105 Countries Pledge to End Deforestation By 2030
During the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26), 105 countries signed a pledge that aims to end deforestation by the year 2030. The COP26 – hosted between October 31 and November 12 – served as a platform to discuss the worsening status of the climate crisis and potential solutions to the environmental damages currently taking place. Leaders worldwide have banded together behind the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, which will dedicate billions of dollars to end deforestation and promote reforestation efforts.
“We intend to build on our shared efforts,” the UN released in a statement. “Working with governments, farmers, and other key stakeholders in our supply chains, to accelerate sector-wide action and to identify opportunities for public-private collaboration to catalyze further progress on eliminating commodity-driven deforestation.”
The declaration requires all participating countries to collectively work to promote land restoration and improve environmental protections worldwide. The plan will work to address decades of damages caused by animal agriculture, logging, and several other industries. The plan also will place pressure on agricultural industries worldwide to limit forest clearing and help reverse the damaging environmental harm caused by decades of malpractice.
`“Signing the declaration is the easy part,” Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres said. “It’s essential that it’s implemented now, for people and the planet.”
Approximately $12 billion of public money will be allocated to support the UN declaration. Countries from across the world will work together to stop deforestation within the next decades. Some countries that signed the pledge include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Russia, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Alongside the 105 countries, 10 companies financially tied to the beef, soy, palm oil, and cocoa industries joined the pledge, announcing plans to help stop deforestation. The UN did not release the information about which companies joined the declaration. Within the United Kingdom, the government announced that 30 CEOs of major agriculture companies agreed to assist in reforestation efforts. Many climate and environmental activists hope that the countries begin to actually pass clear legislation.
“Given the way countries are failing to live up to even their weak pledges under the Paris agreement [signed at COP21 in 2015], it will be interesting to see if policymakers come up with approaches that have more teeth when it comes to something so specific and measurable as land conversion,” Director of the Partnership for climate campaign organization Policy Integrity Mary Booth said.
The recent pledge intends to motivate countries to meet commitments established by the Paris Agreement, aiming to keep the world from warming more than 1.5 degrees. The UN’s 2019 IPCC report concluded that nearly 80 percent of global deforestation could be directly attributed to agricultural production – significantly tied to the production of animal feed for livestock.
This year, the UN released a “Code Red” alongside its 2021 IPCC report, detailing the rapidly worsening conditions, directly linking animal agriculture to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. The report – released ahead of the COP26 – highlighted the significant damage that animal agriculture caused to the environment and the atmosphere.
“[The report] is a Code Red for humanity,” Guterres said. “The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”
Following the UN report, several campaigns have been launched that emphasize the importance of plant-based agriculture when discussing climate change. The Plant Based Treaty aims to improve the standards and policies established during the Paris Agreement, promoting the significant impact plant-based eating can have on the environment. The treaty advocates for the disbandment of animal agriculture to make room for a growing plant-based agricultural sector that is substantially more sustainable.
“As a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement, The Plant Based Treaty initiative is a grassroots campaign designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis. Modeled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant-Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable plant-based diets,” the campaign’s website states. “We are urging scientists, individuals, groups, businesses, and cities to endorse this call to action and put pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant-Based Treaty.”
Echoing the Plant-Based Treaty, Moby just revealed his own treaty, pleading for world leaders to consider placing plant-based eating and agriculture at the forefront of climate talks. The electronic musician hopes to negotiate a treaty between world leaders that will examine plant-based agriculture as a primary solution to the climate crisis, to stop deforestation, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions.