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We’re Number One! – In What Our Land Can Do for the World’s Climate

You hear the phrase “we’re number one!” from Americans fairly often, usually in relation to sports or politics. Now new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows  that there’s another domain where it applies. It’s not as an assertion of superiority, and probably never will lead to a chant at the Olympics, the World Cup or even the UN climate negotiations. Rather, it’s in terms of our potential to use our land sector – that is, agriculture and forests – to reduce our global warming pollution and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

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Why COP 20 Lima Matters to South American Countries

The Conference of Parties (COP20) currently being held in Lima is critically important for South American countries given their exposure to climate change impacts. Land surface changes, fossil fuel extraction, and sea level rise are key concerns for these countries. Read More

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Amazon Deforestation in Brazil: New Numbers, Better Understanding

The new annual data on Amazon deforestation in Brazil has just come out, and it’s good news. For the latest year—August 2013 through July 2014—the annual total was 4,848 square kilometers. That’s 18 percent less than in the previous year, and the second-lowest figure ever. Read More

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McDonald’s Palm Oil Commitment Fails on National Fast Food Day

Hold on to your hats because this coming Sunday is a day for parties. The Internet tells me that three different holidays fall on Sunday, November 16. First, it’s National Button Day which makes sense because who doesn’t love buttons? It’s also Have a Party with Your Bear Day. I’m thinking the best way to rejoice might be to listen to a classic childhood song. And lastly, it’s National Fast Food Day. Read More

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The Day After: What the Mid-Terms Mean and How To Move Forward

While this morning’s headlines naturally focus on the change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, nothing in the results should change anyone’s mind on these clear truths: we know Americans trust science, support cutting global warming emissions, and want help for communities struggling with the very real consequences of climate change.   Read More

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Bunge Jumps into Deforestation-Free Palm Oil with a Splash

On Monday Bunge, an agribusiness and food ingredient company based out of White Plains, New York, indicated its intention to ensure the palm oil that it sources will be deforestation- and peat-free. Coming from one of the largest traders of palm oil in the world, Bunge’s announcement is significant for what it means for both the world climate and for ecosystems at risk due to palm oil production. But to me it also signifies that the status quo—palm oil that is linked with deforestation and peatland destruction—is a sinking ship that is increasingly risky to stay aboard. Read More

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Who’ll Plant the Trees for Our Grandchildren to Use?

Thinking about trees often makes you think about your grandchildren. Both start small, can live for many decades, and will grow old in a world very different from ours today. And they’re connected. I expect that my granddaughter Esme, who just turned 1 ½, will probably live in a house made of wood, will write on paper, and perhaps will keep her house warm in the winter, as my wife and I do, with a wood stove. Have we thought about what trees that wood will come from? Read More

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Hershey Bars, Global Warming and Deforestation: a Sweet New Policy

As I rode on the train back to Washington today, The Hershey Company announced its strengthened commitment to zero deforestation for all the palm oil it uses. This is another of the welcome corporate statements, over the last several months and indeed the last few days, that have recognized business’ responsibilities to reduce the damage that they cause to the climate. Read More

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Misleading New York Times Op-Ed on Forests, but Real Progress on Ending Deforestation

I’m in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, and it’s an important week for tropical forests and the global climate. Read More

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Fall of the Oil Curtain: Palm Oil Manifesto Group Announce Forest Clearing Moratorium

The late summer and fall of 1989 marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union and communism in Europe. Mass movements of citizens in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and East Germany forced those governments to loosen their grip and open the gates (literally at times) to democracy. A quarter century later, we are seeing a similar toppling of the forces which aim to keep the palm oil industry trapped behind an oil curtain of corporate secrecy and rampant destruction of our forests, peatlands, and atmosphere. Read More

Categories: Tropical Forests  

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