On 14 September 2022, the European Parliament voted on proposals to amend the EU‘s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Changing problematic incentives for burning forest biomass was the most contentious issue in an otherwise fairly consensual file, as most MEPs agree that overall renewable energy ambitions should be considerably increased.
An Article of the Worldpoliticsreview.com underlines the conclusions of Libreville CBFP Mop 19th Stream 1a of Event: The Electric Vehicle Boom Isn’t All Good News for the Environment ( Lyuba Zarsky)
Analysis of this review underlines the conclusions of Libreville CBFP Mop 19th Stream 1a of Event: Emissions from the mining of minerals needed to manufacture EVs needs to be offset at source if they are to have a net positive impact on climate change. Many of the minerals are going to be coming from the Congo Basin.You may find this review of the potential climate impacts of the fast-growing market for Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the demand for minerals that are needed – particularly for the construction of their batteries...
An electric vehicle charges at a dealership in Wexford, Pa., May 6, 2021 (AP photo by Keith Srakocic)
Electric vehicles are poised to take over the global car market. In China, the world’s largest car market by far, sales of pure electric vehicles nearly doubled year-on-year in May; combined with hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, they more than doubled. Chinese electric vehicles now make up 20 percent of the domestic car market and 40 percent of the global electric vehicle market. At this rate, new car sales in China will be fully electric by 2025.
China dominates not just global demand, but also global supply of the critical components for electric vehicles. In 2020, 76 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries were produced there, along with 60 to 80 percent of the separators, anodes, electrolytes and cathodes in them. China also dominates the battery minerals supply chain, including lithium, nickel and rare earths. While its domestic deposits are not large, Chinese companies have invested heavily in overseas mines, such as for cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and have collectively built a large refining capacity at home. Chinese companies are responsible for 80 percent of global raw material refining for electric vehicle batteries, including 65 percent of global processing of battery-grade lithium.
In the United States, the world’s second-largest automotive market, electric vehicle sales have been slow and steady for a decade. But things are changing fast. In the first quarter of 2022, electric vehicle sales grew by a whopping 60 percent and now account for close to 6 percent of the total domestic passenger car market. Tesla remains the largest electric vehicle manufacturer, but all the big U.S. car companies have committed billions of dollars to rapidly expand electric vehicle production. GM says it will completely phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2035. Last week, California—the largest car market in the U.S.—announced a ban on sales of gas-powered cars after 2035.
Electric vehicle sales as well as domestic production in the U.S. will get a lift from the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, including a range of consumer and producer tax credits. In a bid to secure supplies and boost U.S. jobs and manufacturing, the IRA aims to build out a domestic electric vehicle supply chain, including mining and processing of critical materials.
There’s no question that the electric vehicle boom will help mitigate global climate change. But the environmental news isn’t all good.
The great environmental benefit of electric vehicles, no matter where they are produced or driven, is that they generate zero tailpipe emissions. That’s a huge plus, given that transportation accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 8 percent in China. In the car-crazy U.S., tailpipe emissions are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 27 percent of the U.S. total. There’s no question, then, that the electric vehicle boom will help mitigate global climate change and improve local air quality to boot.
But the environmental news isn’t all good.
Electric vehicles do generate emissions both when they are recharged and when they are produced. How much depends largely on the local energy mix. If the local grid is powered by coal, oil or natural gas, the climate benefits of eliminating tailpipe emissions shrink. A recent study in Australia found that in the state of Tasmania, which is largely powered by hydro, an electric vehicle reduces transport emissions by 70-77 percent. But the average reduction nationally was a more modest 29-41 percent. Nonetheless, a 2022 study by the research group RMI found that even in U.S. regions with “dirty” grids, the tailpipe-plus-charging emissions of electric vehicles are still lower than gasoline-powered cars.
But the production of electric vehicles, especially their batteries, is a highly energy-intensive business. A single lithium-ion battery pack for a mid-sized electric vehicle weighs 1,000 pounds and contains some 17 pounds of lithium, 77 pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese and 30 pounds of cobalt. To keep it lightweight, the battery case is made of aluminum, one of the most energy-intensive industries in the world. Nearly half of the emissions from manufacturing electric vehicles come from the mining and processing of the critical materials for the battery. The location of the mines matters here, too: The lower the ore quality, the more energy it takes to dig it out and process it.
