Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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Carbon-neutral coffee, plastic rain and why it’s scorching in Siberia – Landscape News

By Staff , in Carbon Neutrality , at June 26, 2020

Welcome to the Landscape News bi-weekly digest on landscapes, climate and sustainability. From what’s on your shelves to what’s in the atmosphere, here’s the news to know.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

In case you missed the GLF Bonn digital conference earlier this month, here’s why finance and data are crucial tools for safeguarding food security.

Meanwhile, GLF managing director John Colmey explains why landscapes will be key to “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, from Lesotho and Catalonia, here are two new recipes to add to your cooking lineup.

COVID-19

Illegal logging on the lands of the Indigenous Pirititi people in the Brazilian Amazon, where burning season is expected to peak July. Quapan, Flickr

Illegal logging on the lands of the Indigenous Pirititi people in the Brazilian Amazon, where burning season is expected to peak July. Quapan, Flickr

Echoing the many voices at GLF Bonn, leading experts from the U.N. and WWF are calling for drastic action to protect and conserve the planet in order to prevent future pandemics.

Carbon emissions are rebounding as countries around the world come out of lockdown: a new study finds that emissions are now just 5 percent below average 2019 levels, compared to 17 percent in April.

And as Latin America braces for peak burning season in the Amazon, health experts are warning that smoke from forest fires could aggravate COVID-19 infections in the region.

CLIMATE

Yakutia, the largest part of the Russian Federation, experienced abnormally high temperatures this past winter. Forty percent of the republic is located in the Arctic Circle. Maarten Takens, Flickr

Yakutia, the largest part of the Russian Federation, experienced abnormally high temperatures this past winter. Forty percent of the republic is located in the Arctic Circle. Maarten Takens, Flickr

The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet – and in its latest heatwave, the mercury has hit a record-breaking 38 degrees Celsius in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk. That comes in the wake of Russia’s hottest winter on record.

But Siberians might want to hold off on painting their houses white to keep cool: scientists have developed a two-layered reflective paint coating that reduces solar heating by up to 20 percent, regardless of color.

Affluence in the Global North is a leading systemic cause of environmental destruction, new research suggests. A U.S. study also finds that global warming increases pregnancy risks, particularly among black mothers and people with asthma.

PEOPLE

Arsenal player Héctor Bellerín has joined with tree-planting organization One Tree Planted in order to raise awareness around “how important it is to look after our world and donate to a cause which really effects us all,” he says. Roscoe Myrick, Flickr

Arsenal player Héctor Bellerín has joined with tree-planting organization One Tree Planted in order to raise awareness around “how important it is to look after our world and donate to a cause which really effects us all,” he says. Roscoe Myrick, Flickr

There’s no tackling climate change without addressing racial injustices, say activists, both within a society and at the global level. Black academics are also calling out systemic racism in the science community.

Australian mining company BHP is holding off on destroying 40 Aboriginal heritage sites and will seek further consultation with their traditional owners. Last month, Rio Tinto destroyed a 46,000-year-old sacred site in Western Australia, prompting a major backlash.

Footballer Héctor Bellerín has partnered with One Tree Planted to help reforest the Amazon. The Arsenal defender will plant 3,000 trees every time his team wins for the remainder of the season.

PLANET

Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park is, along with the Grand Canyon, one of 11 protected nature areas of the U.S. included in a study on the prevalence of microplastics in remote areas. Angel La Canfora, Flickr

Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park is, along with the Grand Canyon, one of 11 protected nature areas of the U.S. included in a study on the prevalence of microplastics in remote areas. Angel La Canfora, Flickr

Nigerian farmers are grappling with the worst-ever outbreak of African swine fever, which has seen almost a million pigs culled. While harmless to humans, the disease’s fatality rate in pigs is nearly 100 percent.

Mangroves are some of the planet’s most potent carbon sinks, but they could fall victim to climate change in the next 30 years unless carbon emissions are reduced.

While our knowledge of the ocean might be limited, the world’s first map of the ocean floor is set to be completed by 2030, with almost one-fifth mapped so far.

And as much as plastic pollution is often associated with the ocean, it’s also found in even the most remote terrestrial landscapes, with over 1,000 metric tons raining down on national parks in the western U.S. per day.

POLICY

The E.U. has made more progress on Sustainable Development Goals addressing peace, poverty and health than climate change. Thijs ter Haar, Flickr

The E.U. has made more progress on Sustainable Development Goals addressing peace, poverty and health than climate change. Thijs ter Haar, Flickr

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that will guarantee USD 900 million in annual funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is aimed at acquiring and maintaining land for conservation.

The E.U. has made no progress on climate action and has moved backward on gender equality, according to Eurostat’s latest progress report on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Member states have also been at loggerheads over the use of carbon trading to pay for COVID-19 recovery plans.

China, meanwhile, is considering easing regulations on electric cars to help its auto industry recover from the pandemic, while France is offering a EUR 15 billion bailout to its aerospace sector.

Investors are also demanding answers from Brazil for its skyrocketing deforestation.

BUSINESS

Nestlé, along with showing nutrition values of its products more visibly on packaging, is making efforts to ensure the sustainability of its cocoa products. Nestlé, Flickr

Nestlé, along with showing nutrition values of its products more visibly on packaging, is making efforts to ensure the sustainability of its cocoa products. Nestlé, Flickr

Carbon-neutral coffee is on its way to the U.K. from Colombia – by sailboat. Chocolate brand KitKat has cut ties with Fairtrade, with parent company Nestlé opting for Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa instead.

Ride-hailing company Lyft plans to only allow electric vehicles on its platform by 2030.

Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 15 percent last year and is now the equivalent of 13 coal-burning power plants.

Encouraging signs for sustainable finance: most environmentally-focused funds have outperformed traditional funds for the last 10 years, according to an analysis by research agency Morningstar. There’s also a new app to connect investors with tree planters across the globe.

And now, even the Vatican is calling on Catholics to divest from the fossil fuel industry, which is facing pressure from investors to better account for climate risks.