A project aimed to protect the tropical forests of the world was launched this week by the United States, Norway and Britain in partnership with large global companies including Amazon and Nestle.
The public-private project has set a target of raising at least $1 billion in initial financing, the partnership said while announcing the project called the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition at the US-convened Leaders Summit on climate.
Countries that have tropical and subtropical forests will be paid by governments and companies taking part in the project and there are expectations that the move will be fruitful in reducing and eventually completely stop deforestation in the tropical and subtropical forests.
Being able to protect the forests of the world provides a natural process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and this is considered to be a crucial step in in the world achieving its aim of moving quickly to a low-carbon economy so as to prevent catastrophic climate change. However such forest protection efforts have largely failed.
LEAF said that the rate of deforestation had actually increased in 2020. There was a 12 per cent year on year growth in deforestation in 2020 which is equivalent to deforestation of more than 10 million hectares of primary tropical forest which is almost the size of Switzerland, showed data from Global Forest Watch.
“The LEAF coalition is a groundbreaking example of the scale and type of collaboration that is needed to fight the climate crisis and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
“Bringing together government and private-sector resources is a necessary step in supporting the large-scale efforts that must be mobilized to halt deforestation and begin to restore tropical and subtropical forests.”
The coalition said in a statement that a new, more rigorous standard assessed at the national level by an independent third party will first have to conduct a verification test of the reduction in deforestation-linked emissions before any country can be included in the programme.
Emissions reductions linked to reducing levels of deforestation or degradation, or by restoring forests, between 2022 and 2026 would be the basis of the payments to be made. The program will take in applications from countries till July 2021 and the target is to start signing contracts before the end of the current year.
For companies that want to join this project, they will need to show a commitment to “deep voluntary cuts” in their own emissions which should be in line with the targets set at the Paris Agreement on climate.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to our planet, and the LEAF coalition offers us an opportunity to bring together governments and companies to fight it,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.
“In uniting behind a common cause, the countries and companies of the coalition have a chance to end deforestation by 2030.”
Airbnb, Boston Consulting Group, GlaxoSmithKline, McKinsey, Salesforce, Bayer and Unilever are also expected to sign up to the project.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)