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Global deforestation dropped by just 6.3 percent in 2021, leaving the world off track from its goals of ending forest loss by 2030 and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C, according to a new report.

“There is no pathway to meeting the 1.5 degrees C target set out in the Paris Agreement or reversing biodiversity loss without halting deforestation and conversion,” said Fran Price, global forest practice lead at World Wildlife Fund, one the groups involved in the report.

Last year saw the loss of around 26,000 square miles of forest, an area about the size of the Republic of Ireland, according to the Forest Declaration Assessment. Deforestation unleashed 3.8 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, roughly as much as the European Union.

While deforestation is declining overall, it is not dropping fast enough to fulfill the pledge made by 145 governments at last year’s UN climate talks in Glasgow to halt and reverse forest loss by the end of this decade. The only region that is on pace to meet the 2030 goal is Asia. Indonesia and Malaysia both made “exceptional progress,” cutting deforestation by 25 percent in 2021. Indonesia is the only country to have reduced deforestation every year for the last five years.

Finance for forest protection currently amounts to just $2.3 billion annually, far short of the $460 billion analysts say is required. The report said that finance must increase 200-fold and that countries must direct greater funding to Indigenous forest guardians and do more to help protect Indigenous lands.


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