Every year, “at least $1,800 billion” of government subsidies (2% of global GDP) cause ecosystem destruction and species extinction. This is apparent from a survey published on Thursday by companies and NGOs that sound the alarm. To curb this phenomenon, they are calling on governments to focus their support.
The results of this study have been published by “B Team”, an organization co-founded by Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson that brings together business leaders and international foundations, as well as “Business for Nature”, a global coalition. of companies and NGOs.
“The fossil fuels, agriculture and water sectors receive more than 80% of all environmentally harmful subsidies”these organizations say in a press release and call on governments to “reorient, reconvert or eliminate” by 2030.
Funding that contributes to environmental destruction
These include subsidies for livestock farms and soy production in Brazil, because of their role in deforestation. Support for biofuels in Europe has also been denounced for encouraging the expansion of agricultural land at the expense of biodiversity.
The Irrigation Grant in California’s Palo Verde County is also cited as being accused of promoting drought, as well as aiding, particularly in Iran, electricity or fuel-supplying water pumps that are depleting groundwater underground at too rapid a rate.
Fossil fuels and agriculture are particularly affected
The research estimates at 640 billion dollars per year the amounts that the fossil fuel sector receives that mainly contribute to water and air pollution or subsidence.
Agriculture is concerned at the cost of $520 billion a year and is linked to problems of soil erosion, water pollution or deforestation. According to the authors, $155 billion a year encourages unsustainable forest management.
But the research also shows that better targeting of grants could help halt or even reverse these natural losses by 2030. (…) depends to varying degrees on nature.
Reform taking into account low-income populations
This call comes a few weeks before an upcoming part of COP15, the UN Convention on Biodiversity, to be held in Geneva from 13 to 29 March. The event was supposed to take place in January, but was postponed for health reasons.
Maize “Any subsidy reform must take into account social and environmental impacts to avoid affecting the poorest households and the most vulnerable communities around the world”, according to the “B-Team” and “Business for Nature”.
“Nature is declining at an alarming rate and we have never lived on a planet with so little biodiversity”regrets Christiana Figueres, of the working group on the climate of the “B team”, quoted in the press release.