1t.org US will be on the ground at COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this week and next to build support and tell the story of U.S. leadership on forests for climate. We will be partnering with 1t.org US members from the public and private sector to export success stories as well as import next level solutions from around the world.
Here are some of the key goals for our “Forest Action Bloc”:
- Amplify messages that center the critical role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- Build ambition through 1t.org US pledges.
- Mobilize our community of practice to help identify solutions and opportunities to scale our work.
Our team of experts at 1t.org US are closely tracking forest and natural climate solutions from the COP27 negotiations.
November 10 Announcement: More Than 55 Billion Trees Pledged by US Entities to Meet Critical Climate Goals
November 12 Media Advisory: Public Private Partnerships and Natural Climate Solutions with Gillian Caldwell of USAID
See below for daily updates on key developments.
The “Forest Action Bloc” at COP27
This blog by 1t.org US Lead Kevin O'Hara outlines our collective goals for COP27.Read here
1t.org US COP27 Guide and Calendar
This document will be updated daily with new events from our community and partners.Read and Bookmark
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Urban Trees for Equitable Cities: Tools to Realize SDG Goal 11
Thursday, Nov. 10 — 3 p.m. EET / 8 a.m. EST
In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goal 11, to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” American Forests has developed a tool for local governments, civil society, urban foresters and communities to make the case for planting trees in the neighborhoods that need them the most and allocating the resources needed to do so. Currently in use across the United States and soon to be launched internationally, the Tree Equity Score (TES) calculates scores based on how much tree canopy and surface temperature align with income, employment, race, age, health, and climatic risk factors. Further, the Tree Equity Score Analyzer (TESA) helps cities and municipalities to dive deep into decision-making around Tree Equity Scores. This event would highlight the strategic use of tools such as the TES and TESA, and how to make data-driven and cost-effective interventions to mitigate against urban heat islands, stormwater runoff and other climate change driven challenges.
- Jad Daley, President and CEO, American Forests (Moderator)
- Shanna Edberg, Director, Conservation Programs, Hispanic Access Foundation
- Nadiya Khalif, Global Youth Council, Earth Uprising
- Mohammad Ahmadi, Co-founder & Global Youth Leadership Director at Earth Uprising
- Kurt Shickman, Director, Extreme Heat Initiative, Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
- Leah Laramee, Hawai’i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Coordinator
Cultivating an Environment for NCS Public-Private Partnerships
Saturday, Nov. 12 — 3 p.m. EET / 8 a.m. EST
This event will be an intimate discussion between leaders of the public and private sectors mapping out the need and opportunities to build functional, scalable, transparent, and replicable public-private partnerships for natural climate solutions. In order to leverage the funding and ambition to build a movement in both the public and private sectors, an enabling environment must be created with demonstrable leadership through programs such as 1t.org. These partnerships can serve as a catalyst for action – from policy interventions (i.e. Inflation Reduction Act), capital investments (i.e. zero-deforestation and conversion supply-chains), financial tools (i.e. carbon markets, green bonds), and accountability standards, to on-the-ground interventions (i.e. conservation, agroforestry, improved forest management, reforestation, etc.). We will explore best practices existing programs and best practices from the USAID, as well as new initiatives being explored and launched at Salesforces and/or Mastercard.
Specific care will be taken to defining what “net-zero” means for both corporations and governments alike, and highlighting pathways beyond “net-zero” using natural climate solutions.
- Nicole Schwab, Director of Nature-based Solutions & 1t.org, WEF (Introduction)
- Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer, USAID
- Jad Daley, CEO American Forests, Co-Chair 1t.org US
- Ellen Jackawski, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mastercard
- John-O Niles, Senior Manager, Natural Climate Solutions, Salesforce
COP27 Daily Read Out
As a bold step forward to follow through on the historic COP26 Glasgow Leaders’ Forest and Land Use Declaration to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, leaders from 26 countries and the EU have launched and opened the first meeting of the Forest and Climate Leader’s Partnership (FCLP). Co-Chaired by the United States and Ghana, the FCLP will move to enhance cooperation, incentives, and policy support on the delivery of that goal. Further, it was announced that public and private sector donors pledged to mobilize a US$ 4.5 billion to advance these efforts, in addition to the US$ 2.67 billion already appropriated from the US$19.2 billion at COP26.
The United States has repositioned itself back on the global stage as a global leader in the fight against climate change with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will get us 26-42% of the way towards achieving our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of 2030 target of 50-52% below 2005 levels.
Thematic Challenge: These global efforts at COP27 are merely a platform to collaboratively set the top-line policy agenda for each country to bring home to their respective Congress, Ministries, states, territories, private sectors, civil society, and citizens. In every institution to which you are member – from your town to your business to your family to yourself – find a way to take leadership and proactively contribute to this global effort. Can you lead on climate?
