Boris Johnson today trumpeted a £14billion deal with 100 countries – including Brazil and China – to protect the world’s forests.

As he seized upon the pact at his COP26 summit, the PM stated that he wants humanity to become the ‘conqueror of nature’ and the ‘custodian of it’.

However, the gathering in Glasgow was hampered by the fact that major polluter India has only committed itself to Net Zero by 2070 – two decades later than the UK and other countries. 

As global leaders prepared for the end of their two-week UN climate jamboree, the mixed picture emerged. 

Mr Johnson – who will hold an event with US President Joe Biden on ‘building back better’ later –  said climate change and biodiversity loss were two sides of the same coin.

He stated that ‘We cannot deal with a catastrophic loss of habitats or species without tackling climate changes, and we can’t deal with climate change if we don’t protect our natural environment and respect the rights of indigenous people who are its stewards.’

“It is central to the ambitions of the UK’s Cop presidency to act now and end the role that humanity plays as nature’s conqueror and instead become nature’s custodian. 

“We must stop the destruction of our forests, these great, teeming eco-systems, three trillion-pillared cathedrals nature that are the lungs of our planet.  

Boris Johnson said he wanted humanity to shift from being the 'conqueror' of nature to its 'custodian' as he seized on the forestry pact as evidence of progress at his COP26 summit

Boris Johnson stated that he wants humanity to become the ‘conquerors’ of nature and the ‘custodians’ of it. He seized on the forestry pact to show progress at his COP26 summit

Mr Johnson was on stage with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre) and Australia's PM Scott Morrison to launch a fund for small islands to build better disaster infrastructure

Mr Johnson was joined by Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister (centre), and Scott Morrison, Australia’s PM, to launch a fund to help small islands build better disaster infrastructure. 

Bezos claims that a space trip showed him how fragile Earth is. He vows $2bn to restore African land  

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos today said his trip to space showed him how ‘fragile’ the Earth is as he pledged two billion dollars (£1.47 billion) for land restoration in Africa.

Boris Johnson and the billionaire announced the funding during a Cop26 event.

Mr Bezos previously indicated the investment would be a billion dollars (£732 million) at an event with Prince Charles yesterday.

Mr. Bezos stated: “We must preserve what we have, restore what we’ve already lost, and grow what we need to sustain our lives without degrading the earth for future generations.”

“Two-thirds of Africa’s land is in decline, but it is possible to reverse this trend.” 

Mr. Bezos stated in July that his July flight into space had changed the way he saw the world.

He said, “I was told that viewing the Earth from outer space changes the way you view it.”

“But I wasn’t ready for just how true that would be.”

“Looking back from high up at Earth, the atmosphere seems so thin, and the world so finite, and so fragile.

“Now, in this crucial year and what we all know to be the decisive decade, it is time for us all to stand together to defend our world.

After the Queen issued a rallying cry for world leaders attending Cop26, in which she urged them to join forces in a ‘common cause” to tackle climate change as well as’solve the greatest insurmountable issues’, the announcements were made.

In a video message she said that they hoped the summit would leave a lasting legacy by recognizing that ‘the time to speak has now been replaced with the time to act’. 

Downing Street said the pledges to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 were backed by £8.75billion of public funding with a further £5.3billion in private investment. 

Johnson stated that the most important thing about the declaration was not only the diversity of countries involved, but also the fact that we are working in partnership with the private and philanthropic sectors, as well as indigenous people from those communities, to address the economic drivers behind deforestation. 

The US and EU are currently launching an initiative to drive global efforts to reduce methane – a powerful, but relatively short-lived, greenhouse gas that comes from fossil fuel extraction.

Hundreds of heads of state will participate in the launch of this pledge, which commits countries and territories to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

These announcements are part COP26 efforts in a range sectors, described by Johnson as ‘coal cars, cash and trees’ to increase momentum on reducing emissions. 

