A new United Nations (UN) report says that funding for nature-based solutions (NbS) needs to double to $384 billion a year by 2025 in order to deal with the multiple global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation.
The nature based solution with increased finances
The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a report that as of 2022, almost $154 billion is spent every year by governments to protect and better manage waters, land, air and wildlife. The action is recognized as “nature-based solutions (NbS). “
“This will have to increase by several orders of magnitude if we are to tackle the triple crisis of land degradation, climate and nature. About 50% of global GDP is dependent on healthy and well-functioning ecosystems (so) it shouldn’t be too hard a stretch even if we are living through multiple crises”Ivo Mulder
Chief of UNEP’s Climate Finance Unit
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Governments are also spending $500 billion to $1 trillion per year on subsidies for agriculture, fossil fuels, and fisheries, the survey found. The experts anticipate this estimate will continue to be revised as the scope of nature-based solutions and the manner in which they are evaluated evolve over time. For instance, the most recent version of the study now includes marine nature-based solutions for the first time.
On the other hand, investments in businesses that contribute to the atmospheric emissions of GHGs are currently three to seven times more than those in NbS. According to the research, “Harmful subsidies are highest in the energy sector, estimated to range from $340 billion/ year to $530 billion/year and in the agriculture sector, estimated around $500 billion/year”. The research suggested to phase out these investments.
The IMF has already predicted that the year 2023 will be the “darkest hour” for world economy. “This report is a reminder that lots of short-term efforts to boost gross domestic product (GDP) by Governments, without paying attention to the fact that nature underpins many economies, will impose greater costs for both present and future generations in the years to come,” the report states.
Private sectors need to cooperate
Even though private sector actors have promised to reduce carbon emissions and deforestation, they only spend 17% of their money on nature-based solutions. These sectors will need to combine “Net zero” with “nature positive”, UNEP stated.
To accomplish the above, private companies must create a sustainable supply chain, cut down on activities that damage the climate and biodiversity, compensate for any activities they can’t avoid through high-integrity nature markets, pay ecosystems for the services, and invest in activities that help nature.
The UNEP and the BMZ-financed Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative study shows, “limiting global warming to 1.5°C, rather than 2°C, is achievable only if action is immediate and with additional cumulative investments of USD 1.5 trillion to a total of USD 11 trillion between 2022 – 2050, compared to the 2C target (with a total required cumulative investment of USD 9.5 trillion).”
Agricultural sustainability and peatland restoration will be the main goals of this increased investment. Eliminating coal and decarbonizing energy systems will not be sufficient without huge investments in nature-based alternatives. This agrees with the conclusions of the 2022 Emissions Gap Report.
There are still issues surrounding carbon markets, including the need to prevent double counting and guarantee the markets’ overall integrity. A centralized carbon market is necessary for private finance to take effect.
The report states, markets are still developing, and efforts to establish norms and guarantee integrity are still being made. This is necessary because public investments in NbS cannot be quickly increased due to economic difficulties for national governments caused by conflict, debt, and poverty.
At a time when climate change impacts are manifesting as unprecedented wildfires, droughts, and floods, the nature needs investments to mitigate these climate-induced catastrophes. The best way to build economic resilience and human well-being is to invest in nature. It’s time to double down and increase nature funding from now until 2025.