Wetlands and climate change emissions
- INVITATION FOR 1 OCTOBER 2014 -
Currently, drained peatlands for agriculture and forestry are the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) in the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use sector. Join over 120 colleagues working on peatlands and climate change mitigation from all over the world, and enrol now for the webinar 'Challenges and Solutions for Responsible Peatlands Management', organised by FAO, through the web form.
Thanks to an active and laborious fire-fighting operation the recent peat and forest fires in Tver Province were localised and the region was saved from events becoming as dramatic as in 2010 when dense smoke haze covered the city of Moscow for weeks. Still, the region’s economy and ecology again suffered severely from the fires, as well as the climate.
Wetlands International argues that restoration of degraded and abandoned peatlands, is one of the key solutions to avoid often reoccurring dry weather related fire events, and to reduce the release of huge amounts of peat-related carbon emissions.
Today, an international network of more than one hundred twenty organizations on five continents is unveiling a powerful new Global Paper Vision that will unite the myriad of voices currently challenging the paper industry to adopt more sustainable practices.
Brussels. European Union energy ministers decided not to account for the real greenhouse gas emissions caused by biofuels used for transport in the EU. In a political agreement reached today, ministers refused to reflect indirect land-use change (ILUC) in GHG accounting and subsidy schemes for biofuels.
Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for millions of people, but they’re being lost at an increasing rate. Geographical Magazine's Mark Rowe reports.
By Bas Tinhout
In Southeast Asia about 25% of plantations are currently on peat and some companies have more than 75% of their plantations on these carbon rich soils. But an increasing number of palm oil and pulp wood producing giants are announcing their commitments to no deforestation and no peatland conversion. What are their real intentions for peatlands?
The Hague, The Netherlands - With the societal and environmental costs of wetland degradation already huge and growing fast, Wetlands International brought over 100 current and prospective partners and supporters together to explore opportunities for positive action to sustain and restore wetlands in a reception at the atmospheric De Glazen Zaal (Glass Room) in the Hague. The evening featured an interactive marketplace to showcase some of our current initiatives, plus distinguished speakers and interviews with current partners on how our work with different sectors is helping to protect and restore wetlands. In addition to celebrating World Wetlands Day, the event also featured the launch of Wetlands International’s new logo.
In the Malaysia Chronicle of 17 January 2014, Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) mentions that there is no credible scientific basis for companies to divest from palm oil plantations on peat soils. The article refers to the announcement of Wilmar about a month ago to undertake "no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation" in their palm oil trades. Wetlands International welcomes Wilmar’s decision and gives a brief recap in this article of the science base.
Brussels. The European Commission’s proposal for a climate and energy package for the period between 2020 and 2030 may throw the door wide open to imports of dirty fuels from tar sands and endanger sustainability criteria for biofuels.
Ede/Bogor. Wetlands International applauds the Indonesian court ruling which fined palm oil company PT Kallista Alam 114 billion Rupiah (approximately 7 million Euros) for illegally burning peat swamp forests in Tripa/Aceh.
By Bas Tinhout
In the tropics, peat swamp forests are often logged and converted to oil palm and pulp wood plantations. This results in adverse effects on the natural resource base of local communities and impacts the biodiversity, water regulation and carbon storage functions of peatlands. As an alternative, paludiculture is a sustainable form of agriculture which enables the productive use of rewetted peatlands. It will prevent the oxidation of the peat carbon, thus preventing the massive natural organic carbon store from turning into the greenhouse gas CO2.
Outsiders and newcomers to the United Nations climate negotiations are easily overwhelmed by the complexity of discussions around land use and forestry. But this might change in 2015.
A controversial report from a technical committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is under-estimating the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by palm oil grown on tropical peatlands by nearly 50%, according to NGOs.
Author: Marcel Silvius
Oil palm cultivation on peatlands is seen as an attractive option for many plantation developers in Southeast Asia. Not only is the land extensively available, the soils – despite the poor soil fertility – are somehow “working” for oil palm cultivation. Peatlands can therefore be perceived as lucrative and attractive for expansion of oil palm plantations.
