More than 100 heads of state and government signed a declaration at the Glasgow Climate Summit: They want to stop deforestation by 2030.
Can the Glasgow Declaration Really Save Forests? From a political point of view, one could speak of an “explosion,” says science editor Thomas Hausler, who traveled to the Glasgow Climate Summit for the SRF. “It’s a big box.” However, he also puts it in perspective: “Experience shows that such agreements are not necessarily adhered to. This step is promising, but I remain skeptical about it.”
How do countries intend to do this? The 100 countries, which represent about 85 percent of the world’s forests, are raising about US$12 billion for implementation. There are also about 7 billion institutions. according to joint statement This is intended to support measures in developing countries. For example, one would like to invest in restoring devastated land areas, in fighting forest fires and in promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
What would that look like in practice on the site? Reporter Thomas Heusler cites Brazil as an example: “There are loopholes when it comes to rainforest protection. So you will first have to create the appropriate legal framework or at least ensure that laws are not relaxed any further, as President Jair Bolsonaro did recently.” The authorities must then be able to monitor compliance. “The police need gasoline, for example, so they can get to those remote areas where forests are being cut down.” People will also need alternative sources of income. And you should promote programs that support sustainable production. “It also costs money.”
In addition to Brazil, Indonesia, the United States and Russia signed the declaration. how serious are you “This will not be the first commitment in this direction that has not been made,” says Thomas Hausler, referring to the New York Declaration on Forests, for example. Under Bolsonaro, Brazil in particular has so far done the opposite of what was stated in the declaration and encouraged deforestation. “Of course everyone can get better,” says Häusler. But it is certain that there will be a certain pressure on the countries.
Assume that the declaration has already been executed. What does that mean for the environment? “Then this would be one of the biggest and most important environmental decisions in recent years,” says Christian Korner, an expert in botany and biodiversity at the University of Basel. The forest should not be reduced to its own carbon stock: “It is an incredibly rich habitat that is being destroyed.”
Forests and carbon dioxide
Forests absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide emissions that humans emit each year. Trees can filter carbon dioxide from the air and, thanks to photosynthesis, separate the oxygen from the carbon and store it. But the forests are shrinking alarmingly, according to a communication from the British government, which is chairing the United Nations conference in Glasgow: an area equivalent to about 27 football fields is lost every minute. Fewer trees means less carbon dioxide can be broken down from the atmosphere – with a major impact on the global climate.
According to Corner, Glasgow’s decision could stop over-exploitation and shift to sustainable forests. But this costs a lot of time and money and great resistance is to be expected. “Entire value chains and associated industries.” It is important to understand that afforestation alone does not solve the problem, but that the large carbon stocks of the last great natural forests must be stopped.
What are the problems of interpretation from an environmental point of view? According to biodiversity expert Christian Korner, there is a risk that at a political level one can now feel that the problem has been resolved. “What is being ignored is that 90 percent of emissions come from fossil fuels and that they can never be recovered using green methods. Decompression of those actions that can actually solve the problem should not happen now: reduce fossil fuel consumption.”
Satellite Images: This is what deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest looks like
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