The United States, Norway and Britain joined forces with companies including Amazon (AMZN.O) and Nestle (NESN.S) on Thursday to launch a project aimed at protecting the world’s tropical forests.
Announcing the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition at the U.S.-convened Leaders Summit on climate, the public-private project aims to raise at least $1 billion in initial financing, it said.
Governments and companies taking part will pay countries with tropical and subtropical forests for emissions reductions, a move it hopes will help reduce and eventually end deforestation.
As the world looks to move quickly to a low-carbon economy to prevent catastrophic climate change, protecting the forests that help remove carbon from the atmosphere naturally is seen as a crucial step, but one that has so far largely failed.
The pace of deforestation actually picked up in 2020, LEAF said, with data from Global Forest Watch showing a 12 percent increase from the prior year or more than 10 million hectares of primary tropical forest, roughly the size of Switzerland.
“The LEAF coalition is a groundbreaking example of the scale and type of collaboration that is needed to fight the climate crisis and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.