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New report shows that forest protection could hold key to strong climate deal

8 December 2015

A new report released today by IUCN, Climate Advisers and WWF reveals the huge potential that more effective and ambitious forest conservation and restoration could make in the fight to combat climate change.

The forest opportunity

This report has found that if just 12 forest countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, meet their existing forest goals this would cut annual global climate emissions by 3.5 gigatonnes in 2020 – equivalent to the total annual emissions from India and Australia put together. With additional ambition on top of these goals, achieving near zero forest loss in these countries by 2020 would save nearly 5 gigatonnes a year - as much as India, Australia plus Japan’s annual emissions.

But even current national plans to reduce deforestation and restore forest landscapes might not be realised without stronger international support, as most are conditional on international finance.

In the run up to the Paris climate change talks, dozens of countries included action on forests in the national plans they submitted - so called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Today’s report analyses the targets of 12 countries - Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Tanzania - that are home to nearly half the world’s tropical forests.

It’s vital that the climate finance pledges and the final Paris agreement give forest nations the necessary long-term support to press ahead with, and extend, their conservation and restoration plans.

This report will be discussed at an IUCN event in Paris on 9 December at the UN climate conference. This report is a consultation draft with initial results. The full technical report will be published in 2016 and we are open to feedback on the messaging and approach in this version.

Kanchenjunga National Park Forest

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Forest Opportunities white paper

Forest Opportunities inforgraphic