Biden, Bolsonaro and Xi among leaders agreeing to end deforestation


    Biden, Bolsonaro and Xi among leaders agreeing to end deforestation

    The age of extinctionCop26

    Biden, Bolsonaro and Xi among leaders agreeing deal to end deforestation

    Historic declaration at Cop26 commits countries to ending major cause of CO2 emissions

    Boris Johnson and Joe Biden

    President Biden warned that greater urgency was needed at the talks: “Right now, we are falling short. There’s no time to hang back, sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves.”

    António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said the world was being driven to the brink by an addiction to fossil fuels. “We are fast approaching tipping points that will trigger escalating feedback loops of global heating,” he warned.

    In a recorded message, the Queen called on leaders to “rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship”. She added: “Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: we none of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.”

    Following his own speech, Johnson provoked some ridicule by admitting he would fly home rather than take the train.

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    Shortly before, he had told a roundtable of leaders of developing nations: “When it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds are absolutely pointless.”

    The commitments on deforestation are an early win for the UK, which as host nation bears responsibility for forging a consensus among the nearly 200 countries present, amid concerns that an overall commitment on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the 45% scientists say is needed this decade will fall short.

    The political declaration, which is voluntary and not part of the Paris process, is one of a range of side deals that the UK presidency is pushing for at the climate summit in Glasgow alongside others on methane, cars and coal.

    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.

    A pledge from CEOs to eliminate activities linked to deforestation, and £1.5bn funding from the UK government for forests, are also part of the deal. £350m of that will go to Indonesia and £200m to the Congo basin, with a new £1.1bn fund for the west African rainforest.

    While the forestry agreement has been cautiously welcomed by ecologists and forest governance experts, they point to previous deals to save forests that have so far failed to stop their destruction, including in 2014. But this time, the EU, China and the US alongside major forested countries like Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea will all sign the commitment.

    Many details need to be clarified, particularly how the money is spent, according to Carlos Rittl, who works on Brazil for the Rainforest Foundation Norway. “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.

    In a separate announcement, at least £1.25bn of funding will be given directly to indigenous peoples and local communities by governments and philanthropists for their role in protecting forests.

    But the promised funds still fall far short of what some believe is needed. “We are undervalued and our rights are still not respected,” said Mina Setra, an indigenous rights activist from Borneo. “A statement is not enough. We need evidence, not only words.”


    • Cop26
    • The age of extinction
    • Deforestation
    • Xi Jinping
    • Jair Bolsonaro
    • Joe Biden
    • Boris Johnson
    • Conservation
    • news
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    Published at Mon, 01 Nov 2021 22:30:50 +0000

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