Cop26 reaches agreement to stop deforestation

The 26th Conference of the Parties on climate change is taking place in Glasgow until 12 November (Photo: Shutterstock)

The 26th Conference of the Parties on climate change is taking place in Glasgow until 12 November (Photo: Shutterstock)

More than 100 countries pledged to stop deforestation on the second day of Cop26, which began with a reminder of the urgency of the climate crisis after a G20 meeting with mixed results.

On day one of Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland, world leaders presented an agreement against deforestation. Representatives from 196 countries that are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were expected to attend this Conference of the Parties (Cop) on climate change, which began on 1 November 2021 and will run until 12 November.

More than 100 countries, representing over 85% of the world's forests, have announced their intention to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. They are due to finalise their agreement on Tuesday 2 November, according to several media reports. Brazil, Russia, the US, China, Australia, the UK, Germany and France are among the signatories. The commitment is expected to be backed by €16.5bn in public and private funding.

Some 30 financial institutions, such as Aviva, Schroders and Axa, have also pledged to stop investing in deforestation-related activities.

A disappointing warm-up

Participants began the conference by recalling the urgency of climate change. “We are digging our own grave,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. French president Emmanuel Macron called on the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases to “raise their ambition in the fortnight” of Cop26. India has set a net zero carbon emissions target for 2070. The US is pointing the finger at China and Russia, whose presidents are among the big absentees at Cop26, denouncing the lack of commitment from them at the G20 meeting held just before.

This intergovernmental forum brought together the countries with the most developed economies and the European Union on Sunday 31 October. They agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, going a little further than the Paris agreement, with a commitment to stop subsidising coal-fired power plants abroad, but without the hoped-for progress on an exit from coal or fossil fuels.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.