GOOD NEWS
06/07/2016 11:05 am ET

Norway Is The First Country To Ban Deforestation

"This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest."
Tributary of the Amazon River.
WILL & DENI MCINTYRE via Getty Images
Tributary of the Amazon River.

Norway is so woke to deforestation, it's the first nation to outlaw it. 

On May 24, Norway committed to zero deforestation, reports UN partner Climate Action. The groundbreaking move means that the nation pledges to ban any product in its supply chain that contributes to the deforestation of rainforests through the government’s public procurement policy. 

Virgin Amazon rain forest surrounds patches of deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans.
Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
Virgin Amazon rain forest surrounds patches of deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans.

“This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest. Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to destruction of the rainforest,” Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway said in a statement on the organization's site. “Until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements.”

The foundation has campaigned for years to make this a reality.

Mato Grosso State in the Amazon jungle, one of the Brazilian states of greatest deforestation.
Rickey Rogers / Reuters
Mato Grosso State in the Amazon jungle, one of the Brazilian states of greatest deforestation.

At the UN Climate Summit in New York in 2014, Norway, Germany and the U.K. pledged to “promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains,” through public procurement policies and to sustainably source products like palm oil, soy, beef and timber.

According to Climate Action, production of palm oil, soy, beef and wood products in seven countries with high deforestation rates (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea) contributed to 40 percent of total tropical deforestation and 44 percent of associated carbon emissions between 2000 and 2011.

This is not Norway’s first anti-deforestation rodeo, either.

Aerial view of Amazon rainforest in Amazonas State, Venezuela,
DEA / P. JACCOD via Getty Images
Aerial view of Amazon rainforest in Amazonas State, Venezuela,

In 2008, Norway gave Brazil — which is home to 60 percent of the Amazon — $1 billion to help fight deforestation. And Brazil delivered. By 2015, the South American nation reduced deforestation by a whopping 75 percent, saving more than 33,000 square miles of forest and keeping 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere — an amount that's three times bigger than the effect of taking all the cars in the U.S. off the road for a year, according to National Geographic.

“Other countries should follow Norway’s leadership and adopt similar zero deforestation commitments,” Ranum said. “In particular, Germany and the UK must act, following their joint statement at the UN Climate Summit.”

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
What's Lurking In South Sudan's 'Forgotten Forests'
CONVERSATIONS