Saving nature needs around $384 billion annually by 2025. That’s how much we need, according to UN experts’ calculations in order to combat the risks of climate change and the depletion of natural resources. According to the UN’s environment watchdog, investments in safeguarding and effectively managing the world’s ecosystems must more than quadruple.
Hopefully, this analysis will help countries reach a meaningful agreement at the next biodiversity summit. The summit will begin next week in Montreal, Canada. The main topic of the meeting is to protect the environment and wildlife from additional extinctions and the deterioration of species and ecosystems.
Saving nature means more nature-based solutions
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) stated in its research that $154 billion is being spent annually, primarily by governments, on “nature-based solutions.” These are activities to better manage and protect waterways, land, air, and wildlife.
Ivo Mulder, chief of UNEP’s climate finance branch, stated that this amount is not sufficient to meet the goal – saving nature. The governments, but also the environmentally responsible companies will need to expand their funds significantly if we are to address the triple crisis. We have the problem of land degradation, climate change, and preserving nature.
We must make an effort in saving nature
Mulder told the media that even though we are struggling with many crises at the same time keeping nature safe means keeping humanity safe. This year only we face the war in Ukraine and spiraling inflation. The result of this is shrinking the budget on every spending, necessary or not. But, he added, we must make an effort in saving nature because over 50% of global GDP is dependent on healthy and well-functioning ecosystems.
Governments are also spending $500 billion to $1 trillion a year on subsidies for agriculture, fossil fuels, and fisheries, the UNEPs survey found. Solutions are easy to found in rich countries. But when we talk about poor countries there is a different story. As if rich and poor live on different planets.
Here is an example. In the Chinese city of Kunming, more than 100 countries pledged their support for efforts to safeguard biodiversity last year. Which is good. But eventually, they were unable to reach a consensus on matters such as how to pay for conservation efforts in less developed nations.
The meeting was scheduled to take place in Kunming again this year. Still, it is moved because of the city’s zero-COVID curbs. The presidency will continue to be held by China.
Too much talking and too little doing
The other problem is too much talking and too little doing. Here is an example. In Aichi, Japan, in 2010, the last biodiversity accord was signed. There, world leaders established goals to try to decrease losses by 2020. Now it is the end of 2022. None of the goals agreed upon were achieved.
Natural resources enabled some worldwide companies to become what they are – worldwide and rich. But, the data of the UNEPs research shows private sector actors only account for 17% of investment in nature-based solutions. They pledge to reduce carbon emissions and deforestation, but… As UNEP says: we will need to combine “net zero” with a “nature positive” approach. Or else.