Investing in Reduced Deforestation is Money Well Spent
It is widely agreed that reducing emissions from deforestation could bring about 33% of the Greenhouse gas emission reductions our planet needs by Y 2030 to stay on a 2-degrees trajectory.
Protecting and managing forests wisely not only make sense from a climate perspective, it is also smart for business. Forests are Key economic resources in tropical countries. Protecting them will increase resilience to climate change, reduce poverty and help preserve invaluable bio-diversity.
Below are some facts to illustrate why forests are so important, as follows:
- Forests provide us with ecosystem services like pollination of food crops, water and air filtration, and protection against floods and erosion.
- Forests are home for about 1.3-B people worldwide who depend on forest resources for their livelihood.
- Forests contribute to the rainfall needed to sustain food production over time.
- Forests, when destroyed robs humanity of the aforementioned benefits.
The New Climate Economy report shows us that economic growth and cutting C (carbon) emissions can be mutually reinforcing. We need more innovation and we need more investments in a low carbon direction. This requires some fundamental choices and changes in public policy, and the transformation will not be easy. But, it is possible and the only path to sustained growth and development. If land uses are productive and energy systems are efficient, they will both drive strong economic growth and reduce carbon intensity.
The world’s large tropical forest countries are taking action now.
Through the Lima Challenge, forest countries have committed to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) if donor countries increase their funding, as protecting forests has proved to be an effective measure to reduce emissions.
Since Y 2008, Norway has contributed around $2.8-B to protect and preserve tropical forests. Brazil is the world’s largest tropical forest country and one of the most important partner countries for Norway. In Y 2008, Norway and Brazil signed a Letter of Intent, where Norway pledged to contribute up to $1-B to the Amazon Fund in Brazil until Y 2015, if Brazil could show that deforestation in the Amazon decreased.
From Y 2008 to Y 2014, Brazil reduced deforestation in the Amazon by about 60%. By the end of Y 2015, Norway fulfilled its commitment in recognition of Brazil’s massive efforts in reducing deforestation in its Amazon region. Brazil’s reduction of deforestation is probably the world’s largest single effort to mitigate carbon emissions so far. And this effort has not negatively affected the agriculture production, as the output of beef and soybean production has increased in the same frame.
The private agriculture sector is embracing the forest agenda.
There is the commitment made by the Consumer Goods Forums, which counts 400 companies representing over $ 3-T in revenue as members, to eliminate deforestation from their business operations. Also, there is the work of the Tropical Forests Alliance 2020, a public-private coalition aiming to reduce commodity-driven deforestation by Y 2020.
Norway now has “pay-for-results” partnerships with Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, Liberia, Guyana and Ethiopia.
After working on this global challenge and opportunity since Y 2008, we (Norway) are more convinced than ever that investing in reduced forest emissions is time and money well spent.
At COP21 in December in Y 2015, Norway announced that we will extend the International Forest and Climate Initiative (NICFI) and support for REDD+ through the year Y 2030. The Paris Agreement should provide new incentives and instruments to support and finance reduced forest emissions.
It is clear that sustainable economic and social development without large-scale deforestation is the only possible path forward for our planet and our common future.
By Tone Skogen, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Paul Ebeling, Editor