U.S., Norway, U.K. Pledge Nearly $300 Million to Cut Deforestation

The U.S., Norway and the U.K. have pledged a total of nearly $300 million to cut greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and support more sustainable agriculture.

The Nov. 20 pledges from Norway (up to $135 million), the U.K. ($120 million) and the U.S. ($25 million) were unveiled by environment ministers at the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw.  Some other countries that have historically made sizable contributions to address deforestation, including Germany, are expected to announce additional pledges later.

But the forest protection pledges are expected to be the only significant financial offer from richer, developed nations to be unveiled at the climate summit, where developing nations have called for far larger sums for “loss and damage” caused by climate change and to help them adapt to climate impacts.

The Norway-U.K.-U.S. pledges will create a new multilateral body at the World Bank, to be called the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, to support better land use planning and policies and to help build a fledgling UN forest protection effort known as Reducing Emissions From Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD).

The REDD program was launched in 2008 to provide incentives to heavily forested developing nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions resulting from forest loss.

U.K. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said halting deforestation—a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions—is crucial if the world is to keep the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. That was the goal set by negotiators from more than 190 nations at a  climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.