More than 100 countries pledge to end deforestation in climate talks

GLASSGOW, Scotland (AP) – More than 100 countries pledged on Tuesday to end deforestation in the coming decade – a promise that experts say will be key to limiting climate change But one that has been made and broken before.

Britain hailed the commitment as the first major achievement of the UN climate conference, known as COP26, in the Scottish city of Glasgow this month. But campaigners say they need to see the details to understand its full impact.

The UK government said it has received a commitment from leaders representing more than 85% of the world’s forests to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030. Among them are several countries with extensive forests, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Indonesia, and Russia. United States of america.

More than $19 billion has been pledged in public and private funds for the plan.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “with today’s unprecedented pledges, we will have the chance to end humanity’s long history as the conqueror of nature and to be its protector.”

Forests are important ecosystems and provide an important way to absorb carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere. Trees are one of the world’s major so-called carbon sinks, or places where carbon is stored.

But the value of timber as a commodity and the increasing demand for agricultural and pastoral land are leading to widespread and often illegal felling of forests, especially in developing countries.

“We are delighted to see indigenous peoples mentioned in the forest deal announced today,” said Joseph Itongwa Mukumo, an indigenous lawyer and activist from Congo.

He called on governments and businesses to recognize the effective role of indigenous communities in preventing deforestation.

Experts cautioned that similar agreements in the past have failed to take effect.

Alison Hoare, a senior research fellow at political think tank Chatham House, said world leaders promised in 2014 to end deforestation by 2030, “but since then deforestation has accelerated in many countries.”

Still, Luciana Tellez Chavez, an environmental researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the agreement “really contains a lot of positive elements.”

The EU, UK and US are making progress on restricting the import of goods linked to deforestation and human rights abuses” and it is really interesting to see China and Brazil sign a statement that suggests this is a target is,” she said.

But she said Brazil’s public statements are not yet in line with its domestic policies and warned that the deal could be used by some countries to “greenwash” its image.

The Brazilian government is eager to position itself as a responsible environmental manager in the wake of increasing deforestation and fires in the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands, which have sparked global outrage and threats of disinvestment in recent years. But critics caution that its promises should be viewed with skepticism, and the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a vocal proponent of developing the Amazon.

About 130 world leaders are in Glasgow, which hosts Britain say is the last realistic chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above pre-industrial levels – a target the world set six years ago in Paris. .

In the coming decades, increasing warming will melt much of the planet’s ice, raise global sea levels and increase the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather, scientists say.

On Monday, leaders heard a stern warning from officials and activists alike about those dangers. Britain’s Johnson described global warming as “a tool of doom”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that humans are “digging their own graves.” And Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley warned leaders not to “allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II urged leaders to “rise above the politics of the present, and achieve true politics.”

“We are not doing this for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps,” he said in a video message played at the Monday evening reception at the Kelvingrove Museum.

The 95-year-old emperor had planned to attend the meeting but doctors said he should rest and not travel, but he had to cancel the trip.

The British government said on Monday it had seen positive signs that world leaders understand the gravity of the situation. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden was due to present his administration’s plan to reduce methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming. The announcement was part of a wider effort with the European Union and other countries to reduce total methane emissions worldwide by 30% by 2030.

But campaigners say much more needs to be done to the world’s biggest carbon emitter. Earth has already warmed by 1.1 °C (2 °F). Current estimates based on planned emissions reductions over the next decade are for this to reach 2.7C (4.9F) by the year 2100.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg told a rally outside the high-security climate site that the talk inside was just “blah blah blah.” And you will get less.

“Change is not going to come from there,” he told some of the thousands of protesters who came to Glasgow to raise their voices. “It’s not leadership, it’s leadership.”

___ . Follow up on AP’s climate coverage



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