BHUBANESWAR, India, February 19 (IPS) – “Our war on nature has left the planet shattered. It’s insane and suicidal. The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, enormous economic losses and the accelerated erosion of life on Earth, ”said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
“By transforming our view of nature, we can recognize its true value. By reflecting this value in policies, plans and economic systems, we can channel investments into activities that restore nature and are rewarded for it, ”the UN chief told media in the publication of an UN Environment Programnew major report from UNEP.
‘Making peace with nature: a scientific plan to deal with climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies ” exposes the severity of Earth’s triple environmental emergencies: climate, biodiversity loss and pollution but also provides detailed solutions based on global assessments, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental science and policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as UNEP Global Environmental Outlook Report, the UNEP International Resource Panel, and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19.
Without the help of nature we won’t thrive, we won’t even survive
“Without the help of nature, we will not be able to thrive, or even survive,” warned Guterres.
The UN chief, however, hoped that the commitment to climate and biodiversity will see progress as he prepares to welcome the United States back to the Paris Agreement today, February 19. .
The “net zero club” is growing, said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was emerging as a moment of truth for our commitment to leading the Earth and for our commitment to leading the Earth and its inhabitants towards sustainability. (But) the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, as well as climate change and pollution, will undermine our efforts on 80% of the SDG targets assessed, particularly in reducing poverty, hunger, health, ‘water, cities and climate,’ Anderson said.
“Women represent 80 percent of those displaced by climate disruption; polluted water kills 1.8 million more, mostly children; and 1.3 billion people remain poor and some 700 million go hungry, ”Guterres said.
Christian Walzer, Wildlife conservation society (WCS) Executive Director of Health Programs and one of the co-authors of the Making Peace with Nature report, told IPS via email: “Unspoiled and functional nature is the foundation on which we must rebuild better. Trying to separate economic recovery from healthy environments and climate change overlooks the critical fact that solutions to these crises are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. ”
He highlighted how ecosystem degradation increases the risk of pathogens moving from animals to humans, and the importance of a ‘Health“An approach that considers human, animal and planetary health together. Walzer is a veterinarian who leads One Health issues around the world.
Economic growth has brought unequal gains in prosperity to a rapidly growing global population, leaving 1.3 billion people poor, while tripling the extraction of natural resources to damaging levels and creating a global emergency. Subsidies on fossil fuels, for example, and prices that ignore environmental costs, waste the production and consumption of energy and natural resources that are the root of all three of these problems.
Guterres pointed out that governments always pay more to exploit nature than to protect it, spending $ 4 to $ 6 trillion in subsidies that damage the environment. He said overfishing and deforestation are still encouraged by countries around the world because they have contributed to GDP growth, although they significantly undermine the livelihoods of local fishermen and forest dwellers.
On the current growth path despite a temporary drop in emissions due to the pandemic, Earth is heading for at least 3 ° C of global warming this century; more than one million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are at significantly increased risk of extinction; and diseases caused by pollution currently kill some 9 million people prematurely each year.
The solutions model
The authors of the Making Peace with Nature report assess the links between multiple environmental and development challenges and explain how advances in science and bold policy making can pave the way for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050 while bending. the curve of biodiversity loss and pollution and waste reduction.
Taking this path means innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature. Success will include restored ecosystems and healthier lives as well as a stable climate.
Amid a wave of investments to revitalize economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan communicates the desirability and urgency of ambitious and immediate action. It also defines the roles that everyone – from governments and businesses to communities and individuals – can and should play.
“2021 is a decisive or decisive year, a year of change of mind,” said Guterres. 2021, with its upcoming meetings of conventions on climate and biodiversity, is the year when governments must propose synergistic and ambitious objectives to save the planet.
To reverse the current trend of unsustainability, UNEP’s master plan contains several recommendations, some of which include that governments include natural capital while measuring the economic performance of countries and companies, setting a price on carbon and shifting billions of dollars in subsidies from unsustainable fossil fuels, agriculture and transportation to low-carbon, nature-friendly solutions.
It is high time, the report advises, to expand and improve networks of protected areas for ambitious international biodiversity goals. In addition, non-governmental organizations can create networks of stakeholders to ensure their full participation in decisions regarding the sustainable use of land and marine resources, the report recommends.
Financial organizations must stop lending for fossil fuels and stimulate the expansion of renewable energy. Developing innovative financing for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture is of the utmost importance today.
Businesses can adopt circular economy principles to minimize resource use and waste and commit to maintaining transparent and deforestation-free supply chains.
Scientific organizations can pioneer technologies and policies to reduce carbon emissions, increase resource efficiency, and strengthen the resilience of cities, industries, communities, and ecosystems
People can reconsider their relationship with nature, learn about sustainability and change their habits to reduce their use of resources, reduce wasted food, water and energy, and adopt healthier diets. two thirds of global CO2 emissions are linked to households. “People’s choices matter,” the Guterres said.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service