Is International Corporate Welfare Subsidizing Humanity’s Extinction?

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Climate & Environment, Politics & Corruption, Wealth Gap

Photo by Tyler Sprague, iStockphoto

Is International Corporate Welfare Subsidizing Humanity’s Extinction?

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Climate & Environment, Politics & Corruption, Wealth Gap

Photo by Tyler Sprague, iStockphoto
World governments are spending $1.8 trillion annually on corporate welfare to support fossil fuel emissions, deforestation, water pollution and other harms to the planet.

Releasing a new study showing that world governments spend at least $1.8 trillion annually to subsidize activities which worsen the climate crisis, global subsidies experts today said leaders must eliminate or redirect the financial supports as part of an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework at an upcoming summit in China.

The B Team and Business for Nature, two organizations that push businesses around the globe to adopt sustainable practices, supported the study, titled Financing Our Survival: Building a Nature-Positive Economy Through Subsidy Reform.

According to the authors—Doug Koplow of subsidy research firm Earth Track and Ronald Steenblik of the International Institute for Sustainable Development—a lack of transparency regarding the use of subsidies means that the amount of government money being spent on the destruction of nature could be much higher than the research shows.

“Nature is declining at an alarming rate, and we have never lived on a planet with so little biodiversity,” said Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a member of The B Team. “At least $1.8 trillion is funding the destruction of nature and changing our climate, while creating huge risks for the very businesses who are receiving the subsidies… Harmful subsidies must be redirected towards protecting the climate and nature, rather than financing our own extinction.”

The report identifies at least $640 billion in annual fossil fuel subsidies, $520 billion used by the agricultural sector, $350 billion in water management and wastewater infrastructure, and $155 billion subsidizing logging and unsustainable forest management, all of which account for the majority of annual subsidies.

The equivalent of at least 2% of the global GDP is being spent by governments to finance water pollution and air pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, planet-heating fossil fuel emissions, risks to ecosystems in oceans and waterways across the globe, and other harms to nature and humanity, the authors said.

To help finance climate crisis mitigation measures in the Global South—as wealthy nations pledged they would in 2009, promising $100 billion annually—and redirect government funds toward a transition to renewable energy and a reversal of nature loss, hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies must be eliminated or repurposed, according to the report.

A draft of the Global Biodiversity Framework calls for $500 billion per year in reformed subsidies—a target that “needs to be strengthened” in April at the U.N. Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Kunming, China.

“The case is clear: reforming the $1.8 trillion a year of subsidies that are harming the environment could make an important contribution towards unlocking the over $700 billion a year needed to reverse nature loss by 2030 as well as the cost of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” wrote the authors. “This needs to happen alongside aligning all private financial flows to nature-positive and increasing public and private finance to deliver innovative financial solutions that help protect, restore, and conserve nature.”

“With political determination and radical public-private sector collaboration,” they added, “we can reform these harmful subsidies and create opportunities for an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero economy. To do so, we must bring awareness, transparency, and disclosure on subsidies from both governments and business.”

Ahead of the biodiversity conference in April, said Business for Nature, negotiators must strengthen the Global Biodiversity Framework draft by including a commitment to reform “ALL harmful subsidies, including indirect and direct incentives.”

“Climate action is at a crossroads, in part because of the large scale of public money flowing to harmful industries and practices,” said Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and member of The B Team. “We need to see thorough subsidy reform from governments and businesses, with social and environmental considerations at the heart, to ensure a just and equitable transition for all.”

Republished with permission from Common Dreams, by Julia Conley

 

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1 Comment

  1. Silver Damsen

    This would go along with my working hypothesis that the 1% are trying to speed up the crash so that it will mostly be a collapse in the human population and that the wealthy can then retain their power. This hypothesis took root in my mind after hearing AOC talk about looming famine in 2025-28 that was related to climate change during the grilling of oil exs. in Congress before COP26. Also some scientists have gone further to develop this idea and it ties to the Doomsday Glacier collapsing (as it is now thought) possibly by 2025-28 (but the trend is always earlier than the scientists previously thought it would be–not later). So, while it seemed like an aside when AOC made the comment about wide spread famine by 2025-28, I think she did so via the best information.

    This could also be one of the reasons the US wanted to pull out of Afghanistan, the US didn’t want to be responsible for coming up with the billions needed to feed people that have a drought so severe that they can’t grow crops or even have safe drinking water. Drought is a growing problem in the entire region so 2025 seems likely and again goes with other predictions tied to the consequences of the Doomsday Glacier collapsing.

    So, the good news is that the 1% is trying to save the planet and most animal species but the bad news is that they plan to do this by k*lling off most of the poor people and are starting with the poorest countries. This works well with the idea that the choices they make have known outcomes and they know the outcomes, which argues for intentionality. But massive dissonance is probably likely for those that aren’t sociopaths. But statistically there are more sociopaths in the 1% and in leadership roles than in the general population.

    The way to prevent the worst case from happening (as in there is going to be a population crash at least in the Middle East and I don’t think that can be avoided) is by the 90% accepting what this is going on when it becomes the obvious pattern and trying to find better solutions than just letting the poor d** and taking all their resources.

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