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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:10 pm

Real and imminent
extinction risk to whales


Only a few hundred North Atlantic right whales remain

Image

More than 350 scientists and conservationists from 40 countries have signed a letter calling for global action to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction.

They say more than half of all species are of conservation concern, with two on the "knife-edge" of extinction.

Lack of action over polluted and over-exploited seas means that many will be declared extinct within our lifetimes, the letter says.

Even large iconic whales are not safe.

"Let this be a historic moment when realising that whales are in danger sparks a powerful wave of action from everyone: regulators, scientists, politicians and the public to save our oceans," said Mark Simmonds.

The visiting research fellow at the University of Bristol, UK, and senior marine scientist with Humane Society International, has coordinated the letter, which has been signed by experts across the world.

Growing threats

"Save the whales" was a familiar green slogan in the 1970s and 1980s, part of a movement that helped bring an end to commercial whaling.

While stricken populations in most parts of the world have had a chance to recover from organised hunting, they are now facing myriad threats from human actions, including plastic pollution, loss of habitat and prey, climate change and collisions with ships.

By far the biggest threat is becoming accidently captured in fishing equipment and nets, which kills an estimated 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises a year.

Hundreds of scientists have expressed the same concern - that we are moving closer to a number of preventable extinctions. And unless we act now, future generations will be denied the chance to experience these intelligent social and inspiring creatures.

They point to the decline of the North Atlantic right whale, of which only a few hundred individuals remain, and the vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of California, which may be down to the last 10 of its kind.

And they say it is almost inevitable that these two species will follow the Chinese river dolphin down the path to extinction. The dolphin, also known as the baiji, was once a common sight in the Yangtze River but is now thought to have died out.

The letter, which has been signed by experts in the UK, US, Mexico, South Africa and Brazil, among others, points out that these "dramatic" declines could have been avoided, but that the political will has been lacking.

Dr Susan Lieberman of the Wildlife Conservation Society said she signed the letter to help scientists raise these issues more widely.

"It is critical that governments develop, fund, and implement additional needed actions to better protect and save these iconic species - so they don't end going the way of the baiji," she told BBC News.

The scientists say that more than half of the 90 living species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, are of conservation concern, and the trend of acting "too little, too late" must end.

They are calling on countries with whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) in their waters to act to monitor threats and do more to protect them.

Sarah Dolman of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, UK, said accidental capture in fishing gear, known as bycatch, is an issue around UK waters, causing the deaths of thousands of cetaceans and other animals, including seals and birds, a year.

These include harbour porpoises and common dolphins, and increasing numbers of minke and humpback whales off the coast of Scotland.

She said entanglement in fishing nets was a "horrible way to die" with some animals surviving with broken teeth or beaks, or losing their young.

She told BBC News: "We have a long way to go before we can be confident the fish we are eating is not causing bycatch of protected species like whales and dolphins."

The letter is part of a growing movement by scientists and conservationists to raise awareness of the threats faced by whales and their smaller relatives, the dolphins and porpoises.

The matter was discussed in September at a meeting of the scientific conservation committee of the International Whaling Commission, which has a core mission to prevent extinctions.

Members have set up an "extinction initiative" to work out how many extinctions we may be facing and what more we can do to prevent them.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54485407
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:15 pm

Hedgehog deaths in UK
as high as 335,000


Image

The team have been monitoring road crossings, roadkill and use of tunnels

Up to 335,000 hedgehogs are dying each year on UK roads, a study suggests.

The figure represents a three-fold mortality rate on 2016 data, described as "alarming" by a team at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) researchers.

A study in 2016 put the UK road death figure at 100,000 but experts suggested that was a "mid-line estimate".

Researchers said measures such as tunnels and speed bumps "could" protect the animals but ultimately relied on drivers' behaviour to change.

PhD student Lauren Moore led the review, which has been jointly funded by wildlife charity People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and NTU.

Recent estimates put the hedgehog population in England, Wales and Scotland at about one million, compared with 30 million in the 1950s.

Image

"Hedgehog roadkill is sadly a very familiar sight both in the UK and in Europe," Ms Moore said.

The research considered a number of measures to protect the creatures, including speed bumps, road signs and tunnels, but concluded none would be effective without help from drivers.

"Although we know some hedgehogs use road-crossing structures, we don't yet know how effective these solutions are," Ms Moore continued.

"Changing drivers' behaviour has been shown to be difficult to achieve and sustain, reducing the potential for meaningful reductions in roadkill."

She thought the solution may lie in a combination of measures constructed "in carefully chosen locations" close to hedgehog hotspots.

Nida Al-Fulaij, grants manager at PTES, said: "With thousands of hedgehogs killed on UK roads every year, the continuous development of road networks, without any mitigation, puts this already endangered species at even further risk."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-n ... e-54524338
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:32 pm

China steps-up on climate action

China’s President Xi Jinping surprised the global community recently by committing his country to net-zero emissions by 2060. Prior to this announcement, the prospect of becoming “carbon neutral” barely rated a mention in China’s national policies

China currently accounts for about 28% of global carbon emissions – double the US contribution and three times the European Union’s. Meeting the pledge will demand a deep transition of not just China’s energy system, but its entire economy.

Importantly, China’s use of coal, oil and gas must be slashed, and its industrial production stripped of emissions. This will affect demand for Australia’s exports in coming decades.

It remains to be seen whether China’s climate promise is genuine, or simply a ploy to win international favour. But it puts pressure on many other nations – not least Australia – to follow.

Goodbye, fossil fuels

Coal is currently used to generate about 60% of China’s electricity. Coal must be phased out for China to meet its climate target, unless technologies such as carbon-capture and storage become commercially viable.

Natural gas is increasingly used in China for heating and transport, as an alternative to coal and petrol. To achieve carbon neutrality, China must dramatically reduce its gas use.

Electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles must also come to dominate road transport - currently they account for less than 2% of the total fleet.

China must also slash the production of carbon-intensive steel, cement and chemicals, unless they can be powered by renewable electricity or zero-emissions hydrogen. One report suggests meeting the target will mean most of China’s steel is produced using recycled steel, in a process powered by renewable electricity.

Modelling in that report suggests China’s use of iron ore – and the coking coal required to process it into steel – will decrease by 75%. The implications for Australia’s mining industry would be huge; around 80% of our iron ore is exported to China.

It is critically important for Australian industries and policymakers to assess the seriousness of China’s pledge and the likelihood it will be delivered. Investment plans for large mining projects should then be reconsidered accordingly.

Conversely, China’s path towards a carbon neutral economy may open up new export opportunities for Australia, such as “green” hydrogen.

A renewables revolution

Solar and wind currently account for 10% of China’s total power generation. For China to meet the net-zero goal, renewable energy generation would have to ramp up dramatically. This is needed for two reasons: to replace the lost coal-fired power capacity, and to provide the larger electricity needs of transport and heavy industry.

Two factors are likely to reduce energy demand in China in coming years. First, energy efficiency in the building, transport and manufacturing sectors is likely to improve. Second, the economy is moving away from energy- and pollution-intensive production, towards an economy based on services and digital technologies.

It’s in China’s interests to take greater action on climate change. Developing renewable energy helps China build new “green” export industries, secure its energy supplies and improve air and water quality

The global picture

It’s worth considering what factors may have motivated China’s announcement, beyond the desire to do good for the climate.

