Net-zero is not enough to successfully emerge from Covid into a positive future.
The world is still facing the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, our planet is facing another emergency: the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity, inequality are increasingly evident.
As we rebuild our societies and economies, we are faced with a unique opportunity to build a nature-positive future that we must not let slip away. It is time for all of us to chart a planetary response to our planetary crisis a response that puts nature at the center. It is necessary to rebuild our societies and economies, but we cannot miss the opportunity to build a positive future for nature.
Within the discussions on the post-Covid resumption, nature is still not sufficiently recognized as an essential point for a resilient future. Although it should be considered that human health is completely interdependent on climate and biodiversity.
A nature-friendly recovery could create 395 million jobs globally and produce 10.1 trillion dollars (7.4 trillion pounds) of economic value by 2030. The fight against the environmental emergency must be considered an important part of the long-term transformation of our societies and economies. This is not to say that the path towards transformation is an easy one. However, inaction would be the worst option of all – we would not just miss out on $ 10tn in potential economic value but lose an additional $ 10tn or more globally over the next 30 years.
The Planetary Emergency Plan, published by the Club of Rome and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, identifies the actions needed to limit the damage we do to the world through our daily activities. The plan calls on governments and sectors to make commitments to protect and restore the health of ecosystems.
Implementing regenerative models of the territory and reforming our food systems, for instance, would simultaneously tackle global health problems such as air pollution and malnutrition, we regenerate our land, forests, and waterways. Doing so would improve our ability to store carbon to reach net-zero and reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases. Within the EU alone, health co-benefits are estimated to cover 84% of the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (within a 1.5C scenario).
Global awareness of actions to address the environmental crisis is growing and we are seeing significant progress. Several sectors are paving the way for key transformations. Equator Award winners redefine prosperity by creating new governance models and rewiring economic norms by pricing carbon, farmers pivot on regenerative practices and biodiversity conservation. The Global Reef Fund seeks to invest $ 500 million in coral reef conservation and restoration over the next 10 years. A growing number of global political leaders have committed to a positive world for nature by 2030 through the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature.
While the momentum is heartening, in practice investments on the ground still fall far short. According to new data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), member countries and major partner economies have so far allocated $ 336 billion for positive environmental measures as part of their Covid recovery packages. -19. But this amounts to only 17% of the total sums allocated so far for the economic recovery from Covid-19: decision-makers should carefully consider whether this is really enough to rebuild better.
To successfully emerge into a sustainable future that resides within planetary boundaries but also lifts a billion people out of poverty, the transition must be global.
During the next eight months, global leaders will meet at three Conferences of Global Parties (COP) (the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) and the conference Stockholm + 50. These events offer the possibility of a global emergency response to our planetary crisis. Among others, it will be crucial to agree on the goal of protecting 30% of the land and 30% of the sea by 2030, and this should be one of the main objectives of next year’s COP15 in Kunming, China.
It is time to take action for a positive future for nature – today.