peruvian Amazon, is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire transportation sector. Despite the Paris Agreement’s specific call for nations to protect tropical forests, trends continue moving in the opposite direction, driven by mining, fossil fuel extraction, agribusiness and development. Image by Jason Houston.Forests: A missed Article 6 opportunity?Because deforestation is among the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions after energy generation, you might logically think that negotiators working on Article 6 would make it financially attractive — and a high priority — to invest in conserving forests and promoting reforestation, thus protecting valuable carbon sinks. They haven’t, yet.Forests aren’t being ignored, Levin said, but added: “There hasn’t been a particular [land] sector conversation about this. There are so many more, higher level, contentious issues around the broader issues of environmental integrity, that there hasn’t been the specificity around the role of forests.”Asked if a valuable opportunity is being thus far overlooked, Lina Barrera, a climate policy expert with Conservation International, told Mongabay: “Yes, absolutely. More than that, we know we cannot meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement without nature. If we were going to stop using fossil fuels right now and continue emitting from the land sector, we will not reach the goals of Paris,” holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 over a 1900 baseline; a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) rise has already occurred.Not surprisingly, international politics is at the heart of the impasse. And Brazil — led by a government actively hostile to the protection of the Amazon, the world’s largest and most important rainforest — is a primary obstacle.Rishi Bhandary, a fellow at the climate policy lab at Tufts University, told Mongabay that Brazil “has been extremely opposed” to forests being included in Article 6 and especially opposes “an explicit link between Article 6 and REDD+.” REDD+ is an existing policy for “reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation” by paying tropical countries to keep forests standing.Brazil has received significant REDD+ funds, primarily from Norway, with the goal of protecting large swaths of rainforest. Yet Norway has taken no carbon offsets in return, to date. And monitoring Brazil’s REDD+ compliance has been sketchy at best, Bhandary explained. But all that is in the past. Under President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office last January, Brazil is loath to see the greater scrutiny and accountability that would be required under Article 6. Bolsonaro is also extremely hostile toward environmental NGOs, often the recipients of REDD+ project funding.“I don’t think countries have a leg to stand on by arguing that certain sectors, especially forests, should be excluded from Article 6,” Bhandary said.If Article 6, a top priority of Madrid’s COP25, does not clearly define incentives to fight deforestation, a leading cause of climate change, that could undermine investor confidence in carbon trading’s effectiveness, warned Bhandary. An Article 6 forest conservation loophole would also diminish the viability of the Paris Agreement, he added, at a time when new incentives are needed most to promote climate change curbing ambition.One of the largest users of woody biomass for energy production, the Drax power stations in the United Kingdom. The UK has nearly eliminated burning coal for energy, cutting its official United Nations IPCC emissions, but is ramping up its burning of woody biomass, a carbon intensive energy source. Photo credit: DECCgovuk on VisualHunt / CC BY-ND.Ignoring the biomass loopholeIn an instance of what critics see as deep irony, European Union delegates say their biggest concern in getting Article 6 rules right is making sure carbon accounting is accurate. This from a confederation with a Renewable Energy Directive that embraces the UN’s controversial carbon accounting loophole — allowing the industrial burning of wood pellets, or biomass, to be counted as a renewable energy source on par with solar and wind.Under this standard, carbon emissions produced by biomass burning are counted as zero, and do not exist for UN carbon accounting purposes. On paper, countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark and Belgium now report biomass-related emission reductions of 10-30 percent when in fact their emissions have increased — an even greater irony now, say experts, given the EU’s “climate emergency” declaration last month.A decade of scientific studies, and a letter from nearly 800 EU scientists earlier this year, have established that the burning of wood pellets at former coal-fired power plants creates more emissions than coal. In addition, the claimed emission offset achieved by planting new trees to soak up the carbon released from those just burned, takes decades if not centuries for real carbon neutrality — time humanity clearly doesn’t have, scientists concluded.“If you had to come up with one idea to really undermine the progress in climate mitigation, you can’t do better than cutting down forests and burning them,” said scientist Mary Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity in the U.S., and a leading biomass accounting expert.COP25’s success will likely be judged on the integrity of the final rules it establishes to fully implement the Paris Agreement in 2020; but the possible neglect by negotiators of forest incentives under Article 6, and of the biomass carbon accounting loophole, doesn’t bode well. No surprise there, considering past climate summit sidestepping. What would be new is evidence of the political will needed for aggressive climate policies.“We’re already late in taking the actions we need to take,” Conservation International’s Barrera said. “And the longer we delay in all the rules for [Paris] implementation, we’re basically putting ourselves and the planet at risk. There is no time left to delay.”Banner image: The loss of global forests not only deprives us of carbon sinks, but also biodiversity. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.Justin Catanoso, a professor of journalism at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, covers climate change and climate policy for Mongabay; this is his sixth UN climate summit. Follow him on Twitter @jcatanosoFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

