The State of Finance for Nature Report suggested that the world needs to triple its investment in nature-based solutions by 2030 while increasing them by four times by 2050 to avoid irreversible damage to economies, the planet and humanity itself if the current status quo is not changed.
The report warned that from the current investment in climate change solutions of about $133bn annually, public and private investment need to be about $350bn by 2030 or else there will be a gap of $4.1 trillion by 2050.
“It’s doable but it’s not being done,” Teresa Hartmann, one of the report’s co-authors and the climate and nature lead at the World Economic Forum, said. “If we take existing financial flows, recovery packages, subsidies, tax revenues – and we redirect those, this is actually a very achievable goal,” Hartmann said.
The report was produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Economic Forum (WEF), Economics of Land Degradation Initiative and Vivid Economics and is co-funded by the governments of Germany and Luxembourg.
The report called on the political leaders and businesses of the world to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and try and make use of the unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus for climate change and greener solutions.
“There’s huge spending happening at the moment on recovery, but it’s not being spent in the right places. We have a real opportunity to build back better at the moment and we’re not,” Hartmann said.
The report noted that only 2.5 per cent of the total fiscal spending of $14.6 trillion as announced by governments was allocated for green initiatives while about 14 to 15 per cent of the spending was actually equivalent to promoting climate change and global warming.
The report further noted that about half of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the world is dependent on nature while an average of $8 trillion per year in gross value added is generated by nature-reliant sectors such as agriculture, food and beverages and construction.
According to Ivo Mulder, UNEP’s head of climate finance, it is important for government to ensure that all public financing post the pandemic should be aligned to the objectives stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate as well as the anticipated Kunming agreement on biodiversity.
“Businesses and financiers have an enormous opportunity to scale up investment in sustainable supply chains, forest carbon and other nature-climate solutions, but this requires risk-taking from both public and private actors,” Mulder said.
Attaching climate provisions to recovery packages is one of the ways of incentivising the private sector to go “green”.
The bailout of the Dutch airliner KLM by the Dutch government came with such a precondition of the airline having to slash its emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.
“There comes a tipping point where if we don’t do this by 2030, it’s not like we can just do it by 2040,” Hartmann said. “If we can spend $2 trillion a year on military security, then we should absolutely be able to spend $350bn on planetary safety.”
“What we’re saying is, if you don’t invest in nature, you’re going to threaten food security, water security and human livelihoods,” Hartmann said. “It’s essentially human life that’s on the line.”
(Adapted from Aljazeera.com)