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Climate change affects the world’s poorest first and worst. Yet it is a problem the whole world shares that can only be addressed through international cooperation. CGD’s work on climate finance looks at economic incentives that benefit us all—by helping developing countries work together with other governments, institutions, and corporations to reduce emissions.
Protecting and restoring tropical forests represents one of the biggest, cheapest, and fastest ways to fight climate change, as Frances Seymour and I show in our book, Why Forests? Why Now? Yet climate conversations in rich countries remain heavily dominated by energy, while tropical forests often feel like climate’s best kept secret. On the International Day of Forests, here are five ways to make tropical forests a better known climate solution.
Tropical forests are an undervalued asset in meeting the greatest global challenges of our time—averting climate change and promoting sustainable development. Despite their importance, tropical forests and their ecosystems are being destroyed at a high and even increasing rate in most forest-rich countries. The good news is that the science, economics, and politics are aligned to support a major international effort to reverse tropical deforestation.
Unilever is the world’s single largest end-user of palm oil, purchasing nearly 3 percent of global palm oil production. Whilst we can not do everything alone , with this scale comes responsibility—to make sure that our supply chains are not driving tropical deforestation, and to tackle endemic social issues such as forced labour and the protection of indigenous people.
Over the last few years, an increasing number of companies that produce, trade, or buy “forest risk” commodities have pledged to get deforestation out of their supply chains. But voluntary efforts by progressive companies will not on their own be sufficient to end tropical deforestation. A “jurisdictional approach” that marries public and private efforts at the scale of political units offers a promising way forward.
The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.
Kudos to Finland in 2016 for ascending to the top spot in CGD’s annual Commitment to Development Index, our ranking of how a country’s policies help or hinder development. Other countries of note this year include France, New Zealand and Austria. We just published the latest rankings, and I discuss them, their implications, and the political landscape that could affect them in our latest CGD Podcast with Owen Barder, senior fellow and director of CGD Europe, which produces the Index.