In a bid to end deforestation by 2030, world leaders have issued a $20 billion pledge during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference.

The commitment known as the Glasgow Leaders Declaration has been endorsed by around 100 leaders that represent almost 85% of world forests.

While many similar promises have been made by various countries in order to fight global warming - all that to no avail - this one seems to be the biggest one yet.

However, little details has been given about its implementation - how it is to be met and how it will progress and be monitored. Moreover, the declaration is not binding so leaders can opt out of it whenever they want.

Even though it would be harsh to downplay such an initiative, some truth must be said. This is not enough, plain and simple.

Stopping deforestation would cut down only one-third of the total carbon emission needed to fulfil the Paris Climate Agreement target. At first it seemed that world leaders had caught the wrong end of the stick, but with the climate worsening and nothing significant happening, it is evident that self-interest has triumphed.

Leaders are well aware that climate activists anticipate a radical decision to take place during the conference and if this is the best they can give then it is rather disappointing.

Ask the scientists and the environmentalists who are saying that countries are merely delaying necessary action.

Apart from halting deforestation, world leaders must figure out a way to put an end to the fossil fuel industry, especially those that are extracting and burning it at a massive scale. Oil and petroleum companies must be held accountable and made responsible.

Yes, economies will be affected, money will be lost, people will lose their jobs, and greedy capitalists will put up a stiff fight - but the world will keep moving forward.

We must remember that this is as much of an existential and humanitarian crisis as it is an ecological one.

The World Students Society thanks The Express Tribune.


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