This is one of the major issues of the COP26 which is currently being held in Scotland. World leaders will commit, Tuesday, November 2, to halt deforestation by 2030, announced the British government, host of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.
This joint declaration will be adopted by more than one hundred countries sheltering 85% of the world’s forests, including the boreal forest of Canada, the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and the tropical forest of the Congo Basin.
The initiative, which will benefit from public and private funding totaling $ 19.2 billion (16.5 billion euros), is essential to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to +1.5 ° C. , according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“These formidable ecosystems teeming with – these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet ”, at the center of the life of communities while absorbing a significant part of the carbon injected into the atmosphere, he must say on Tuesday, according to his services. Forests “Are essential to our very survival”, he must add. Yet they are retreating to the “Alarming rate” of 27 football fields every minute.
Become a “guardian” of nature
With this commitment ” unprecedented “, which will in particular restore degraded lands, fight fires and support indigenous communities, “We will have the chance to end the long history of a conquering humanity of nature to become its guardian”, according to him.
Among the signatories are Brazil and Russia, countries singled out for accelerating deforestation in their territories, as well as the United States, China, Australia and France.
“We call on all countries to support sustainable development pathways that strengthen the livelihoods of communities, especially indigenous people, women and smallholders”said Indonesian President Joko Widodo, whose country is covered with vast forests.
On this occasion, the bosses of more than thirty financial institutions like Aviva or Axa will for their part commit to no longer investing in activities linked to deforestation, according to the Downing Street press release.
A too distant commitment for environmental defenders
Currently, nearly a quarter (23%) of global greenhouse gas emissions come from activities such as agriculture or the forestry industry. This new commitment echoes the New York Declaration on Forests of 2014, when many countries pledged to halve deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030.
But for NGOs like Greenpeace, the 2030 target is far too far back in time and thus gives the green light to “An additional decade of deforestation”.
“Indigenous peoples demand that 80% of the Amazon rainforest be protected by 2025 and they are right, this is the right thing to do”, insisted Carolina Pasquali, head of Greenpeace in Brazil.
While welcoming the announcements, Tuntiak Katan, Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (Coica), said how the funds are actually spent will be closely monitored.
Global warming, main reason for fires in the American West
A study, published Monday, shows that climate change has become the primary factor responsible for the forest fires that regularly ravage the western United States. Human activities are overwhelmingly the cause, reveals the document. “It happened so much faster than we expected”, said, at Los Angeles Times, Rong Fu, climatologist at the University of California UCLA, who led this study published by the journal of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (Pnas).
In the American West, the area devastated by fires between 2001 and 2018 averaged 13,500 km2 per year, twice as much as over the 1984-2000 period. In an attempt to understand what contributed to this spectacular worsening in such a short time, the team of American researchers led by Mr.me Fu analyzed the different factors at work in the “Vapor pressure deficit” (VPD), which reflects the dryness of the air, the latter creating increasingly favorable conditions for fires. Scientists have established that the increase in forest fires in the American West is closely related to this deficit during the warm season.
Between May and September, the number of days having had a high VPD increased by 94% over the period 2001-2018 compared to the previous period, notes the study. According to the calculations of Mme Fu and his colleagues, atmospheric variations “Natural” played in this worsening of the VPD only up to 32% on average. The remainder (68%) of this surge in water deficit in the atmosphere over the past two decades is attributable to global warming, caused in large part by human activities.
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COP26: an agreement to stop deforestation by 2030