Raising huge new sums of “nature” finance to better protect the planet’s ailing biodiversity will have no significant impact unless the underlying economic rules now driving environmental losses are shifted, economists warned on Tuesday.

Raising and spending the hundreds of billions of dollars needed each year to protect and repair natural systems would have only a “trivial” impact compared to reforming economic incentives - including ditching agricultural and related subsidies, said Cambridge University economist Partha Dasgupta.

In an online event, he urged governments and global financial institutions to focus more on eliminating fishing, logging and agricultural incentives that lead to nature loss than on raising vast sums to try to rebalance those impacts.

Governments between 2017 and 2019 provided more than $500 billion a year in agricultural subsidies alone, which distorted markets and harmed the environment, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in 2020.

Dasgupta, who released a landmark study in February on the economics of biodiversity, said ensuring businesses that profit from nature pay for the full value of the benefits they gain also could create a new source of income to protect the planet.

Read the full article about stemming nature loss by ending subsidies at Eco-Business.