Based on modeling by the Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that with today’s U.S. energy mix, manufacturing an electric vehicle generates 50 percent more emissions than a gasoline-powered car. In China, where coal-generated power makes up 60 percent of the energy grid, the emissions from manufacturing electric vehicles are even higher. In the U.S., electric vehicles are still much cleaner over the whole life cycle of a vehicle—production, use and retirement—compared to gasoline-powered cars, which generate twice as many emissions as electric vehicles. Given the expected huge growth in the electric vehicle market, it’s clear that the national energy sectors must decarbonize in lockstep with sales.
In April 2022, President Joe Biden committed the U.S. to achieving 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2035. The IRA allocates $370 billion to reaching that goal. California has set 2045 as its target for the same goal and is well on its way. China announced in June that 33 percent of its energy would come from renewables by 2035. However, it is still adding coal plants, some of which will power the country’s planned expansion of electric vehicle battery production.
An even more daunting environmental challenge of the electric vehicle boom is that the methods used to obtain critical materials—generally open-pit or underground mining—generate widespread, toxic and long-lasting in situ environmental damage. In open-pit mining, thousands of acres of dirt “overburden” are removed and put in mountainous piles of waste rocks. The exposed ore seams are then dug up and transported in slurries to undergo complex processes to separate out the metal. Residues, called tailings, are typically held in large ponds.
The land, soil and biodiversity lost to an open-pit mine—which can be as much as 3-4 miles long and a mile wide—can be irreversible, including the loss of species. Moreover, the mountains of overburden as well as the tailings contain traces of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, copper and mercury. When rainwater comes into contact with the rocks, it reacts with sulfur to create acidic run-off that dissolves the heavy metals and pollutes surface and groundwater. “Acid mine drainage” can pollute entire watersheds and coastal waters that surround the mine for hundreds of miles—and for generations.
Stories of the long-term, devastating environmental and social impacts of metals mining, as well as the resistance to it, abound in every major mining community around the world, from Argentina to Arizona, from Papua New Guinea to Paiute country, from Chile to China. Typically, the mines are located near poor rural communities, many near or on Indigenous lands. Last week, “From Dreams to Dust”—which documents the ravaging of Tapunggaeya, a once-quiet Indonesian fishing community, by decades of nickel mining—won the 2022 Yale Environment 360 Film Contest. The huge open-pit mines have polluted the community’s drinking supplies, triggered landslides and contaminated coastal waters. The consultancy EY found that social and environmental concerns were the top risks to the mining and metals sector in 2021.
Like nickel, lithium is a metal, and mining it is dirty business. In addition to huge open-pit mines, lithium is extracted by pumping underground water deposits to the surface. The resulting pools of briny liquid are left to evaporate, and lithium is removed from the dried salts that remain. The process typically consumes huge quantities of fresh water, often sourced from wells, streams or aquifers that are also used for farming or drinking water.
Are there alternatives to such dirty mining of the metals, like nickel and lithium, that are necessary for clean electric vehicles? The jury is still out, but there are four main angles of approach:
Recycling. Only about 1 percent of lithium-ion batteries are currently recycled, compared to 99 percent of lead batteries. But technological innovation and commercial opportunity could drive a big increase as the electric vehicle market explodes.
Regulation. Like the stringent measures put in place to reduce air pollution from coal, strong regulation to protect water and biodiversity will be required for the electric vehicle revolution.
New mining processes. Better ways to mine lithium are emerging, including direct extraction, which uses little water.
An area of Europe equivalent to one-fifth of Belgium has burned so far this year, the greatest surface at this point in the calendar year since records began in 2006. As this and the other realities of the climate crisis made their presence felt, Professor Sten B. Nilsson wrote an opinion piece for Euractiv outlining how to prevent Europe’s forest fires.
At the start of the new academic year, the United Nations Regional Information Centre in Bonn together with UNCCD, hosted a group of graduate students from Côte d’Ivoire, Germany and Kenya to discuss the Convention’s work on combating drought and desertification and the role of science in supporting good land stewardship. Two dozen students who visited UN Bonn are a part of the programme launched by the German Center for Development Research (ZEF) in 2021, together with the Universities of Cologne, Abidjan and Nairobi as part of the new DAAD Global Environment and Climate Center Initiative.
Droughtland campaign featured in the margins of the General Assembly discussions on new ways to promote SDGs - UNCCD
On the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the UNCCD took part in a high-level event at the opening night of Goals House held at the iconic Tavern on the Green in Central Park on 18 September 2022.
