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TEchnology Today - Amazon to Invest in Nature-Based Carbon Removal Solutions in Brazil

Technology Today

As part of its efforts to support global solutions to the climate crisis, Amazon has announced the launch of the Agro-forestry and Restoration Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organisation. The Accelerator will create a more sustainable source of income for thousands of local farmers in the Brazilian Amazonian state of Pará, while also restoring native rain forests and fighting climate change by naturally trapping and storing carbon.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nature-based solutions have a critical role to play in avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Governments and the private sector can both reduce carbon emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere by investing in nature-based solutions at scale. The Agro-forestry and Restoration Accelerator is one such carbon removal project, and part of Amazon’s commitment to meeting The Climate Pledge, which the company co-founded with  Global Optimism. Signatories to the Pledge commit to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040 - 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

As part of its commitment to meet The Climate Pledge, Amazon is first and foremost continuing to innovate and invest in de-carbonising its businesses. The company has purchased 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, and is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Amazon is also investing in nature-based solutions outside of its value chain through the Right Now Climate Fund, which supports the Accelerator and other projects to restore degraded lands in ways that improve the livelihoods of local communities and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Additionally, through the recently announced LEAF Coalition - a public-private initiative to mobilise at least $1 billion to protect the world’s tropical forests - Amazon and other partners are working to curb tropical deforestation, reducing the amount of carbon emitted in the atmosphere. 

“Restoring the world’s forests is one of the most meaningful actions we can take right now to address climate change, and it will require innovative solutions to be successful,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “We are proud to launch the Agro-forestry and Restoration Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to support solutions that prioritize high environmental integrity and strong community benefits. Amazon is looking forward to contributing our passion for innovation along with financial support to improve the livelihoods of local communities in Brazil, while helping to protect the planet for future generations.”

“Science is unequivocal in regarding natural systems as the priority for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and the latest IPCC report underscores this,” said Christiana Figueres, co-founder of Global Optimism and former UN climate chief responsible for the Paris Agreement. “Protecting standing ecosystems and restoring degraded land are critical as carbon mitigation strategies, especially over the next decade or two. Projects that achieve this to sustain both nature and the livelihoods of the local community are invaluable to the transformation needed to thrive well beyond the climate crisis. Kudos to Amazon and The Nature Conservancy.”

Amazon’s initial investment in the Accelerator will support 3,000 farmers and restore approximately 20,000 hectares—a land mass approximately the size of the City of Seattle - within three years, removing up to 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through 2050.  

The Nature Conservancy will work together with the World Agro-forestry Centre and several local civil society organizations to implement the Accelerator by helping small farmers restore degraded cattle pastures to native forest and agro-forestry. The agro-forestry systems will provide farmers with a sustainable source of income through the sale of cocoa and other crops. The Accelerator will also experiment with innovative ways to support farmers and nurture markets for sustainable forest-based commodities, including with digital technologies, and will advance new methodologies and satellite-based technologies for quantifying and monitoring carbon removal.

“Pará is home to 9% of the world’s tropical forest, but it’s facing unprecedented rates of deforestation, losing 3,300 acres every day in the last year,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy. “Over the last 13 years, small farms in Pará - an area where slash-and-burn agriculture can seem like the only option - were responsible for an average of 40% of the state’s deforestation. For 20 years, The Nature Conservancy has worked with small farmers, community leaders, government officials and Indigenous peoples to identify and implement win-win solutions, like agro-forestry, that help people and nature thrive. This new partnership with Amazon will allow us to provide the resources and technical assistance needed to advance this program and demonstrate that regenerative agro-forestry and carbon markets are viable business models for communities in the Amazon.”

"We must join efforts to achieve what may be the goal of the century: to develop our economies, guarantee incomes to people while preserving and restoring the forest,” said Helder Barbalho, Governor of Pará. "The state of Pará is ready to this challenge, and our strategy is very clear on Amazonia Agora plan, where we are committed to being carbon free by 2036, through reduction of deforestation and forest restoration. Investments, such as Amazon's, in sustainable agro-forestry and reforestation in Pará are very welcome. This initiative will significantly benefit the state's community, natural resources and biodiversity."

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