So why then is oil palm on peat a path to disaster? We highlight two major impacts in this article. Firstly, peatland drainage for oil palm results in substantial carbon emissions. Secondly it results in flooding and land loss as a result of soil subsidence. We also offer some solutions.
Full article featured in sustainable Palm Oil: Conversation and Debate
Cambridge, UK. A new study maps out the amount of carbon stored by mangrove ecosystems in various parts of the world.
By Pieter van Eijk and Alizia Kamani
This September Wetlands International officially joined PEDRR, a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes which plays a vital role in steering the policy and practice in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Through this alliance, Wetlands International can effectively influence and make recommendations to the Hyogo Framework for Action and the UNISDR, the UN office which coordinates global activities on reducing the risk of disasters.
Sumatra, Indonesia. The health and climate impacts of large peatland and forest fires in Sumatra provide yet another harrowing reminder of the unsustainability of palm oil and pulp wood plantations on peat.
By Vera Coelho
The round of applause at the end of the REDD+ negotiations in Bonn reflected the relief of the Parties at having concluded work on several difficult issues. But their efforts will not stop deforestation and forest degradation.
Opportunities for climate change mitigation through peatland rehabilitation and lessons learned for future agreements under the UNFCCC were discussed at a side event during the Bonn climate negotiations.
Wetlands International warmly welcomes the extension of Indonesia’s moratorium on new forest concessions signed on the 13th May by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The extension, however, does not address the shortcomings of the previous moratorium.
Wetlands International welcomes the European Parliament’s vote on rules for accounting for greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from agriculture and forestry. Emissions and removals from cropland and grazing land management will have to be accounted for, but accounting for wetland drainage and rewetting remains voluntary.
Geneva, Switzerland – A new report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), co-authored by Wetlands International, emphasises the enormous economic value of wetlands. TEEB For Water and Wetlands highlights the key role played by wetlands as natural infrastructure and the multitude of enormously productive services they provide around the world. The continued loss of wetlands illustrates the need for improved policy making and business decision making that accounts for their true value.
- By Vera Coelho -
The United Nations’ climate summit in Doha has come to an end after two weeks of heated and protracted negotiations. Amongst limited progress, the general trend has been to delay decisions and refer further discussions to next year.
- By Vera Coelho -
The first week of the Doha Climate Conference is over, and so is the SBSTA – the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. After a relatively slow start, REDD+ negotiators really started feeling the time pressure, as the closure of the week drew nearer and several unresolved issues remained.
By Vera Coelho -
The first few days in Doha at the Climate Conference have been relatively quiet. After a full day of opening ceremonies, delegates sat down for real business on Tuesday and Wednesday. Discussions focused on organisation of work and future ways forward but now that the first half of the first week has passed, one can definitely feel a change in pace.
Doha, Qatar – Wetlands International urges action to mitigate CO2 emissions from peatlands, as thousands of delegates flock to the Middle East to negotiate global policies on climate change. Peatland restoration and conservation action, stimulated by UNFCCC incentives, could significantly contribute to closing the so-called “emissions gap”.
Ede, the Netherlands - Wetlands International welcomes the approval of the new carbon trading category “Wetlands Restoration and Conservation” (WRC) by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The new category provides a strong incentive for private investment in conservation and restoration of carbon rich wetlands.
Edinburgh, October 5th 2012. Wetlands International supports the IUCN UK Peatland Programme’s request to the government of the United Kingdom to include Wetland Drainage and Rewetting in their national accounting of greenhouse gas emissions.
By Aprianto Masjhur
Peatlands have been recognised for their high carbon storage and their potential to emit a huge amount of carbon emissions once they are drained. Their annual carbon emissions of 2 billion tonnes are a paramount issue in the global effort to mitigate climate change. However, the perilous and far-reaching consequences from peat drainage activities are not limited to carbon loss only. Another key concern that so far has been given insufficient attention is the issue of ‘subsidence’.
New York - In September 2011 Wetlands International announced its Commitment to Action under the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which is ‘Securing Wetland Carbon Stores for Climate’. The aim of this global NGO is to achieve emission reductions in the order of at least 100 megatons by 2015 through the conservation and rehabilitation of carbon-rich wetlands. Now, one year later, they are well on the way to achieving their commitment.
Bucharest, Romania - At the recently concluded 11th Ramsar Conference of the Parties in Bucharest, Romania, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) signed Resolutions of Cooperation with both the Ramsar Secretariat and African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) to work together in order to better promote Arctic wetlands and bring greater attention to their importance. As a close partner of Ramsar, CAFF and AEWA, Wetlands International welcomes these agreements.
By Maria Nuutinen, FAO
Why should we keep peatlands wet? If they have been drained, why should we bother to rewet them? The answer is that peatlands provide huge benefits that often go unrecognised. Presentations from China and Belarus in a side event co-organised by Wetlands International at the Ramsar Convention Conference of the Parties (COP11) gave excellent overviews of the benefits as well as challenges of peatland conservation and rewetting for climate change mitigation.
Bucharest, Romania - The 11th meeting of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands concluded last week in Bucharest with the adoption of 22 resolutions on issues addressing the wise use of wetlands in 162 signatory countries. Wetlands International welcomes several decisions including the recognition of the overuse of pesticides and growing impacts of foreign-based land investment on wetlands. While many of the resolutions provide needed guidance to address threats facing wetlands, resolutions needed to address cross-sectoral challenges such as climate change and energy remain weak.
11th meeting of the Ramsar Convention (COP11) 6-13 July 2012 in Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania - Wetlands International will press for adoption of resolutions at the Ramsar Conference of Parties that call upon countries to take action on some of the most pressing challenges facing wetlands, such as energy production and pesticide use in rice fields. As an International Organisation Partner (IOP) we will also urge for a climate change resolution that commits Contracting Parties to take up the newly available incentives to invest in the protection, restoration and sustainable use of their peatlands, as part of their strategies to address climate change.
Bogor, Indonesia - Wetlands International welcomes the decision by the Indonesian government to protect the Kallista Alam peat swamp forest area (1650Ha) in Tripa, Aceh. We also recognise the issue identified by Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto (head of Indonesia’s climate team) who mentioned that "The case of Kallista Alam in Aceh is the typical problem we are facing.” Wetlands International fears for the many similar cases in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Bonn, 17 May 2012 - Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the non-governmental organisation Wetlands International launch ‘The Organic Soils and Peatlands Climate Change Mitigation Initiative’. The Initiative has been established to increase awareness about how the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of peatlands can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and to facilitate strategic actions that can lead to measurable progress in this area. The Initiative will be launched during the intersessional climate session of the United Nations in Bonn (13–25 May).
A firestorm is sweeping across Tripa’s protected peatswamp forests, endangering the last few hunderd Orangutans remaining in this threatened area. The fires seem a direct result from draining for illegal palm oil expansion into the area. Wetlands International is saddened by the devastation of this forest; the organisation has called for many years for a better conservation of the precious old growth forest.
Forest biodiversity – Towards a Green Economy
Wetlands International is co-hosting an international conference to promote sustainable management of Brunei’s peat forests and mangrove forests on 22-23 March at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. The event is organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam through the Forestry Department and is organised in conjunction with this year’s World Forestry Day celebrations on 21 March 2012.
Durban, South Africa, 11 Dec-2011. The Durban Climate Summit has delivered an overall rather meager agreement. A positive outcome has though come forward to reduce emissions from peatlands, both in REDD+ from developing as under the Kyoto Protocol for developed countries. Wetlands International celebrates this result. Peatlands represent 6% of global emissions and until now, no incentive existed under the UNFCCC for reduce these.
By Susanna Tol, from the UN Climate Summit in Durban. For two weeks, I am at the climate summit in Durban, meeting governmental delegations from all over the world to get the emissions from wetland degradation addressed.
Durban, South Africa - Peatlands must be given much stronger attention at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa, calls NGO Wetlands International. Peatlands are the world’s most concentrated and important reservoirs of terrestrial organic carbon and a fast growing source of emissions. They should become ‘no-go zones’.
