Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, biodiversity conservation funding from tourism and donations has dried up. Yet a new report published by The Paulson Institute, Cornell University, and The Nature Conservancy outlining the current state of conservation finance makes the case that the most powerful fiscal measure to halt species extinction need not require new funding, but rather the reallocation of existing funds, particularly agricultural, fishing and forestry subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity. The report highlights how taxpayers could be unknowingly subsidizing farming, fishing and logging practices that directly drive species to extinction. Changes in land and sea use was the biggest cause of biodiversity loss in the last 50 years. It’s predicted that 70% of terrestrial and 50% of freshwater biodiversity loss will be attributable to unsustainable agricultural practices by 2050. The report found that in 2019, farming, fishing and logging subsidies that degraded nature (US$ 273 – 542 billion) exceeded the global total spend on biodiversity conservation by two to four times. Comparison of 2019 global funds flows towards subsidies harmful to biodiversity versus biodiversity conservation financing. Graphic taken from “Financing Nature: Closing the Global Biodiversity Financing Gap.” The report estimates that in order to halt biodiversity decline by 2030, an extra US$ 711 billion in annual global finance is needed, but that 37% of the financing gap can be closed with subsidy reform. So how do current food and timber subsidies threaten endangered species? Subsidies are government grants paid to producers in strategic sectors. Most subsidy models pay…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer