The good news is that over 100 world's leaders recognised it, that without protecting the world's forests, there is no hope to protect the global climate.The bad news is that the Glasgow Declaration is, actually, just a declaration. As environmental in Glasgow organisations pointed out, when a house is burning, firefighters do no waste time with declarations, they just work to extinguish the fire.
The Declaration is signed by more than 100 countries representing 85% of the globe’s forested land, it pledges to end or reduce deforestation by 2030, including two key commitments, to conserve and restore forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and to recognise the rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, there are no measures, nor targets, no specific commitments. The fact is that the some of the the governments subscribing the Declaration, at the same time subsidise climate-killer industries, or even proactively support in their own countries the conversion of huge extensions of forest into plantation or cattle ranching. The Glasgow summit, commented Greta Thunberg: “The COP has turned into a PR event, where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action.”
The world leaders "cannot credibly claim to protect the world’s forests while continuing to log hundreds of millions of hectares of irreplaceable primary forests each year," commented Cyril Kormos of Wild Heritage
Back in 2014, 200 national, private and civil service supporters undersigned the New York Declaration for Forests, committing to halving deforestation by 2020. Conversion of forest kept going. Meanwhile that Declaration included dubious signatories, such as Asia Pulp & Paper, a company notorious for having cleared two million hectares of rainforests in Indonesia, then converted them into pulpwood plantations.
The same problem may arise with the Glasgow Declaration, as the money that it will channel could be even used to further expand industrial plantations, considered by ONU agencies as the same as natural forests, but whose climate impacts may result catastrophic.
“Protecting and restoring the forests and natural ecosystems of the world is fundamental to tackling climate change, but these words will ring hollow if leaders don’t simultaneously stop encouraging forest biomass energy,” said Peg Put, with the Environmental Paper Network, a worldwide network of 140 civil society organisations headquartered in Australia. The fact is that biomasses are seen as the cheapest replacement for coal. But can be the climate and the global forests be saved by burning more and more trees?