Durban, South Africa - Wetlands International will be present at the upcoming climate talks in Durban (28 November – 9 December). This global NGO will show the important role that wetlands can play to adapt to climate change, with specific attention for wetlands in the dry and vulnerable parts of Africa. Wetlands International also continues its call for incentives to conserve and restore carbon-rich wetlands peat soils under a new climate treaty.
New York - At the Global Clinton Initiative in New York, Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International has presented our commitment to work with communities on saving worldwide two million acres of carbon dense peatswamps.
Bonn, Germany - A team of Wetlands International is present at the UN Climate meeting in Bonn (SBSTA), advocating for wetland conservation in the light of climate change. There we participate in two Side Events and bring our points across in the subsequent Adaptation Fund Board meeting as well.
Friday, 20 May 2011. Today, a two year moratorium between Norway and Indonesia to freeze Indonesia’s forest and peatland clearing has been agreed. The moratorium blocks new concessions in Indonesia’s peatlands and remaining forests; but also leaves many exemptions.
Washington DC – Drainage and degradation of coastal wetlands emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide directly to the atmosphere and lead to decreased carbon sequestration, a new World Bank report has found.
Edinburgh, Scotland. Representatives of governments, civil society and research centres of learning gathered in Edinburgh to consider the growing evidence base regarding the role of wetlands in addressing climate change. The global NGO Wetlands International has made climate change a prominent element in its new strategy for the coming decade.
February 2, 2011. World Wetlands Day is this year celebrated with the theme “Forests for Water and Wetlands”. Wetlands International marks this day by launching its new initiatives to reverse the loss of the world’s wetland forests such as forested peatlands and mangroves.
An increasing part of Malaysia’s palm oil is produced at the account of huge areas of tropical peatswamp forests. Especially in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, expansion of oil palm plantations may lead to the complete loss of these vast, unique forests by the end of this decade. This is shown by new figures from Wetlands International and Sarvision.
Cancún, Mexico. Climate negotiators at the climate summit in Cancún agreed that in a future climate agreement it should be possible for countries to reduce their emissions by rewetting drained peatlands. Wetlands International is very pleased with this agreement because it means a strong incentive will be created to stop the loss of wetlands. Under the current Kyoto Protocol, these emissions were not included and therefore not addressed.
Cancún, Mexico 10 Dec 2010. Wetlands International strongly welcomes the decision of climate negotiators to enable developed countries to reduce their emissions by rewetting drained peatlands. Thanks to this decision, a climate deal following the Kyoto Protocol will provide strong incentives to halt and reverse the loss of wetlands. Under the current Kyoto Protocol, these emissions remained unaccounted and thus unaddressed.
Cancún, Mexico. During a celebrity side event at the climate change conference in Cancún private investor George Soros said he stands ready to invest in the rehabilitation of drained peatlands in Indonesia. He announced this in an event which discussed international partnerships under REDD+; a new UNFCCC mechanism to reduce emission from deforestation and degradation in developing countries.
Cancún, Mexico. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), science now allows to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands. This breakthrough was presented yesterday by the IPCC at the UN climate conference (UNFCCC) in Cancun (Mexico). This conclusion is crucial for allowing countries to reduce their emissions through rewetting drained wetlands. A decision on that will possibly be taken in Cancun.
The major UN climate conference takes place in Cancún, Mexico, where in the coming two weeks (29 November – 11 December) country delegations will negotiate next steps towards a new climate agreement. This may become an important meeting as countries could agree on reducing emissions from deforestation. One other key element on this agenda is to reduce the annual emissions from drained peatlands, in order to address this so far ignored part of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
New research warns of massive increase in carbon emissions and land conversion
Brussels, Belgium – Plans to increase the use of biofuels in Europe over the next ten years will require up to 69,000 square kilometres of new land worldwide and make climate change worse, a new study reveals today .
TIANJIN, CHINA (UNFCCC) – Greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy1 – the development and burning of biofuels and the combustion of biomass to generate electricity – must be accounted for in national emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, say forest and climate experts from the Ecosystems Climate Alliance (ECA), of which Wetlands International is a member.
Plantations on peatsoils will no longer be supported by The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This is a decision by the CDM Board as a result of concerns expressed by Wetlands International, Greifswald University and CDM-Watch, who alarmed the Board that these CDM projects directly result in very high greenhouse gas emissions from the drainage of peat soils for palm oil plantations.