In recent years, China has been viewed with increasing hostility on the world stage, especially by Western nations. Some commentators have suggested China’s climate pledge is a bid to improve its global image.

The pledge also gives China the high ground over a major antagonist, the US, which under President Donald Trump has walked away from its international obligations on climate action. China’s pledge follows similar ones by the European Union, New Zealand, California and others. It sets an example for other developing nations to follow, and puts pressure on Australia to do the same.

The European Union has also been urging China to take stronger climate action. The fact Xi made the net-zero pledge at a United Nations meeting suggests it was largely targeted at an international, rather than Chinese, audience.

However, the international community will judge China’s pledge on how quickly it can implement specific, measurable short- and mid-term targets for net-zero emissions, and whether it has the policies in place to ensure the goal is delivered by 2060.

Much is resting on China’s next Five Year Plan – a policy blueprint created every five years to steer the economy towards various priorities. The latest plan, covering 2021–25, is being developed. It will be examined closely for measures such as phasing out coal and more ambitious targets for renewables.

Also key is whether the recent rebound of China’s carbon emissions – following a fall from 2013 to 2016 – can be reversed.

Wriggle room

The 2060 commitment is bold, but China may look to leave itself wriggle room in several ways:

    First, Xi declared in his speech that China will “aim to” achieve carbon neutrality, leaving open the option his nation may not meet the target.

    Second, the Paris Agreement states that developed nations should provide financial resources and technological support to help developing countries reduce their emissions. China may make its delivery of the pledge conditional on this support.

    Third, China may seek to game the way carbon neutrality is measured – for example, by insisting it excludes carbon emissions “embodied” in imports and exports. This move is quite likely, given exports account for a significant share of China’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
So for the time being, the world is holding its applause for China’s commitment to carbon neutrality. Like every nation, China will be judged not on its climate promises, but on its delivery.

https://theconversation.com/china-just- ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:11 am

China's forest carbon
uptake underestimated


China's aggressive policy of planting trees is likely playing a significant role in tempering its climate impacts

An international team has identified two areas in the country where the scale of carbon dioxide absorption by new forests has been underestimated.

Taken together, these areas account for a little over 35% of China's entire land carbon "sink", the group says.

The researchers' analysis, based on ground and satellite observations, is reported in Nature journal.

A carbon sink is any reservoir - such as peatlands, or forests - that absorbs more carbon than it releases, thereby lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

China is the world's biggest source of human-produced carbon dioxide, responsible for around 28% of global emissions.

But it recently stated an intention to peak those emissions before 2030 and then to move to carbon neutrality by 2060.

The specifics of how the country would reach these goals is not clear, but it inevitably has to include not only deep cuts in fossil fuel use but ways also to pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

"Achieving China's net-zero target by 2060, recently announced by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, will involve a massive change in energy production and also the growth of sustainable land carbon sinks," said co-author Prof Yi Liu at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

"The afforestation activities described in [our Nature] paper will play a role in achieving that target," he told BBC News.

China's increasing leafiness has been evident for some time. Billions of trees have been planted in recent decades, to tackle desertification and soil loss, and to establish vibrant timber and paper industries.

The new study refines estimates for how much CO2 all these extra trees could be taking up as they grow.

The latest analysis examined a host of data sources. These comprised forestry records, satellite remote-sensing measurements of vegetation greenness, soil water availability; and observations of CO2, again made from space but also from direct sampling of the air at ground level.

"China is one of the major global emitters of CO2 but how much is absorbed by its forests is very uncertain," said the IAP scientist Jing Wang, the report's lead author.

"Working with CO2 data collected by the Chinese Meteorological Administration we have been able to locate and quantify how much CO2 is absorbed by Chinese forests."

The two previously under-appreciated carbon sink areas are centred on China's southwest, in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces; and its northeast, particularly Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces.

The land biosphere over southwest China, by far the largest single region of uptake, represents a sink of about -0.35 petagrams per year, representing 31.5% of the Chinese land carbon sink.

A petagram is a billion tonnes.

The land biosphere over northeast China, the researchers say, is seasonal, so it takes up carbon during the growing season but emits carbon otherwise. Its net annual balance is roughly -0.05 petagrams per year, representing about 4.5% of the Chinese land carbon sink.

To put these numbers in context, the group adds, China was emitting 2.67 petagrams of carbon as a consequence of fossil fuel use in 2017.

Prof Paul Palmer, a co-author from Edinburgh University, UK, said the size of the forest sinks might surprise people but pointed to the very good agreement between space and in situ measurements as reason for confidence.

"Bold scientific statements must be supported by massive amounts of evidence and this is what we have done in this study," he told BBC News.

"We have collected together a range of ground-based and satellite data-driven evidence to form a consistent and robust narrative about the Chinese carbon cycle."

Prof Shaun Quegan from Sheffield University, UK, studies Earth's carbon balance but was not involved in this research.

He said the extent of the northeast sink was not a surprise to him, but the southwest one was. But he cautioned that new forests' ability to draw down carbon declines with time as the growth rate declines and the systems move towards a more steady state.

"This paper clearly illustrates how multiple sources of evidence from space data can increase our confidence in carbon flux estimates based on sparse ground data," he said.

"This augurs well for the use of the new generation of space sensors to aid nations' efforts to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement."

Prof Quegan is the lead scientist on Europe's upcoming Biomass mission, a radar spacecraft that will essentially weigh forests from orbit. It will be able to tell where exactly the carbon is being stored, be it in tree trunks, in the soil or somewhere else.

Richard Black is director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), a non-profit think-tank working on climate change and energy issues.

He commented: "With China setting out its ambition for net zero, it's obviously crucial to know the size of the national carbon sink, so this is an important study.

"However, although the forest sink is bigger than thought, no-one should mistake this as constituting a 'free pass' way to reach net zero. For one thing, carbon absorption will be needed to compensate for ongoing emissions of all greenhouse gases, not just CO2; for another, the carbon balance of China's forests may be compromised by climate change impacts, as we're seeing now in places such as California, Australia and Russia."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54714692
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:37 am

UNITED NATIONS

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD:

THE 2030 AGENDA FOR
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Link to this important document:


https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/c ... %20web.pdf
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:44 am

The cheapest climate solution?

Return half of the planet to nature
By Brianna Baker

In September, the United Nations released a report indicting world leaders for failing to halt biodiversity collapse. Despite setting ambitious targets in 2010 to protect endangered ecosystems, we’ve lost a gut-wrenching 68 percent of species since 1970.

This isn’t just bad news for wildlife — it’s bad for us humans. Without diverse species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and the lands they inhabit, humanity stands to lose ecosystems that regulate our climate, give us a buffer to prevent pandemics, provide vital natural resources, and keep our air and water clean.

The solution is protecting habitat: specifically, 50.4 percent of the earth’s land, according to the team of scientists led by Eric Dinerstein, wildlife scientist and director of the research organization RESOLVE. That’s a major increase from the 15.1 percent of land area currently protected.

Formerly chief scientist for the World Wildlife Fund (yes, the one with the panda logo), Dinerstein helped create the conservation protocols that are protecting some of the world’s most beloved natural spaces, from the Galapagos to the Himalayas.

His most recent call to action is a collaboration between RESOLVE, the University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, and art and science nonprofit Globaïa. Called “Global Safety Net,” the report isn’t the first to call for the conservation and rewilding of half the world. But it does go a step further.

