Limnologist Marc Schallenberg knows lakes. And rivers. He also knows the terrible state they are in. And why. And what we have to do about it. He tells us all these things on a fascinating session with Sustainable Lens.
Shane’s number of the week: 1,000,000,000,000. That is over $1 trillion in subsidies for areas ranging from fisheries to fertilisers and fossil fuels, wrote Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP in the OECD’s Development Cooperation Report: Lessons in linking sustainability and development
Much of this money is actually fuelling environmental decay, such as climate change; engendering collapse of fish stocks and damage to coastal systems and aggravating social and economic challenges.
The report goes on to say that
Removing these distorting, environmentally harmful and socially under-performing subsidies would completely change the incentive structure, promoting sustainable consumption and production and freeing up to 1-2% of global GDP every year.â€
The report published this week by the OECD says that green growth is the only way forward for rich and poor countries alike to achieve sustainable development because of tremendous economic and livelihood losses from severe climate change and the depletion of natural resources and that climate change is hitting the worldâ€™s poorest people the hardest.
What is striking though is the report is using language like â€œcollosalâ€ and â€œcollision â€˜and â€˜alarmingâ€™. Angel Gurria, the OECD secretary General uses surprisingly strong words:
We are on a collision course with nature
“It is time for a radical change. If we fail to transform our policies and behaviour now, the picture is more than grim, Our current demographic and economic trends, if left unchecked, will have alarming effects in four key areas of global concern â€“ climate change, biodiversity, water and health. The costs and consequences of inaction would be colossal, both in economic and human terms.”
What is so frustrating – and when I say that I mean tear your hair out this is totally insane frustration â€“ is that more and more organisations and groups are saying that we are on a path to utter disaster and yet our leaders do nothingâ€¦
So that is my number $1 trillion pa in subsidies to things that are actively destroying our world.