The thick smog in Moscow is for 80 to 90 percent caused by fires in drained peatlands near Moscow. Despite the relatively small areas where the peat fires occur, these are the fires that cause the massive air pollution in Moscow involving major risks for the health of residents of the region, as well as enormous CO2 emissions. Peat fires are difficult to extinguish and may continue to burn underground for months, even after rainfall like last night.
August 4, 2010. The disastrous forest fires that are currently raging in Russia have led to significant fires in the drained and degraded peatlands. These occur close to Moscow and densely populated areas in Central European Russia. They are causing huge air pollution problems as well as direct risks for the people in the region.
After a long process since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive, the European Commission has now made clear that biofuels produced or imported to the EU cannot be produced at the cost of wetlands, peatlands or forests.
Bonn, Germany. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will explore further guidance for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands. This is a crucial step towards a decision by the UN Climate Summit in December in Mexico to allow countries to reduce emissions through rewetting drained wetlands.
The large emissions from degrading peatsoils are currently not addressed at the climate conference. Wetlands International is present at the new session of the UN climate summit in Bonn to advocate for steps towards incentives for countries to protect and restore wetlands in order to reduce carbon emissions.
BONN, Germany – As the UN climate talks resume here today toward a new global deal to prevent catastrophic climate change, negotiators will be seeking a way forward on the challenge of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Stemming the tide of forest loss is a key link in the global effort against climate change.
Wetlands International welcomes the support from Norway for Indonesia to curb emissions from deforestation and the loss of carbon rich peatswamps. We also welcome the announcement that under the partnership, Indonesia is prepared to suspend for two years new concessions for the conversion of peat and natural forest lands. However, we are very concerned that this moratorium will take effect only somewhere during the second phase of the partnership. This will create for some sectors during a period of at least 7 months a perverse incentive of enhanced effort for expanding palm oil and pulp concessions in Indonesian forest and peatland areas. We call for the moratorium to enter into immediate effect.
Wetlands International strongly welcomes the suspension by President Obama of oil drilling in the offshore USA territories in the Arctic. The period of suspension is needed for a proper analysis and discussion about the risks of offshore drilling.
Wetlands International welcomes the bilateral agreement between the Dutch government and Indonesia to restore Indonesia’s the degraded peatlands, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions. Wetlands International has been the leading organisation in advocating and piloting peatland restoration in Indonesia as one of the most effective means for climate change mitigation.
The EU Parliament has formulated sustainability criteria to prevent forest loss for biofuel production. Now, a leaked draft document shows how the Commission intends to allow and support conversion of for instance rainforest areas into palm oil plantations to produce biodiesel.
Celebrating World Wetlands Day, today's spotlight is on the importance of wetlands for reducing impacts of climate change. Globally, there is a growing recognition of the key role that the protection and restoration of wetlands like marshes, peatlands, mangroves and coral reefs can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to its impacts. Now, this recognition has to be turned into action.
December 19, 2009, 11.00. The COP just agreed on one sentence with a weak text as just an Annex. National short term interests have blocked any step towards solving one of the biggest challenges mankind faces. The momentum is now missing to move towards a low carbon economy and to reduce the loss of carbon rich ecosystems like forests and wetlands.
The Indonesian government acknowledges in Copenhagen that forestry and agriculture in peatswamp areas causes extreme carbon emissions, with just very limited economical revenues. Only a rapid development of a financial incentive such as REDD is able to protect and restore the remaining peatswamp forests.
This morning and yesterday; new steps are agreed regarding the texts on the Land Use part of the Kyoto Protocol (LULUCF) and on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries (REDD). Not all these new steps are positive, but they do allow addressing emissions from the loss of wetlands.
Wetlands International is present at the UN Cilmate Summit in Copenhagen. The outcomes of this summit may have a great impact on the future protection and restoration of wetland areas. We offer you direct updates via our website and via Twitter.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meeting this week in Kuala Lumpur has been unable to develop any clear criteria on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This means that there are no credible criteria for sustainable palm oil at this moment. Some hope does exist for the future thanks to the approval of a process to develop better GHG criteria catalysed by the adoption of the resolution from Wetlands International.
