NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The opening day of the United Nations Climate Summit began with some promising news of international cooperation, with dozens of countries, corporations and indigenous groups, including the United States, pledged to slow the rate of deforestation.
The New York Declaration of Forests, which called cut yearly deforestation losses in half by 2020 and end net loses by 2030. But the agreement failed to include the support of Brazil, the massive South American nation that accounts for more than half of the world's rainforest acreage.
Brazil also leads the world in global warming pollution produced by deforestation, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Second in that category is the island nation of Indonesia, with much of the deforestation in both countries being the result of palm-oil plantations.
But todays' pledge comes three days after several major global food companies, including Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar, met in Indonesia and agreed to reform palm-oil production process standards and end deforestation from palm oil farming.
"Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution – they hold multiple benefits for all members of society," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in news release. "The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually."