US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Thursday announced while on an official trip to Colombia that his country would launch a regional pact to reduce deforestation throughout the Amazon
Blinken's words came a few weeks before the UN environmental summit in Glasgow, Scotland, and were regarded as an effort to mitigate one of the leading causes of global warming.
We can take great steps to deal with the climate crisis, Blinken said after a tour of the Botanical Garden in Bogotá. Blinken also explained his country would finalize in the next few days a new alliance specifically focused on fighting deforestation associated with the extraction of raw materials.
The initiative will provide useful information to companies so that they can effectively reduce their dependence on deforestation. It will also include financial support for protected areas inhabited by indigenous peoples and small farmers, it was reported. Tropical forests are crucial for the environment because they retain large amounts of carbon, responsible for global warming.
During his visit to Colombia, Blinken refused to answer a question about the criticism against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been accused of encouraging agribusiness in forest areas and also of instigating the murders of environmentalists in the country with the largest territory in Amazonia.
Colombia, a close ally of the United States, has set ambitious environmental goals: President Iván Duque is committed to halting deforestation by 2030. Last year the country lost more than 170,000 hectares of forest. Blinken praised Duque for his exceptional leadership on environmental issues, during his first visit to South America as head of the diplomacy.
US-backed projects to encourage chocolate, tourism and other industries which offer an alternative to logging are believed to be a part of the new project. “By preserving Colombia’s forests, promoting more sustainable agriculture, we can make major strides in dealing with the climate crisis as well,” Blinken said.
The new plan is to be launched “in the coming days,” according to the US top diplomat, who also said the pact would include financial support to help manage protected Indigenous areas and support the livelihood of farmers.
Earlier on Thursday, the Biden administration released a series of reports from US intelligence and security agencies sounding the alarm about the threats that the effects of climate change pose to global stability and US national security. “We assess that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change.