Leading philanthropists pledged hundreds of millions of dollars on the eve of global climate change in San Francisco to rescue shrinking tropical forests that extract heat-storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Nine foundations announced commitments of $ 459 million over the next four years, one day ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, which is expected to attract around 4,500 delegates from city and regional governments.
"As the world heats up, many of our governments have been slow – slow to act, and so we need to rise in philanthropy," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, to journalists at an event announcing the promise.
The commitment is roughly doubling the funds the groups are currently dedicating to forest conservation, said David Kaimowitz, director of the Ford Foundation, one of the donors.
Charlotte Streck, director of the Amsterdam think-tank Climate Focus, said the scale of the engagement is instrumental in helping groups support anti-deforestation programs.
Norway has led the donor effort by pledging up to $ 500 million a year to help the tropics protect their forests, Streck said.
But the new money from foundations could prove to be "more flexible and flexible" than government money, she said.
"The money pledged by governments like Norway and Germany, the United Kingdom, is largely in trust funds with the World Bank and U.N. and it will not come out that quickly," she said.
Often, "$ 20,000 or $ 50,000 is missing here, just to do one thing or to develop a study or to work or have a consultation with a person – and that the foundations can do it," Streck said.
Other groups that are part of the new initiative include the MacArthur Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Help for indigenous people
The money will mainly help indigenous people, who are forest dwellers, by helping them to secure land titles they live on so that they can not be sold to private companies without their consent, Walker said.
"Enterprises come to our village, our forests and say, 'You have to go because I have the government's license,' said Rukka Sombolinggi, head of Indonesia's indigenous archipelago alliance (AMAN).
The world loses every minute of forest by 50 football fields, said the organizers.
Nevertheless, forests absorb one-third of the annual greenhouse gas emissions caused by the greenhouse effect – and these emissions must be reduced substantially more to reach the targets set by the Paris Convention.
The Paris Agreement, which was adopted by almost 200 countries in 2015, has set itself the target of limiting warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while pushing for the harsher target of 1.5 reach grade C.
The three-day Global Climate Action Summit was organized by California authorities and the United Nations to help guide mayors, governors and other subnational governments to mitigate climate change.