Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

We have fantastic news from the climate front in Europe. This week, the European Commission has committed to protecting 30% of the EU’s land and oceans by 2030 as part of the European Green Deal, in a plan tentatively welcomed by environment groups who warned far-reaching ambitions must not only exist “on paper”.

The 10-year plan includes commitments to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50 percent, plant 3 billion trees by 2030, and reverse the decline in pollinators. Within the 30% protected areas, a third of land and sea will be under “strict protection”, meaning there should be no human intervention besides minimal management to keep the area in good condition for wildlife. Strictly protected areas will include carbon-rich habitats such as primary and old-growth forests, peatlands, wetlands, and grasslands.

Currently only 3% of land and 1% of marine areas are under strict protection. Obviously making all of this happen will cost quite a fortune, but the commission has a plan: it aims to raise at least €20 billion  (nearly $22 billion) per year to fund the plan. The money will come from private and public funding at EU and national level. A significant proportion of the EU’s climate budget will also be invested in biodiversity, the report said.

We are huge supporters of this new strategy to protect nature, but as with any plan, we can only celebrate once this plan is successfully implemented. The beautiful thing, however, is that if this biodiversity-boosting plan does get enforced properly, then we’ll be seeing a much greener Europe in a decade’s time.

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