The United Nations is encouraging 20 of the world’s wealthiest countries to increase financing for nature-based solutions in order to address the climate budget gap.
The UN determined that G20 nations need to invest $285 billion per year in nature-based solutions by 2050 to satisfy global climate, biodiversity, and land degradation targets in a new study released yesterday, titled the State of Finance for Nature in the G20. Meeting the aim would need an extra $165 billion in yearly spending, a 140% increase over the present G20 spend of $120 billion.
The research recommends that extra funds be channelled into official development aid (ODA), which focuses on the economic growth and welfare of poor nations, where the funding gap for nature-based solutions is bigger and more difficult to bridge.
According to the research, G20 investments would account for 92 percent of all worldwide investments in nature-based solutions in 2020. The vast bulk of G20 investments – 87 percent – were channelled toward domestic government programmes, with only 2% of the $120 billion yearly expenditure going to ODA.
“In many cases, G20 nations may increase economic efficiency in nature-based solution expenditure by prioritising investments in non-G20 countries,” said Nina Bisom, coordinator of Economics for the Land Degradation Initiative, one of the report’s contributors. “For example, in G20 nations, the average cost of transforming the land from other uses to nature-based solutions is USD 2.600/hectare, but in non-G20 regions, the cost is just USD 2,100/hectare.”
The report also indicates that private sector expenditure should be increased in order to offer the extra nature-based solutions financing necessary to reach objectives, indicating that private sector investments accounted for just 11% of overall G20 spending, amounting to roughly $14 billion per year.
According to the UN, future worldwide investment in nature-based solutions will reach $536 billion per year, with the G20 countries accounting for around 40% of the total. The research also indicates that G20 countries have the potential to make this investment and emphasises that the world’s wealthiest nations should now strive to link their domestic development and economic recovery with worldwide climate targets.
“To scale up private financing, governments may enhance the investment case for nature, for example, by developing stable and predictable markets for ecosystem services like forest carbon or by deploying public money at below-market rates,” said Ivo Mulder, Head of UNEP’s Climate Finance Unit.
“Systemic adjustments are required at all levels, including consumers paying the correct price of food while accounting for its environmental impact. Companies and financial institutions should clearly disclose financial risks associated to climate and environment, and governments should repurpose agricultural fiscal programmes and trade-related tariffs.”
Government and corporate interest in nature-based solutions are expanding, with increased worldwide investment in programmes to maintain forests and enhance natural carbon sinks. However, the trend remains highly controversial in some quarters, raising concerns about the broader impact of changing land use and eliciting criticism from many environmentalists over the expansion of a carbon offset that they claim is poorly regulated and may even lead to higher overall emissions.
In related news, Natural England announced an £11 million boost to three nature recovery projects in the north of England and Scottish borders yesterday, while Foreign Minister Lord Goldsmith announced separately that the UK government will invest £2 million in UK Aid to protect marine environments in the eastern Pacific.
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