Researchers identified the exact land areas that need to be protected to prevent climate collapse and estimated the potential carbon storage for each region. The Global Safety Net app features an interactive map of those areas, made in partnership with Google Earth Engine.

Here, Dinerstein talks about how the climate and conservation movements can join forces, and why saving half our land means saving the world. His remarks have been edited for length and clarity.

Q.Climate change and biodiversity loss are clearly huge problems. How do we better connect the solutions?

A.By nature, humans compartmentalize. People who know the most about climate science are often atmospheric scientists who don’t study biodiversity science beyond grad school.

Similarly, there aren’t many biodiversity scientists who have a really fundamental understanding of atmospheric science. And institutions keep them apart even further.

The United Nations has one agency for climate change, and one for biodiversity, and the two don’t interact. But these existential threats are interdependent.

Let’s zoom in on the Amazon rainforest as an example. As temperatures rise and the atmosphere dries out, much of those incredibly rich areas for biodiversity revert to savannas.

The trees that are adapted to wet rainforest conditions get pushed past their physiological limits and croak, creating biomass fuel for wildfires, destroying habitats for wildlife.

And instead of pulling carbon dioxide out of the air, burning trees are now pumping it back into the atmosphere, accelerating the climate crisis.

Climate scientists and biodiversity scientists need to come together to form one field of “earth science” in the true sense of the word. It’s the only chance of saving life on Earth.

Q.Global Safety Net calls for protecting half the world’s land. How do we get to that target?

A.Fortunately, about 50 percent of the Earth’s surface is still considered intact, semi-intact, or slightly degraded — meaning that land has lost some but not all its health and productivity. So there’s enough land that doesn’t overlap with human populations available for preservation, and the Safety Net proposal deliberately chooses not to intersect with existing agriculture and the built environment. Fifteen percent of the Earth’s land is already protected.

An additional 12 percent of land is inhabited by Indigenous people, who are experts in biodiversity. If we officially give them land tenure and honor their right to steward those ecosystems — and in their decision-making power they allow us to designate that land as part of the Global Safety Net — then the total protected regions would reach 27 percent.

All we need to do is set aside another 23 percent — and we can get there. Just look at COVID-19, and how the behavior of society can change on a dime if need be. We just need to recognize that we have to take certain measures to conserve our species and conserve our public health.

Q.What about agriculture? Will that leave enough land for growing?

A.The truth is, the world was producing enough food in 2015 to feed 10 billion people — that’s 2.2 billion more people than we have on Earth today.

The international food system is full of mismanagement and waste. Thirty-seven percent of the world’s surface is dedicated to intensive agriculture, but 77 percent of that land is used to grow crops to feed livestock.

If Western, industrialized societies stopped eating so much meat and we dedicated land on each continent to grow and feed people locally, rather than shipping internationally, we could cut food waste and end hunger.

We don’t need more land — we need to fix our broken food system.

Q.What do we do with that land once it’s preserved? And how will it actually fight climate change?

A.We have to draw down carbon dioxide to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis, and we can do that through restoration.

Once the land is preserved, we must recreate damaged ecosystems along rivers and up and down mountains to allow larger mammals like tigers to migrate between habitats.

That involves expertly replanting carbon-sucking trees and other native plants. In the process, we could employ hundreds of millions of people, which is desperately needed during the current economic crisis.

All this should be done in combination with a moratorium on deforestation by 2040, and a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. If we put these three pieces together, we have a safe pathway to a sustainable biosphere without having to invent any new technologies. We have the tools at our disposal if we just do it.

Q.Some of our world leaders can’t even admit that climate change is real. How do we get them to commit to this when we’ve got serious human problems going on — like a pandemic?!

A.Well, pandemics happen as a direct result of biodiversity loss. There have been a number of cases of zoonotic spillover of diseases — or viruses jumping from wildlife populations to humans — in the past couple centuries.

Scientists predict that the next pandemic is likely to come from the Amazon. As we clear more tropical forest, we expose ourselves to the interior forest and the animals that live there. By keeping these forests and these habitats intact, we’re creating a natural vaccine for the next coronavirus.

The most critical countries for the Safety Net are the U.S., India, Russia, China, and Brazil. Those governments aren’t typically sympathetic to environmental problems. But look at how fast the status quo is changing.

Governor Newsom of California, the fifth largest economy in the world, signed an executive order phasing out gas-powered cars by 2035. We need more dramatic changes like that in the conservation and climate sectors that will put us on the right path, and I think it’s entirely possible.

And despite what those leaders might say, conservation is well within the world’s budget. The cost of executing the Safety Net is between $100 and $150 billion a year, which is a fraction of what world governments are spending on pandemic relief.

And the financing is not going to be that expensive compared to fighting future pandemics or dealing with the worst of climate breakdown, like sea level rise or the kind of fires we’re seeing now, which will only become more commonplace.

If those points don’t convince our current leaders, then we will vote in new leaders — charismatic influencers who can help sway public opinion, who really understand the depth of the problem and are willing to take drastic measures.

https://grist.org/fix/the-cheapest-clim ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:44 pm

Why Doesn’t Anyone Care?

The Melting Arctic Is a Real-Time Horror Story

Click to enlarge:
1268

In August 2018, scientists learned that 40-foot piles of compacted sea ice — some of the oldest and most durable clusters in the Arctic — are breaking away from the coast of Greenland and drifting out to sea. One meteorologist called it “scary,” but it was hardly unexpected.

As the earth’s climate heats up, the idea of a “blue Arctic” — that is, the disappearance of sea ice for at least part of the year, leaving only open ocean — has long been predicted by climate scientists. Some researchers believe that you might be able to kayak to the North Pole as early as 2030; others think the sea ice might last until 2040 or longer.

The thawing of the Arctic is one of the biggest stories of our time, even if it is playing out at a pace and in a way that virtually guarantees most people will pay little or no attention to it. What’s going on is not a future concern, or simply a tragedy for polar bears; the warming Arctic is already having a tremendous impact on our world and may help explain much of the recent extreme weather, especially in the U.S. and in western Europe. To oversimplify this only slightly, you could argue that 2018’s historic wildfires in California were predicted by heat in the Arctic.

In recent years, the Arctic has been heating up faster than any other place on the planet. (In February 2018, temperatures in the Arctic were 45 degrees Fahrenheit above normal). That same year, German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf wrote an excellent piece in Politico explaining why the warming Arctic is not only causing ice to melt, but changing the weather dynamics for the entire planet.

“That global warming leads to more heat extremes is not rocket science and has been confirmed by global data analysis,” Rahmstorf wrote. He pointed out that we are seeing five times more monthly heat records — such as “hottest July on record in California” — than we would in a stable climate. More heat means drier soils, causing more drought and wildfires. It also means more extreme rain, given that a warmer atmosphere can suck up and then release more moisture (a global increase in rainfall records is well-documented in weather station data).

But then Rahmstorf made a crucial point: “It’s not just that the weather is doing what it always does, except at a higher temperature level. Rather, there is growing evidence that the dynamics of weather itself are changing.”

The basic idea, Rahmstorf argued, is that the jet stream — a band of high winds around the Northern Hemisphere that significantly influences our weather in the mid-latitudes — is changing.