What to look for tomorrow: For the 2nd official day of the COP27, we are excited to see new pledges for action from governments, businesses, and civil society alike. Tomorrow and in the coming days, will be watching the US Center in particular as leaders and technical experts from US agencies such as the US State Department, USAID, USDA, EPA, MCC, DFC, NASA, and more demonstrate their stewardship of this movement while also collaborating with other nations and coalitions such as the 1t.org Forest Action Bloc. Please watch along with us here.
At COP26, the United States needed to demonstrate its leadership on forests and climate on the global stage. At the direction of the White House and with the leadership of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, a number of US government agencies put together the Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks. This new strategy outlines the approaches these agencies intends to deploy to achieve four key objectives in international forest and land use mitigation: (1) Incentivize forest and ecosystem conservation and forest landscape restoration; (2) Catalyze private sector investment, finance, and action to conserve critical carbon sinks; (3) Build long-term capacity and support the data and monitoring systems that enhance accountability; and (4) Increase ambition for climate and conservation action. Working closely with the State Department, USAID, and the USFS International Program, 1t.org US and its Forest Action Bloc are bringing this to fruition.
Update: In furtherance of the Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks, and the Forest Carbon Leadership Partnership, the US government released the Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap today at COP27. This outlines strategic actions across the US federal government to unlock the full potential of nature-based solutions to address climate change, nature loss, and inequity. The strategy recommendations include: (1) specific guidance on valuing nature from OMB; (2) emphasis on the use of nature-based solutions for floodplain management and hazard mitigation from FEMA; (3) innovative strategies to use nature-based solutions to complement solar energy infrastructure from DOE; (4) applications for nature-based solutions at military installations and other national security assets from the Department of Defense; (5) prioritization and investments of research, innovation, knowledge and adaptive learning around nature-based solutions for the public and private sectors; and many more. This strategy is the first of its kind as the US has developed a specific strategy to scale up nature-based solutions. The possibility for engagement and implementation from our 1t.org US Forest Action Bloc are limitless.
Thematic Challenge: There are trees everywhere in our built environments. But there could be many many more. In many urban ecosystems and certainly on most federal properties, each tree is strategically placed, cataloged, and monitored. Next time you have a spare moment, look where and how these trees are being used, and consider the ecosystem service they are providing – shade, oxygen, transpiration, soil retention, habitat for birds, noise and physical barriers, etc. Think of how you would use trees and other nature-based solutions as you lead within our Forest Action Bloc.
What to look for tomorrow: Climate Finance is the lynchpin for the climate change movement. As developing countries look to build their economies on a zero- or low-emissions pathway, they look to those countries whose GHG emissions have and will cause the greatest share of climate change for financial support. Beyond the need to develop, many from the global south are also looking for “Loss and Damage,” the negotiations for which have already been highly contentious as it represents a means of financial reparations for quantifiable harms already being caused by climate change. We need innovation, transparency, and accountability to overcome these climate finance challenges. We also need governments to leverage and partner with the private sector to invest in the global south. We also need to invest in nature-based solutions as a cost-effective, low-risk, and globally beneficial means of financial investment.
Did you know that at COP26 as part of the Global Forest Finance Pledge the leaders from the US, Canada, UK, EU, Germany, France, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and South Korea pledged to support the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of forests in developing countries with US$ 12 billion by 2025, and leverage an additional US$ 7.2 billion in private sector investments. This funding will be delivered in the form of overseas development assistance (ODA) via international bilateral and multilateral institutions such as USAID and the World Bank, to support technical and financial cooperation for capacity building for forest conservation and restoration. Specifically, these activities will include (1) forest and land governance strengthening such as clarifying the forest rights and land tenure of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dwelling communities; (2) building infrastructure to support zero-deforestation and sustainable agricultural supply chains, designed to increase the availability of finance for smallholders and community forestry to support a transition to more sustainable practices; (3) expand zero-deforestation and sustainable financial markets by leveraging private sector investment in sustainable forest management; (4) large-scale forest conservation and landscape restoration; and (5) improvements in forest monitoring and forest fire mitigation. This builds represents one of the most significant collaborative ODA investments towards global forest conservation and restoration.
