Forests soak up 30 percent of emissions from industry and fossil fuels and are our best natural ally in the fight against the climate emergency. However, the ongoing deforestation and degradation, especially of tropical forests, are responsible for 11 percent of carbon emissions: if deforestation were a country, it would rank third in carbon dioxide emissions behind China and the United States of America.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working through the UN-REDD Programme to secure the full mitigation potential of forests of 5 gigatons a year by 2030. One crucial way forward is to work closely with forested developing countries that can supply high-integrity forest carbon credits (jurisdictional REDD) and corporations that would buy them as immediate stopgap solution, while working on reducing their emissions throughout their value chain.
The Business Alliance for Scaling Climate Solutions (BASCS), announced today at the occasion of the World Environment Day and the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, is such a novel partnership, co-founded by UNEP, WWF, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and corporate partners – from Amazon to Microsoft and Unilever. It aims to increase the scale and impact of business investments in nature-based climate solutions, a prerequisite for meeting the ambition of the Paris Agreement.
“Drastically reducing deforestation and simultaneously restoring forests is the single largest nature-based opportunity for climate mitigation. UNEP is therefore proud to be a co-founder of the Business Alliance to Scale Climate Solutions, supporting the private sector’s climate ambitions for deep cuts in their own emissions – working towards high-integrity outcomes for carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner,” said Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.
Any financing of nature-based solutions through BASCS or similar, ambitious partnerships founded or supported by UNEP, such as the Green Gigaton Challenge (GGC) and the LEAF Coalition, will be an addition to, and not a substitute, for deep, science-based cuts in emissions by participating companies.
Complimentary to GGC and LEAF, that are focused on unlocking private finance and assisting forested, developing countries, BASCS will focus on gathering and disseminating best practices, lessoned learned and latest research from practitioners and experts to scale climate solutions and make hard-to-achieve reductions feasible in the near future. BASCS offers an opportunity to connect and support existing initiatives and the surrounding community of practice by providing a central, neutral platform for businesses and experts to meet, learn, discuss and act together.