Nadal wins 10th Monte Carlo Masters

first_imgMONACO (AP):As the first men’s tennis player in the Open era to win the same title 10 times, Rafael Nadal showed yesterday that he’s likely the best ever on clay after easily beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Spanish final at the Monte Carlo Masters.It was Nadal’s 50th career title on his favoured surface, moving him one clear of Argentine Guillermo Vilas. The next big challenge for Nadal will be winning a 10th French Open title. The last of his 14 Grand Slams was three years ago in Roland Garros.”I want,” Nadal said after yesterday’s game, a smile breaking across his face. “I really want it too.”It was Nadal’s 70th career title but the first of the season, having lost his previous three finals – two of those to Roger Federer.The only final the 30-year-old Nadal has lost at Monte Carlo was to Novak Djokovic in 2013.”Winning 10 times in such an important event like Monte Carlo is something difficult to describe,” Nadal said. “My serve worked great. I have been hitting very well on backhand during the whole week. The forehand is better and better every day.”Ramos-Vinolas wasn’t a threat to the defending champion.Appearing in his first Masters final, the 15th-seeded Ramos-Vinolas saved three break points in his first service game and was 0-40 down in his next. Nadal served out the set in 30 minutes with an ace.GOOD SERVING”He was a little bit better in everything. When he’s a little bit better in everything, the difference is what we saw,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “Last time I played against him, I felt that on (his serve) it was my chance to put some pressure. But today I felt that he was serving so good.”Nadal’s 29th Masters title moves him one behind Djokovic’s record. He will also have his sights set on a 10th title in Barcelona next week – Nadal’s previous career title was there, almost one year ago.Since then, Federer has beaten him in finals at the Australian Open and the Miami Masters, either side of a win for big-serving American Sam Querrey at Acapulco, Mexico. Federer also beat Nadal in the fourth round at Indian Wells.”(This title) arrives in just the right moment, I believe,” Nadal said. “Winning here is an important step forward for me.”Nadal’s 70 titles are three better than Djokovic, who is a year younger. Nadal is fifth on the all-time list, but seven behind John McEnroe. Further ahead, the 35-year-old Federer has 91; Ivan Lendl 94 and Jimmy Connors is a long way away with 109.last_img read more

EBD supermarket robbed twice in 3 weeks

first_imgAn East Bank Demerara businessman is contemplating permanently closing his supermarket after bandits hit the business a second time three weeks.Sometime around 19:35h on Wednesday, three gunmen, two of whom wore masks, executed a daring robbery at the Freshmart Supermarket located on the Covent Garden Public Road, EBD, escaping with over $1 million in cash and valuables from staff and customers.Freshmart Supermarket in Covent Garden, EBDGuyana Times understands that the businessman had just arrived at the location to balance the cash while two staff were attending to the remaining customers when the three bandits stormed the premises brandishing guns and issuing threats.They forced the occupants to lie face down on the floor as they proceeded to relieved them of their valuables including jewellery, phones and cash.According to the owner of Freshmart Supermarket, who requested that his name not be published, the trio was able to steal over $1 million in cash and valuables from both the business and customers at the time of the robbery.This newspaper understands that the robbery was captured on the surveillance cameras, from which the third unmasked perpetrator can clearly be identified. It was reported that the bandits escaped in a waiting car which was parked directly in front of the supermarket. However, the cameras could not clearly pick up the vehicle’s colour or model.The businessman further related that three weeks prior to this incident, his supermarket was robbed and although the security cameras managed to record the culprit, the Police are yet to make an arrest.The man explained that at the time of the first robbery, he was not pleased with the professionalism display by ranks at the Providence Police Station and this time round, he is far from satisfied with the pace of the investigation.Following these two recent attacks on Freshmart Supermarket, the businessman said that it has been closed for an indefinite period.“I do not know when or if I am going to re-open my business due to the crime situation and the way in which Police deal with such matters. The Police need to do more and act more rather than offer lip service. The previous matter although it wasn’t such a big robbery, the Police didn’t do what they were supposed to, they didn’t even want to listen to me, really,” the businessman posited.Meanwhile, the businessman is offering a reward of $1 million to anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of the three gunmen who robbed his supermarket two nights ago.“I have lost a lot of money…is more than one time now I get robbed and I think it is the same people carrying out the robberies…so I am offering this reward not to do the Police’s work but to help them do the work faster,” he stated.last_img read more

