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Private Sector Announce Future of Rainforest Conservation Will Be Determined By Finance and Regulation



rainforest aerial

The future of sustainable development in the Asia Pacific Region is critical with respect to access to finance and the supportive legal and regulatory environment.

This was the key message taken by private sector businesses to the Asia Pacific Rainforest Partnership (APRP) Summit as Governments, farmers, businesses, NGOs and academics met today to help realise the goal of building on the Paris Climate Change Agreement by significantly reducing emissions from the deforestation and degradation of the 740 million hectares of forest spread across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan Private Sector Roundtable is made up of businesses including Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), Wilmar, Sime Darby, New Forests, PT Rimba Makmur Utama, Simmonds Lumber and Baker and McKenzie, amongst others.

After just 6 months of working together, the members today published details of pilot conservation projects and policy recommendations in an effort to push for new mechanisms to facilitate public private engagement on rainforest protection projects.

Amongst the projects submitted by the Private Sector Roundtable there is the the potential[1] to safeguard forests in landscapes covering approximately 500,000 hectares and to improve the livelihoods of up to the same number of people living in villages where these projects are being implemented. Preserving rainforests, especially those on peatlands, will avoid the release of 20 tons of CO2e per hectare per year, which would have been released with the conversion into short rotation crops/plantations, according to IPCC methodology. Scaling these projects up could transform sustainable economic development and green growth across the entire Asia-Pacific region, but only if further finance and support can be unlocked.

Action at scale is essential with forests playing a critical role in climate change, food security, peoples’ livelihoods and biodiversity with the UN FAO recently highlighting an urgent need to promote more positive interactions between agriculture and forestry to build sustainable agricultural systems and improve food security.

“The work of the roundtable, over just a short six months of collaboration, shows that the private sector is already taking a leadership role and ready to act quickly in tackling issues around climate change and deforestation, paving the way for even greater collaboration between governments, companies and civil society, and the possibility to develop a new financing model to leverage existing efforts being undertaken by the private sector” said Australia’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg.

The pilot projects demonstrate how low carbon development can be promoted across the Asia Pacific region. Spanning a range of countries in the region, they showcase a variety of potential new business models based on a landscape approach, from biodiversity credits to smallholder certification. Finance and interested partners are urgently needed to scale these types of projects up across the region.

Sustainable landscape management does not recognise administrative boundaries.

“Forest protection, restoration and sustainable development require collaboration to innovate and create new business models and crucially, ensure that the stewards of the land – smallholders – are involved and benefit directly from these projects.” says Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability for APP and Chair of the Private Sector Roundtable.

“The members of the Private Sector Roundtable have highlighted four key challenges that we need to resolve if we want to make the Paris agreement a reality and arrest deforestation in the Asia Pacific region: How do we incentivise businesses when participation in the carbon market is voluntary and carbon prices are low. How do we monitor progress, what baseline are we working from? And most importantly, how can we leverage the role of the private sector, how can we organise finance mechanisms that actually deliver cash to the smallholders and stakeholders in the forest? These are the people at the frontline of protecting rainforests in our region.”

The private sector roundtable has taken these issues in a package of policy briefs which provide recommendations to governments, other private sector actors, and civil society. “Without a supportive regulatory environment and a clear economic return provided for taking action to undertake REDD+ or other forest protection measure , reaching the Paris goal of mobilising $100 billion by 2020, will remain a far-off dream. The private sector stands ready to step up investment and encourages further collaboration with other partners and in particular donor governments at the summit to ensure that the 450 million people in Asia and Pacific that depend on forests for their livelihood can continue to do so long into the future,” says Martijn Wilder AM of Baker and McKenzie, and Vice-Chair of the Private Sector Roundtable.


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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