Researchers showed in 2015 that the jet stream has actually slowed down significantly in recent decades and undulates more. The cause is likely to be the warming of the Arctic, as the stream is driven by the temperature contrast between the tropics and the Arctic.

Because this temperature difference is getting smaller and smaller, the jet stream is weakening and becoming less stable. “The weaker summer circulation means fewer weather changes, so the weather is becoming more persistent,” Rahmstorf wrote.

It’s not only summer weather that is changing. In 2018, one study showed that when the Arctic is unusually warm, extreme winter weather is two-to-four times more likely in the eastern U.S. As Rahmstorf noted, “Climate change does not just mean that everything is gradually getting warmer. A certain wave pattern in the jet stream, meandering from north to south, settles for a long time and brings heat and drought or continuous rain, depending on where you are in this pattern.

Such a persistent jet stream pattern has played an important role in the weather extremes of recent weeks, connecting the extremes around the Northern Hemisphere.”

More extreme weather is not the only immediate and alarming consequence of a melting Arctic. Another is the thawing of permafrost, the vast realm of permanently (until now) frozen ground that lies beneath the snow and ice in the Arctic.

Trapped in this frozen soil and vegetation is more than twice the carbon found in the atmosphere. As the permafrost thaws, microbes come to life and start eating the buried organic matter, which in turn releases CO2 and methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times as potent as CO2 (although shorter-lived).

A 2014 study estimated that thawing permafrost could release around 120 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by 2100, which would contribute another .3 degrees Celsius of warming. And that may be a conservative estimate.

National Geographic ran compelling story about a Russian scientist who is seeing permafrost melt in northern Siberia at a much faster rate than anyone anticipated — the landscape is warping and the ground is literally cratering as the soil thaws.

And a new study by Katy Walter Anthony, a biochemist at the University of Alaska, has discovered that methane is bubbling out of thermokarst lakes (meltwater lakes on the permafrost) at a rate that is double the previous estimates.

As the permafrost thaws, who knows what else will be revealed? All kinds of long-frozen artifacts have been emerging from the ground recently, from well-preserved humans to a 30,000 year old baby horse. One real but still-unquantifiable risk: long-frozen bacteria and viruses like anthrax and smallpox could emerge, triggering an epidemic that plays out like a climate change-driven remake of The Andromeda Strain.

Plenty of people see the melting Arctic as a boon, of course. In the next few days, the first container ship will sail through a new shipping route in the Arctic, potentially shortening travel times from Asia to Europe. In Greenland, new mining operations (mostly for rare metals) are poised to open as the ice sheets retreat.

For the Russians, the Arctic is a new military frontier, a place for Vladimir Putin to show northern Europeans who’s boss. And of course nobody is doing more than President Trump to ensure a blue Arctic in the very near future. The Trump administration has successfully pushed Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling.

Trump also proposed both rolling back vehicle emissions standards and rewriting the Clean Power Plan to loosen limits on carbon pollution from power plants. If there is any clearer way of saying I could give a shit about the Arctic (or any other fragile eco-system), I can’t think of it.

Can the Arctic be saved? In theory, various geoengineering strategies might eventually be deployed to slow the melt, but for 10,000 different reasons (which you can read about here) that’s a dangerous idea. A far better solution would be an all-out assault on carbon emissions — a goal which, urgent as it may be, the world has made zero progress toward in the last three decades.

“Save the Arctic!”, however, is not a rallying cry that’s going to motivate many Americans. The Arctic is too distant, too far away, too alien. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Think of the Arctic as our early warning system, a big screaming alarm that is alerting us to the fact that the planet we will live on tomorrow is nothing like the planet we lived on yesterday, and we better get ready.

As the Arctic heats up, it raises sea levels in Miami and Bangladesh and every other coastal city in the world, and it increases the odds of wildfires in California and the west.

In a sense, the massive changes that are taking place in the Arctic are remaking the weather in America and northern Europe, with profound implications for everyone who lives there, whether they know it or not. And they are a reminder of one of the great truths about climate change, and one that is hardest to grasp:

In our rapidly changing world, no place is too distant or too far away to matter. Like it or not, we are all in this together.

When ice melts in the Arctic, the west burns

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the- ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:35 pm

Damage to environment in war
obstructs road to peace: UN


November 6 is the world day to prevent exploitation of the environment in war. Years of conflict in Iraq and Syria have damaged the environment and are an obstruction on the road to peace, according to a report published today

The “environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war. Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage,” read a United Nations statement marking the day that was first declared in 2001.

UN studies have found that at least 40 percent of conflicts in the past 60 years have been linked to exploitation of natural resources and are twice as likely to relapse. “There can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed,” it stated.

    Damage to the environment, whether deliberate or collateral, is felt long after the guns fall silent
The Islamic State (ISIS) destroyed the environment in the Yezidi heartland of Shingal where the group carried out genocide against the ethno-religious minority.

“Some of the clearest examples of IS’s [ISIS] deliberate, wanton destruction are related to irrigation wells,” wrote Amnesty International’s Richard Pearshouse in a report published Friday as a collaboration between a number of human rights and environmental organizations.

Amnesty International documented destruction of irrigation equipment and oil contamination of water sources. It was widespread and constitutes a war crime, Pearshouse stated.

“The worst thing is when you destroy a well: the trees and crops will die, the rest of the farm dies too… ISIS’s goal was to destroy the resources of a people that depend on crops and livestock,” a local agricultural official told Amnesty.

In Syria the conflict that has raged for nearly 10 years “has left a trail of environmental destruction that will remain for decades,” wrote Wim Zwijnenburg and Yifang Shi from Netherlands-based PAX in the same report.

PAX has documented a 20.4% loss in tree cover between 2012 and 2019 in western Syria where most of the forested areas are located. And oil spills have polluted rivers and agricultural lands across the country.

In Western Kurdistan, known to Kurds as Rojava Kurdistani, artisanal oil refineries operating without safeguards or environmental precautions have pumped toxins into the air, soil, and water.

Amnesty International, PAX and the other authors of the report call for an international agenda to address damage to the environment in war. “Conflicts will continue to wreak unacceptable levels of harm, accelerating environmental degradation and undermining human development and ecosystems. And by failing to develop and apply the policies that would help centre the environment in conflict transformation, we make a return to violence more likely,” they wrote.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/06112020
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:58 pm

The burning scar

Inside the destruction of Asia’s last rainforests

A Korean palm oil giant has been buying up swathes of Asia's largest remaining rainforests. A visual investigation published today suggests fires have been deliberately set on the land.

The rich rainforest in Papua, among the most biodiverse places on earth, is threatened by deforestation

"This is our mini market," he says, smiling. "But unlike in the city, here food and medicine are free."

Mr Kinggo is an elder in the Mandobo tribe. His ancestors have lived off these forests in Papua, Indonesia for centuries. Along with fishing and hunting, the sago starch extracted from palms growing wild here provided the community with their staple food. Their home is among the most biodiverse places on earth, and the rainforest is sacred and essential to the indigenous tribes.

Six years ago, Mr Kinggo was approached by South Korean palm oil giant Korindo, which asked him to help persuade his tribe and 10 other clans to accept just 100,000 rupiah ($8; £6) per hectare in compensation for their land. The company arrived with permits from the government and wanted a "quick transaction" with indigenous landholders, according to Mr Kinggo. And the promise of development was coupled with subtle intimidation, he said.

