Increasing protected areas worldwide at least 30% would lead to economic benefits five times higher than the costs and to ~$250 billion/yr in increased economic output and ~$350 billion/yr in improved ecosystem services. These data derived from the most comprenhensive report on economic implications of nature conservation published to date with the participation of more than one hundred scientists and economists from all over the world: Protecting 30% of the planet for nature: costs, benefits and economic implications.
The report considers various scenarios of protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean (target has been included in the Convention of Biological Diversity´s zero draft on the new global biodiversity framework of the Convention), offers new evidence that the nature conservation sector drives economic growth, delivers key non-monetary benefits and is a net contributor to a resilient global economy.
Obtaining the substantial benefits of protecting 30% of the planet’s land and ocean, requires an average annual investment of roughly $140 billion by 2030. The world currently invests just over $24 billion per year in protected areas.
Expanding PAs to 30% would generate higher overall output (revenues) than non-expansion (an extra $64 billion-$454 billion per year by 2050).
Every $1 invested in the US National Park system returned $10 to the economy (with the PA system also providing 295,000 jobs).
“Investing to protect nature would represent less than one-third of the amount that governments spend on subsidies to activities that destroy nature. It would represent 0.16% of global GDP and require less investment than the world spends on video games every year.”
Enric Sala, co-author, Spanish oceanographer and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society
“The cost to protect 30% of our planet, ranging from about $103 to $178 billion, is not inconsequential. However, nature provides more than $125 trillion in benefits to humanity, global GDP is about $80 trillion, and the total global assets under management is about $125 trillion. In this context, the cost of creating a resilient, planetary safety net for all life on earth barely even registers as a statistical rounding error. The benefits to humanity are incalculable, and the cost of inaction is unthinkable. This report unequivocally tells us that the time to finance nature — for people and for planet — is now.”
Dr. Jamison Ervin, Manager, Global Programme on Nature for Development, United Nations Development Programme