Industry-specific reviews of government subsidies have been much more common than analyses examining several natural resource sectors at once. Yet there is a great deal of overlap across sectors. Indeed, it is the combination of support provided by multiple levels of government and government programs, across numerous natural resource areas, that can accelerate resource depletion, pollution, or habitat loss in particular regions.
environmentally harmful subsidies
Carbon offsets—the money polluting business spend on projects that benefit the environment—have been growing in recent years, but it’s a long way from catching up to the money governments spend supporting businesses that are harmful to the environment.
During the 2010 UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference, 190 countries committed to phasing out or reforming subsidies harmful to biodiversity by 2020.
However, a study by The B Team supported by Business for Nature, the first in over a decade to provide an estimate of the total value of environmentally harmful subsidies across key sectors, shows governments have failed to deliver...
The good news: Every country on Earth except the United States and the Holy See just committed to 23 targets intended to put the world on a path toward living in harmony with nature by 2050.
The bad news: The tepid agreement is two years late and $670 billion short of what’s needed.
Global leaders have agreed to protect and restore a third of the Earth's natural areas, and eliminate or redirect $500 billion from environmentally harmful subsidies to fund the deal...
Governments globally are providing at least $1.8 trillion per year that’s contributing to the destruction of ecosystems, climate change and species extinction, according to research from a group called the B Team and Business for Nature.1
Excerpt, referencing Earth Track's study on EHS, done in conjunction with The B Team and Business for Nature:
"A few decades ago, huge subsidies meant vast swathes of the country’s marginal land was cleared for grazing, fertilizer was overused, and the sheep population boomed to the point where surplus meat had to be destroyed.
...Much of the air at COP15 was sucked up by discussions on closing that financial gap. They centered around three tense issues:
1) How much money will the world commit, in total, to biodiversity conservation each year?
2) How much of that money will wealthy nations give to developing countries?
3) Who will manage and distribute the money?
While the Climate Home News didn't credit Earth Track in it's article, our analysis of environmentally harmful subsidies played a central role in CHN's discussion of both the challenges to, and potential from, EHS reform during the COP15 deliberations. Excerpt below:
"With one week left to strike a “once-in-a-generation” deal to protect nature in Montreal, Canada, governments are split over how to stop subsidising harmful activities like unsustainable fisheries and agriculture.
Negotiators have proposed targets to protect roughly one-third of the planet as part of UN talks aimed at striking a global deal to reverse the destruction of nature...
As well as setting out conservation goals, the draft text proposes tripling the amount of international finance by 2030, pledging $200bn annually to increase global biodiversity. This would include increasing contributions from developed economies to developing economies to at least $20bn per year by 2025, and $30bn per year by 2030.