Boris Johnson has called for an end to the “great chainsaw massacre” in the wake of a landmark deal signed yesterday by world leaders to reverse deforestation.
Johnson said at the United Nations’ Cop26 climate summit today that the deal is “not just a vital win in the struggle to contain global temperature increases, it is also a huge economic opportunity”.
The Cop26 deal announced last night saw 100 countries, representing 85 per cent of the world’s forests, commit to reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
Governments will provide £8.75bn “to protect and restore forests”, while a further £5.3bn will be provided by the private sector.
The UK will commit £1.5bn over the next five years to the deforestation fund.
The deal was hailed as significant as it was signed by Brazil and China – two perennial culprits of mass deforestation.
“Let’s end this great chainsaw massacre by making conservation do what we know it can do, and that is deliver long-term sustainable jobs and growth as well,” Johnson said.
“Today is not just a vital win in the struggle to contain global temperature increases, it is also a huge economic opportunity.
“This is the long-term sustainable path to maintaining to ending the loss of our forests, protecting our sacred biodiversity and helping to keep alive the ambition of 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.”
US President Joe Biden today said the deal was essential as the world’s forests remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year.
“We need to approach this issue with the same seriousness of purpose as decarbonising our economies,” he said.
The deal will be seen as a great success if it stops deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, often called the “lungs of the earth”, which has accelerated under Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil cleared 11,000 square kilometers of trees between August 2019 and 2020 – the highest level since 2008.