Thursday, 4 November 2021

Protecting our Forests

This week the COP-26 Conference is taking place in Glasgow. This is an important moment for both the UK and the international community in the battle against Climate Change. One of our key objectives from this conference is to secure greater recognition and more commitments from every country towards nature-based solutions to contribute to tackling climate change. In particular, we were seeking to get an agreement to halt the loss of forestry around the world by 2030 and get as many countries as possible committed to that. 

On Tuesday, we announced that we have managed to get the commitment made by over 100 world leaders, representing countries containing more than 85% of the world’s forests, to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. This is a hugely important breakthrough. Five days ago, I would have probably been apprehensive about whether we would have landed this agreement on forests, however, we have managed to find an agreement among a large portion of the world’s nations which is very positive. 

This agreement on forests is backed by £14 billion of public and private money that will mainly help to protect the Amazon, and tropical forests in Indonesia and the Congo Basin as well as other significant forests around the world. The money will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires, and supporting the rights of indigenous communities. The declaration specifically recognises the rights of those communities, which should help in hitting the 2030 target, as they tend to be effective at protecting forests under their control.

Gaining the commitment of countries like Russia and Brazil is a huge step forward for the global effort to halt and reverse the effects of climate change. An area of forest the size of 27 football pitches is still being lost every minute around the world, so it is vital we engage with these large countries to help keep the global temperature below 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels. 

Locally, we must recognise the brilliant work of organisations like the Eden Project and the work they have done to promote conservation both within the UK and across other countries. As part of the COP-26 summit in Glasgow, the Eden Project have announced that they will be opening a site in South America, in Colombia’s Meta region to further promote their conservation efforts. It is great to see this important project grow and expand as the work they carry out has significantly contributed toward climate change awareness. 

It is clear we have a great deal to do further before we overcome climate change, however, this agreement is a significant step forward. Cornwall has led the country on innovative technology in the past, we can be proud that we are continuing this tradition by helping the whole country by cutting emissions, and establishing a pathway to protect our precious environment for future generations.

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