When DR Congo opened up an area the size of Belgium to logging in 2018, violating a forest protection agreement with international donors, it was blamed on a “rogue” environment minister.
Now there is a new environment minister, same problem. Claude Nyamugabo secretly awarded logging concessions, covering nearly three million hectares in 2020, to two Chinese companies and a Congolese firm better known for industrial cleaning services.
Green groups are suing the minister, saying the contracts breach the country’s own 2002 moratorium on new forestry concessions – which the environment ministry denies.
As the world’s second largest rainforest, the Congolese forest is a major carbon sink and multiple international donors are invested in keeping that carbon locked up, primarily through the Central African Forest Initiative (Cafi).
These revelations come as Cafi is negotiating a renewed deal with the government to run until 2030.
This week’s stories
- Concerns raised about Green Climate Fund flood defence project in Samoa
- As US formally rejoins the Paris Agreement, eyes turn to 2030 emissions goal
- Under diplomatic pressure, India considers net zero – but major hurdles remain
- Italy creates ecological transition ministry but campaigners warn against gas support
- EU member states divided over green reforms of energy investment treaty
- Climate leaders welcome reforming WTO chief, as carbon trade wars loom
- Angola’s oil dependency thwarts its exit from the group of poorest nations
The US is officially back in the Paris Agreement, which means its 2030 climate pledge is overdue. There are a lot of numbers flying around.
Anything less than a 50% emissions cut from 2005 levels would be seen as grossly inadequate by climate advocates, with many arguing 70-85% would be a fairer contribution.
Meanwhile Cop26 president Alok Sharma’s visit to India has generated chatter about net zero, but the institutional and analytical capacity to make a credible pledge is not there yet.