Global annual expenditures to protect and restore wildlife should triple this decade to approximately $ 350 billion by 2030 and rise to $ 536 billion by 2050, says a UN report, calling for a change in mindset among financiers, businesses and governments.
The UN’s first State of Finance for Nature report looked at how to address the planet’s climate, biodiversity and soil degradation crises, and it is estimated that around $ 8 trillion in investment would be needed by the middle of this century to develop natural resources.
protect systems. Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), said that while the amounts needed may sound great, “it is peanuts when we are frankly talking about securing the planet and our own future.
” She added, “Our health, the quality of our life, our jobs, temperature control, the housing we build and of course the food we eat, the water we drink” all depend on well-functioning natural systems.
Report co-author Ivo Mulder, head of the UNEP climate finance unit, said financial flows should work with nature rather than against it: “It’s more of an opportunity to see how to keep doing business, how governments can do business economically.
continue to grow, but in a way that is fairer and more sustainable. It’s not impossible. ”Annual investments in nature, excluding pledged but not yet delivered money, totaled $ 133 billion in 2020, the report said, with public funding for 86 percent and private funding for the remainder.
aimed at protecting biodiversity, restoring forests and peatlands, regenerative agriculture and water conservation, according to the report from UNEP, the World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative.
Paris climate accord, Mulder warned, while more animal and plant species would be lost.Better conservation and management of natural areas, such as parks, forests and wilderness, is seen as an important tool for countries to protect ecosystems and achieve emission reduction targets.
The felling of forests has major consequences for the global do climate change mitigation, as trees absorb about a third of the carbon emissions produced worldwide.
Forests also provide food and livelihood, are habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, and support tropical rainfall.
Andersen said protecting natural resources of carbonaceous forests, peat lands and the ocean is “not a substitute for decarbonizing” the global economy, but rather “part of a long-term solution” to protect the earth and its climate.
The report called on governments to include biodiversity and climate measures in their pandemic stimulus packages, noting that nature represents only 2.5 percent of projected Covid-19 spending on economic recovery worldwide.
Governments must also ensure that development aid includes conditions and targets to reduce climate heating emissions, protect forests and limit land degradation, Mulder said.
The report recommends reforming taxes and refocusing fossil fuel and agrochemical subsidies, which amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year, to encourage greener agriculture and other activities that nurture nature.
Businesses should invest more in making their supply chains more sustainable, while new revenue streams created by carbon markets for forests and wildlife projects could help businesses achieve their net zero emissions targets, it added.
Banks will also have to consider the negative impact of their lending on nature and the climate, Mulder said.
Companies dealing with the destruction of nature risk their reputation, while more extreme weather, including drought and floods – often worse in degraded ecosystems – can increase operating costs.
Andersen said there is a business case for investing in nature, but “we need to make it stronger and clearer.” A separate report released last year estimated between $ 722 and $ 967 billion per year would be needed to halt the global decline in biodiversity by 2030.
Mulder said the estimate in the new UN report was lower because it only analyzed land-related funding and did not include oceans. He called it a ‘starting point’ for tracking nature-based investments.
It comes as a coalition of about 60 countries working to protect at least 30 percent of the land and oceans by 2030 ahead of a major UN biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, scheduled for October 2021.
In March of this year, the British president of the forthcoming COP26 climate summit warned that countries must meet their emission reduction targets within this decade to avoid climate disasters.
Maintaining the natural world is recognized as critical to the survival of the planet. Earlier this month, a report warned that the UK must protect and restore its carbon-rich peat lands or it risks undermining efforts to address its carbon emissions.
In December last year, the UK government announced that 800,000 trees would be planted across the country as part of the ‘Green Recovery Challenge’, with a multi-million pound investment to create more than 300 hectares of forest, restore hedges and trees to be planted in cities. .