    The military and police came to my house, saying I had to meet with the company. They said they didn't know what would happen to me if I didn't
When he did, they made him personal promises as well, he said. As a co-ordinator, he would receive a new house with clean water and a generator, and have his children's school fees paid.

His decision would change his community forever.

Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of palm oil, and Papua is its newest frontier. The archipelago has experienced one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world - vast areas of forest have been cleared to make way for row upon row of oil palm tree, growing a product found in everything from shampoo to biscuits. Indonesia's palm oil exports were worth about $19bn (£14bn) last year, according to data from Gapki, the nation's palm oil association.

The rich forests in the remote province of Papua had until recently escaped relatively untouched, but the government is now rapidly opening the area to investors, vowing to bring prosperity to one of the poorest regions in the country. Korindo controls more land in Papua than any other conglomerate.

The company has cleared nearly 60,000 hectares of forests inside its government-granted concessions - an area the size of Chicago or Seoul - and the company's vast plantation there is protected by state security forces.

Companies like Korindo have to clear the land in these concessions to allow them to replant new palms. Using fire to do that - the so-called "slash and burn" technique - is illegal in Indonesia due to the air pollution it causes and the high risk blazes will get out of control.

Korindo denies setting fires, saying it follows the law. A 2018 report by the leading global green timber certification body - the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), of which Korindo is a member - concluded there was no evidence that illegal and deliberate fires were set by the company.

But according to a new investigation by the Forensic Architecture group at Goldsmiths University in London and Greenpeace International, published in conjunction with the BBC, there is evidence that indicates deliberate burning on the land during the land-clearing period.

The investigation found evidence of fires on one of Korindo's concessions over a period of years in patterns consistent with deliberate use.

Forensic Architecture uses spatial and architectural analysis and advanced modelling and research techniques to investigate human rights violations and environmental destruction. "This is a robust technique that can with a high level of certainty determine if a fire is intentional or not," said senior researcher Samaneh Moafi. "This allows us to hold the large corporations - who have been setting fires systematically for years now - liable in the court," she said.

The group used satellite imagery to study the pattern of land clearing inside a Korindo concession called PT Dongin Prabhawa. They used the imagery to study the so-called "normalised burn ratio", comparing it to hotspot data in the same area - intense heat sources picked up Nasa satellites, and put the two datasets together over the same period of time, 2011 to 2016.

"We found that the pattern, the direction and the speed with which fires had moved matched perfectly with the pattern, the speed, direction with which land clearing happened. This suggests that the fires were set intentionally," Samaneh Moafi said.

"If the fires were set from outside the concession or due to weather conditions, they would have moved with a different directionality. But in the cases that we were looking at there was a very clear directionality," she said.

Korindo turned down several BBC interview requests, but the company said in a statement that all land clearing was carried out with heavy machinery rather than fires.

It said there were many natural fires in the region due to extreme dryness, and claimed that any fires in its concessions had been started by "villagers hunting giant wild rats hiding under stacks of wood".

But locals near the concession in Papua told the BBC the company had set fires on the concessions over a period of years, during a timeframe which matched the findings of the visual investigation.

Sefnat Mahuze, a local farmer, said he saw Korindo employees collecting leftover wood, "the worthless stuff".

"They piled up long rows, maybe 100-200 metres long, and then they poured petrol over it and then lit them," he said.

Another villager, Esau Kamuyen, said the smoke from the fires "closed the world around them, shutting off the sky".

According to Greenpeace International, companies are rarely held to account for slash and burn - a practice that almost every year creates a smoky haze in Indonesia which can end up blanketing the entire South East Asian region, causing airports and schools to close.

A Harvard University study estimated that the worst fires in decades in 2015 were linked to more than 90,000 early deaths. The fires that year are also believed to have produced more carbon emissions in just a few months than the entire United States economy.

Many of the tribal allegations against Korindo were investigated for two years by the Forest Stewardship Council. The regulator's tree logo - found on paper products throughout the UK and Europe - is meant to tell consumers the product is sourced from ethnically and sustainable companies.

The FSC report into allegations against Korindo was never published, after legal threats from the company, but the BBC obtained a copy.

The report found "evidence beyond reasonable doubt" that Korindo's palm oil operation destroyed 30,000 hectares of high conservation forest in breach of FSC regulations; that Korindo was, "on the balance of probability … supporting the violation of traditional and human rights for its own benefit"; and was "directly benefitting from the military presence to gain an unfair economic advantage" by "providing unfair compensation rates to communities".

"There was no doubt that Korindo had been in violation of our rules. That was very clear," Kim Carstensen, the FSC's executive director, told the BBC at the group's headquarters in Germany.

The report recommended unequivocally that Korindo be expelled from the body. But the recommendation was rejected by the FSC board - a move environmental groups say undermined the credibility of the organisation.

A letter sent to the FSC board in August, signed by 19 local environmental groups, said the groups could no long rely on the body "to be a useful certification tool to promote forest conservation and respect for community rights and livelihoods".

Mr Carstensen, the executive director, defended the decision to allow Korindo to stay. "These things have happened, right? Is the best thing to do to say they were in breach of our values so we're not going to have anything to do with you anymore?" he said.

"The logic of the board has been, 'We want to see the improvements happen'."

Korindo strongly denied that the company was involved in any human rights violations but acknowledged there was room for improvements and said it was implementing new grievance procedures.

It said it had paid fair compensation to tribes and that it had paid an additional $8 per hectare for the loss of trees - a sum decided by the Indonesian government, which granted them the concession. The BBC tried to confirm the figure with the Indonesian government, but officials declined to comment on Korindo.

The Indonesian government maintains generally that Papua is an integral part of the nation, recognised by the international community. The province, which is half of the island of New Guinea (the other half belongs to the country of Papua New Guinea), became part of Indonesia after a controversial referendum overseen by the UN in 1969, in which just 1,063 tribal elders were selected to vote.

Since then, control over Papua's rich natural resources has become a flashpoint in a long-running, low-level separatist conflict. Papuan activists call the 1969 referendum the "act of no choice".

The Indonesian military has been accused by activist groups of gross human rights abuses in its attempts to suppress dissent in Papua and protect business interests there. Foreign observers are rarely granted access, "because there is something that the state wants to hide", according to Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher with the US-based Human Rights Watch.

"They are hiding human rights abuses, environmental degradation, deforestation," he said. "And the marginalisation of indigenous people - economically, socially and politically."

In an attempt to ease tensions, Papua was granted greater autonomy in 2001, and there has been a significant increase in government funds for the region, with Jakarta vowing to bring prosperity to the people of Papua and saying it is committed to resolving past rights abuses.

"The company didn’t bring prosperity," said Elisabeth Ndiwaen. "What they did was create conflict."

Derek Ndiwaen was one of those in the Mandobo tribe who, like Petrus Kinggo, took money from Korindo for their land. Derek's sister Elisabeth was away at the time, working in the city, and she didn't find out about the deal until she returned home. According to Elisabeth, Derek became embroiled in conflict with other tribes over the land deals. She believes the stress played a role in his death.

"My brother would never have sold his pride or forest before," she said, through tears. "The company didn't bring prosperity. What they did was create conflict, and my brother was the victim."

Elisabeth said that her brother was also made promises of free schooling for his children and health care for the family - promises she said were never realised.

"The forest is gone and we are living in poverty," she said. "After our forest has been sold you would think we would be living a good life. But here in 2020 we are not."

