Rainforests, an alliance to save them

Rainforests, an alliance to save them


On the sidelines of COP27, the UN climate conference underway in Sharm el Sheikh, something is moving between the countries with the largest extension of rainforests in the world. Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are negotiating to form a strategic alliance: the goal would be to coordinate the conservation of their forests, with an organ that could become "the OPEC for rainforests", as defined by the experts. to work, recalling the cartel of oil-producing countries.

Leading the agreement is precisely Brazil, which after the election of president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva is undergoing a radical change of march in an environmentalist direction, with a series of activities aimed at avoiding the destruction of the Amazon. Since his first speech as president-elect, Lula has pledged to fight to end deforestation by the end of his presidency. These talks, therefore, are part of the program presented during the election campaign by the Brazilian president.

Over the past few years, scientists have raised numerous alarm bells about the most famous forest in the world. The Amazon, in fact, would be dangerously close to breaking point after years of deforestation under Jair Bolsonaro. The data shows that the Brazilian forest is approaching a turning point that could undermine its structure with profound implications for the climate and biodiversity.

Forests in danger

Not only: according to what Reported by Global Forest Watch, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia were among the top five countries for primary forest loss in 2021, with 11.1 million hectares of tree cover lost last year. Another study from 2021 showed that in one year the Amazon emitted more carbon dioxide than it absorbed, mainly due to fires.

To respond to this crisis, other governments have also moved: Colombia has proposed to create an Amazon bloc at COP27 and the Norwegian Environment Minister is trying to restore a billion dollar fund for the protection of the Brazilian rainforest, after it was blocked by the Bolsonaro administration.

The alliance could see rainforest countries make joint proposals on the market and on financing, which has always been a weak point in the talks of the United Nations on climate and biodiversity. The aim is to encourage developed countries to finance the conservation of forest heritage, which is essential for limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.

Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to 52% of the world's remaining primary tropical forests. The three countries have different needs and live very different conditions, but they have a common goal: to protect the forests of the Amazon, the Congo Basin, Borneo and Sumatra. Ecosystems critical to global climate stability, facing numerous threats: from commercial deforestation to illegal mining and exploitation.

An agreement was already signed at COP26 in Glasgow to halt and reverse the trend of deforestation by 2030, but the negotiation on the OPEC of rainforests represents an extra step, even if it is not directly part of the COP27.

The anti-oil alliance

The deal could create a structure similar to the organization of oil producing countries, which coordinates production levels and the price of fossil fuel. Before being elected, Lula stated that the alliance could be extended to other nations such as Peru and Cambodia. A front that could gain support over time.

Implementation of this project could succeed in protecting the Amazon rainforest from reaching tipping point, removing millions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere over several decades. Fundamental to the success of the plan, however, are the indigenous peoples: any alliance will have to recognize the role of local communities in protecting forests. The commitment to protect indigenous rights, made at the Glasgow Climate Summit last year, is particularly important. At COP26 the voice of indigenous peoples was heard for the first time at the speakers' table.

Community leaders, from the Arctic to the Amazon, spoke about the role they can play in addressing the emergency climate and protecting biodiversity. Failure to protect the rights of these peoples risks throwing all the ambitions of individual governments into chaos: on the other hand, efforts for a more sustainable planet involve both an environmental and scientific point of view, as well as a social and humanitarian one.

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