While fires rage through the drained and logged peatswamp forests of Indonesia emitting huge amounts of CO2, the UN Climate Talks take place in Bangkok. The coming two weeks country negotiators will work towards a framework for a new climate treaty. This issue of greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands is now explicitly on the agenda of these crucial last negotiation rounds before the Copenhagen Summit.
Monday, 21 September 2009 - The Indonesian government has come forward with figures that confirm that the country is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses; for 80% due to deforestation and peatland loss. Wetlands International, the NGO that has been advocating the need to address peatland degradation strongly welcomes the acknowledgement by the Indonesian government of the issue.
Wetlands International is concerned about the plans of the Russian government to support and allow large scale peat mining for energy. Using peat causes much larger carbon dioxide emissions than fossil fuels, will ruin precious nature and disrupt the hydrology of large areas.
Global NGO Wetlands International has further expanded its reach and impact on conservation, restoration and sustainable use of wetlands. For the fifth consecutive year it has grown in both financial and operational size. This concludes the newly published Annual Review 2008.
Wetlands International in a coalition of environmental groups (see below) has accused a British company of funding the imminent destruction of a critical area of Indonesian rainforest for palm oil production.
Over thirty civil society organisations join together to avert the effects of biofuel development on food security and sovereignty in African countries. The civil society coalition on biofuels supported by Wetlands International Africa and Action Aid will be officially launched on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at Senegal's USE’s Centre de Bopp in Dakar.
Leading NGO Experts Explain Climate Convention development on REDD and LULUCF:
Where Are We and Where Are We Going? See the webcast.
Experts from the Ecosystem Climate Alliance (ECA), a coalition of leading environmental groups around the world, have established a twitter feed to monitor the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) negotiations in real time at the Bonn climate talks from June 1 – 12, 2009.
Bonn, Germany. The enormous carbon dioxide emissions from degraded peatlands have finally become an integral part of the UNFCCC agenda. An impressive list of countries have pleaded for inclusion of these so far ignored emissions in national emission accounting in developed countries (Annex I).
The government of Indonesia took a promising step this week by asking World Bank for support in reducing carbon emissions from forest and peatland loss. However, last month, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture issued a decree (Indonesian / English translation) to open up peatswamp areas for the development of palm oil plantations.
While in the EU and the RSPO policies are being developed to exclude palmoil from carbon rich soils like peatlands and to prevent the loss of their precious forests, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture issued a decree to open up peatswamp areas for the development of palmoil plantations.
Wetlands International signed today the agreement to offset all emissions of flights booked by its headquarters, according to the Gold Standard. The Climate Neutral Group will organise the offsetting programme by investing in alternative energies (wind energy) of an amount equal to the emissions of flying. The ambition of Wetlands International is to expand the compensation to other emissions and other parts of the global organisation as soon as administratively feasible.
The UN climate summit (UN-FCCC) currently taking place in Poznan is crucial for the question whether the huge emissions from degraded peatlands will finally be addressed. Today however, the working group on the methodologies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) has decided to only deal with above ground biomass, ignoring carbon rich soils. This decision will therewith so far ignore or even worsen the emissions of 2000 Mt/CO2/yr from peatland loss in developing countries.
Huge areas of the world’s peatlands will be opened up for biofuel production if Finland and Sweden succeed in opening up a new loophole in EU legislation.
Peat is formed over thousands of years. Recovery of peat exploitation is usually irreversible or if it can be reversed, it will take hundreds or even thousands of years to be replenished. Given this evidence, Wetlands International is astonished by the proposal by Finland to consider peat as renewable energy source at the Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Union.
The UN climate summit in Poznan , Poland (1-12 December) is a key opportunity for addressing the huge greenhouse gas emissions from peatland degradation. A team of Wetlands International attends the summit to advocate policies that will address the loss of the worlds peatlands.