According to Elisabeth, Korindo told the community it would build good roads and provide clean water.

But residents in her village of Nakias, in the Ngguti district say life hadn't changed the way they hoped. There's no clean running water or electricity in the village. Those that can afford it use generators but fuel costs four times as much as in the capital Jakarta.

Korindo said that the company directly employs more than 10,000 people and has put $14m (£11m) into social projects in Papua, including food programmes for malnourished children and scholarships.

The company has stopped all further clearing until an assessment of high conservation and high carbon stock forests inside their concessions is carried out.

"The bigger question of what to do with the sins of the past will take a bit of time," said Kim Carstensen, the FSC chairman. "Whether it's two years, three years - that I don't know."

Elisabeth fears that nothing will make up for the destruction of the rainforest.

"When I see that our ancestral forest is all cleared, chopped down, it's heart-breaking," she said. "It should have been passed on to the next generation."

"I walk through the plantation crying, and ask myself, where are our ancestors' spirits now that our forest has been completely destroyed. And it happened under my watch."

Petrus Kinggo did receive money from Korindo, he said - about $42,000 (£32,000), equal to 17 years' pay on the provincial monthly minimum wage. And the company paid for one of his eight children's school fees until 2017. He said he did not receive a house or a generator, and the money is all gone.

"I have nothing left," he said. "Uncles, nephews, in-laws, grandchildren, brothers, sisters all took some. And then I spent what was left on my own children's education."

Thousands of hectares of the Mandobo tribe's once vast rainforest has been logged and replaced with neat rows of oil palm trees. A further 19,000 hectares now inside a Korindo concession is earmarked for clearing.

Mr Kinggo is fighting to save some of what's left. He fears future generations will have to "live off money" rather than the forest. He blames the government for not consulting with the villagers before giving the concession to Korindo and "sending them here to pressure us".

But when he walks through the forest now, he looks inside, and the money he took weighs on him.

"According to God I have sinned, I deceived 10 tribes," he said.

"The company said, 'Thank you Petrus for looking after us so well'. But in my heart I knew I had done wrong."

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-54798452
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:26 am

Ban on petrol and diesel cars

New cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, prime minister Boris Johnson has said

But some hybrids would still be allowed, Mr Johnson confirmed.

It is part of what the prime minister calls a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear.

Critics of the plan say the £4bn allocated is far too small for the scale of the challenge.

The total amount of new money announced in the package is a 25th of the projected £100bn cost of high-speed rail, HS2.

The government says it is part of a broader £12bn package of public investment that is expected to draw in much more private sector funding.

A Downing Street source said it would send a clear signal to investors where to put their money for the future.

The plan includes provision for a large nuclear plant - likely to be at Sizewell in Suffolk - and for advanced small nuclear reactors, which it is hoped, will create an estimated 10,000 jobs at Rolls-Royce and other firms.

The clean energy revolution will also creep into some people's homes.

The government will bring forward, to 2023, the date by which new homes will need to be warmed without using gas heating.

It will aim to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 - these are low-energy electrical devices for warming homes.

And it has extended the Green Homes Grant for home insulation for a year after the first tranche was massively over-subscribed.

Clean hydrogen will be blended into the natural gas supply to reduce overall emissions from gas, and the government is seeking a town to volunteer for a trial of 100% hydrogen for heat, industry and cooking.

The hydrogen - attracting a subsidy of up to £500m - will be produced in places such as north-east England, partly by energy from offshore wind.

The prime minister wants his green plan to be powered by wind farms like the one in Redcar, Teesside

The government wants to breathe new life into de-industrialised areas by teaming hydrogen production with the manufacture of wind turbines, and with four clusters of firms using carbon capture and storage.

This is when emissions from chimneys are captured and forced into rocks underground. The hope is to transform depressed areas into high-tech hubs. This will get funding of an extra £200m.

Another key point of the plan is a £1.3bn investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Grants for EV buyers will stretch to £582m to help people make the transition.

There is also nearly £500m for battery manufacture in the Midlands and north-east England.

The UK is now in second place after Norway, with its fossil fuel vehicle abolition date of 2025.

UK car makers have warned about the scale of the challenge, but the government believes that forcing technological change can give firms a competitive edge.

Mr Johnson said he hoped his policies would create and support up to 250,000 UK jobs.

Experts said the £4bn would go a long way if it were spent on labour-intensive insulation, but not far if ploughed into expensive, mechanised carbon capture.

The prime minister said: "My 10-point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.

"Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future."

The prime minister made it clear that his plans aim to create jobs and address climate change at the same time. This time next year he will host an international climate summit in Glasgow, known as COP.

The COP - or COP26 UN summit, which was postponed by 12 months because of the pandemic - is seen as the most important round of talks to tackle climate change since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The plans are aimed to put the UK on track to meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

The PM's 10-point plan

    Offshore wind: Produce enough offshore wind to power every home in the UK, quadrupling how much it produces to 40 gigawatts by 2030, and supporting up to 60,000 jobs

    Hydrogen: Have five gigawatts of "low carbon" hydrogen production capacity by 2030 - for industry, transport, power and homes - and develop the first town heated by the gas by the end of the decade

    Nuclear: Pushing nuclear power as a clean energy source and including provision for a large nuclear plant, as well as for advanced small nuclear reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs

    Electric vehicles: Phasing out sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and investing in grants to help buy cars and charge point infrastructure

    Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport for the future

    Jet zero and greener maritime: Supporting research projects for zero-emission planes and ships

    Homes and public buildings: Making homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, including a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028

    Carbon capture: Developing world-leading technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030 - equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber

    Nature: Protecting and restoring the natural environment, with plans to include planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year

    Innovation and finance: Developing cutting-edge technologies and making the City of London the global centre of green finance
'Falls well short'

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband criticised the plan, saying that the funding "in this long-awaited" announcement does not "remotely meet the scale of what is needed" to tackle the unemployment emergency and climate emergency.

"Only a fraction of the funding announced today is new.

He said Labour wanted the government to bring forward £30bn of capital investment over the next 18 months and invest it in low-carbon sectors to support 400,000 additional jobs.

The Green Party called for a transformation of the entire economy to reduce emissions, including scrapping the £27bn road-building programme, which will actually increase emissions.

Mike Hulme, professor of human geography at the University of Cambridge, said critics should not "nit-pick about precise details" of the plan as it was "far more important is to endorse the direction of travel that has been set for the next decade".

Tanya Steele from WWF-UK said the government had "fired the starting gun on the action we need to see".

She added: "We now need the chancellor to live up to the ambition expressed today through a spending review that tests every line of public spending to ensure it's compatible with meeting our climate goals."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54981425
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:10 am

The full declaration made by the Wildlife Conservation 20 at G20 summit

C20 DECLARATION - November 20, 2020

Prioritising nature, health and people in an effective and equitable COVID-19 recovery and response

“The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet. Any efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change, that is making our Earth less habitable”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

We, the leaders of the undersigned conservation NGOs who together make up the Wildlife Conservation 20 (WC20), make the following recommendations to Global Leaders at the G20 Summit in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Preamble:

    1. Against the background of remorseless climate change and catastrophic levels of biodiversity loss, COVID-19 is a further symptom of an ailing planet. As our unsustainable consumption of natural resources and our destruction of the natural world continues, the G20 nations must show leadership and take urgent action to address the threat and root causes of zoonotic pandemics.

