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Palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather and soy are to be included in new legislation aimed at helping ensure the products we buy do not harm the world’s forests.
At COP28 Nature Day (9 December), the government will set out how these new laws will ensure that there is no place on our supermarket shelves for products which have been produced on land linked to illegal deforestation.
This move will protect the habitats of some of the world’s most precious and endangered species, including tigers and leopards. It will give British shoppers assurance that the goods they buy are not contributing to deforestation that violates the laws and regulations of the countries where they come from.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agricultural expansion, with an area the size of the UK ploughed up each year to meet UK demand for commodities.
It is a huge threat to rainforests, effectively the “lungs of the earth” because of their ability to absorb harmful gasses and provide a home to thousands of animal and plant species.
The legislation marks a step change from voluntary approaches already in place, protecting the future of the world’s forests that we need to help tackle climate change, and their wildlife-rich canopies.
Introduced through the world leading Environment Act, this legislation will see businesses that have a global annual turnover of over £50 million and use over 500 tonnes of regulated commodities a year banned from using them if sourced from land used illegally.
These businesses will also be required to undertake a due diligence exercise on their supply chains and to report on this exercise annually for transparency.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:
I find it heart-rending to see the way illegal deforestation is destroying the habitats of tigers, jaguars, orangutans and many other endangered species, and I know many people across the world feel the same. Globally, we lose forests equivalent to the size of about 30 football pitches every minute.
It’s why we are cleaning up supply chains to make sure that big businesses in the UK aren’t responsible for illegal deforestation. It also means shoppers can be confident that the money they spend is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Through our work at COP28 on forests, food, and nature we are reversing the loss of biodiversity, increasing food security, and tackling climate change – safeguarding these critically important landscapes for generations to come.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
Halting the decline of the natural world isn’t just about saving rare species, it’s about safeguarding the web of life upon which humanity depends for our food, water and economic security. On the pathway to tackling climate change we must go high nature at the same time as low carbon, creating bigger, better and more joined up places for nature to thrive.
The commitments outlined today are welcome further steps toward UK environmental leadership, both at home and on the world stage. We look forward to supporting the government in delivering results through practical action on the ground”.
Tanya Steele, CEO of the WWF said:
Nearly eight million hectares of primary forest has been lost globally in the last two years alone, so this is an important first step to getting illegal deforestation off UK shopping shelves.
However illegal deforestation is only part of the picture – with wildlife numbers plummeting and wild habitats facing destruction, we must stop felling forests, full stop. Forests absorb 30% of the carbon we emit from burning fossil fuels, so nature is clearly our greatest ally in tackling climate change.
We haven’t a moment to lose to bring our world back to life and these measures must be implemented in Parliament as swiftly as possible.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said:
Retailers welcome the announcement on UK Deforestation Due Diligence legislation. This will give confidence to British retailers and their customers alike, helping retailers meet their ambitious targets on deforestation and enable a greater supply of deforestation-free products in the UK.
Tackling deforestation requires global cooperation and we look forward to seeing further detail as to how the legislation will align with European proposals.
At COP28 in Dubai, the Environment Secretary will set out his priorities to restore forests, recover nature and create sustainable food systems, building on the ambitions set out by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier during the conference. It is essential to the government’s determination to leave the environment in a better state for future generations and follows the UK’s leadership on nature at COP26 where the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use was signed by over 140 countries.
The UK government also played a central role in driving forward the global commitment to protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. This takes a step forward today, with a new map published to show what areas could count in the delivery of “30by30”.
This indicative map illustrates that 8.5% of land in England – including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves – already count toward the target, with a further 26.8% of land having the potential to contribute in the future, including Protected Landscapes.
The map has been published alongside the proposed criteria for contributions toward the target, and information on how this will be delivered through a voluntary, bottom-up approach. Work will now progress to identify further areas to contribute to the target, with additional guidance developed in collaboration with land managers and farmers.
Delivering on the 30by30 commitment for England will ensure our most important places, at the core of nature’s recovery, are protected for our iconic species to thrive.
The move comes as government announces further support for the UK marine environment, while continuing to support the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fisheries and seafood sector. To help support the conservation and restoration of the ocean, the UK is announcing £72.5 million in new programmes from its flagship Blue Planet Fund.
Further support for the marine environment includes:
New funding to restore marine biodiversity: £60 million of investment for Ocean Community Empowerment and Nature (OCEAN), a seven-year competitive grants programme as part of the flagship £500 million Blue Planet Fund. The OCEAN Grant Programme offers a vital path to ocean recovery and for local communities and nature to thrive side by side. A further £12.5 million has been committed towards PROBLUE, the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund, through the Blue Planet Fund to support the blue economy and sustainable ocean sectors in developing countries, including Small Island Developing States.
Strengthened commitments to deliver Marine Net Gain: Following a consultation in 2022, the government will take forward proposals for Marine Net Gain in England– a policy that will ensure that infrastructure and development does not come at the cost of the marine environment, delivering measures to ensure that it is left in a better state than it was found
Blue carbon habitat restoration: An additional £640,000 will be dedicated to support the vital restoration of iconic saltmarsh and seagrass habitats in England. Led by the Environment Agency, this fund will develop the UK Saltmarsh Code and increase the capacity of the Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative.
This package builds on the UK’s commitment to safeguard our marine habitats, complimenting recent support for a moratorium on deep sea mining. This confirmed that the government will not sponsor or support any licenses for deep sea mining by the International Seabed Authority, unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems.
Today’s announcements strengthens the UK’s leadership to address nature loss and tackle climate change.
The government has announced £15 million new funding to accelerate nature recovery across our most cherished Protected Landscapes, and a new Rainforest Strategy backed by £750,000 funding to protect the delicate and globally rare temperate rainforest habitats found across the Southwest and Cumbria.
As we mark one year on from the anniversary of the UN COP15 Summit in Montreal, the government is continuing to put nature recovery at the heart of climate change to further this legacy – protecting the environment for future generations.
The government played a leading role in negotiating and securing the global deal for nature at the UN CO15 summit in Montreal. This leadership was critical in bringing together 196 countries in a joint, global commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and – through leadership of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People and the Global Ocean Alliance – to protect at least 30% of the land and of the ocean globally, with robust action underway to meet this target.
The government has announced an additional £2 million funding for the global, market-led Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) initiative which launched its framework in September. This will support capacity building and boost market adoption of the TNFD recommendations for nature-related risk management and disclosure. The TNFD recommendations enable businesses and financial institutions to report and act on their nature-related risks, impacts, dependencies, and opportunities, with the ultimate aim of supporting the realignment of global financial flows towards nature positive outcomes.
At COP28, the UK will be hosting the 10 Point Plan for Financing Biodiversity Ministerial Stocktake. Here the government will launch the 10 Point Plan (10PP) stocktake dashboard – reviewing positive trends and direction of progress against the 10 points of the plan to ensure that finance flows towards nature recovery.
Today we are launching the pilot of the Projects for Nature platform, a new pioneering partnership with the Council for Sustainable Business, Crowdfunder, and Accenture. This initiative will match corporate donations to nature recovery projects across England which are selected by Defra, Natural England and Environment Agency. It will link up businesses who have shown leadership in addressing their nature impact, such as Lloyd’s Banking Group and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, with nature recovery projects that best align with our domestic and international environmental commitments. To view the platform, visit: www.projectsfornature.com.
We announced today that we will continue to support the work of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People through a new “Ocean Champion” role, whilst continuing our leadership of the Global Ocean Alliance. The two coalitions have also agreed to work in partnership supporting countries to implement 30by30.
The UK has endorsed and joined a number of initiatives at COP28 which elevate the role of nature in global climate action. This includes: the Coral Reef Breakthrough, Mangrove Breakthrough Declaration, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy Joint Declaration on Ocean and Climate action and joining the Mangrove Alliance for Climate initiative.