Cop26 is under pressure from countries to reach the 1.5C goal, to provide climate finance to assist poorer nations in tackling the crisis and to finalise parts the global Paris climate treaty.

Forests are the lungs for our planet. They absorb around one third of the CO2 that is released each year from burning fossil fuels. But, they are being lost at an alarming rate.

Every minute, a forest area that is the same size as 27 football pitches is lost.

The Declaration of Forests and Land Use by the Glasgow Leaders is supported by countries like Canada, Brazil and Colombia, Indonesia, China, China, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They together account for 85 percent of the world’s forests and cover an area of over 13 million square miles. 

Forests are the lungs of our planet, absorbing about one third of the global CO2 released from burning fossil fuels every year, but we are losing them at an alarming rate. An area of forest the size of 27 football pitches is lost every minute (pictured: deforestation in Brazil, 2021)

Forests are the planet’s lungs. They absorb around one third of the CO2 from burning fossil fuels each year and are being lost at an alarming rate. Each minute, a forest area equal to 27 football pitches is lost. (pictured: Deforestation in Brazil 2021).

The UK will commit £1.5billion over five years to support the forests pledge, including £350million for tropical forests in Indonesia, and £200million for the Leaf Coalition, which finances replanting forests.

The UK will also contribute £200million, alongside 11 other donors, as part of a new £1.1billion fund to protect the Congo Basin.

The area is home of the second-largest rainforest in the world. However, it is being threatened by mining, industrial logging and agriculture.

Joko Widodo (Indonesian president) stated that Indonesia is blessed with vast rainforests, mangroves oceans, oceans, and peatlands. We are committed to protecting these important carbon sinks and our natural resources for future generations.

‘We call on all countries to support sustainable development paths that strengthen the livelihoods of communities – especially indigenous, women and smallholders.’

Countries endorsing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use pledge include heavily forested nations such as Canada, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (pictured: cattle graze on deforested land in Brazil, August 2020)

Countries that endorse the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration of Forests & Land Use pledge include countries with high forest areas such as Canada and Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (pictured: cattle grazing in deforested Brazilian land, August 2020)

Ivan Duque, president of Colombia, said that Colombia was proud to endorse the Declaration of the Glasgow Leaders on Forests & Land Use. This declaration is a landmark agreement by countries to work together to eliminate deforestation, all forms of land degradation, and to prevent them from doing so in the next ten years.

“Never before has so many leaders from all regions representing all types forests joined forces in this manner. Colombia is committed to doing its part. We will adopt a law that guarantees net-zero deforestation by 2030, and protects 30% of our land & ocean resources by 2030.

“Now we all need to work in partnership with smallholder farmers and finance sector businesses, Indigenous peoples, local communities, and other stakeholders to create the conditions for forest-positive economics to thrive and grow.”

Indonesian president Joko Widodo said: ‘Indonesia is blessed as the most carbon-rich country in the world on vast rainforests, mangroves, oceans and peatlands. We are committed to protecting these critical carbon sinks and our natural capital for future generations.'

Joko Widodo of Indonesia, president, said that Indonesia is blessed with vast rainforests, mangroves oceans, oceans, and peatlands. We are committed in protecting these important carbon sinks as well as our natural capital for future generations.

Campaigners welcomed the initiative. Justin Adams, executive director at the World Economic Forum’s Tropical Forest Alliance said that what they saw at Cop26 could be the beginning of something transformative when it comes to ending deforestation.

‘If deforestation is not stopped, we will not be able to limit climate change. The Glasgow declaration provides a strong political signal, and the powerful collective force of business and finance which aligns considerable economic muscle with these efforts, can shift our food and land use system in a way that we desperately need – for farmers, for consumers and for the planet.’

Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis said that Glasgow was the biggest moment in 2015 for nature and forests after Paris. More countries are making bold commitments to implement nature-based strategies. 

‘Glasgow also produces the largest ever financial incentives for forest protection, with unprecedented commitments from investors, countries donor, and companies.