Green Gigaton Challenge

Green Gigaton Challenge launched to achieve 1 gigaton of emission reductions from avoided deforestation by 2025 By Emergent and UN-REDD | November 19, 2020

Emergent and the United Nations REDD Programme (UN-REDD) — supported by the Environmental Defense Fund, Forest Trends and the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions — have launched the Green Gigaton Challenge, a global initiative to catalyse funding for one gigaton of high-quality emissions reductions a year from forests by 2025.

The Green Gigaton Challenge will bring together a coalition of public, private and philanthropic partners to channel funds into efforts led by national and subnational governments to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Through utilizing donor-funded floor prices for results-based payments and facilitating and leveraging private sector demand above these floor prices, the Green Gigaton Challenge will support forest countries to achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and increase ambition, while helping companies complement their internal emissions reductions with high-quality carbon credits.

“The Green Gigaton Challenge aims to break the stalemate on the contribution from forests to close the emission gap by 2030, ensure biodiversity conservation and a green recovery from Covid-19. By achieving one gigaton a year of emission reduction, it will make a significant contribution to keeping global warming below 2°C and do so in a cost-effective way. Ultimately, the Challenge offers a concrete framework to leverage public and private finance for large-scale and high-quality forest protection and restoration,“ said Susan Gardner, Director of the Ecosystems Division of UNEP, a UN-REDD agency.

“The Challenge is a ready made, purpose-built platform to deliver on reversing deforestation. It represents a new chapter in efforts to protect the world’s remaining forests. There is no solution to the climate or biodiversity crises without ending deforestation. Only by working with national and state governments, and by channeling private capital, can we make massive and transformative reductions in deforestation,” said Eron Bloomgarden, the Executive Director of Emergent. “Significant progress has been made in recent years on the policies, practices and incentives for halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation, and now, with dramatic increases in corporate demand, we’re at a pivotal moment for massively scaling up these efforts,” he added.

“Companies need confidence that there will be supply at scale of high integrity REDD+ credits. Forest countries need a signal that sufficient international funding will materialize to support large-scale investments in forest protection,” said Rupert Edwards, Senior Advisor with Forest Trends. “The Green Gigaton Challenge is designed to break this stalemate.”

“To have a chance at meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, we urgently need to stop the destruction of tropical forests,” said Ruben Lubowski, Chief Natural Resource Economist at Environmental Defense Fund. “Yet we’re not doing nearly enough. That is why we need an ambitious strategy like the Green Gigaton Challenge to send a tangible signal for high-integrity emissions reductions at large jurisdictional scales. It will start to pull in the finance to drive forest protection at the scale that we need to raise global climate ambition.”

One gigaton of annual emissions reductions is equivalent to taking 80% of the cars of American roads. One gigaton of annual emissions reductions from REDD+ is the order of what is needed to cost-effectively achieve the current Paris Agreement pledges and about half of what would be needed if all countries responded by increasing their ambition consistent with a 2-degree target. One gigaton per year could also enable more than twice as many further reductions at no added global cost compared to implementing current Paris pledges without international collaboration on REDD+.

The Green Gigaton Challenge will engage both governments and companies to increase investments in REDD+. Emergent will be responsible for structuring transactions of high-quality emission reductions, while UN-REDD will work with interested forest countries to build their capacities to produce high-quality emission reductions. They will also help companies include forests in their mitigation strategies. The Environmental Defense Fund, Forest Trends, and the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) will contribute their significant technical expertise on REDD+ in support of the initiative.

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