WASHINGTON --U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer introduced a bill Wednesday that would establish a $9 billion trust fund to tackle climate emissions caused by global deforestation. The bill, known as America Mitigating and Achieving Zero-emissions Originating from Nature for the 21st Century Act bill (AMAZON21), follows President Joe Biden’s pledge at COP26 to reduce global deforestation. The AMAZON21 legislation could remove up to an estimated 180 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, or the equivalent of offsetting emissions from every U.S. passenger vehicle for two years.
If passed, Leader Hoyer’s AMAZON21 bill would fund eligible governments, nonprofits and private companies to carry out carbon emission reduction projects. These projects would aim to restore degraded forests and mitigate deforestation and degradation of forests or other climate-critical ecosystems such as wetlands, mangroves and grasslands. Payments will only be made upon independent verification of the projects’ success.
In response, Sammy Herdman, Environment America’s Public Lands associate, issued the following statement:
“The AMAZON21 bill introduced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer presents an opportunity for the United States to make good on our commitments to become a leader in the global fight against climate change. It’s imperative that we protect and restore our planet’s forests if we wish to preserve species that rely on forests, like jaguars and capybaras; protect communities around the world; and avoid the worst effects of climate change. The AMAZON21 bill gives us that chance.”