It’s Thanksgiving this week here in the US. Here is what I am grateful for: in an incredibly difficult year, many brilliant, dedicated people have been quietly building the runway for climate action – and we are about to take off.
Climate action is poised to start moving very quickly in 2021. With an change in the US administration, strong signals coming about the upcoming global climate negotiations next November in Glasgow, and real climate ambition (backed by real money, as we saw last week) from the private sector, a window is opening.
And when a window of opportunity opens, as I like to say, we need to drive a bus through it.
Last Thursday, Forest Trends, together with our partners including leaders from the United Nations REDD Programme and conservation groups the Emergent Forest Finance Facilitator, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Architecture for Trees, launched the Green Gigaton Challenge.
We have set an audacious – but achievable – goal of securing funding for one gigaton of emissions reductions transacted from tropical forests every year by 2025.
A gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions is the equivalent of 257 coal-fired power plants taken offline for a year, or growing 16.5 billion new trees. It would cover almost one-fifth of the emissions reductions the world will need by the end of this decade.
The Challenge will be backed by an unusual coalition of donor governments, the private sector, and forest country governments. We all need each other.
Forest countries need sufficient incentives and support to protect their forests, and right now they don’t have them. Costa Rica, an absolute world leader when it comes to sustainability, noted at the Green Gigaton Challenge launch how much forest countries need a credible signal that the finance will be forthcoming if these countries act to save forests (and in doing so must forgo lucrative activities that cut down forests like large-scale soy or palm oil production).
There has been a stalemate on a funding mechanism for forests. We can break that stalemate. Our coalition’s goal in 2021 is to engage business and governments so we have some big commitments in hand by next year’s climate negotiations. More information on Forest Trends’ strategic priorities for tropical forests this coming year are below; keep an eye out for a future Resilience Dispatch laying out our conservation impact so far in 2020.
As always, be in touch if you see ways we can work together.