Oil: Green deceit and a Trump defeat, and did climate change cause Cyclone Idai?

Forests News delves into headlines from around the globe
cyclone kenneth, climate change, NASA, NASA Disasters Program, Cyclone, Tropical Cyclone, Idai, 2019, hurricane

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In Forests News last week:

International Day of Forests: Two heads look to a future of restoration

Director-General of CIFOR, Robert Nasi, and DG of ICRAF, Tony Simons, mark International Day of Forests by looking ahead to the UN Decade of Restoration, and what that means for people and planet. Read.

How much do you REALLY know about water and forests?

Missed World Water Day on Friday? Catch up by taking this quiz on the links between water and forests- is your brain evergreen or drained swamp? Find out!


 Forests News pick of stories from around the globe:

BBC, Cyclone Idai, Beira, Mozambique, climate change, floods, flooding

Was climate change behind Cyclone Idai?

Cyclone Idai whipped its fury on the coastline of Mozambique last week, causing major loss of life and widespread destruction: It is estimated that 90% of the port town of Beira has been destroyed.

As scenes of devastation continue to unfold, the BBC asks, what role did climate change play in the disaster?

According to the report, the cause is unlikely to be determined, unless a private donor materialises the funds. Scientists who are skilled, simply don’t have access to the resources required to complete the amount of computer modelling to find the answer. Though the number of tropical storms hasn’t increased with climate change, the frequency of high intensity ones has. More moisture in the atmosphere creates more rainfall, rising sea levels raise the damage caused by floods, and warmer seas give cyclones more energy.

Paris Agreement, Shell, Exxon, Total, green washing, green PR, oil exploration drilling, new projects

Oil giants: Put your money where your mouth is!

An investigation into the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies has revealed spends of USD 110 billion in new oil and gas projects, despite spending USD 1 billion in climate change policy lobbying and green PR. The increased spends on fossil fuel projects dwarfs that of low-carbon investments by the giants, which stands at USD 3.6 billion. Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron BP and Total accelerated the promotion of their green energy projects following the Paris Agreement, whereby nearly all of Earth’s nations agreed to cut emissions.

The ‘reckless disparity,’ according to the Huffington Post, follows the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change report in October that warned if fossil fuels weren’t phased out in the next decade, ‘catastrophic’ damage to the planet will ensue. The world is currently on track for a 3 degree Celsius increase in temperature, doubling the recommended limit of 1.5 degrees.

The report by Influencer Map, found that since the Paris Agreement was reached three years ago, the aforementioned oil companies have spent USD 195 million per year promoting their role in battling climate change, while spending USD 965 million a year marketing other sustainable projects. Some of these advertisements can be found on top influencer sites such as The New York Times and Washington Post. Though adverts appeared worldwide, those residing in the USA were targeted most frequently.


Donald Trump, Wyoming, USA, drilling, oil, federal judge, bans drilling

Order on the oil

A US federal judge has halted hundreds of drilling projects on public land in Wyoming, after ruling that the Trump administration had failed to “sufficiently address climate change,” The Hill reports. The landmark decision will be at odds with the president’s plans to expand the fossil fuel industry’s access to public lands. The ruling also comes before an awaited five-year plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling by the Interior Department, which is expected to irk environmentalists and coastal governments.


oil palm, palm oil, EU phase out, EU ban on palm oil, EU ban, Malaysia, WTO, Indonesia

EU palm oil phase out sparks fighting talk from Malaysia

Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has responded to the EU’s decision to phase out palm oil by threatening to purchase its fighter jets from countries such as China, in replace of European arms dealers, News Asia reports. A European Commission report recently found that 45 percent of oil palm expansion over the last decade has resulted in forests, wetlands and peatlands destruction, which in turn resulted in more greenhouse gas emissions. Malaysia- the world’s second largest exporter of palm oil- has said it will take the European bloc to the World Trade Organization over the ruling. Indonesia’s Jakarta Post claims the EU came to their decision using 2008 – 2015 data, which doesn’t take into consideration a deforestation downturn in 2017. The Indonesian government implemented a palm oil moratorium after 2015’s forests fires in Riau, which caused mass deforestation and a public health crisis.


wildlife trafficking, IUCN Red List, IUCN, orangutan, Bali

Bali officials detain Russian man suspected of drugging and smuggling orangutan

A Russian tourist in Bali has been detained after airport officials found a drugged orangutan in his hand luggage, ABC reports. Twenty-seven year-old Andrei Zhestov claims he bought the orangutan for USD 4200 to keep as a pet, though two tokay geckos and four chameleons were also discovered in the man’s belongings on further investigation. Orangutans are critically endangered and on the IUCN Red List.


Brazil, land rights, deforestation, amazon jungle, Sônia Guajajara, Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s indigenous fearful of their future

In an interview with The New York Times, one of Brazil’s best known indigenous leaders, Sônia Guajajara, claims Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, has reversed 30 years of progress in his first 50 days of government. Agencies that work to strengthen and protect  indigenous rights and the Amazon rainforest have already been weakened or defunded, and responsibilities for their oversight passed to the pro-farming, pro-mining, pro-timber agriculture ministry. The article reports that Mr. Bolsonaro wants “collective lands-” where indigenous groups have exclusive use of government owned lands under the Constitution- to be more “productive.” The populist leader has also publicly announced that “there is no such thing as an indigenous people.” As well as her concerns for the planet if the Amazon rainforest is jeopardised, Ms. Guajajara believes the president’s moves will result in ethnocide. “Ethnocide is when you kill the culture. Genocide is when you kill the people,” she said.


greta thunberg, school climate strikes, the guardian, 1.4 million people

No-one too small to make a difference

More than 1.4 million people joined the school climate strikes on March 15th, making it the largest climate protest in history, the Guardian reports. Children in 2,233 cities and towns in 128 countries walked out of school to demonstrate against climate inaction by their governments, as covered by Forests News last week. Further strikes are planned for 12 April.


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Topic(s) :   Climate change Oil palm