World finances its own destruction with $1.8 billion in subsidies: study

LONDON – The world must cut US$1.8 trillion (S$2.4 trillion) from annual environmentally-destroying subsidies by 2030 to “fund a net-zero global economy”, a study has found. carried out Thursday, February 17 by groups of companies, in particular that founded by the magnate Richard Branson.

The report, estimating the value of harmful public subsidies, was commissioned by Mr Branson’s non-profit initiative, The B Team, and the global Business for Nature coalition, which includes academic, business and environmental organizations.

The vast subsidies, totaling 2% of global gross domestic product, are funding the “global destruction of nature” and governments around the world must act, the two organizations said in a statement.

The study “reveals that the fossil fuel, agriculture and water industries receive more than 80% of all environmentally harmful subsidies each year,” the organizations concluded.

And they called on governments to “redirect, redirect or eliminate” these subsidies by 2030 to help “finance a global net-zero economy”.

At least 20 countries were subsidizing the price of gasoline or gasoline, causing increased emissions of carbon and other dangerous air pollutants, the research found.

Beef and soybean production has also been boosted by “significant” subsidy flows that are a cause of rainforest loss in Brazil, according to the report.

European biofuel policies blending biofuels with car fuel have meanwhile increased pressure for new cropland, often at the expense of tropical biodiversity hotspots, the study adds.

And illegal logging, often through corruption and patronage of logging concessions, has contributed to climate change, deforestation and ecosystem destruction.

“Nature is declining at an alarming rate, and we have never lived on a planet with so little biodiversity,” said Christiana Figueres, head of The B Team’s climate group.

“At least $1.8 trillion is funding the destruction of nature and changing our climate, while creating enormous risks for the very companies receiving the grants.”

According to the study, governments around the world pay an estimated US$640 billion in support of the fossil fuel industry, which contributes to climate change, air and water pollution and environmental pollution. land subsidence.

Agriculture receives some $520 billion in subsidies that contribute to soil erosion, water pollution, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and loss of biodiversity and habitats natural, he said.

And an additional $350 billion in subsidies to the water industry would help fund water pollution and endanger ocean and waterway ecosystems.

Figueres said “harmful subsidies must be redirected to climate and nature protection, rather than funding our own extinction.”

The study was released a month before the next phase of the UN biodiversity summit COP15 in Geneva.

The research was based on data from the watchdog the International Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is a club of industrialized economies that includes wealthy members of the G20. AFP

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