Over 100 world leaders pledged on Monday, November 1, 2021, to end global deforestation by 2030 in an effort to preserve forests and counter the rise of global warming during the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. The global initiative will make use of the $19 billion in public and private funds accumulated to be invest in protecting and restoring forests worldwide.
World Leaders Promise to End Deforestation by 2030
The joint statement was officially back by the leaders of Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three countries taking the lead in this global mission collectively comprise 85% of the world’s forests. Among the countries that pledged their allegiance to the cause were China and the United States. The declaration will carry protection over more than 13 million square miles of forests.
The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration came amid rising awareness of the forests’ role in battling the worsening climate crisis. “These great teeming ecosystems—these cathedrals of nature—are the lungs of our planet,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said. “We will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror and instead become its custodian,” he added.
The pledge to end deforestation is projected to be the most proactive climate effort yet, demanding “transformative further action.” The pledge also came with a detailed set of measures every country must take to put the effort into effect. However, some advocacy groups have projected their dismay, saying that the pledge is yet another promise without teeth.
Policy experts have also commended the leaders’ pledge but emphasized that more measures need to be undertaken to restore the world’s forests.
The financial announcements we’ve heard in Glasgow are welcome but remain small compared to the enormous private and public flows, often in the sense of subsidies, that drive deforestation,” Frances Seymour from the research group World Resources Institute said.
The World Resources Institute has formerly released a study that shows that forests absorb over 30% of carbon dioxide emissions. Preventing them from warming the climate and threatening the delicate ozone layer.
But these natural buffer zones disappear at an alarming rate. The world has lost over 258,000 square kilometers of forests in 2020 alone, an area far larger than the entire United Kingdom.
The research group also found that many of the largest contributors of carbon dioxide come from commodity agriculture, where producers are constantly freeing up space by cutting down forests to make room for cattle farming, soy production, cocoa plants, and palm oil production.
Other climate groups are adamant about the promised results of the COP26 climate talks. The Paris climate accord, which focuses to pay forested nations to reduce tree loss, was among the previous efforts agree upon.
However, the projected success of the Paris climate accord has turned out to be slower than expected.
The United Nations also announced a plan in 2017 making the same promises like the ones pinned at the COP26 climate talks.
Furthermore, back in 2014, the New York Declaration on Forests was made, Pledging to end deforestation by 2030. But deforestation continues to be rampant worldwide.
With several pledges made known and progress appearing to be slow. Environmentalists are predicting that the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration will remain as words on paper.
Supporters of the pledge firmly took their stand. Saying that this year’s global climate effort comes with specific steps to save forests. What we’re doing here is trying to change the economics on the ground to make forests worth more alive. Eron Bloomgarded of the group Emergent shared. Emergent bridges public and private investors to countries and provinces looking for funding to address deforestation.
We’re facing a climate emergency, so giving ourselves another ten years to address it. This problem doesn’t quite seem consistent with that,” said Dr. Sizer, former president of the Rainforest Alliance. “But maybe this is realistic and the best that they can achieve.”
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