Countries agree to end deforestation by 2030 at COP26

Bulldozer between cut trees.
An active logging site among burned trees, California, US, photo: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

More than 100 world leaders have pledged to stop and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade. The promise was announced in a joint statement issued late on Monday.

The pledge was made at the UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow. It was backed by the leaders of countries that cover 85% of the world’s forests, including Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the US, Canada, China, Russia and the UK.

The countries agreed to invest $19 billion from public and private funds in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Part of that capital will be spent on indigenous guardians of the forest and sustainable agriculture.

“My take on the commitment to end deforestation is that the world leaders have to commit to these claims, and they have to follow through because we haven’t seen any follow-through,” Christine Sarah Cameron, a COP26 observer, told Reuters.

“It’s been years of committing to ending emissions by 2050, and now we see that India is pushing for 2070,” she added as an example of countries making promises that they don’t keep.

Another COP26 observed, Sofia Ankarfors, said: “Well, it’s great that they actually agreed on that. I mean, it’s a big step forward, but I think it’s a bit problematic that it’s in 10 years. We need action now.”

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

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