COP26: agreement on forests and methane gas

Over 100 global leaders have agreed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 at an event convened by the Prime Minister at COP26. The pledge is backed by almost £14bn in public and private funding.

Countries that together contain 85 per cent of the world’s forests, or an area of over 13 million square miles, are now committed to stopping deforestation, and the commitments will be supported by a pledge to provide £8.75bn of public finance from 12 countries, including the UK, from 2021 – 2025. This will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.

This will go alongside at least £5.3 billion of newly mobilised private sector funding. CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7tr of global assets – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – will also commit to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.

The UK will commit £1.5bn over five years to support the forests pledge, including £350m for tropical forests in Indonesia, and £200m for the LEAF Coalition. The UK will also contribute £200m, alongside 11 other donors, as part of a new £1.1 billion fund to protect the Congo Basin. The area is home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world which is threatened by industrial logging, mining and agriculture.

In another major statement from COP26, 80 countries have now signed up to a global methane pledge to cut emissions by 30 per cent by the end of the decade.

The methane pledge was announced by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen - and US President Joe Biden and followed by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has gone further and is the first to commit to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 75 per cent on 2012 levels by 2030.

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