Forest Risk Commodities
Between 2016 and 2018, WWF estimate that around 21 million hectares – an area almost the size of the UK – was required each year to meet UK demand for seven forest-risk commodities (FRCs) alone.
The Forest Risk Commodities Scheme will be introduced through provisions in Schedule 17 of the Environment Act 2021. Secondary regulation to operationalise these provisions will be laid when parliamentary time allows. This new due diligence legislation requires regulated businesses to establish and implement a due diligence system for any regulated commodity, and any products derived from them, that they use in their UK commercial activities
The full list of commodities in scope is as follows: Non-dairy Cattle products (beef and leather), cocoa, palm, and soy.
Organisations using these commodities in UK supply chains with a global turnover of over £50m are in scope of the regulations.
Organisations whose use of the regulated commodities does not exceed the annual volume threshold of 500 tonnes may submit an exemption.
Legislation follows a consultation in 2021 on the implementation of the regulations. The consultation outcome informed policy decisions on the commodities in scope, thresholds and exemptions for businesses, enforcement of the regulations, a grace period and variable monetary penalties
Organisations (whether in scope or as suppliers or service providers to organisations in scope) will have a grace period to prepare for regulation before the beginning of the first reporting period.
Unlimited Variable Monetary Penalties will be in place as part of civil sanctions
The government will work with landowners, farmers, land managers and wider partners to further develop our approach to delivering 30by30 in England.
Following publication of the 30by30 map, we will work with these partners to finalise our 30by30 criteria and develop more detailed guidance by summer 2024.
Contributions to the 30by30 target will be voluntary, and do not represent any new management requirements or designation.
Marine Net Gain is an opportunity to leave our environment in a better place and to reverse the biodiversity decline/crisis in our seas. It compliments and builds on other policies but uniquely seeks to deliver a net gain improvement in the marine environment.
We have published the Government Response to the consultation on the principles of Marine Net Gain, held in 2022. This applies in English waters only.
Government has listened to feedback from the consultation and will now take forward the agreed high-level principles in the next phase of policy development. Decisions on the implementation approach for MNG, will be taken during the next phase of policy development following additional evidence collection, impact assessment and stakeholder engagement.
We will seek to ensure that MNG is simple to follow and operates seamlessly with Biodiversity Net Gain which from January 2024 will apply above the low water line and on land. Where a new development straddles this line there will be no requirement to double up on net gain measures.
The additional £640,000 will help drive investment flows from the private sector towards nature through the development of a Saltmarsh Code. This code will allow saltmarsh carbon to be marketed and traded as a carbon offset.
This funding is for Phase 2 of the development of the UK Saltmarsh Code, the first phase (which ended in January 2023) was funded through Defra’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.
This funding will also create a pipeline of restoration projects in key estuarine and coastal habitats by increasing the capacity of the Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative (ReMeMaRe).
This funding will also improve the blue carbon evidence base, helping us to fill the gaps identified by the UK Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership’s Evidence Needs Statement (published in June 2023).
AceBreakingNews – It was the fourth consecutive day of action by Extinction Rebellion demonstrators, culminating in a rally outside Flinders Street Station at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets.
The protesters are calling on the federal government to reduce carbon emissions.
Many who attended the rally came prepared to be arrested, saying their actions were a last resort.
Environmental defender Violet Coco said disruptive action was necessary.
“We’ve asked nicely, we’ve tried all the petitions, we’ve tried all the one-day marches and so now we’re here engaging in civil resistance.
“This action is the culmination of four days of massive action where we’ve had disruption of the streets morning and night.”
Ms Coco said being arrested was a sacrifice protesters were willing to make because they cared so deeply about the planet.
We’ve tried so many different things to get a livable planet secure for our children and yet our government is approving more coal and gas mines — eight new ones since their term started,” she said.
She said the group would organise more protests in March next year.
“We’re really sorry to be causing inconvenience we understand that it can be stressful but the climate breakdown is going to cause so much inconvenience that this will seem like a pleasant party compared to what we’re heading for,” Ms Coco said.
