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Leaders from more than 100 countries pledged to halt deforestation by 2030, as part of an agreement inked Tuesday at COP26, the United Nations climate summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.

The U.S., Brazil, and Russia were among the nations that signed the agreement, which is backed by more than $19 billion in public and private funding. Representing more than 85 percent of the world’s forests, the signatories committed to protecting and restoring forests while promoting sustainable land-use and agricultural practices.

Combating deforestation is seen as a crucial step in limiting the impacts of climate change, as the world’s forests absorb roughly one-third of carbon emissions annually. Agriculture, forestry and other land uses account for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“These great teeming ecosystems — these cathedrals of nature — are the lungs of our planet,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a press release announcing the agreement. “Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmos... Read more

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