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Tackling the Environmental Crisis Can Boost the Economy Says WEF Report

Tackling the global nature crisis could create 400m jobs and $10tn in business value each year by 2030, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Entitled ‘The Future of Nature and Business’, the report warns that when the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic there can be no business-as-usual, with today’s destruction of the natural world threatening over half of global GDP.

The report says: “We are reaching irreversible tipping points for nature and climate. If recovery efforts do not address the looming planetary crises, a critical window of opportunity to avoid their worst impact will be irreversibly lost.”

As governments respond to the economic fallout from COVID-19, the report underpins the growing chorus of demands from politicians, economists, health professionals and climate experts  to “recover better”, ensuring that the trillions of dollars spent by governments on recovery packages are used to invest in a low-carbon and resilient economy.

The United Nations has also warned that the world is currently only treating the health and economic symptoms of the pandemic, not the cause – the environmental destruction. The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, earlier this year underlined that the recovery from the Corona virus should lead to a better world.

He said: “Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and other global challenges. The recovery must lead to a different economy. Our roadmap remains the 2030 agenda and sustainable development goals.”

This new WEF report further zooms in on the advantages that a recovery based on sustainability can yield.

Three sectors are cited in the report as being responsible for endangering 80% of threatened species – food and land use, infrastructure and building, and energy and mining – but these sectors are also cited as having the most to gain from a nature-led recovery.

The report proposes a range of measures for boosting jobs and economies, such as cutting food waste by providing crates to keep food from rotting. It states that in cities, retrofitting to increase energy efficiency could save $825bn by 2030, while renewable energy presents a huge investment opportunity and already matches the cost of fossil fuels in 30 countries.

The WEF report follows another study released last week – the most comprehensive to date on the economic implications of protecting nature – which concluded that nearly a third of the world’s oceans and land area could be protected while bolstering the economy, with the benefits outweighing the costs by a ratio of at least 5-to-1. The new assessment turns the conventional analysis on its head, showing that nature conservation is in fact a net contributor to the global economy, not a drain.

Read original release here.

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