This Tuesday (11th Nov.), the world’s first certified palm oil under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) arrives on European shores. This certified palm oil originates from a plantation which has palm oil grown on peatlands. Wetlands International strongly cautions that palm oil cannot be certified "sustainable" as long as the sector refuses to include a criterion on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from land use change, in particular degradation of tropical peatlands.
Green Coast partners in Aceh (Wetlands International and WWF) have submitted an official request to Aceh Provincial Government to endorse, support and protect the 11 Green Coast demonstration sites after the partners will be phased out Mid 2009.
In the speech on behalf of the International Organising Partners of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 10) in Korea, Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International welcomes the steps to increase the status of Ramsar Sites, especially with regard to Lake Natron in Tanzania, the Tana Delta and Lake Naivasha in Kenya. At the same time, there is disappointment about the little progress in addressing water, climate and development policies with a link to wetlands.
Wetlands International advocates chances for the proposed resolutions of this week’s Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Many proposed changes demand attention for the link between wetland loss and climate change and for biofuels.
Wetlands International is present at the intergovernmental Ramsar Convention on Wetlands COP 10 (Oct. 28 - Nov. 4) at Changwon, Korea. The organisation has clear proposals to improve of the decisions on the agenda for this global summit.
This is the Wetlands International Global Newsletter of Oct./Nov. 2008. It is filled with news on wetlands and climate change, migratory birds, international conferences, research, videos and publications.
Wetlands International supports the call of the global company Unilever for a moratorium on deforestation for palm oil. With the call, companies and NGOs dealing with palm oil urge companies to respect this moratorium. The call will also be translated into a resolution for the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (meeting in November 2008).
10 September 2008. Tomorrow, the Industry, Research and EnergyCommittee (ITRE) of the European Parliament will vote about the Renewable Energy Directive. Wetlands International calls for a rejection of the 10% target for biofuel use in 2020.
September 1, 2008.
The UK think tank Policy Exchange has presented the costs of the most important climate measures. Reducing emissions from tropical peatlands is by far the cheapest way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; using biofuels is by far the most expensive measure.
Green Coast, a post-tsunami coastal restoration program led by Wetlands International, has been assessed independently as a highly cost-effective and successful approach to disaster risk reduction.
Influenced by a powerful joint NGO lobby, the Members of the Environmental Committee of European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of stronger sustainability criteria and a lower target for biofuels. The proposed 10% biofuel target for 2020 was reduced to a significant lower 4% in 2015 with criteria for ambitious greenhouse gas savings and exclusion of areas like wetlands with high carbon stocks and/or biodiversity values.
In CNN's show 'Business Traveller' the focus is this month on carbon offsetting initiatives worldwide. Wetlands International CEO Jane Madgwick tells about the NGO's recently launched Global Peatland Fund. Click here to watch the show which aired July 12, 13, 17 2008
25-06-2008 Press release
Wetlands International is shocked by the decision of the Kenyan government to convert large tracts of the Tana wetlands in Kenya into sugarcane-for-ethanol plantations. This dramatic development confirms the NGO’s recent outlook ‘Biofuels in Africa’, which shows that biofuel production in Africa will lead to loss of wetlands and rainforest.
Bonn, 26 May Africa is expected to produce a relatively small but still substantial part of the global biofuel demand. Millions of hectares will be turned into large scale biofuel plantations. This will hardly take place in current agricultural areas. Especially natural areas of wetlands and rainforest – the hotspots for biodiversity - are vulnerable for this development.
At this moment, the global governmental Convention on Biodiversity (CBD - SBSTTA) holds their meeting in Paris. The protection and restoration of peatlands in order to conserve their carbon stocks is an important item on the agenda. Peatlands all over the world store enormous amounts of carbon. Their degradation is causing CO2 emissions equivalent to 8% of all global fossil fuel emissions. These huge emissions are not addressed under the Kyoto Protocol at all. There is now a major opportunity for the CBD to take leadership over this issue.
More than 50% of the new palm oil plantations in Indonesia are planned on peatlands. With these criteria, many Indonesian and Malaysian producers will lose the markets of the 4th largest palm oil importer. Wetlands International calls for the EU, individual countries to take action to stop the rapid expansion of palm oil from peatlands and the adverse environmental targets and subsidies promoting this expansion.