Climate change leaders commit to putting forests at heart of solutions

Environmentalist and UN messenger for peace Dr. Jane Goodall set down a powerful challenge to climate change leaders gathered in San Francisco this week to recognize forests as part of the solution.

Speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) meeting of states, cities, business and civil society, Dr. Goodall said she attended many conferences where forests were not even mentioned, despite the vital role they play in climate change mitigation.

“Saving the forest is one third of the solution,” she said. “We must not let it be the forgotten solution.” Dr. Goodall called for more  “One of the things that’s important is to really monitor how companies produce. It’s really important that each individual understands that they make an impact on the planet every day.”

During the GCAS event, over 100 leaders committed to carbon neutrality, or removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they emit. Companies including Walmart and Unilever committed to the Sabah Restoration Project of approximately 4,000 hectares in the Sugut, Kinabatangan and Tawau river basins in Malaysia.

Ecuador, in partnership with Norway and Germany, announced a pro-Amazonian initiative of $50 million to conserve 13.6 million hectares of unique rainforest. And, through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, states and cities on the United States’ West Coast committed to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030, a commitment with the potential to reduce 25 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year from the often-overlooked food sector.

Nine of the world’s leading philanthropic foundations committed to $459 million through 2022 to the protection, restoration and expansion of forests and lands worldwide.

GCAS concluded with a call to action for national governments to step up and be ambitious about  nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by 2020, in line achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN climate change and GCAS co-chair, said: “This summit and its call to Action make an important contribution towards achieving our collective goal: to keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement.

It will encourage governments worldwide to step up their actions, demonstrating the vital role that states and regions, companies, investors, and civil society are playing to tackle climate change.”

 

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