Big news on the pathway to restoring the environment, building a carbon sink at scale and ending extinctions!
Australian Government has committed to an important international agreement, The Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Landuse. Agreed to by 145 countries, it commits us to "halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by 2030". This is a significant promise made at the UNFCCC to end logging and clearing - which are delivering the trifecta of driving species loss, emitting significant greenhouse gas emissions and undermining our forestry and agriculture industries and their market claims of sustainability.
In 2018, 680,000 hectares of forest was cleared in Queensland for agriculture. Each year we log 70,000 ha of our wet forests, home to koalas, gliders and a host of our threatened mammals. Habitat loss through logging and clearing is the key driver of environmental decline in Australia. It is also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. In October this year, scientists from the ANU explained that ending logging will be an essential plank in delivering our net zero targets. Read their opinion piece here. Protecting and restoring our landscapes is important for the natural environment and climate change.
We also need to step up to assist our neighbours on this global pledge. We live in a region with globally significant forests - for instance, the island of New Guinea is the world's third largest remaining rainforest.
The good news is that this agreement can provide a policy framework to protect forests and woodlands and coordination between key portfolios to deliver shared aims.
The Leaders' Pledge for Nature is another recent international agreement that supports these aims by committing us to curtail biodiversity loss by 2030.
How can you help?
This is an opportunity for LEAN and party members to congratulate the Government on The Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Landuse and reinforce that we are firmly committed to ending extinctions and protecting carbon stocks in the landscape. Watch the webinar HERE with Ed Davey, former advisor to the UK government on it's COP 26 "nature based solutions" program, and Quinton Clements, WWF.
We can also suggest that in order to deliver on these commitments, it is essential for the portfolios of Environment and Water, Climate Change and, Agriculture and Forestry to work collectively, not in siloes.
To end deforestation and species loss we need to protect habitat; to deliver our climate change targets we need to avoid emissions by ending deforestation and restoring landscapes; to build a sustainable agriculture and forestry industry we need to shift out of logging native forests and instead build a vibrant timber industry based in plantations and we need to stop clearing as an agricultural practice. Products that rely on these deeply destructive ecological processes, will increasingly struggle to find markets in a changing world.
We are asking you to write (by email) to the three Ministers and Prime Minister congratulating them on making the pledges and encouraging them to work collectively across key portfolios. We know that it won’t be an easy path to deliver the policy and ensure the funding that will be needed for this vital transformation. We are looking to both build support within the party to ensure this transformation happens and to encourage the collaboration of the Ministers to get the best possible outcome. There is a summary of the pledges further down the page.
Once you've written your own letter/email, perhaps you can share the love. Your role in spreading understanding of these issues and commitments across the rank and file of the party is essential. This is how change happens.
We’d like you to explain The Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Landuse (and the Leaders Pledge for Nature if you're feeling ambitious) to your branch. You can also invite your branch - either as individuals or as a branch - to write letters. The goal is to send over 200 letters within a month supporting the Declaration and encouraging the Government to work together to deliver its commitments.
Suggested points to include in your letter:
- Congratulate the Federal Government for the recent signing of the Leaders Pledge for Nature & the Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Landuse, noting that it commits us to halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by 2030.
- Welcome the zero extinction target for Australia’s wildlife and plants and thank Minister Plibersek for delivering this.
- Welcome Chris Bowen's review (the Chubb Review, set to report in December) of carbon credits and his commitment to ensure that these credits have ecological integrity.
- Note the need to end deforestation - logging and clearing - if we are to deliver on these commitments, protect animals and address climate change, through carbon storage in forests.
- Urge the Albanese government to ensure that the portfolios of Environment, Climate and Energy and, Agriculture and Forestry work collaboratively in recognition that these areas are inextricably interlinked.
- Urge the government to fund the environment to the appropriate level to achieve the outcomes needed.
Then email the letters to the following:
Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister: www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Environment & Water:
Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change & Energy:
Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture:
And to let us know please email your letter to me at [email protected]
Summary of the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use
The Australian Government signed the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use in November 2021.
The declaration commits Australia to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 - which is huge!
It is also the first major international agreement that makes the inextricable link between nature and climate change:
“[We] emphasise the critical and interdependent roles of forests of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet its sustainable development goals; to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change; and to maintain other ecosystem services. “
Summary of the commitment
- Halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030
- Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration;
- Facilitate trade and development policies that do not drive deforestation and land degradation;
- Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through recognition of the multiple values of forests;
- Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivise sustainable agriculture;
- Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation
Summary of the Leaders' Pledge for Nature
The Australian Government signed the global Leaders’ Pledge for Nature in September 2022. The Pledge is a commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and has been endorsed by more than 90 countries.
“[We] commit to undertake the following urgent actions over the next ten years as part of the UN Decade of Action to achieve Sustainable Development and to put nature and biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030”
- Putting biodiversity, climate and the environment as a whole at the centre of economic recovery strategies
Development and full implementation of an ambitious and transformational post-2020 global biodiversity framework including:
- clear and robust goals and targets, underpinned by the best available science, technology, research as well as indigenous and traditional knowledge;
- Commitments to address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss including through well- connected and effectively managed Protected Areas and Area- Based Conservation Measures, and to restore a significant share of degraded ecosystems;
- Commitment to the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in decision making;
- End traditional silo thinking by addressing interrelated and interdependent challenges of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in an integrated and coherent way;
- Transition to sustainable patterns of production and consumption including through behavioural changes, scale-up in nature-based solutions, shifting land use and agricultural policies away from environmentally harmful practices
- Raise the ambition and aligning our domestic climate policies with the Paris Agreement
- Commit to ending environmental crimes
- Commit to mainstreaming biodiversity into relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral policies at all levels, including in key sectors such as food production, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, energy, tourism, infrastructure and extractive industries, trade and supply chains.
The Morrison Government refused to sign the Pledge in 2020. The Albanese joined the Pledge at the UN General Assembly in September 2022, Read Prime Minister Albanese's speech on joining the pledge .
Read the text of the Pledge here and find out more on the pledge website.
Read LEAN's submission to the 2022 Jobs Summit in which we argued there were good regional jobs in the protection and restoration of our forests.