deutz1en_ Alexis RosenfeldGetty Images_coral reef bleaching Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Closing the Nature-Finance Gap

Although the biodiversity crisis is intimately linked to the climate one, the financing to address it is woefully inadequate. With a new global biodiversity plan now in the works, the world has an opportunity – and a duty – to start making up for lost time.

WASHINGTON, DC – If you want to understand policy choices, it is said, “follow the money.” Inspired by that advice, we at The Nature Conservancy (in partnership with the Paulson Institute and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability) crunched the numbers to see what it would cost to preserve biodiversity – the variety and abundance of life on earth.

We found that while the world spends $124-143 billion per year (as of 2019) on economic activity that benefits nature, it spends much more on activities that damage it. Moreover, to protect and then begin to restore nature, we urgently need to close a $598-824 billion annual financing gap.

This gap has had devastating consequences. By the start of this decade, the world had failed to achieve a single one of the 2010 Aichi Targets, the world’s blueprint for biodiversity conservation. Now, another plan is in the works. Over the past two years, scientists and government officials have been drafting a new global framework of targets for managing nature through 2030, to be adopted at the next conference of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Kunming, China, the first part of which is now scheduled for this October.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading and receive unfettered access to all content, subscribe now.



Unlock additional commentaries for FREE by registering.