The Declaration also calls for the restoration of more than 350 million hectares of forests and croplands, an area greater than the size of India, which would bring significant climate benefits and take pressure off primary forests. Combined, this could avoid between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year by 2030.This is equivalent to removing the carbon emissions produced by the one billion cars that are currently on the world’s roads, notes the United Nations (UN) in a press release on the 23rd September on the occasion of the Climate Summit at the UN headquarters in New York.
Deforestation is a frequently overlooked source of carbon dioxide emissions and a significant contributor to climate change as trees, which store carbon, release it during slash-and-burn land clearing of forests.
According to the UN, this Declaration was endorsed by countries in the developed and developing world, multinationals from the food, paper, finance and other industries, civil society organisations and indigenous peoples from Peru to Nepal. The non-legally binding political declaration seeks to change the politics in the run-up to next year’s Paris climate talks and accelerate action by companies to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains.
“The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually. Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution – they hold multiple benefits for all members of society,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
To support the New York Declaration, several specific commitments to action were announced at the Summit:
According to the UN press release, the Declaration’s endorsement, and related supporting commitments, come as the forest sector is transformed by new policies and shifting demand from consumer goods companies and consumers, stronger land rights for indigenous peoples and greater advocacy by civil society. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down 75 per cent compared to 2004. In the past nine months alone, 60 per cent of the world’s highly carbon-intensive palm oil trade has come under commitments to go deforestation-free.
These announcements form part of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for action to keep global temperature increases to less than two degrees Celsius by reducing emissions, moving money, pricing pollution, strengthening resilience and mobilising new coalitions. Forests are one of eight areas identified as critical in the fight against climate change.
More information: UNDP