MEDIA RELEASE: NSW must follow world lead by protecting forests

NEFA calls on the NSW Government to immediately act on Tuesday’s COP26 commitment given in the ‘Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on Forests and Land Use’, signed by 105 countries including Australia, to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030’ (1).

This pledge for forest protection provides a glimmer of hope amidst the unfolding global disaster caused by the refusal of some countries, including Australia, to reduce our emissions from fossil fuels, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s Production Gap Report identifies that by 2030, governments’ production plans and projections would lead to around 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas than permitted to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2).

“Given that forests take up 31% of the world’s annual global carbon emissions it is vital that we retain and enhance their vital contribution to reducing atmospheric carbon and mitigating climate heating.

As observed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in making this announcement:

“These great teeming ecosystems – these cathedrals of nature – are the lungs of our planet. Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival.”

“It is essential that as well as stopping clearing, we actively restore forests and enhance their ability to sequester carbon. Logging has more than halved forest’s carbon storage, by stopping logging we avoid additional emissions and allow forests to sequester ever increasing volumes of carbon as they recover.

“This is a planetary emergency, as a developed state in a developed country NSW has no excuse to delay forest action.

“Last financial year 54,500 hectares of native vegetation was cleared in NSW, it is past time that this was stopped.

“We also need to follow the examples of Victoria and Western Australia and urgently phase out the logging of public forests by 2023.

“Minister Kean needs to realise as well as reducing emissions, we need to rapidly increase carbon capture and storage, as only existing forests can do”.

NEFA hope the £14 billion of new funding (3) pledged by 12 countries (excluding Australia) to combat forest loss over five years will be wisely spent in developing countries, including those encompassing the great rainforests of the Amazon, Congo and Papua New Guinea.

“This is a global issue, with our future well being dependent on the protection and stabilisation of these great forests, as well as our own”, Mr. Pugh said.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact Dailan Pugh 66 807063, 0400 711 054

  1. The Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on Forests and Land Use, signed by 105 countries including Australia, states in part:

Reaffirm our respective commitments to sustainable land use, and to the conservation, protection, sustainable management and restoration of forests, and other terrestrial  ecosystems. 

We therefore commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.  

We will strengthen our shared efforts to: 

  1. Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration; 
  2. Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries’ mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation;
  3. Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering communities, the development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in accordance with relevant national legislation and international instruments, as appropriate;
  4. Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivise sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment; 
  5. Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources, while also improving its effectiveness and accessibility, to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities; 
  6. Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation, while ensuring robust policies and systems are in place to accelerate the transition to an economy that is resilient and advances forest, sustainable land use, biodiversity and climate goals. 

[1] United Nations Environment Programme’s Production Gap Report identifies that Australia is now the world’s largest coal exporter and the second largest LNG exporter, and that from 2019 to 2030 the Australian government intends increases in coal, oil, and gas production of 4%, 32%, and 12%, respectively

[2] The Global Finance Forest Pledge gives as a goal:

Our collective finance pledge demonstrates ambitious global action to help unleash the potential of forests and sustainable land use. This is essential to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, including accelerating our pursuit of efforts to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5C. More ambitious action on nature is key for the shift toward the low carbon and climate resilient future we want. Through enhanced collaboration to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, we are minimising the dangerous economic and social impacts that climate change will bring. Success in protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing forests


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