Cop26: World Leaders Agree Historic Deal To End Deforestation
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World leaders have agreed an historic deal to end - and reverse - global deforestation by 2030.
Leaders including China’s Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and US president Joe Biden will commit to the declaration at Cop26 in order to protect huge areas from the eastern Siberian taiga to the Amazon in an attempt to battle global climate catastrophe.
Land-clearance accounts for nearly 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly as forests are destroyed to make way for products such as palm oil, soy and beef.
By signing the, presidents and prime ministers from major producers and consumers of deforestation-linked products will commit to protect forest ecosystems.
Boris Johnson will unveil the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use today, with the commitment coming as over 120 world leaders aim to agree on global measures for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking on the opening day of the conference, Johnson said future generations ‘will judge us with bitterness’ if the conference fails, with President Biden warning: “Right now, we are falling short. There’s no time to hang back, sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves.”
However, the prime minister later came under attack after stating ‘when it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds are absolutely pointless’, only for it to emerge that he would be flying home from the conference rather than taking the train.
While the commitment on deforestation has been cautiously welcomed by experts, previous deals to save forests that have so far failed to stop their destruction, including in 2014, it forms just part of the requirement for an overall commitment on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the 45% scientists say is needed this decade to avert climate disaster.
The package includes £5.3bn of new private finance and £8.75bn of public funding for restoring degraded land, supporting indigenous communities, protecting forests and mitigating wildfire damage, reports the Guardian, as well as £1.5bn funding from the UK government for forests, £350m of which will go to Indonesia and £200m to the Congo basin, with a new £1.1bn fund for the west African rainforest.
Carlos Rittl, who works on Brazil for the Rainforest Foundation Norway, said: “Big cheques won’t save the forests if the money doesn’t go into the right hands,” he said, emphasising that it should go to indigenous groups and other who are committed to protecting the forest.
Separately, £1.25bn of funding has been earmarked directly for indigenous peoples and local communities for their role in protecting forests, although Mina Setra, an indigenous rights activist from Borneo said: “We are undervalued and our rights are still not respected, a statement is not enough. We need evidence, not only words.”
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