September 30, 2014

Countries and Companies Pledge End of Deforestation by 2030

Endorsed by over 30 countries countries, including the United States, all members of the E.U., and many tropical forest countries, the New York Declaration on Forests aims to at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and strives to end natural forest loss by 2030. It also supports the private-sector goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper, and beef products by no later than 2020. More than 40 major companies, including Kellogg's, Walmart, and McDonalds also endorsed the deal. The group also pledged to restore more than one million square miles of forest worldwide by 2030.

"I asked for countries and companies to bring bold pledges, and here they are," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement. "The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually, and it doesn't stop there. Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution — the actions agreed today will reduce poverty, enhance food security, improve the rule of law, secure the rights of indigenous peoples and benefit communities around the world."

Deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. A decade ago this number may have been closer to 20 percent before Brazil stemmed forest destruction and China ramped up carbon emissions. About 95 percent of current "Intact Forest Landscapes" are concentrated within tropical and boreal regions around the equator and in the northern regions of Canada and Russia. Action at the summit focused on the Amazonian forest, some of the most ecologically diverse and environmentally degraded in the world, as well as West African forest. [Climate Progress]
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