Quantcast
Climate
Power of Positivity

$2 Billion Investment in Forest Restoration Announced at COP23

By Mike Gaworecki

Last Thursday, at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany (known as COP23), the World Resources Institute (WRI) announced that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The investments will be made through WRI's Initiative 20×20, which has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors who are supporting more than 40 restoration projects.


Agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for about a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, but in Latin America and the Caribbean, they account for roughly half of all emissions. That's why these sources of climate pollution are featured in the action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (or NDCs), submitted by many countries as part of the Paris climate agreement (that's also why the UN's program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, REDD+, was included in the Paris agreement as a standalone article).

There's a plethora of recent research showing that, while halting deforestation is of course critical, the restoration of degraded forests and other landscapes are a vital component to meeting the Paris agreement's target of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius.

Deforestation on the Peru-Brazil border.Rhett Butler

Forests currently remove an estimated 30 percent of manmade carbon emissions from the atmosphere, but a suite of studies released on the eve of COP23 found that they could be sequestering far more—an additional 100 billion metric tons of carbon by the year 2100—if we were to allow young secondary forests to regrow and improve forest management, which would buy us more time to transition the global economy away from fossil fuels and towards renewables.

Another recent study finds that "natural climate solutions," which consist of a number of conservation, restoration and improved management actions that help increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions from forests, wetlands, grasslands and agricultural lands, have the potential to reduce emissions by 11.3 billion metric tons every year by 2030—thus providing 37 percent of the emissions reductions necessary to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.

WRI originally launched Initiative 20×20 at COP20 in Lima, Peru with a target of restoring 20 million hectares of land in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020. The initiative was intended to support the goals of the Bonn Challenge, a commitment by dozens of countries and some private entities that have pledged to restore more than 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and the New York Declaration on Forests, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2030.

So far, 16 countries have committed to restoring 53.2 million hectares of land through Initiative 20×20, far outsripping the initial goal of the program.

"Restoration in Latin America is an unmissable opportunity," Walter Vergara, the coordinator of Initiative 20×20 at WRI, said in a statement. "With more than $2 billion of investments earmarked for Latin America alone, restoration is a climate solution that works and is a great investment. Bringing degraded and deforested lands back to life is a win-win-win for investors, governments and local communities. This is precisely why restoration continues to build political and financial momentum."

But the $2.1 billion in investments pledged so far could have implications beyond Latin America and the Caribbean as investors "move more quickly than ever to capitalize on the business of planting trees," Vergara added.

"WRI research shows the economic benefits of restoring 20 M ha of degraded land in Latin America could reach $23 billion, while at the same time reducing GHG emissions, improving food security and livelihoods. The success of Initiative 20×20 in attracting private investment in Latin America is a model for success for other regions and can deliver major emission reductions to meet commitments to the Paris agreement."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Pexels

Advocates Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Tell the Truth About Climate Change

By Jeremy Deaton

It has been a tough few months for climate change. In October, an international body of climate scientists declared humans have a little more than a decade to make the drastic changes needed to keep rising temperatures reasonably in check. In November, federal scientists released an equally grim assessment detailing the unprecedented floods, droughts and wildfires expected to hit the U.S. Then, this month, with the world ablaze, diplomats gathered in Poland to bicker over how much water each country should pour on their respective fires and, in some cases, whether scientists were exaggerating the size of the flames.

Keep reading... Show less
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Dirty Scheme to Make Americans Buy More Gasoline

By Rhea Suh

It's not often that an industry chieftain brags to investors about picking the pockets of American families with help from the White House.

That's what happened, though, after Big Oil schemed with the Trump administration last summer to ensure higher gasoline consumption—to the tune of $16 billion a year—and more climate-disrupting carbon pollution from our cars, vans and pickup trucks.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
The planned Liberty Project is an artificial gravel island to allow oil drilling in the Arctic. Hilcorp / BOEM

Trump Administration Sued Over Controversial Arctic Drilling Project

Conservation groups are suing the Trump administration to halt construction of a controversial oil production facility in Alaska's Beaufort Sea, the first offshore oil drilling development in federal Arctic waters.

Hilcorp Alaska received the green light from the Interior Department in October to build the Liberty Project, a nine-acre artificial drilling island and 5.6-mile underwater pipeline, which environmentalists warn could risk oil spills in the ecologically sensitive area, threaten Arctic communities and put local wildlife including polar bears at risk.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post / Getty Images

5 Everyday Products Contaminated With Plastic

However, the infiltration of plastics into our daily lives goes much deeper, making it hard to avoid this polluting material which will remain in our ecosystems for centuries to come.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Fracking waste from the Vaca Muerta shale basin in Argentina being dumped into an open air pit. Greenpeace

Indigenous Group Sues Exxon, Energy Majors Over Fracking Waste Contamination in Patagonia

A major indigenous group in the Argentine Patagonia is suing some of world's biggest oil and gas companies over illegal fracking waste dumps that put the "sensitive Patagonian environment," local wildlife and communities at risk, according to Greenpeace.

The Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén filed a lawsuit against Exxon, French company Total and the Argentina-based Pan American Energy (which is partially owned by BP), AFP reported. Provincial authorities and a local fracking waste treatment company called Treater Neuquén S.A. were also named in the suit.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
A Yelp event at Rip's Malt Shop in Brooklyn, New York, which serves vegan comfort food, including plant-based proteins produced by Beyond Meat and Field Roast. Yelp Inc. / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Should Plant-Based Proteins be Called 'Meat'?

By Melissa Kravitz

Fried chicken, bacon cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza aren't uncommon to see on vegan menus—or even the meat-free freezer section of your local supermarket—but should we be calling these mock meat dishes the same names? A new Missouri law doesn't think so. The state's law, which forbids "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry," has led to a contentious ethical, legal and linguistic debate. Four organizations—Tofurky, the Good Food Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Animal Legal Defense Fund—are now suing the state on the basis that not only is the law against the U.S. Constitution, but it favors meat producers for unfair market competition.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
A coal-fired power plant in Jiangxi, China. chuyu / iStock / Getty Images Plus

IEA: China and India to Fuel Further Rise in Global Coal Demand in 2018

By Daisy Dunne

The IEA's Coal 2018 report finds that global coal demand grew by 1 percent in 2017 after two years of decline. The rise was chiefly driven by global economic growth, it says. Despite recent growth, demand is still below "peak" levels seen in 2014.

Demand is likely to "remain stable" until 2023, the report authors say. This is because falling demand in western Europe and North America is likely to be offset by increased demand in a host of Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Carbon Brief takes a look at the IEA's changing coal forecasts for key world regions.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
A majority of Americans support a plan to provide jobs while transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. Serts / Getty Images

81% of Voters Support a Green New Deal, Survey Finds

It's been little over a month since newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez joined some 200 young climate activists for a sit-in in soon-to-be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office to demand that Democrats back a Green New Deal, a plan to transform the U.S. energy economy in order to stave off climate change and promote greater equality. Since then, support has ballooned for the revolutionary policy plan, with 38 Congresspeople now pledging to back a select committee to develop it, and to renounce donations from fossil fuel companies, according to the latest tally from the Sunrise Movement. But what do voters think?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!