Climate 411

Good for the planet: At COP27, Lula da Silva positioned Brazil to be a climate leader

Lula da Silva at COP27

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with Indigenous leaders at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 17, 2022. Photo by COICA Communications.

“Brazil is back,” said President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in his Nov. 16 address to COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt. But it’s a Brazil far more attuned to climate change, Amazon deforestation and Indigenous peoples’ rights than the one Lula assumed responsibility for when he first became president in 2003.

During his speech, Lula promised zero deforestation in Brazil by 2030, a first-ever Ministry for Indigenous Peoples, and crackdowns on the environmental crime that has run rampant under the Jair Bolsonaro government. He also talked about a return to the “civilizing values” championed by his former Environment Minister and now congresswoman-elect, Marina Silva.

These announcements were all met with great enthusiasm by Lula’s audience in Sharm El-Sheikh, where climate negotiators, civil society, businesses and others with a stake in the climate fight convened over the last two weeks.

The prospect of Brazil’s return to leadership in the international climate negotiations – and the promise of effective action to combat climate change – are both very important developments in the climate movement. Read More »

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Forests have grabbed a prominent spot at COP27. Here are some highlights.

Slogan at COP27. Source: Flickr

With COP27 now in full gear, we have plenty to be excited about when it comes to forest conservation. Last year’s climate convening in Glasgow put nature at the center of the climate agenda. We celebrated the declaration signed by more than 100 countries in Glasgow to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The funding promises of almost $20 billion toward forest conservation were equally groundbreaking.

Despite those milestones, in the year since COP26 , the deforestation crisis has actually worsened . Deforestation in the Amazon, for example, increased by 48% over 2021. Yet there is hope.

Countries and companies are realizing the importance of conserving rainforests at scale. Commitments to end deforestation, along with promises to fund and compensate forest conservation, are growing. We’re also seeing more robust standards for emissions reductions credits from natural climate solutions, including forests.

This all bodes well, and COP27 is an opportunity to keep the momentum going on ending deforestation. So, what can we expect in Sharm El-Sheikh when it comes to conserving forests? Here’s a quick overview of the first three days’ action on forests, why they’re important, and what we expect to see over the rest of the conference. Read More »

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Indigenous Peoples Need a Seat at the Climate Table. Here’s Why.

This post was authored by Santiago Garcia, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Partnerships Manager for Natural Climate Solutions at Environmental Defense Fund.

Santiago Garcia (right) with Tuntiak Katan (Vice Coordinator at COICA) in Ecuador. Source: Leslie Von Pless, EDF.

This week, representatives of 190 nations, including 90 heads of state, began gathering at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss and negotiate solutions for our warming planet.

As important as these movers and shakers are, there’s another esteemed group of climate ambassadors who also deserve a seat at the international climate table: the Indigenous Peoples who’ve stewarded our tropical forests for generations. Read More »

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New report provides a science roadmap for natural climate solutions

This blog was authored by Emily Oldfield, Agricultural Soil Carbon Scientist at EDF.

Natural climate solutions, such as reforestation and wetland restoration, can help slow climate change and increase resilience in the face of climate impacts we can’t avoid.

These approaches have substantial and growing support from bipartisan lawmakers, the private sector and environmental nonprofits. However, big questions remain: Where are these strategies most effective? To what extent can they meaningfully remove and reduce greenhouse gases? How will increased drought, fire and pest outbreaks impact their ability to stave off climate change?

A new report I co-authored with leading ecosystem scientists and policy experts provides a scientific roadmap for answering these questions. “The science needed for robust, scalable and credible nature-based climate solutions for the United States” identifies critical scientific gaps that must be filled to support the large-scale implementation of natural climate solutions and build confidence that those solutions are slowing warming. It also lays out a research agenda to fill these knowledge gaps.

Read the rest of this blog post on Growing Returns.

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Carbon Markets Can Drive Revenue, Ambition for Tropical Forest Countries, New Studies Show

This post was co-authored by Pedro Martins Barata, Senior Climate Director, and Julia Paltseva, Senior Analyst, Natural Climate Solutions.

Aerial view down onto vibrant green forest canopy with leafy foliage. Source: Getty Images

Global climate mitigation requires rapid action to protect ecosystems, particularly Earth’s tropical forests. Once ecosystems are lost, wide-scale restoration takes time. Recognizing the importance and urgency of taking action to protect intact forests, more than 100 global leaders, representing nations that account for 85% of global forests, pledged at COP26 to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

We know that tropical forest jurisdictions which have implemented results-based payment programs on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation have been successful at reducing deforestation while bringing co-benefits and buy-in from Indigenous and local forest communities. These programs need to be scaled up to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. Carbon markets are one promising means to do so.

Now two new studies suggest that tropical forest jurisdictions that engage in emissions trading for conserving their forests at large scales could generate significant revenues, and promote more ambitious, but attainable, climate goals.

Read More »

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Unlocking the planet-saving potential of crediting natural climate solutions

With contributions from Julia Paltseva, senior analyst, Britta Dosch, analyst, and Christine Gerbode, senior research analyst, all at Environmental Defense Fund. 

Gardens of the Queen archipelago off the coast of Cuba

Earth’s forests, oceans, wetlands and other natural landscapes have the power to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and to store it – making well-managed ecosystems key resources in the fight to halt climate change. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found protecting these resources offers one of the highest mitigation potentials.

Efforts to keep healthy ecosystems intact, restore those that have been cleared or degraded, and improve how these landscapes are managed can have huge benefits to people and the planet, like improving water quality or protecting biodiversity. When these efforts also increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, they are known as natural climate solutions, or NCS.

Healthy ecosystems around the world are disappearing rapidly, as more of the planet is degraded or converted to other uses. This continued loss could have dire consequences for the entire globe through its effect on climate, while doing particular harm and injustice to the Indigenous and local communities who have historically stewarded many of these crucial environments.

Scaling up global funding and support for NCS activities is an opportunity to limit climate damage while enhancing and protecting the enormous good these ecosystems provide – and benefiting the local people carrying out these important tasks.

One way to do this is to incorporate NCS activities into global carbon markets by crediting emissions. Environmental Defense Fund is now leading a collaborative process to lay out the key considerations and challenges of supporting NCS with the potentially powerful tool of crediting emissions reductions and removals—and of making sure the systems to support this tool are ethical, equitable and effective at the much larger scales of ambition needed to meet the moment.

Read More »

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