Senate Rejects Ellen’s Request for More Power

first_imgThe Senate yesterday, amidst hurried and rather strange and noisy proceedings, finally voted yea and nay to reject President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent request for extraordinary powers to carry on certain functions under the state of emergency declared on August 7, 2014 to fight the raging Ebola epidemic.  The Senators’ decision, delayed for weeks, was prompted by two separate letters sent to them by President Sirleaf early this month in which she informed that body of “measures being undertaken restricting/suspending certain fundamental rights of Liberian citizens,” and was seeking their (Senators’) approval.The Senators, during earlier proceedings on the President’s two communications, failed to take decisions on those fundamental issues that are contained in Article 12 of the 1986 Constitution on Labor; Article 13 on the Free Movement of People; Article 14 of the Constitution of 1986 which deals with Religious Restriction which is one of several contentious issues that were debated by plenary.Under Article 14, “The President may by proclamation, restrict certain religious practices, generally or specifically, if she finds that such practice further endangers the public health and contributes to the spread of the virus.”In her communication, President Sirleaf noted that “In many of our counties, where certain religious and tribal practices, such as the bathing . . . bodies is religiously observed, the spread [and] transmission of the disease have been prevalent and the death tolls have been enormous. To prevent death and spread of this disease, these practices will be restricted whenever and wherever it becomes necessary.”Other Articles that needed the Senate’s approval included Article 15 under which the President by proclamation or executive action, would  prevent any citizen, groups of citizens or entity…from  making public statements in person…otherwise causing a state of panic….  Article 17 and 24 that deal with Assembly of people, and Expropriation of Property, are also among demands contained in President Sirleaf’s communications.Yesterday’s sitting, which was earlier presided over by the President of the Senate, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, was concluded by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Executive, Senator Clarice Jah.  Senator Jah hurriedly left the Chambers after she had conducted the yea and nay vote, amidst protests by a sizeable number of Senators led by Isaac Nyenabo.Many of those in favor of the President’s request argued that the issues of the extra powers were in line with provisions available in the Constitution concerning the state of emergency, which had earlier been overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature.The House of Representatives had already unanimously voted against the President’s request, and sent a copy to the Senate for concurrence.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

APNU apologises for condoning disrespectful behaviour towards media

first_imgOne day after the Guyana Press Association (GPA) had blasted the coalition Government for condoning disrespect meted out to media workers at a joint press conference hosted by the APNU and AFC factions of Government, the Government has issued an apology to the GPA.The media was invited to this joint press conference, held at Congress Place, Sophia on Friday; but much to the media’s surprise, party supporters were at the briefing. As questions were being asked of the parties’ leaders, members of the media corps were heckled by those supporters.Media workers were boldly asked by the parties’ supporters, “What stupid questions are you asking?”, and in some cases, they were even asked if those were even questions. All the while, Government officials, inclusive of Acting President Moses Nagamootoo; Acting Prime Minister Carl Greenidge; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, sat quietly and condoned the disruptive behaviour of their supporters.However, the GPA did not mince words with the Government on Friday following the incident, but frontally reminded the Government that media workers have the right to conduct their duties without fear of intimidation. The GPA noted that it would not hesitate to call on media workers and media houses to boycott press events if this “unacceptable behaviour continues.”On Saturday morning, the APNU issued a statement apologising to the media. In its statement, the party said that it “wishes to express its apologies for the discomfort caused during the recent press conference.”It added, “As a political partnership and coalition partner of the Government, the APNU does not condone nor endorse any conduct that serves to intimidate and hinder duties of media workers,” while saying that it values the work of the media.However, this is a far cry from what occurred at Congress Place on Friday. The party, nevertheless, committed that it “endeavours” to ensure that such instances do not recur at future press conferences.last_img read more

