How Paper Products Are Destroying Russia's Last Remaining Intact Forests
Major western European and American companies are connected to logging companies expanding their operations into one of the largest tracts of undisturbed primary forest in Arkhangelsk Oblast of northwest Russia, a Greenpeace report reveals.
The report, Eye on the Taiga: How industry's claimed sustainable forestry in Russia, is destroying the Great Northern Forest, shows that three-quarters of the proposed Dvinsky Forest Reserve is licensed to three major logging companies. It lists the names of companies, some of which are household names that are buying from mills linked to these logging companies.
Companies highlighted in the report—such as Swedish owned paper manufacturer Arctic Paper, tissue company SCA, the paper giant Stora Enso and Irish packaging producer Smurfit Kappa—have a unique opportunity to help save this last remaining intact forest. In addition, companies such as Auchan, Nestlé, PepsiCo and McDonald's—also highlighted in the report as linked with this case—can influence their suppliers to support the protection of the Dvinsky Forest.
In 2011, regional authorities planned to establish the Dvinsky Forest Reserve. This proposed reserve covers almost two-thirds of one of the largest remaining intact forest landscapes, covering 835,000 hectares of critical habitat for a number of threatened species in Arkhangelsk Oblast in northwestern Russia.
"Since 2000, the Dvinsky forest has lost 300,000 hectares—an area larger than Luxembourg—of unique intact forest landscape," said Anton Beneslavsky, forest project lead for Greenpeace Russia.
"This critically important and beautiful forest is ending up as saunas and tissue products and packaging that can be found in stores and homes all over the world."
Between 2000 and 2013 the rate of loss of intact forest landscapes in the Great Northern Forest was around 2.5 million hectares per year. Russia accounts for more than half of this loss. Logging continues despite Russia promising to deliver its part on achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Target 5 requires by 2020 a minimum 50 percent reduction in the rate of loss of primary forests and other high biodiversity value habitats. Where it is feasible, this loss should be brought close to zero.
"Russia has declared 2017 as the Year of the Protected Area. It has already been years since the Dvinsky Forest Reserve was first earmarked for protection by the Arkhangelsk authorities" said Beneslavsky.
"If the government is serious about establishing new protected areas this year, it should start walking the talk by fully protecting this forest without further delay. Failing to act is not an option."
Greenpeace has written to companies named in the report highlighting the fate of the Dvinsky Forest, and has called on them to join in the efforts to save this magnificent forest and other critical regions of the Great Northern Forest. The companies are encouraged to phase out any suppliers involved in the destruction of these valuable forest areas.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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