UN alert on the impact of private investments on nature – Periódico Invasor

Every year, countries invest nearly $7 trillion in subsidies and private investments that have a negative impact on nature, according to a new UN report released on Saturday.

This figure is equivalent to seven percent of the world’s gross domestic product, according to the report presented by the United Nations Environment Program at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), in the United Arab Emirates.

The research analyzes and quantifies for the first time private finance flows that directly impact nature, although the $7 trillion figure is probably an underestimate because it only addresses direct impacts, the authors point out.

The analysis identified five industries that impact financial flows the most negatively, including construction, electrical services, real estate, oil and gas, and food and tobacco.

These sectors contributed about 16 percent of the total investment flows in the economy.

However, 43% of funding that harmed nature was related to the destruction of forests, wetlands and other natural habitats.

In addition, global subsidies to fossil fuel consumers doubled between 2021 and 2022, rising from $563 billion to $1.16 trillion.

The International Energy Agency estimated an additional spending of $500 billion to reduce energy costs in 2022, of which about $350 billion was spent in Europe alone.

Gas and electricity prices have doubled with the implementation of policies to protect consumers from rising fossil fuel prices.

Regarding agriculture, the report indicated that environmentally harmful subsidies represent more than $345 billion.

The review of 54 countries estimated that the total support received by the agricultural sector amounted to $817 billion annually between 2019 and 2021, primarily to support producers.

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According to UNEP, massive efforts to increase financing and reduce spending on nature-negative financing are needed to achieve the Rio Agreement’s goals of limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Likewise, to prevent biodiversity loss and keep 30 percent of lands and seas protected, in addition to achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030.

Annual passive investments in nature are more than 30 times greater than funding to promote a stable climate and healthy lands and nature, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said in a press release.

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