“Long live nature, long live the Republic, and long live France”, concluded the Head of State last Thursday before the agents of the French Office for Biodiversity. On the move to Chamonix, Emmanuel Macron has established himself as the “Defender of a nature in danger” , in front of a sea of ice amputated 120 meters thick. The previous day, the international non-profit organization WWF, published an unprecedented study on the global economic consequences of nature’s decline. France ranks tenth in the ranking of the countries most affected by financial losses.
The quasi-apocalyptic scenario that looms for the environment over the century now has its economic chapter. If by 2050 nothing is done to stem the decline of nature, it could amount to at least $ 479 billion a year in terms of world GDP, or almost $ 15 billion. here in 2050. This is revealed by this study conducted in 140 countries in collaboration with experts from the American universities of Purdue and Minnesota. Two years of research and development thanks to the unprecedented contribution of scientists, economists and political experts from around the world.
The report bases its demonstration on two scenarios. A first which represents the world economic situation if the status quo of “Business as usual” (understand “As usual, without changing anything”) remains as it is. And a more optimistic second, “Global conservation” (global conservation) which simulates effective and lasting change in industry and commerce. “Maintaining” business as usual “(increase in greenhouse gases, excessive exploitation of resources, overconsumption …) will not only be catastrophic for nature”, write the experts. “It will also have undesirable economic effects. On the other hand, ambitious efforts to protect and restore nature will significantly improve economic results. It is still possible to reverse the trend, with better land use and better preserving ecosystems and biodiversity“States the report. Experts estimate an increase in global GDP to $ 490 billion a year if states turn to these more sustainable systems and keep “ecosystem services in natural environments ”.
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The largest economic losses – $ 327 billion a year – are thought to be from coastal erosion. So it’s not so surprising that France – 2e one of the most economically affected countries in the world. As the protective biodiversity of coral reefs is in danger of extinction, this phenomenon, coupled with rising sea levels, would have a devastating effect on cultivated areas and coastal infrastructure.
Other services provided by nature will also be severely impacted if nothing is done. The report estimates the losses inherent in deforestation at $ 128 billion: with shrinking forests, just as many trees do not suck up CO2 and will therefore no longer play their natural role as carbon reducers. The food and agricultural sectors could know “Price increases for products such as wood (+ 8%), cotton (6%), oil seeds (+ 4%) or even fruits and vegetables (+ 3%)”. A dizzying rise in prices which is explained by the scarcity of water (four people out of ten already suffer from it in the world according to the UN), and the disappearance of pollinating insects.
The United States would be the most impacted in the scenario
“Business as usual”: the leading economic power would suffer a loss of 83 billion dollars per year by 2050 “an amount equivalent to the entire annual GDP of Guatemala “. Followed by Japan (80 billion) and the United Kingdom (21 billion). France, it would lose $ 8.4 billion per year (a figure that equals Somalia’s GDP). Conversely, in the optimistic scenario, “China should see its annual GDP increase by 43.1 billion, mainly because it is a country where a large part of its economy is based on oil crops dependent on pollinators”explains the report. Thus, increasing pollination services in a sustainable manner would increase the country’s competitiveness, thanks to “An increase in supply and therefore a fall in prices”. This is of course only one example among many.
Experts here hope to have struck a chord when attacking state wallets and aspire to “Catalyze global action to reverse the decline of nature”, which would benefit all countries.