In our article titled coal, cars, cash and trees, I stated that one of the most important issues that will be on the agenda at COP 26 is deforestation. The first notable development at COP 26 was just on this topic: More than a hundred states are committed to stopping deforestation by 2030.
This development at COP 26 is not the first step taken at the international level to prevent deforestation.
The New York Declaration on Forests, signed in 2014, aimed to reduce deforestation by half by 2020, to stop deforestation by 2030 and to reclaim 350 million hectares of deforested land, with the participation of states and multinational companies. 37 states and 53 multinational companies, including companies such as Nestle and Barclays, signed the declaration. If the targets of the Declaration were achieved, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 4.5 billion to 8.8 billion tons each year, which is close to the greenhouse gas emissions of the USA. However, let me state that as of 2020, the New York Declaration is far from the 2020 and 2030 targets. In this respect, it must be admitted that this Declaration has failed.
At this stage, more than a hundred states and private enterprises are committing once again at COP 26 to stop deforestation by 2030. One of the most remarkable aspects of this new development is that more than thirty financial institutions, the amount of assets of which they manage is approaching a total of nine trillion dollars, have committed not to invest in companies responsible for deforestation. Considering that the annual greenhouse gas emission due to deforestation is more than the annual emission amount of the entire European Union, it is understood once again how important it is to prevent deforestation in the fight against global climate change. This new commitment must therefore not suffer the fate of its predecessor, the New York Declaration on Forests. The signing of this new commitment by the European Union, China and the United States, as well as states such as Brazil, Congo and Papua New Guinea, whose land area is mostly covered by forests, also shows promise for effectively preventing deforestation.