On Finance Day at COP27, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, joined by representatives from the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation, announced their new partnership intended to catalyze private sector investment to accelerate the clean energy transition in developing countries, the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA). The ETA will finance this transition by enabling the sale of high-integrity GHG-reduction credits in order to scale new and rapid renewables deployment and retire coal-fired power plants. While tangentially related to the sale of forest and other land use carbon offsets, it will assuredly reshape the size of an already growing voluntary carbon market, which reached nearly US$ 2 billion in transactions in 2021, four times its size from 2021 of only US$ 520 million. In both cases, the quality of carbon offset credits is an integral piece of their value. It is significant that the offset investments within the ETA will be made in consultation with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the Voluntary Carbon Markets Initiative (VCMI), the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), and the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Thematic Challenge: Much like a Wall Street financial investment, not all offsets are created equal – not only on their risk or potential for a return but the very purpose of the offsetting investment. Many critics have rightly raised issues with the effectiveness and transparency of offset programs, as well as the practical longevity of forest carbon offsets in particular as trees could be cut or burned negating the very purpose of the investment. Next time you are listening to a podcast commercial claiming to offset your purchase by planting a tree in the Amazon, dig deeper. Find out: Where? What kind of tree (monoculture, biodiverse, regionally appropriate)? Will it be monitored and maintained? These are all important questions to ask, and the answers could make or break our efforts to curb climate change, as well as the public and private sector confidence in this type of movement.
What to look for tomorrow: As much as we hate to admit it, none of us are getting any younger. While our tree rings may be jaded with years of work climate and environmental work, there is a new generation of leaders that is emerging. Yes, they are growing and learning about the intricacies of the UNFCC negotiations and global diplomatic politics much like the rest of us, but they also have a lot to teach us about their generation’s priorities – as innovators, advocates, academics, scientists, consumers, creatives, communicators, and leaders. Tomorrow there will be sessions throughout COP27 highlighting burgeoning climate activists from around the globe looking for their voices to be heard.
What to look for today: As much as we hate to admit it, none of us are getting any younger. While our tree rings may be jaded with years of work climate and environmental work, there is a new generation of leaders that is emerging. Yes, they are growing and learning about the intricacies of the UNFCC negotiations and global diplomatic politics much like the rest of us, but they also have a lot to teach us about their generation’s priorities – as innovators, advocates, academics, scientists, consumers, creatives, communicators, and leaders. Today there will be sessions throughout COP27 highlighting burgeoning climate activists from around the globe looking for their voices to be heard.
What to watch from 1t.org US: Urban Trees for Equitable Cities: Tools to Realize SDG Goal 11
What to look for today: Support for natural climate solutions from the U.S. Government, like this one from President Biden.
Along with the mitigation of climate change by sequestering carbon, trees and forests play a crucial role in the resilient adaptation to climate change as well, particularly with proper forest management techniques. Depending on the biome and type of forest, they can have a multitude of effects in boosting the resiliency of the ecosystem as well as improve human habitability within. In high altitude and mountainous regions, proper forest management can actually reduce the risk of nearby by creating microclimates through transpiration, as well as stabilize soils and slow water runoff reducing the risk of flash floods downstream. Similarly, in river and other watersheds riparian buffers regulate water flow. In agricultural farmlands, agro-forestry systems improve soil quality, support the retention of soil moisten, reduce evaporation, slow water and topsoil erosion, and provide a habitat for pollinators. In cities, urban forests reduce heat islands and improve airquality, while riparian buffers restore natural waterflow to reduce flood risk. In coastal areas, forests can act as natural buffers which can act as shields from storm surge and hurricanes.
The biggest news out of COP27 today, for us at 1t.org US anyway, is the momentous pledge by USAID of 100 million hectares of forest conservation, restoration, and reforestation by 2030. This pledge announcement was made at the 1t.org US/American Forest event “Cultivating an Environment for NCS Public-Private Partnerships” by Evan Notman, filling in for Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer at USAID, This pledge represents the largest single pledge to date to any of the global 1t.org chapters. How big is 100 million hectares of forests? It is roughly ⅛ the size of the all the forests in the United States. This significant commitment by USAID in their ongoing development portfolio, will not doubt be dwarfed as they, and other international agencies of the US government, take the lead as co-chairs in the Forest and Climate Leader’s Partnership (FCLP).
Thematic Challenge: We need to look at trees and forests differently, and we need to get our policy makers to do the same. Many decisions are being made at COP27 this week by the Parties to the UNFCCC, as well as at home regarding the future investments in climate adaptation and agriculture, and how to find solutions and synergies in policy-making. We need to find innovative, cost-effective, nature-posit, and often traditional solutions to climate adaptation and agricultural resiliency, and we would argue that the proper and appropriate use forests in most biomes more often then not can check those boxes. Check out this recent WRI study, highlighting practical steps to maximize forest benefits in policy from the local to global scales.
What to look for tomorrow: Tomorrow is a day to relax. Much like forests, sometimes we need a little restoration. But we’ll be back at it on Monday. What to look for then? Monday will be Gender and Water Day. Women have always played an integral part of forestry, and many known and unknown have left significant legacies, such as Wangari Maathai. On Monday, we’ll be looking for the next generations of Wangari Maathais at COP27, and look forward to you joining us.
