Tackling harmful subsidies globally will help address climate and biodiversity crises – POLITICO

In 1992, the European Union changed the way agricultural subsidies were distributed to encourage farmers to use less fertilizer. Subsidies shifted from supporting market prices to paying farmers directly, and fertilizer consumption fell as farmers sought to cut costs.

It’s a big win for nature, as nitrogen deposition, of which agriculture is the dominant source, is one of the most harmful threats to biodiversity. The reforms have dramatically reduced pollution in the EU: emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, fell 17% between 1990 and 2015. These historic reforms also coincided with the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which introduced the principle of sustainable development.

Not all subsidies are harmful. Indeed, subsidies for crop insurance and disaster relief are needed in some places to support livelihoods, and in some places there has been a shift towards supporting conservation-friendly programs for farmers. people and fishermen. But there is growing consensus that it is time to rethink and redirect subsidies that are doing more harm than good – subsidies that encourage activities that harm the planet. We need good subsidies for nature. The EU Green Deal, a world-class policy framework recognizes this. However, a new research co-sponsored by Team B and Business for nature, Shows The world is spending at least $1.8 trillion a year, or 2% of GDP, on subsidies that are destroying nature.

Why is this so important right now? Natural ecosystems are the life support systems of civilizations. Finally, we also recognize that climate change represents an immediate and unprecedented crisis – one that will not be resolved without simultaneously addressing the biodiversity crisis. . And that means addressing the long-standing problems with subsidies for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, many of which are hurting biodiversity while hindering progress towards climate goals.

Consider a 2019 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Forum on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which found that 75% of global food crops, including fruits, vegetables and the most important cash crops, which rely on animal pollination, while 70% of drugs used for cancer are natural or synthetic products inspiration from nature.

Perhaps most importantly, natural ecosystems are powerful reservoirs that can absorb large amounts of anthropogenic carbon emissions, with the potential to absorb a total of 5 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent per 10. % of global anthropogenic emissions. However, if we leverage the full power of natural climate solutions, they have the potential to contribute a third of the climate mitigation needed to stay below 2C by 2030. In many In some cases, these natural climate solutions also improve biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

75% of global food crops including fruits, vegetables and most important crops rely on animal pollination

In its 2019 report, IPBES warns that up to a million known species could disappear by 2050. The rate of species extinction is now hundreds of times higher than the average over the past ten million years. Nature is being exploited faster than it can renew itself. The consequences would be dire and costly. According to IPBES, between $235 billion and $577 billion in annual global crop production is at risk due to losses in pollinators alone.

More resources are needed to protect Earth’s biodiversity, but the challenge is looming. In September 2020 The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Paulson Institute and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, examined the worldwide cost of biodiversity conservation. Their research shows that while global spending on economic activities that benefit nature ranged from $124 billion to $143 billion in 2019, the world spends more on activities that damage the environment. the variety and abundance of life on earth. Protecting and restoring nature will cost the world between $598 billion and $824 billion a year more than it currently spends.

At the same time, governments are channeling billions of dollars into agricultural subsidies that are exacerbating pressures on nature. Report of the World Economic Forum $570 billion in annual public assistance for agricultural producers to increase food security, with little regard for climate, nutritional and health outcomes. Likewise, the United Nations reports that governments spend $540 billion a year on supporting agriculture, with funding expected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2030 – yet 87% of this support is skewing prices and hurting the environment.

The consequences are already severe. Aichi’s goal is that by 2020, the world has fallen short of a single target set forth in the world blueprint for biodiversity. During the 2010 United Nations Central Zone Summit, 190 countries pledged to eliminate or reform subsidies harmful to biodiversity by 2020. Governments missed the target and We know that nowhere is enough benefits going to the poor and smallholders.

Maintaining the status quo will exacerbate the climate crisis and harm human well-being. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the earth faces a loss of up to 70% of terrestrial biodiversity and 50% of freshwater biodiversity due to unsustainable agricultural practices by 2050. The meat and dairy industries account for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilizers in some lower-income countries endangers the lives of farmers and the environment.

According to The Nature Conservancy, we can close the funding gap naturally the amount the world currently spends on cigarettes or soft drinks in a year – equivalent to about 1% of total global sales annually. More significantly, however, almost half the natural funding gap could be closed without any new funding. Much of what is needed can be unlocked through more efficient deployment of existing funds, as well as smarter policy and investment choices. Subsidy reform offers the single greatest opportunity to close the natural funding gap.

Redirecting payments to encourage more sustainable practices will benefit nature, mitigate climate change and improve food security. There is no silver bullet to fix agricultural subsidies, but the UN has propose a six-step approach for governments involved in measuring the support provided to agriculture, understanding its positive and negative impacts, identifying reorientation options, forecasting their impacts, finalizing proposed strategy and detailing the implementation plan as well as monitoring the implemented strategy. Having a national financial plan for biodiversity will be crucial.

We know reform can work and it’s not just the EU that proved their potential: efforts elsewhere have yielded similarly positive results. In East Africa, for example, sustainability lending programs have linked financing to climate-smart agricultural practices. In Switzerland, subsidy reforms have eliminated direct payments to intense herders and increased payments to farmers able to meet biodiversity goals.

We know reform can work and it’s not just the EU that proved their potential: efforts elsewhere have yielded similarly positive results

And while most funding for biodiversity currently comes from domestic government resources, greater opportunities are being offered by freeing up private sector financial flows, with the application of appropriate safeguards.

Global stakeholders have an opportunity to make real progress this year, at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 in Kunming, China. Over the past two years, scientists and government officials have been drafting a new global target framework to halt the loss of nature by 2030, to be adopted at COP15. Reaching an agreement will not be easy, nor will the new goals be realized. Success will depend in part on governments stepping up to identify and address subsidies that are causing negative environmental impacts. Without action to redirect, reuse and remove the most harmful elements, we will not be able to support the transition to the equal, positive and netless economy we all have. need.

https://www.politico.eu/sponsored-content/climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss-are-the-twin-crises-of-our-era-reforming-agricultural-fishery-and-forestry-subsidies-could-help-solve-both/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Tackling harmful subsidies globally will help address climate and biodiversity crises - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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