World leaders are signing a pact to halt deforestation. 

On the second day of United Nations climate talks in Glasgow this week, over 100 world leaders representing land that contains more than 85 per cent of the world’s forests are expected to commit to a new deforestation plan.

Forests absorb roughly 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are leading the deal, having struggled with deforestation for decades. 

The deforestation agreement is not part of the formal COP26 negotiations, but is expected to be signed by Australia, Canada, Colombia, Russia, and Norway.

The plan reportedly includes a commitment of US$12 billion ($16 billion) in public funds from 12 countries between 2021 and 2025 to protect and restore forests, and US$7.2 billion of newly-mobilised private investment.

The world lost around 258,000 square kilometres of forest in 2020 - an area larger than the United Kingdom. 

The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation says parts of the Amazon rainforest used to be a carbon “sink”, but is now a source of CO2 due to deforestation and reduced humidity in the region.

“Today we celebrate - tomorrow we will start pressing for the deal to be delivered,” says Roberto Waack, Brazilian business leader and biologist.

“The deal is a significant milestone on the road to protecting our precious forests and tackling the climate crisis.”