Today is a day to relax. Much like forests, sometimes we need a little restoration. But we’ll be back at it on Monday. What to look for then? Monday will be Gender and Water Day. Women have always played an integral part of forestry, and many known and unknown have left significant legacies, such as Wangari Maathai. On Monday, we’ll be looking for the next generations of Wangari Maathais at COP27, and look forward to you joining us.
Are you familiar with Wangari Maathai? If not, you should be. She is the seminal leader of the modern global nature-based solutions movement, a feminist and environmental icon, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and a self-proclaimed “child of the soil.” In her native Kenya, British colonization and resource extraction in the 1800s resulted in overwhelming deforestation. After a youth of observing ongoing landscape degradation due to post-colonial poverty, Maathai formed the Green Belt Movement as a means to reverse desertification by planting trees and to empower women to take leadership at the local level to do so. Maathai and her Green Belt Movement established over 6,000 tree nurseries to block desertification and landscape degradation in the region, and established schools and other programs to further cultivate women as leaders within their communities. Her work led to the Great Green Wall initiative, an African-led movement that aims to grow an over 8,000 km belt of trees across the Sahel to provide livelihoods, mitigate against climatic effects such drought and erosion, while also supporting carbon sequestration. The Sahel chapter of 1t.org, as well as a number of the US-based partners of 1t.org US, work in furtherance of these same goals.
There is no way around it. Women, children, and marginalized communities are disproportionally affected by the impacts of climate change, according to a recent UNFCCC synthesis report, particularly those already living in the countries that are the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change.
On Monday evening, a draft agreement for the UNFCCC to address “loss and damage” was released at COP27, marking a historic yet fraught step to advance negotiations towards providing reparations to countries bearing the most significant burdens of climate change. The loss and damage negotiations track, and the potential financial reparations therein, are a departure from traditional climate finance (and even ODA or development funding), in that they are not built upon a results-based payment. While conditional on demonstrable damages much like an insurance claim, they are not specifically bound to an emissions reduction or plan to build resilience. This draft represents a important advancement in the recognition by industrialized nations of their historic and current culpabilities, specifically financial culpabilities, in the current extreme impacts of climate change.
The draft agreement lays out two possible options to be discussed and hopefully voted upon during the remainder of this COP27 week: (1) the establishment of a new entity under the UNFCCC rules as a financial mechanism, similar to the process of the creation of the Adapation Fund at COP7 in 2001, to specifically address loss and damage – to be designed, scaled, staffed, and begin implementation by no later than COP29 in 2024; or (2) the establishment of a technical workstream to be conducted over the next two years, the result of which will be recommendations for a “mosaic of funding arrangements” that will define and respond to the loss and damage agenda. The later, an oft-used process in the UNFCCC by which parties can harness technocratic proceedings to delay decision-making and action, is likely to be favored by developed and industrialized countries. It is notable that in both modalities, specifics as to the types of damages, financial scale for reparations, and culpability of non-state actors have not yet been addressed. In either option, one would hope for the countries in receipt of such reparation to use them to support further resiliency, and natural-climate solutions such as forest conservation, restoration, and reforestation would be impactful and wise investments to shield themselves from further damages.
Thematic Challenge: Look for women leadership within your own organizations, its partners, and its potential partners – and also reflect upon why there has been historic and are current gaps. Look for the historic legacy that your nation, corporation, community, and their respective infrastructure are built on, with regards to decades of industrialized carbon emissions and the related culpability to climate change. Now explore the shared space of these two respective and reflective venn diagrams. There is an important cross section, and this should be prioritized within the important work of the 1t.org Forest Action Bloc going forward.
What to look for tomorrow: Tomorrow is Action for Climate Empowerment and Civil Society, as well as Energy Day at COP27. Look for announcements and advancements around participatory best practices, socioeconomic status (SES) standards, and new partnerships between governments, multilateral bodies, and civil society to do so within the context of climate change. Relevant to energy, there is an important nexus between the use of fuelwood in developing countries and deforestation/degradation that has yet to be adequately addressed. In order to do so, conservation efforts must be fully aligned with development practices for forest-adjacent communities. Programs that properly design and align these practical solutions, will have a better change at the longevity of their ecosystem, conservation, sequestration, or poverty reduction results.
What to look for today Today is Action for Climate Empowerment and Civil Society, as well as Energy Day at COP27. Look for announcements and advancements around participatory best practices, socioeconomic status (SES) standards, and new partnerships between governments, multilateral bodies, and civil society to do so within the context of climate change. Relevant to energy, there is an important nexus between the use of fuelwood in developing countries and deforestation/degradation that has yet to be adequately addressed. In order to do so, conservation efforts must be fully aligned with development practices for forest-adjacent communities. Programs that properly design and align these practical solutions, will have a better change at the longevity of their ecosystem, conservation, sequestration, or poverty reduction results.