Bandits terrorise, rob Vergenoegen family – 1 arrested with illegal gun, ammo

first_imgA Vergenoegen, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), family was left traumatised after they were beaten and terrorised by three unmasked bandits on Saturday evening at their home.The incident occurred sometime around 19:30h at the Lot 13 Vergenoegen residence. According to the police, the two males and one female bandits managed to make good their escape with a quantity of cash and jewellery as well as other valuables.Guyana Times understands that the ordeal lasted for about 30 minutes during which a businessman, Mohan Persaud, his wife and children, including his 10-year-old son were brutally assaulted by the perpetrators.Speaking with this newspaper, the 45-year-old businessman recalled that he was sitting in a hammock in the yard along with his 10-year-old son while his wife was in another hammock nearby and his 22-year-old daughter was sitting on the stairs when he heard the gate open.Persaud explained that his view of the gate was blocked by the canter so he could not see what was happening, but when he looked under the canter, he saw the feet walking into the yard.“Two men and a lady come and they stand up in front me. One ah them ask if ‘you’s the fish man that does do drugs’ and I tell them no, that how me does buy and sell fish. Them turn and say ‘you’s the one we looking for’ and by time that, all three ah them pull out one, one gun from them waist,” the man recounted.He said that upon seeing this, his daughter, who was on the step, ran upstairs and one of the perpetrators chased after her. The young woman rushed into a bedroom, where another one of her brothers, 20, was on his phone.“She holler ‘thief’ and meh big son duck under the bed but before she could go under the bed too, de bai scramble she and bring she back outside.”Back downstairs, the man said that the other male bandit and the female took him, his wife and young son into a room on the lower flat and asked for money.“I tell them ‘we nah get money’ and then them tell we fuh empty the barrels. I tell them ‘we nah get nothing in here, is only old clothes” but he say ‘I know you get money, you search’. So I empty out some of the clothes.”According to Persaud, while he was taking out the clothes from the barrel, the male bandit turned to his small son and threatened him.“He say ‘Alright, he done’. Then he asked what religion ah me and meh say Hindu so he turn and say ‘Offer ah prayer for he (son)’. I beg he don’t do anything but he put the gun to (my son) head and pull two times. I turn my face and then my wife say “Ayuh nah kill he, come I gon give ayuh the money’. The girl (bandit) left with meh wife and carry she upstairs.”The man said the lone bandit who remained with him started to “cuss up” and ordered him to empty the barrel to see if there was money inside. He further related that the bandit then gun-butted his head and blood started to ooze out.Upon seeing the blood, Persaud said his son started to scream but the bandit pushed him with the gun. The man said he tried to shield his son but was stuck again to his neck by the perpetrator, who then duct-taped his hands and feet together and put him to lie on the floor.He recalled that while being bound, he was kicked repeatedly to the side of his head as he tried to shield his 10-year-old son.The bandit then knelt on his son’s stomach. He further recalled that the unmasked perpetrator snatched off a band and a ring from his hand. Persaud noted that after some time, the female bandit returned downstairs with a red bag which he usually kept money in and showed it to the male bandit. The businessman said he had approximately $4 million in the bag including foreign currency.“The bandit then say ‘Alright, we gotta get the jewellery now’ and he left she with the gun pon me and meh son, and he went upstairs.As the bandit was emptying the barrels, Persaud said he threw the clothes on top of him. At that moment, he made attempts to free himself. Soon, he added, the bandit joined his two other accomplices in the upper flat. He eventually managed to free himself and rushed out to get help. He screamed for help but due to loud music in the area, his efforts proved futile.In a desperate attempt to save his family, he stopped a car and begged the driver to assist in alerting the police but by this time, the three bandits were seen leaving the yard.Persaud said that the bandits discharged several shots in the air as they escaped.He told Guyana Times, that the car he stopped for assistance collected the bandits and sped off the scene. The man said that the female bandit left one side of her footwear behind, while one of the male bandits ran out barefoot, also leaving his pair of “rubber slippers” behind.Persaud said that they called 911 twice but did not get through so he had to call a relative who is a police officer.He said that after the police came, they were helpful and transported them to the West Demerara Regional Hospital. However, he related that while on the way, he spotted a white Raum with a PRR registration number and alerted the officers.The ranks managed to intercept the vehicle. A search was conducted on the vehicle and six live rounds of ammunition and an unlicenced pistol were unearthed.According to the businessman, during the detainment, the suspect – whom he observed had on a pink shirt; the same as the person who was driving the vehicle that picked up the bandits – was resisting arrest and the cops had to fire a shot in the air to restrain him.The police said that the suspect is in custody assisting with further investigations.last_img read more