Greens blast Labor for not offering extra funding for global conservation deal at COP15

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The Greens have criticized the Albanian government for failing to offer new funds for conservation action at a global conference aimed at securing a new deal for nature for the next decade.

Countries met at the COP15 summit in Montreal to negotiate targets for protecting and restoring nature, including a target of $200 billion a year to fund conservation work.

Calls have also been made for developed countries to create and finance a fund to support conservation measures in the poorest countries.

Related: Cop15 negotiators close to striking nature deal as talks draw to a close

While countries like Germany and France have pledged additional funding, Australia has been criticized for not offering more than its existing budget commitments despite Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek used the summit to push for tougher targets on halting extinctions and protecting land and sea areas.

Greens environment spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young, who attended the summit, said she was disappointed ‘no money from Australia has been put on the table to help these negotiations to advance”.

“We have seen a lot of money pledged by countries like Germany. France made another contribution this morning. So other countries are putting money on the table,” Hanson-Young told ABC National Radio.

“It’s disappointing to see that Australia haven’t contributed yet. In these final hours of negotiations, I urge the Australian government to help keep ambition high by putting a little more money on the table to help.

Kelly O-Shanassy, ​​chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, is also in Montreal, where there are fears the final text of the agreement will not include targets to stop extinctions immediately or by 2030.

Australia has championed such a goal in the agreement, having already set a national zero extinction goal.

O’Shanassy said “money is critical to ending extinction, so it’s disappointing that there were no new funding commitments from Australia at COP15” .

“Australia has a lot at stake – our species are unique and found nowhere else on this planet – we have a lot to lose. There just isn’t enough money on the table – both in the world and at home in Australia – to end extinction,” she said.

“France and Germany have made new funding commitments and there is still time for Australia to step in and do the same.”

The Albanian government is under increasing pressure to support its conservation goals with more funding.

Scientists have estimated that $2 billion a year is needed from the federal budget to recover the full list of nearly 2,000 endangered plants, animals and ecological communities in Australia.

When it announced its zero extinction target and a revamped endangered species strategy in October, scientists and environmental groups warned that the government should dramatically increase funding to support national conservation measures.

Related: Australian Mountain Frog Declared Extinct As Red List Reveals Scale Of Biodiversity Crisis

Plibersek’s announcement this month of the government’s response to the 2020 review of national environment laws was also met with calls from the Greens and Independent Senator David Pocock for more public spending on environmental protection. ‘environment.

Much of the government’s discussion of conservation funding has focused on stimulating private investment, including through a proposed nature restoration market.

Plibersek told the ABC’s AM program on Monday that the government had increased environmental funding in the October budget and “we are committed to not only increasing government funding but also enabling others to do so.” ‘invest more easily in the repair of nature’.

She said work to restore and protect nature was becoming as “important to businesses as reducing their carbon pollution”, and pointed to a recent report by consultancy PwC, which estimated that a market of nature could be worth $137 billion by 2050.

“Australia plans to increase its international public funding for nature through 2030 to help developing countries implement an ambitious global biodiversity framework,” she said in another statement. at Guardian Australia.

“This builds on our commitment to double development assistance funding to $2 billion over 2020-2025 for climate, including environment and biodiversity projects.”

Plibersek said Australia had played a positive role in Montreal towards a final deal and had gone from “environmental laggard to leader on the world stage”.

She said one example was a declaration drawn up by Australia and Norway and signed by 37 other countries pushing for greater ambition for ocean protection.

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