    2. COVID-19 has killed 1.3 million people to date, affected millions more, and has harmed livelihoods on an unprecedented scale. The International Labour Organisation warned that in the first nine months of 2020 income earned by workers globally fell 10 percent, equivalent to a loss of over US$3.5 trillion. Economic packages aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic are already projected to be as much as US$26 trillion, dwarfing the cost of the environmental measures required to help prevent another pandemic, by several orders of magnitude.

    3. Taking the correct steps to address the present imbalance with nature brings greater economic and financial benefit in the long run. Healthy economies and societies depend on healthy ecosystems, and recovery in a post-COVID-19 world cannot be at the expense of nature and climate if it is to be sustainable and balanced. A green and just recovery will also provide jobs and livelihoods, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable who are hardest hit. Harmful financial incentives, which further undermine the viability of natural systems, need to be reduced and ultimately eliminated, and instead redirected towards nature-based solutions. G20 States should commit to generating the order of magnitude increase in global funding that is required, so as to protect nature and biodiversity and prevent future pandemics, as well as securing the technical expertise and support required to ensure its effective and equitable distribution.

    4. The exact source of COVID-19 remains uncertain but scientists agree it is another zoonotic spillover that occurred as a result of the increasing human-wildlife interface. The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark warning that our current relationship with nature is unsustainable and requires critical investment for the future health of ourselves and our planet. If that investment does not occur at the scale that is required, then further pandemics are likely, with the potential for similar or greater human and economic costs.

    5. Seventy percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin, including SARS, HIV, and Ebola. Root causes are the encroachment into and destruction of the natural environment via practices such as agricultural expansion, industrial-scale farming, deforestation, and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, including wildlife farming and the wildlife trade. These bring humans, wildlife and livestock into close contact, increasing the risk of zoonotic pathogen spillovers.

    6. Political and financial commitments to avert environmental crises that negatively impact people and our planet have yet to be translated into effective action. Government sectors need to be coordinated and engage wider society to ensure effective implementation of strategies that promote a realignment of our relationship with nature. There is an urgent need for partnerships and unified policy and strategy among institutions dealing in ecology and wildlife conservation, zoonotic diseases, animal and human health, food safety, trade, finance and relevant regulatory and enforcement agencies.

    7. Signing up for new commitments is ineffectual if they remain ‘yet to be implemented’. G20 member governments need to create the enabling framework for effective actions to deliver solutions on the ground, while monitoring and evaluating their impact, and recognising and championing success and deterring transgressions.

    8. Now, as never before, all efforts must be taken, as stated below, to take strong action to overcome these threats by investing in natural ecosystems and biodiversity to prevent future pandemics, and by delivering evidence-led solutions to zoonotic risks.
We acknowledge:

      ● The role of multilateral agreements such as CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar Convention, UNTOC, UNCAC, and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

      ● The UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Accord, existing provisions to safeguard human, animal and plant life or health as well as natural resources within instruments governing international trade such as WTO GATT, and other relevant international bodies such as FAO, OIE and WHO.

      ● The London Declaration on the Illegal Wildlife Trade signed by 65 governments in London in October 2018 and the preceding Kasane Statement (Botswana 2015) and Hanoi Statement (Vietnam 2016).

      ● The UN General Assembly 'tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife’ resolutions in 2015, 2017 and 2019; as well as the resolution ‘Preventing and combating corruption as it relates to crimes that have an impact on the environment’, adopted at the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption.

      ● The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature signed by 78 countries in the run up to the 30 October 2020 UN Summit on Biodiversity that steps up global targets and encourages others to match their collective ambition for nature, climate and people.

      ● The One Health approach, addressed in the Berlin Principles 2019, to promote existing or new international arrangements to address the risk of zoonotic disease.

      ● The adoption by the G20 in 2017 of the ‘High Level Principles on Combating Corruption Related to Illegal Trade in Wildlife and Wildlife Products’.

      ● The IPBES report ‘Escaping the Era of Pandemics’, released on 29 October 2020.
We recommend:

R1: Strengthening Policy and Implementation

G20 States need to resource and implement already existing international and domestic legislation, as well as new legislation and WC20-recommended measures, to protect our planet’s biodiversity, environments and ecosystems. This will help re-establish a healthier link between people and nature, and ensure the legal, sustainable and traceable use of natural resources so that this does not threaten human or animal health.

To include:

    1. Adopting the ‘One Health’ approach recommended by the World Health Organization and other multilateral organisations, which includes cross-sectoral safeguards for people, animals and ecosystems in order to mitigate zoonotic outbreaks. This would include strengthening multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches to quantify, prioritise and mitigate zoonotic spillover risk, especially for commercial trade and markets in wild animal species and in high risk spots such as farming areas near tropical forests, commercial wildlife captive farming and industrial livestock operations.

    2. Uniting to ensure that the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, as agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity, includes targets and indicators in support of the recommendations outlined in this document, in particular those that ensure any trade and use of wildlife is legal, sustainable, safe, and does not include trade in threatened species nor pose a zoonotic risk to humans or to the survival of threatened species in the wild, while also incorporating considerations safeguarding human and animal health and wellbeing.

    3. Complying with the following UN resolutions: a) ‘Preventing and combating corruption as it relates to crimes that have an impact on the environment’, adopted at the 8th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption; b) the UN General Assembly 'tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife’ series of resolutions commencing in 2015; and c) ‘Preventing and combating crimes that affect the environment falling within the scope of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime’, adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in October 2020.

    4. Developing and implementing effective official governmental licensing, inspection and auditing systems as appropriate for wildlife, wildlife parts and wildlife derivatives in trade to ensure transparency and effective control, including in government stockpiles, as well as for safe veterinary-managed disposal when required, in accordance with agreed international protocols.

    5. For species where commercial trade (domestic and international) is allowed, enact the implementing and updating of international and national legislation and regulations to ensure it is sustainable, traceable and safe – or, as appropriate and following consultation, closed down on the occasion where it poses a likely, evidence-based risk of zoonotic transmission to people or other animals or threatens the survival of the species in the wild; while ensuring that science-based solutions based on biological, public and animal health criteria, and criteria to protect biodiversity and human and animal health, are adopted to regulate trade in species.

    6. Adopting a fourth Protocol under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to enshrine a commitment to prevent and combat wildlife crime (plants and animals) as well as zoonotic spillovers and foster cooperation between source and demand countries.
R2. Enforcing Laws and Enhancing Regulatory Measures

G20 States need to scale up financial and technical support for law enforcement in key wildlife source States, transit hubs and destination countries/territories and adopt a collaborative and multi-organisational approach. This will help create an effective deterrent to wildlife crime.

To include:

    1. Monitoring and stringently regulating the currently legal wildlife trade, including that related to ranching and captive breeding of wild animals, to ensure that any trade that is allowed does not pose a risk to human or animal health or the survival of the species in the wild, is carried out legally and sustainably, and is underpinned by traceability or certification, as appropriate, that follows scientifically-agreed guidelines on human and animal health and well-being, and biodiversity protection.

    2. Undertaking intelligence-led investigations to target wildlife criminals operating at intermediary and higher levels within international organised criminal organisations, coordinated by well-resourced, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary enforcement task forces at national, regional and global levels.

