New research suggests that forests play an even greater role in controlling the planet’s climate than was previously thought. A paper
published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change argues that climate policy has focused too much on carbon stocks and sequestration when thinking about the role of forests and the impact of deforestation. There are other biophysical factors, including forest structures and composition, that impact water and temperature balances locally and globally. These mean that forests have a greater impact on mitigating climate change than was previously thought, with tropical forests having the greatest impact.
The research found that in the tropics, the cooling effect of forests can be more than 1C – and, inevitably, tropical deforestation has a greater impact on climate stability than cutting down trees in other regions. The paper concludes that the importance of forests for both global climate change mitigation and local adaptation is not adequately captured by current carbon-centric metrics.
Nasdaq carbon credit trackers
The growth of the voluntary carbon markets, and the demand for verified carbon credits, as companies establish net zero targets over increasingly ambitious timescales, continues. And Nasdaq has developed new commodity reference price indexes
that track the price of removing carbon from the atmosphere. The indexes are based on Nasdaq’s Puro.earth carbon removal certificates, known as CORCs, and aim to support the growth of the voluntary carbon markets by creatin greater transparency and credibility.
Puro.earth is a marketplace, registry and standard focused on carbon removal. It identifies companies with products or processes that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. The net negative emissions are verified by a third party and issued as carbon removal certificates. The carbon credit market has been criticised by a lack of liquidity and consistency in data to assess project credibility. Nasdaq aims to address these through the new indexes supporting standardisation and transparency in the carbon removal market.
Palm oil U-turn at Iceland
The war in Ukraine has forced UK supermarket chain Iceland to perform a U-turn on its decision to remove palm oil from all of its own label products. The business made mainstream media headlines in 2018 when it announced the intention to stop using palm oil because of the commodity’s links with deforestation in the tropics – and was criticised by some environmental groups for this blunt approach and not, for example, committing to deforestation-free palm oil.
Iceland had switched many product lines to using sunflower oil instead – the price of which has soared over the past few weeks as the Black Sea region accounts for 80% of global supply. Iceland says that it will switch back to sustainable palm oil temporarily. The alternative would have been to discontinue certain product lines, such as frozen chips and other potato products.
Food supply risks
The ongoing war will have a number of implications for global food supply chains. In the US, a bipartisan Senate group says that significant increases in food aid will be necessary to prevent millions of people starving, given the impact on grain supply chains and other staple foods. The US Congress has already agreed $13bn in aid just for Ukraine, including $2.65bn for food. Reuters has reported that the UN World Food Programme faces a $9bn funding shortfall. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine 44 million people in 38 countries were facing famine. The UN programme sources 50% of its commodities from Ukraine. Combined, Russia and Ukraine account for 25% of the world’s wheat supply.