Two smaller protests were held in the Melbourne CBD earlier in the day, finishing with the rally outside Flinders Street Station late in the afternoon.
Police said the 72 people arrested were given an infringement notice for failing to obey traffic direction from a police officer, which carries a $385 fine.
AceBreakingNews – Four people charged with firearm, weapons and drugs offences following pursuit – Coffs Harbour
Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.09: 2023: Thursday, 07 December 2023 05:46:08 PM: NSW Police News: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link https://t.me/+PuI36tlDsM7GpOJe
Around 8am on Tuesday (5 December 2023), officers from the Mid North Coast Highway Patrol were patrolling in the Pacific Highway at Kundabung, when they observed a silver BMW X3 travelling at alleged speed of 146km/h in a 110km/h zone.
A pursuit was initiated after the vehicle failed to stop; however, was terminated due to safety issues.
Four men were later allegedly seen abandoning the BMW in Frederickton before they all left in a Toyota Hilux.
Around 12pm that same day, a Toyota Hilux was sighted on the Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbor, where police engaged in a pursuit and successfully deployed road spikes.
The vehicle came to a stop at Moonee Beach with police arresting three men, aged 28, 38 and 40, and a 28-year-old woman.
During a search of the Hilux, the men and the woman, police seized a firearm, ammunition, knuckle dusters, flick knife, cocaine, methylamphetamine, a sum of cash, allegedly stolen fishing gear, and the registration plates from the BMW X3.
The men and woman were taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station.
They were all charged with:
– Possess unauthorised pistol
– Possess unregistered unauthorised pistol in public place
– Possess loaded firearm public place
– Use, supply stolen firearm or firearm part
– Receive property stolen outside NSW greater than $15,000
– Deal with property proceeds of crime less than $100,000
– Not keep firearm safely – pistol
– Possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority
– Deal with property proceeds of crime equal to or greater than $100,000
The 40-year-old and 38-year-old men both received two additional charges of possess prohibited drug, and the 28-year-old man received an additional two counts of possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit.
They were all refused bail and appeared before Coffs Harbour Local Court yesterday (Wednesday 6 December 2023), where they were all formally refused bail.
The Russian president traveled to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and it wasn’t to enjoy some winter sunshine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, followed immediately by his Iranian counterpart’s visit to Moscow, reminded us of the importance that the Persian Gulf has acquired in international affairs, and especially in domestic foreign policy.
But these were mainly due to issues with natural resources and the geopolitical struggle to control them.The structure of the international system has changed. Firstly, the so-called ‘middle powers’ – and all the countries I have mentioned belong to this category – play a much more important role than they did 10 to 15 years ago, and this influence is growing at the expense of the big countries.
It is not that the region has been ignored before; there have always been reasons to keep an eye on it.
Second, regional politics is increasingly driven by regional forces, even if it is an area where major foreign interests converge.
The Gulf states have many issues in common, and almost all of them are of primary importance to Russia.
The management of oil markets goes without saying. OPEC+ has proved surprisingly resilient to global military and political upheaval. Tensions within the club are growing, but so far it has been possible to find compromise. The importance of this for Russia, both economically (income) and politically (influence on global processes), can hardly be overestimated. The money issue is not just about regulating oil prices, but also about cooperation with the wealthy Arab monarchies. They are looking with interest at the opportunities offered by the Russian market, which is being freed from the Western presence, and are studying ways of circumventing the restrictions imposed by the US and Europe.
Of course, no one wants to be exposed to Washington’s punitive measures, as the US has plenty of instruments to hurt the interests of its long-standing Arab partners.
Hence the caution and extreme prudence. But against the backdrop of global change, states that had previously adhered strictly to bloc discipline began to behave much more independently.
The strained relations between the Saudi leadership and the administration of US President Joe Biden are well known. And it’s not just the tragic story of journalist Jamal Khashoggi or the rhetoric on rights and democracy. Riyadh has clearly grasped the global shifts and dramatically pushed the boundaries. They have not disappeared altogether, but they have undoubtedly widened. And the US must accept this with some reluctance.
