To fight climate change, cut deforestation as first step: Global green group

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Amazon rainforest
A tree is pictured at sunrise in the village of Rio Pardo next to Bom Futuro National Forest, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, September 2, 2015. Reuters/Nacho Doce

A statement from a leader released in the current Paris climate summit has raised concern over the plan to support industrial scale logging with climate funds. The global animal protection organisation, Humane Society International (HSI), said that it has been disappointed with the proposal, and that deforestation should get serious attention to fight climate change.

HSI suggests protecting forests could be a significant starting point for early actions against climate change. The organisation said that it is “extremely concerned” that the Paris climate conference started with weak forest conservation plans.     

"Day one in Paris has delivered a weak statement on forests that suggests that degrading industrial forestry will not be restrained but rather encouraged with climate funds,” said HSI Climate Change Advisor Peg Putt.

HIS, as the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation worldwide, considers that deforestation should get serious attention as it is the final stage of forest degradation. Putt argues that the remaining intact natural forests across the world should be protected from degrading industrial forestry to reduce large emissions.

"The sense of urgency and a sense that action on forests can and will play a vital role immediately is lacking from this rather fluffy statement that lacks direction,” he said. “For early action on climate, forests are a significant starting point, whilst thorough changes to industrial and transport emissions are put into place.”

World leaders at the COP21 have already issued another joint statement on Monday supporting new partnerships to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation. The statement, endorsed by leaders of 17 governments including Australia, promotes forest restoration and sustainable rural development.

The leaders suggest a commitment to strong, collective and urgent action to stop deforestation and significantly increase forest restoration to fight climate change.

"We are encouraged by the joint statement by leaders at the start of the Paris conference, acknowledging the critical role of forests in combatting climate change,” said Peter Graham, head of WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme.

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