Wetlands and climate change emissions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
RSPO members are responsible for 60% of global palm oil production. With such a large and growing responsibility, the RSPO must push on to create a level playing field for sustainable palm oil, argues Marcel Silvius.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.