The recent UN climate summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt brought with it lots of pledges for action. Among them was a promise from the three countries that are home to more than half of the world’s tropical rainforests to try to do something to protect them.
The ministers of Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed an agreement pledging cooperation on sustainable management and conservation, restoration of critical ecosystems, and creation of economies that would ensure the health of both their people and their forests.
The plan has no financial backing of its own. The countries are pledging to work together to establish a funding mechanism that could help to preserve the tropical forests that both help regulate the Earth’s climate and sustain a wide range of animals, plants, birds, and insects.
That such an agreement has come about at all is a result of the election of Luiz Lula da Silva as Brazilian president, replacing Jair Bolsonaro, who was famously an opponent of any and all environmental conservation or protections. President Lula addressed the attendees of the climate summit promising that “Brazil is back.” He described his country as having been in a cocoon for the past four years under his predecessor. He declared that going forward, Brazil will be a force to combat climate change. Given the importance of the Amazon rainforest, that is critical for the success of the world’s efforts.
Like all other issues on the table at the climate summit, the real challenge is not to come up with meaningful pledges on climate action, it is to be able to follow through on those pledges. If past summits are any indication, that is not an easy task.
Photo, posted September 15, 2013, courtesy of Moises Silva Lima via Flickr.