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 Climate Change

COP26
Published on: Nov. 3, 2021, 9:10 a.m.
‘Custodians’ of forests
  • The world lost 258,000 sq km of forests in 2020; Pix courtesy: Pixabay

By Business India Editorial

Leaders from over 100 countries have pledged to put an end and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, and made a promise of $19 billion in public and private funds to protect and restore forests.

In a joint statement issued on Monday at the COP26 climate talks was backed by leaders of Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively account for 85 per cent of the world’s forests.

Calling it an unprecedented agreement, British Prime Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror, and instead become its custodian.” 

The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use will save more than 13 million square miles of forests.

US President Joe Biden said: “We’re going to work to ensure markets recognise the true economic value of natural carbon sinks and motivate governments, landowners and stakeholders to prioritise conservation.” A new US plan would “help the world deliver on our shared goal of halting natural forest loss” and restoring at least an additional 200 million hectares of forest and other ecosystems by 2030.

A slew of additional government and private initiatives were launched on Tuesday to help reach that goal, including billions in pledges for indigenous guardians of the forest and sustainable agriculture.

According to the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI), forests absorb roughly 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. The forests take the emissions out of the atmosphere and prevent them from warming the climate yet this natural climate buffer is rapidly disappearing. The world lost 258,000 sq km of forest in 2020, according to WRI's deforestation tracking initiative Global Forest Watch. The area is larger than the UK.

However, non-government organisation Global Witness said it was unclear how governments would be held accountable for meeting the new pledge. National laws banning companies and financial institutions from activities that fuel deforestation are needed, it said in a statement.

Under the agreement, 12 countries including Britain have pledged to provide 8.75 billion pounds ($12 billion) of public funding between 2021 and 2025 to help developing countries, including in efforts to restore degraded land and tackle wildfires.


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