At the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday, efforts to slow deforestation got a boost when dozens of countries and companies pledged to halve destructive deforestation by 2020, and end losses by 2030. Backers of the New York Declaration on Forests claim their efforts could save between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons of carbon emissions per year by 2030.
This would be the equivalent of taking all the world's cars off the road. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change, as trees release their stored carbon when they are burned during slash-and-burn land clearing of forests. It accounts for around eight percent of the world's carbon emissions. The new non-legally binding agreement could save more than 350 million hectares of forests and croplands - an area greater than the size of India - while also reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.