One of the major results of this week’s climate summit at the United Nations was a vow to stop deforestation globally by 2030. Included in this plan, dozens of nations, indigenous groups and corporations agreed to slow the rate of deforestation over the next six years and come to a full stop in the following decade. The climate summit began on September 23 and runs for a week, planned as an unofficial show of support for the extensive international agreement being negotiated in Paris in 2015.
The benefit to limiting the amount of trees cut down is the amount of carbon dioxide that can be absorbed by forests, they basically act as sinks soaking up carbon dioxide put into the air through other means. The Declaration on Forests states that the projected change in forest loss could result in the absorption of an additional 4.5-8.5 billion tons of carbon annually. This would be the rough equivalent of getting rid of the majority of cars are the road right now; approximately 865 million acres of woodland would be saved. Per the Declaration: “Forests are essential to our future. More than 1.6 billion people depend on them for food, water, fuel, medicines, traditional cultures and livelihoods. Forests also support up to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and play a vital role in safeguarding the climate by naturally sequestering carbon. The conversion of forests for the production of commodities – such as soy, palm oil, beef and paper – accounts for roughly half of global deforestation.”
Some of the corporations participating the global pact to stop deforestation include Cargill, Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources, some the world’s largest producers of palm oil. Their role in this agreement could make up to 60% of the carbon savings. Governors from 26 states within Peru and Liberia have pledged to reduce deforestation rates to 80% of their current levels. These supporters hope that their efforts help the UN meet their goal to slow climate change by 2030, and encourage other nations, businesses and entities to also make changes to benefit the environment.