100 Nations Pledge to End Deforestation Backed by $19 Billion

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100 Nations Pledge to End Deforestation Backed by $19 Billion

(Bloomberg) -- One hundred countries, representing 85% of the world’s forests, have given themselves nine years to halt and reverse deforestation, in a major new commitment at global climate change talks on Tuesday.

Brazil, Russia, Canada, Colombia and Indonesia will be among the nations committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 at the third day of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in an initiative spearheaded by the conference host, the U.K.

The inclusion of Brazil, home to the world’s largest tropical rainforest, is crucial to the initiative and comes amid a turnaround in the country’s ambitions to reduce emissions and tackle deforestation. Across the world as a whole, an area of forest the size of 27 soccer pitches is lost every minute, according to the U.K.

The international pledge will be backed by $19.2 billion (about 14 billion pounds) in funding, the U.K. said. However, only $7.2 billion of that will be new money, coming from companies and philanthropies and will go to encouraging deforestation-free soy and cattle production in South America, and to scale investments in tree planting and other nature-based solutions.

In addition to the private funding, 12 countries including the U.K. will allocate $12 billion (8.75 billion pounds) of public funds from 2021 through 2025 to tackle wildfires, restore land and help indigenous communities. These contributions will mostly come from existing financial commitments, according to a spokeswoman from the U.K. government.  

Meanwhile, 30 financial institutions including Aviva (LON: AV ) Plc, Schroders (LON: SDR ) and Axa, will also commit to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.  

“With today’s unprecedented pledges, we will have a chance to end humanity’s long history as nature’s conqueror, and instead become its custodian,” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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© Bloomberg. A cattle farm sits scorched by wildfires in Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. The Brazilian government is pushing back against mounting national and international pressure over its environmental policies as a record number of fires rip through the Amazon rain forest.

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