Throwing money into biodiversity schemes is ineffective

Throwing money into biodiversity schemes is ineffective

Investment in activities like large-scale agriculture and resource extraction, it points out, continue to drive the destruction of natural habitats. This study of the economics of biodiversity loss sets out how the current model by which money flows from rich, developed nations into schemes to enhance and protect nature in poorer nations can exacerbate the problem. The gap, the researchers say, “between those who live with the environmental consequences of extraction and those who benefit from financing these developments”, is widening.

Developed nations in the global north should pay for their “vast ecological debts”, said lead author Dr Patrick Bigger from Lancaster University. Cancellation of debt owed by the poorest, most biodiverse countries would be the place to start, it adds.

“There need to be no strings attached payments to those countries,” said Dr Bigger. “Otherwise we just continue to dig this hole and try to fill the hole with money.” It recommends nothing less than a “change in our entire economic model”.

Brazil’s Atlantic Forest: Second in biodiversity only to the Amazon It points specifically to a UN programme that was designed to pay communities that live in valuable, biodiverse forests for “actions that prevent forest loss or degradation”. Essentially, it pays those communities in credits for activities that protect the forest. There are a number of international schemes designed to protect nature that this report deems “ineffective and underfunded”.

Making things worse? “In 2019, 50 of the world’s largest banks underwrote more than $2.6 trillion into industries known to be the drivers of biodiversity loss, an amount equivalent to Canada’s gross domestic product,” the report states.

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