Dbytes #519 (13 April 2022)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“What we’re seeing is a real inability to operate schemes like this with high integrity. An environmental market without integrity is not an environmental market, it’s a rort. And I feel that Australia’s carbon market is just that – it’s degenerated to become a rort.”
Andrew Macintosh [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund
2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments
3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands
4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?
5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict
6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change
7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

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1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund

An unfortunate thing about environmental policies is how easy it seems to be to do them badly. It’s all too common to find that an expensive and prominent policy is not actually achieving what it is supposed to achieve in terms of environmental protection or enhancement. Australia’s main climate change policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), is an example.

368. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund – Pannell Discussions

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2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments

Talking about failed conservation efforts does not happen often enough in ways that promote shared learning within organizations. We often learn more from failures than from successes, a fact underscored by the authors of a new report, “Reflection and Learning from Failure in Conservation Organizations.” An new op-ed offers examples and argues that if reflection upon failure is used more regularly, it would reduce staff time invested in progress reporting, free up staffers to do what they were hired for, and speed up team learning and adaptive management.

After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments (commentary) (mongabay.com)

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3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands

For millennia, North American ecosystems benefited from fire, mostly set by Indigenous people. Now, a movement is growing, particularly in the eastern U.S., to reintroduce controlled burns to forests and grasslands and restore the role of fire in creating biodiverse landscapes.

Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands – Yale E360

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4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?

After six goes you’d think they’d try something different

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict

Many threats to biodiversity can be predicted and are well mapped but others are uncertain in their extent, impact on biodiversity, and ability for conservation efforts to address, making them more difficult to account for in spatial conservation planning efforts, and as a result, they are often ignored. Here, we use a spatial prioritisation analysis to evaluate the consequences of considering only relatively well-mapped threats to biodiversity and compare this with planning scenarios that also account for more uncertain threats (in this case mining and armed conflict) under different management strategies. We evaluate three management strategies to address these more uncertain threats: 1. to ignore them; 2. avoid them; or 3. specifically target actions towards them, first individually and then simultaneously to assess the impact of their inclusion in spatial prioritisations. We apply our approach to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and identify priority areas for conserving biodiversity and carbon sequestration services. We found that a strategy that avoids addressing threats of mining and armed conflict more often misses important opportunities for biodiversity conservation, compared to a strategy that targets action towards areas under threat (assuming a biodiversity benefit is possible). We found that considering mining and armed conflict threats to biodiversity independently rather than simultaneously results in 13 800–14 800 km2 and 15 700–25 100 km2 of potential missed conservation opportunities when undertaking threat-avoiding and threat-targeting management strategies, respectively. Our analysis emphasises the importance of considering all threats that can be mapped in spatial conservation prioritisation.

Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict | SpringerLink

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6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change

Between 2011-2016 editorial articles in publications such as the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail generally opposed action to tackle climate change, citing “unreliable” science and “expensive” environmental policies. But in recent years – a period that has seen the Conservative government commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and host the COP26 climate summit – right-leaning publications have more readily embraced some efforts to cut emissions. As a result, these newspapers are now far more likely to support climate action in their editorial pages than oppose it.

Analysis: How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change (carbonbrief.org)

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7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

The urgency of tackling climate change is even greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other First Nation peoples across the globe. First Nations people will be disproportionately affected and are already experiencing existential threats from climate change. The unfolding disaster in the Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales is no exception, with Aboriginal communities completely inundated or cut off from essential supplies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have protected Country for millennia and have survived dramatic climatic shifts. We are intimately connected to Country, and our knowledge and cultural practices hold solutions to the climate crisis. Despite this, we continue to be excluded from leadership roles in climate solution discussions, such as the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-peoples-across-the-globe-are-uniquely-equipped-to-deal-with-the-climate-crisis-so-why-are-we-being-left-out-of-these-conversations-171724?

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

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