In light of the many climatic weather events of the past year, including catastrophically notable forest fires, droughts in the west and a devastating hurricane in the east, one would not be blamed for impatience with the global efforts to address climate change through the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

To an untrained eye, these COPs would appear to be no more than opportunities for high-profile declarations of intent by otherwise preoccupied global leaders and corporate iconoclasts. Forgive the topical pun, but this perception would be missing the forest for the trees. Much has been happening within the UNFCCC and COP process, and also within the environments and ecosystems of American Forests, the US community, the halls of Congress, corporate boardrooms, forest expert offices and amongst the trees themselves. We are on the march, and we are doing it as a “Forest Action Bloc.” 

Since its inception in the post-war 1940s, for better or for worse, the United Nations has been dominated by bloc politics in which countries and parties align by common regions or interests and vote accordingly. Within the UNFCC, blocs like the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CFRN) have put forests on the negotiating agenda, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have moved adaptation discussions. We’d like to the think of the forests-for-climate movement as a bloc, bringing together public, private and civil society sectors to advance our collective goals year-round. In these trying times, we will look to our Forest Action Bloc to fuel us, advancing from one incremental success to the next. 

The past year has been one of the most significant for climate action domestically in our nation’s history. Passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), along with President Biden signing Executive Order 14072, cumulatively represent the most significant investments toward achieving national and global GHG emissions reductions in our nation’s history — particularly in the conservation, restoration and reforestation of U.S. forests. These momentous pieces of legislation and executive action alone will get us 26-42% of the way toward achieving the U.S.’ self-identified apportionment of emissions reductions toward the global goal of limiting climate change to 1.5℃. US and American Forests 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 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 US pledges.
  • Mobilize our community of practice to help identify solutions and opportunities to scale our work. 

Additionally, US and American Forests are hosting two sessions within the Nature Pavilion at COP27: 

  1. Thursday, Nov. 10, 3 p.m. EET / 8 a.m. EST: Urban Trees for Equitable Cities: Tools to Realize SDG Goal 11 
  1. Saturday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m. EET / 8 a.m. EST: Cultivating an Enabling Environment for NCS Public-Private Partnerships 

Our Forest Action Bloc is off to a momentous start with the launch of the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP) at COP27. Co-chaired by the U.S. and Ghana, leaders of 26 countries will enhance cooperation on the delivery of pledges made at COP26 in Glasgow.  We’re looking forward to two weeks of U.S. forest-climate leadership, knowledge sharing and networking.  

As we all know, we can’t meet our climate goals without forests, and we’re excited to help mobilize this bloc as a force for good as we champion climate-smart forest strategies. You can follow our progress and join in the conversation through US and American Forests social media accounts.