Amazon destruction accelerates 60% to one and a half soccer fields every minute

Amazon destruction accelerates 60% to one and a half soccer fields every minute

SOURCE: CNN DATE: July 2, 2019 SNIP: Amazon deforestation accelerated more than 60% in June over the same period last year, in what environmentalists say is a sign that the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro are starting to take effect. The rate of rainforest destruction had been stable during the first few months of Bolsonaro’s presidency but began to soar in May and June, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research (INPE), a government agency whose satellites also monitor the Amazon. 769.1 square kilometres were lost last month – a stark increase from the 488.4 sq km lost in June 2018, INPE’s data showed. That equates to an area of rainforest larger than one and a half soccer fields being destroyed every minute of every day. More than two-thirds of the Amazon are located in Brazil and environmental groups blame far-right leader Bolsonaro and his government for the increase, saying he has relaxed controls on deforestation in the country. During Bolsonaro’s election campaign, he promised his government would focus on recovering the Brazilian economy and said he would look at ways of exploring the Amazon’s economic potential. Six months after his inauguration, the populist president is certainly delivering on his promises. “The strong indication of the increase in the deforestation rate during the government of Jair Bolsonaro shouldn’t surprise anyone,” Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the environment NGO network Observatorio do Clima (Climate Observatory) said. “It’s, after all, the accomplishing of a campaign promise: Bolsonaro was the first president in all of Brazil’s history to be elected with an openly anti-environmental and anti-indigenous speech”. Rittl says loggers, farmers...
Carbon to burn: UK net-zero emissions pledge undermined by biomass energy

Carbon to burn: UK net-zero emissions pledge undermined by biomass energy

SOURCE: Monga Bay DATE: June 19, 2019 SNIP: Last week, the United Kingdom announced plans to pass a national law setting a country-wide target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, to be achieved by 2050. The pronouncement came in response to a directive by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, that all 28 European Union nations set binding 2050 net-zero emissions reduction goals. [NOTE: the target agreement has been blocked by three countries, and so for now, has failed.] However, some scientists and environmentalists are neither impressed nor encouraged; they are expressing deep concern that the binding emissions laws will likely be flawed by a monstrously large carbon-pollution loophole. While the UK has pledged to burn coal for the last time by 2025, it is accelerating plans to replace that source by burning wood pellets, or biomass, in four of its six largest power plants, located in North Yorkshire and operated by Drax Power, the country’s largest utility. While that shift would help meet the terms of the Paris Agreement, say experts, it would still pump vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, speeding and intensifying global warming. Worrying environmentalists further: former coal-fired plants across the EU, especially in Denmark and Belgium, are also fast converting to wood pellets, encouraged by a longstanding loophole in global carbon accounting that was not closed in the writing of the Paris rulebook last December during the 24th United Nations Climate Summit in Poland. In fact, studies show that the burning of wood pellets actually produces more heat-trapping carbon dioxide than coal, because it requires more pellets than coal to produce the same...
Trump administration proposes overhaul on environmental regulations managing federal forests

Trump administration proposes overhaul on environmental regulations managing federal forests

SOURCE: The Hill DATE: June 12, 2019 SNIP: A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say. The rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to prevent fires in California and other states. Federal law requires an environmental review for projects on federal land, but exceptions are granted if industry can show it would not severely impact the environment. The Forest Service proposal would expand the types of exceptions for skipping the review process. Environmentalists say letting industry skip the environmental review process would eliminate the mechanism communities and citizens have to express concerns over nearby projects. “The Trump administration is trying to stifle the public’s voice and hide environmental damage to public lands,” Ted Zukoski, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “These rules would let the Forest Service sidestep bedrock environmental laws. Logging companies could bulldoze hundreds of miles of new roads and chainsaw miles of national forests while ignoring the damage to wildlife and waterways. All of this would happen without involving nearby communities or forest...
Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands

Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 11, 2019 SNIP: An area twice the size of the UK has been destroyed for products such as palm oil and soy over the last decade, according to analysis by Greenpeace International. In 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, including some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, pledged to eliminate deforestation by 2020, through the sustainable sourcing of four commodities most linked to forest destruction: soya, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle. But analysis by Greenpeace International suggests that by the start of 2020, an estimated 50m hectares (123m acres) of forest are likely to have been destroyed in the growing demand for and consumption of agricultural products, in the 10 years since those promises were made. Its report, Countdown to Extinction, said that since 2010, the area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45% and palm oil production in Indonesia has risen by 75%. The environmental group accused major brands of failing to meet their commitments and warned that the current situation was “bleak”, advising them to evolve in order to “prevent climate and ecological breakdown”. Deforestation releases greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and destroy important habitat, threatening species with extinction. About 80% of global deforestation is caused by agricultural production, which is also the leading cause of habitat destruction, the group said. Agricultural consumption, and therefore production, is forecast to rise globally. Meat consumption is set to rise by 76% according to some estimates. Soya production is also predicted to soar by almost 45% and palm oil by nearly 60%, according to the Food and...
Amazon deforestation up 20% in past year, environmental watchdog says

Amazon deforestation up 20% in past year, environmental watchdog says

SOURCE: CBC DATE: May 27, 2019 SNIP: A non-governmental group that has monitored the Amazon rainforest for two decades said Monday that the pace of deforestation increased 20 per cent in the last nine months. Imazon said satellite imagery showed the region lost 2,169 square kilometres of forest from August through April, up from 1,807 square kilometres lost over the same period the previous year. The group’s monitoring year begins with August, to match Brazil’s dry season, when logging rates are usually at their highest. Analysts blame uncontrolled logging and land invasion for much of the loss, some of which occurred in protected areas and Indigenous reserves. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his environment minister have questioned the reality of climate change and spoken in favour of expanding mining and industrial farming, including in the Amazon and protected areas. Both believe environmental laws and activist groups often work to hinder Brazil’s economic...