At the ongoing COP26 in Glasgow, over 100 world leaders have pledged to end deforestation by 2030. The countries combine to account for roughly 85 percent of the world's forests and include China, Brazil, Russia, the United States, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although how this pledge will be enforced remains unclear, this infographic highlights the huge significance of the development in the fight against climate change.
If tropical deforestation was a country, it would have the third largest carbon footprint in the world. According to data and imagery from Global Forest Watch as analysed in recent research published by Nature, tropical tree cover loss led to average estimated annual CO2 equivalent emissions of 5.3 gigatons between 2001 and 2019 - second only to China and the United States when excluding the effects of land-use change and forestry.
Writing for the World Economic Forum, David Antonioli, CEO of Verified Carbon Standard warned at the time: "Programs to stop deforestation need to be drastically scaled up. The current decline in tropical forest cover needs to be quickly turned around if we are to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5°C. The emission pathways set out by the IPCC for this goal are already challenging enough: meeting the 1.5°C target requires reducing deforestation by 77%."