New York, September 19, 2022 – The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD in partnership with Afreximbank, co-launched the AUDA-NEPAD Energize Africa initiative on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Energize Africa initiative recognises that Africa’s youth and women – making up more than half of the continent’s populations - must be at the core of Africa’s economic growth and inclusive development strategies.
Press Release: Climate Finance to Address Global Challenges on Climate Change, Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss - NEPAD
New York, September 20, 2022 – Climate financing will play an important role in unlocking Africa’s potential to combat climate change. It is estimated that Africa requires about 2.5 trillion dollars of climate finance between 2020 and 2030 averaging about 250 billion dollars each year. However, the total annual climate finance flows in Africa for 2020 were only 30 billion dollars, which is just about 12 percent of the amount needed.
Global Leadership Council unveiled to scale up clean, reliable energy and stop global warming - AFDB
22-Sep-2022 - The battle to stop global warming from rising above the catastrophic 1.5 degree Celsius received a boost on Wednesday as the newly launched Global Leadership Council got down to business during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
As the world faces multiple crises dominated by new conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic shocks, and growing inequalities, development has been halted or even reversed across several domains, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
The African Union (AU) Youth for Peace Africa Programme, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) have launched a serious game known as “Mission55 Conflict in Anaka”, to commemorate the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) 2022. The game, which the AU and GIZ developed, aims to raise awareness, educate and inform the public, particularly youth, on the mandate of the AU to promote good governance, peace and security in Africa.
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA). The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organized by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
September 15, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today launched the IGAD Regional Trade Policy 2022-2026 in Nairobi. Representatives of IGAD Member States from Ministry of Trade and Heads of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) attended the one-day event.
New biodiversity commitments announced as world leaders declare nature summit COP15 a priority - GEF
New commitments aimed at catalyzing biodiversity finance and conservation were unveiled today at a high-level event convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to showcase action and support for a nature-positive world. New initiatives announced include €0.87 billion of new funding from the German government; a 10 point plan for financing biodiversity, endorsed by 16 initial countries; and the next phase of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC for Nature and People 2.0)...
Nancy Karigithu is Kenya’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Shipping and the Blue Economy. In an interview, she explained how the maritime sector can reduce pollution, rein in carbon emissions, and combat wildlife trafficking on a global scale.
Patricia Zurita is CEO of BirdLife International, a leading conservation organization that works with 115 national partner organizations and 13 million members to protect birds and their habitats worldwide. In an interview marking BirdLife’s 100th anniversary, she shared her vision for how the world can create a healthy environment for healthy societies in the coming century.
Media Release: Governments Meet on Science and Evidence to Address Global Biodiversity Crisis - ipbes
Bonn, Germany – Representatives of almost 140 Governments will begin a week-long meeting on Sunday in Bonn, Germany to advance the science and evidence necessary to address the global biodiversity crisis. The ninth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES9) will be the first in-person meeting, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of the global body tasked with presenting decision-makers with the best-available science and expertise, to inform policy and action on nature.
Hindou, a Mbororo Indigenous pastoralist woman, is the founder of the Association of Indigenous Peul Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), a community-based organization focused on promoting the rights of girls and women in the Mbororo community and inspiring leadership and advocacy in environmental protection. She is an influential climate leader in Africa, advocating for the importance of traditional knowledge for building resilience of Indigenous and forest communities to cope with the climate crisis.
Enforcement officers new to the fight against wildlife crime have put a suite of TRAFFIC resources and newly developed materials to the test in a series of trainings in Southeast Asia. The face-to-face trainings with newly designed materials have been critical in bringing up-to-date information and tools to frontliners in some of the region’s major wildlife trade hotspots. However, staff turnover, regulatory changes, and evolving trends in wildlife crime mean there is a constant need for training.” Renee Yee, TRAFFIC’s Training and Capacity Building Officer in Southeast Asia
UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) issued a report, which presents evidence on gender equality across all 17 SDGs. Emphasizing the pivotal role of gender equality in driving progress on the entire 2030 Agenda, the report warns that global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change have exacerbated gender disparities.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) regional offices for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published the results of a regional assessment of progress towards SDG 4 (quality education). The report highlights the urgent need for more investment and social participation to enable a systemic transformation of education.
On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2022, we reflect on the important role of indigenous women in the preservation and the transmission of traditional knowledge.
