Bottom line: they want to continue clearing large expanses of native forest for oil palm and industrial wood-pulp plantations, and the zero-deforestation agreements are getting in the way of this.
This is a really critical issue to watch. If corporations start to backslide on their zero-deforestation agreements, conservationists need to let them know -- loudly and emphatically -- that they're doing the wrong thing.
5. The Paris Climate Accord
ALERT's Bill Laurance and Thomas Lovejoy attended the Paris Climate talks, where there were two key developments relating to rainforests.
First, a formal agreement for advancing REDD+ -- reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation -- was finally approved.
In theory, this means that more international funding should start flowing for forest conservation -- to slow deforestation, promote more-sustainable logging, and encourage forest regeneration -- all in the interest of reducing carbon emissions and thereby limiting global warming.
No question that this is good news -- though it's time to stop talking and start acting: Conservationists must press wealthier nations to amp up funding for REDD initiatives. As we've long argued at ALERT, conserving rainforests is clearly one of the most cost-effective ways to limit harmful climate change.
Second, the world's nations agreed in principle to limit global warming to 2 degrees -- and to strive for an increase of just 1.5 degrees. Easy to say, much harder to do.
While we must herald this landmark accord, there's no time for complacency. The Paris Agreement will only be effective if it's accompanied by concerted action by nations to reduce their carbon emissions and conserve forests.
And it's definitely worth reading these two snappy essays -- here and here -- about biodiversity in a warming world. Certain types of species and ecosystems will be greatly imperiled, and there's many scary things we still don't know about climate change.