There is a great opportunity for countries that were previously in a subordinate position to change their situations and wriggle away from their long-term patron.The common theme between Russia and the Gulf states is the situation in the Middle East. In general, Moscow’s serious return to the region began with the operation in Syria in 2015, when Russian intervention changed the course of events. It was then that the leading countries, led by Saudi Arabia, saw Russia for the first time as a truly significant actor.
After that, real cooperation began.Today, the region is witnessing yet another catastrophe in Gaza, the outcome of which may be contradictory. On the one hand, it demonstrates the impasse into which the Palestinian question has led everyone. On the other hand, there may be no fundamental change at all. One thing which everyone agrees on is the need for a new scheme of regional organization.
Everyone has different aspirations, but no one has a ready-made recipe. In this sense, the participation of all parties – not only those who are interested, but also those who have some influence – is indispensable.
Of course, the Ukraine conflict is the priority issue for Russia. Strangely enough, the Persian Gulf states have turned out to be quite closely linked to it. Military and technical cooperation with Iran, the quiet diplomacy of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar to resolve specific problems ……
The president-elect has pledged radical policy measures to deal with the financial crisis Argentina’s president-elect Javier Milei is facing a huge challenge of turning around the nation’s battered economy when he takes office on December 10. Critics claim Milei’s radical proposals are pushing the country into the unknown. RT explores his endeavor to save one of the world’s most troubled economies.
Who is Javier Milei?
Described as a right-wing populist and self-proclaimed anarchist Milei defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa in Argentina’s recent presidential election. He is often compared to former US President Donald Trump for his liberal use of insults. Trump recently declared that he was of Milei, and that the president-elect will truly make Argentina Great Again.”
What is Milei’s economic vision for Argentina?
Throughout his campaign, Milei regularly brandished a chainsaw, a dramatic illustration of his promises to slash social spending, cut retirement and pension funds, shut down the country’s central bank, and reduce the number of government ministries by more than half. He has proposed reducing the functions of state to a minimum and has placed his trust in the market alone, hoping to solve Argentina’s problems by boosting trade and exports.
Milei has also vowed to lift capital controls, end government protection of national industries, and eventually abandon the peso in favor of the US dollar. Among other promises are privatizing state-owned media outlets and other public companies including the energy firm YPF. Foreign economic policy
During his election campaign, Milei threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Argentina’s two main trading partners, China and Brazil. He has also expressed support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, and stated on the campaign trail that he is opposed to Argentina joining the BRICS group.
Inflation in Argentina is running at 143% annually, net foreign currency reserves are near their lowest level since 2006 amid a historic drought, savers are abandoning the peso, and the country is expected to enter a recession this year. Four in ten Argentines live in poverty and a sharp peso devaluation is likely. According to the latest central bank analyst survey, Latin America’s third-largest economy is on track to shrink by 2% this year. Along with triple-digit inflation, that is likely to entail a spike in poverty levels as salaries and savings are eroded.
Will the president-elect stick to his promises?
Milei has called rumors that he has eased off on his plans, although some observers are claiming that he is picking a more moderate cabinet than expected. This week after a trip to the US, the incoming president announced that he had chosen former JPMorgan stock trader Luis Caputo to be the country’s economy minister. The latter, who is known for his close ties with Wall Street and Buenos Aires banking circles, will be tasked with renegotiating Argentina’s troubled $43 billion loan from the IMF, on which the country has missed almost all of its targets this year. Milei also said that he will keep his promise to shut the nation’s central bank, calling the issue ‘non-negotiable.’
Could Milei’s policy plan pull the economy out of crisis?
Experts say that if Milei does go ahead with his proposed reforms, it will be a bold but risky attempt. Failure could lead to the already embattled country suffering a tenth sovereign debt default, an increase in poverty, and possible social unrest. Some economists have raised concerns that Milei’s ‘shock therapy’ sets Argentina on a path of deep uncertainty. Experts suggest that dollarizing the $622 billion economy at a time of depleted international reserves and pending payments…