COP 15 PRESIDENCY: latest news from Huang Runqiu, President of the COP 15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China – CBD
On September 12, Huang Runqiu, President of the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) and Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, had a video meeting with Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The two sides had in-depth exchanges on the second part of COP 15 and key issues related to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) .
From 19 September to 20 November 2022, learn to develop a step-by-step ecosystem restoration plan and apply effective restoration solutions in your national and sub-national context. Now is the time to restore our damaged ecosystems. Join a FREE MOOC on Ecosystem Restoration on the Learning for Nature platform.
We, the representatives of Central African civil society who participated in-person and virtually in the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which was organized by the Federal Republic of Germany and took place from 5 to 8 July, 2022, in Libreville, Republic of Gabon, came together on 6 July 2022, as part of a strategic workshop of civil society organizations working to ensure effective management of natural resources in Congo Basin countries…
Berlin, 12th September 2022, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), has officially joined the 124 members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). INBAR has submitted its application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework to promote sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
CBFP RDP 19: Main conclusions of Streams of the 19th Meeting of the Parties of the CBFP: Strong messages and recommendations...
Please download the recommendations, conclusions, messages coming out of the deliberations of Streams 1a, 1b, 2 and 3, Technical Segment of the MOP 19 of the CBFP of Libreville towards sustainable development for Central Africa’s countries, people, forests and biodiversity...These conclusions also serve as a roadmap for the partners to implement the "Declaration of commitment of COMIFAC Member States to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing" and the “Joint Declaration of the Congo Basin donors of COP26”…
MoP 19 - CIFOR - USFS: Peatlands, mangroves, and other wetlands: climate responses in the Congo Basin
Please kindly consult the main conclusions of the two side events organised by CIFOR and USFS in the margins of CBFP MOP 19 on: Slot 1: Current scientific activities on peatlands (and other wetlands) in the Congo Basin and Slot 2: Early responses to protect and manage peatlands in the Congo Basin.
A new member of the great CBFP family: Welcome to the Republic of Korea (ROK) represented by the Korean Forest Service (KFS)!
Berlin, 12th August 2022, the Republic of Korea (ROK), represented by the Korea Forest Service (KFS), has officially joined the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). ROK has submitted their application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework in promoting sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
The UN Global Compact published its China strategy seeking “to unlock the potential of business and other stakeholders to maximize their impact on the SDGs and contribute to sustainable development in China and the rest of the world.” The document recognizes China’s local priorities while striving to align itself with the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and global ambition.
Participants at the 2022 World Water Week, which convened against the backdrop of the flooding in Pakistan, the food crisis in Africa, and the drying rivers of Europe, highlighted the need for investments and political will to implement available water solutions.
The latest Human Development Report, published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), warns that due to the impacts of the multiple crises, mounting layers of uncertainty, and increasing polarization, human development has dropped to its 2016 levels, “reversing much of the progress” towards the SDGs. Yet, it argues, there is “promise and opportunity in uncertainty” to “reimagine our futures, to renew and adapt our institutions and to craft new stories about who we are and what we value.”
Berlin September 7, 2022. Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany travelled to Brussels to co-host together with the Member of the European Parliament from the Group of the European People's Party (EPP) Dr. Angelika Niebler, a casual round table on the importance of the EU’s support in achieving better protection of the Congo Basin Forests, including through a “Fair Deal” mechanism for long-term financing of the region by means of payments for ecosystem services approach.
Delegates to the fourth session of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP4) advanced their work on the outline for a future global policy framework to promote chemical safety.
A strong majority of Europeans think businesses are failing in their responsibility to protect the world’s forests and therefore support a new law to ban products that destroy them. On Amazon Rainforest Day, a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Europeans (82%) believe businesses should not sell products that destroy the world’s forests and think (78%) that the government needs to ban products that drive deforestation. When informed that the European Parliament has proposed such a law, support rises to 81 per cent.
MEPs have a crucial chance to ensure smallholders around the world don’t pay the price for EU efforts to end deforestation. When the European Commission published its proposal for a Regulation on deforestation-free products in November 2021, it was hailed as a landmark in the fight against deforestation.
Will the EU biomass loophole give a lifeline to energy giant EPH’s coal power plants? “A carbon bomb in the heart of Europe” investigates the rapidly growing Czech energy company EPH’s exploitation of loopholes in the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive. The loopholes allow Member States to offer subsidies to extend the life of power stations. EPH is using such subsidies to burn biomass from forests, thereby dangerously delaying the energy sector’s decarbonisation.