Donors Pledge $41M to Monitor Thawing Arctic Permafrost, Paris to Convert Traffic Lanes to Tree Lanes, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food & Environment

by | Jun 3, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Donors pledge $41M to monitor thawing arctic permafrost, plus Paris to convert traffic lanes to tree Lanes. Meet the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food & Environment.



The Massachusetts-based Woodwell Climate Research Center recently announced a 6-year $41 million project aimed at helping fill the gaps on greenhouse gas monitoring in the Arctic, with a particular focus on permafrost. With more permafrost data, scientists can better incorporate those emissions into global climate policy

The project is financed by private donors, among them the billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. The project will focus in Alaska, and more broadly the thawing arctic. The project aims to develop policy to help mitigate the global impact of permafrost emissions, and in Alaska, assist the Native communities who are struggling with the thawing ground. 

Why does this matter to us? Scientists believe the Arctic is warming at three times the global rate. Permafrost can be hundreds of feet deep, and as it thaws, organic matter that has been decomposing emits carbon dioxide and methane. The amount of GHG released is estimated to be 30 to 150 billion tons in this century—about the grand total of the USA since the Industrial Revolution.

The other major human issue stems from the collapse of land as permafrost thaws. Damage to homes and whole communities occurs with every foot of warming permafrost both laterally and vertically. 

DEEPER DIVE: Wood Well Climate



Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, fulfilling a long-term promise to remodel the Boulevard Périphérique, a beltway that has long been notorious for its congestion and pollution, this month announced plans that Paris plans to close two of its lanes to regular traffic in a bid to reduce air and noise pollution after the 2024 Olympic Games.

She detailed the method chosen to develop the transformation of the ring road, on which 500,000 people live. With less road space allotted to private vehicles, ten hectares (25 acres) of the beltway would be planted with trees as part of a process that would ultimately extend the entire beltway’s length.

Christophe Najdovski, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of revegetation, said, “The revegetation action of the ring road is obviously central here, to move from the gray belt to the green belt.” With several stages, the town hall is planning greater vegetation with plantations on the embankments, the central land, the ramps and eventually on certain side roads. In total, nearly 50,000 trees will be planted; 18,000 were already planted between 2020 and May 2022.

David Belliard, assistant to the mayor of Paris, in charge of mobility, said, “We need the Olympics to accelerate the transition. We want to move towards a more virtuous user of the car.” Why does Paris swapping traffic lanes for tree growth and revegetation matter to us?…In the words of Paris Mayor Hidalgo, “To guarantee a better quality of life, fight against global warming, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.”

DEEPER DIVE: BFMTV, Bloomberg Green



In a press release, France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment just announced the launch of the FairCarboN exploratory Priority Research Program and Infrastructure (PEPR).

The program aims to develop the role of continental ecosystems in climate change mitigation and the attainment of carbon neutrality. It’s scheduled to run six years with a budget of $43 million, financed through France’s [investments for the future] Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir 4 (PIA4) funding mechanism. It is issuing an initial call for proposals this month and will back five target projects, to foster greater dialogue between the disciplines, locations, and parties involved.

To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well under 2° C by 2050, carbon neutrality must be achieved. Terrestrial ecosystems play a pivotal role by helping to reduce emissions and, through carbon sequestration, offset those that are unavoidable. 

Both functions must be performed while preserving natural ecosystems and ensuring the sustainability of managed and semi-natural ones. Their capacity to provide other ecosystem services—supplying biomass, providing adequate water of sufficient quality, and preserving biodiversity—also needs to be maintained or enhanced. 

This requires substantial multidisciplinary advances in understanding carbon dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems, carbon sinks and flows at different spatiotemporal scales, and interactions between the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical cycles, including the water cycle—all within the context of global changes. 

The FairCarboN exploratory PEPR should make it possible to precisely determine the contribution of continental ecosystems—including natural, forest, agricultural, freshwater, coastal, urban, and rurban environments—to climate change mitigation, and to identify the ecological, agronomic, and socioeconomic mechanisms that can be activated for the transition to carbon neutrality.