    3. Increasing the development and application of new technologies to tighten law enforcement – including at ports and borders – to achieve shared objectives, effective information sharing and close collaboration so as to meet conservation and other objectives and to help protect human and animal health and well-being.

    4. Delivering increased training, equipment and technological solutions to skilled wildlife rangers, and ensuring compliance with required approved standards of practice and welfare.

    5. Facilitating judicial training and processes to result in effective prosecutions and proportionally-deterrent sentencing for international wildlife trafficking, with further additional punishments introduced where appropriate, including financial and travel restrictions and asset forfeiture, with an additional aim of converting these criminal assets into conservation restitution funds that help finance wildlife and nature recovery.

    6. Addressing international wildlife trade-related crimes, including cybercrime and money laundering, through enforcement, training, private sector partnerships and cross-regional operations.
R3: Safeguarding Natural Ecosystems

G20 States need to work with all relevant stakeholders and experts to secure adequate finances and technical expertise, and government support, for the effective protection and management of natural ecosystems and wildlife so that they are valued and supported, and become generators of economic wealth. This will help address the present funding imbalance which, according to research by the European Investment Bank, indicates that global resources invested in nature recovery and biodiversity need to be increased eight-fold if natural ecosystems and wildlife are to be adequately supported and allowed to flourish.

To include:

    1. Champion and implement the call to scale up protection and conservation of natural ecosystems so that 30 percent of the world’s terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and ocean ecosystems are effectively conserved by 2030 through protected areas or other effective area-based conservation measures, focusing on key areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services and recognising the contribution by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. This requires, for example, increasing investment and capacity in the existing protected area network to ensure it is effectively conserved; the establishment of additional community conservancies; the creation of corridors for animal movement; and supporting buffer zones around key natural habitats.

    2. Intensifying international cooperation and national and international investment in the conservation of high biodiversity and high integrity ecosystems, with due application of stringent environmental and social safeguards, and acting together to enforce policies to end subsidies and investments harmful to conservation that result in biodiversity loss and instead redirect them towards nature-based solutions that deliver vital ecosystem services.

    3. Ending the deforestation, degradation and fragmentation of primary/intact forests, including through the better use of forest monitoring and payments for ecosystem services.

    4. Addressing the loss of revenue experienced by those who play a key role in securing conservation areas – including Indigenous Peoples and local communities – as a result of COVID-19 such as by exploring new economic benchmarks, including equitable revenue sharing and through supporting innovative sustainable funding mechanisms such as those described in the UNDP Biodiversity Financing Initiative.

    5. While recognising and respecting all sovereignty issues, supporting the expansion of partnerships with the private sector, thereby helping secure further resources and safeguards to implement programmes that protect ecosystems and improve management capacity of protected areas and natural landscapes, whilst also helping to eliminate investments that harm biodiversity.

    6. Enabling rewilding programmes and restoring degraded land and seas; and encouraging environmental research-led, landscape-level territorial planning for prioritising the adoption of ‘smart green’ infrastructure and development projects that secure core wilderness areas.
R4: Supporting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs)

G20 States need to respect the rights, and enhance the livelihoods and well-being of IPLCs living within and/or depending on natural ecosystems so as to improve human wellbeing, alleviate human-wildlife coexistence pressures, and reduce and halt the loss of natural habitat and the associated wildlife they hold. This will help enable IPLCs living within or depending on natural ecosystems to define and participate in wildlife guardianship, monitoring and enforcement and promote wellbeing alongside sustainable livelihood opportunities and economic development, as well as reducing the loss of natural habitat and the associated wildlife they hold.

To include:

    1. Developing and implementing the enabling environment and rights-based policies to strengthen wildlife and rural economies to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and increase IPLCs’ capacity to pursue sustainable livelihoods that support their health, food security and safety.

    2. Funding IPLCs through payments to them for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services and biodiversity in a manner that they require, and utilising their traditional knowledge, in helping deliver appropriate wildlife protection programmes.

    3. Evaluating and supporting appropriate sustainable livelihood, alternative incomes and food alternatives for local communities that depend on wild meat for subsistence, in order to reduce the risk to human health and vulnerable wildlife populations and to address food security.

    4. Enabling best practices for human-wildlife coexistence in a manner that adopts approaches in accordance with the rights, role and needs of IPLCs; while helping increase the capacity of local communities to define and participate in conservation governance, wildlife monitoring and guardianship, and collaborative enforcement.

    5. Mandating investments targeting wildlife-dependent communities to monitor the health of humans and animals to prevent and identify potential incidences of zoonotic spillover while fully engaging IPLCs in such efforts.

    6. Securing, as appropriate, legal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights including protection of land tenure and working to uphold local rights to use and benefit equitably from natural resources.
R5: Reducing Demand, including Changing Consumer Behaviour
The G20 States need to work with government authorities, stakeholders, civil society and major influencers to inform the public about reducing the risks of zoonotic spillovers, as well as working to raise public awareness about and reduce demand for illegally and/or unsustainably exploited wildlife and their products.

To include:

    1. Supporting and boosting public education and awareness campaigns and social marketing to change consumer behaviour in the use and purchase of harmful, illegal, unsustainable or unsafe wildlife or wildlife products used in certain luxury goods, status symbols and medicines.

    2. Phasing out the use of any such products as cited in the point above in public procurement.

    3. Informing the public and governments of the urgency of avoiding future zoonotic transfers, and the importance of maintaining natural forests, wildlife and their biodiversity for our health.

    4. Raising awareness within their States of the legal penalties for purchasing illegal products while ensuring that any trade is well regulated, legal, sustainable, traceable and safe.

    5. Enabling technical and financial support for researchers, both in source and demand countries, to better understand the drivers, trends and dynamics of consumer behaviour, in order to influence demand reduction.
The G20 needs to act now to address our present imbalance with the natural world. Habitats have to be protected for wildlife. The true value of natural capital and ecosystem services must be recognised and accounted for.

The illegal wildlife trade must be stopped, and any other commercial trade in wildlife that poses a threat to biodiversity or to human health, including future pandemics, must be stringently regulated or ended.

COVID-19 has been a wake up call to everyone on this planet. Now is the time to value and invest in nature to prevent future pandemics by developing sustainable nature-based economic stimulus packages that embrace a One Health approach and address long-term planetary health, food security, poverty alleviation, climate change and biodiversity loss, and work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

That is why the WC20 calls on the G20 nations to implement greater investment in nature. Doing so will not only bring environmental benefits but will generate jobs, provide sustainable economic development opportunities and help address the climate emergency.

Otherwise, the natural world, on which we all rely, will not be safeguarded for the long-term well-being and security of current and future human generations, and for all life on earth.

The undersigned therefore urge for the immediate adoption of our Recommendations.

Signed by:

    African Parks

    African Wildlife Foundation

    BirdLife International

    Born Free Foundation

    Conservation International

    Education for Nature Vietnam

    Global Initiative to

    End Wildlife Crime

    Environmental Investigation Agency

    Fauna & Flora International

    Frankfurt Zoological Society

    Freeland

    Jane Goodall Institute

    Paradise Foundation International

    Space for Giants

    The Nature Conservancy

    TRAFFIC

    WildAid

    Wildlife Conservation Society

    WWF

    ZSL (Zoological Society of London)
Dated: 20 November 2020

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/stop-wi ... 75888.html
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