EU Commits to Protecting 30% of Nature by 2030

Yesterday the European Commission announced that it will commit to protecting 30% of the EU’s land and oceans by 2030 (30 by 30) as part of the European Green Deal.

In addition to this declaration, the EU will also plant 3 billion trees by 2030 and cut chemical pesticide use by 50% and fertilizer use by 20% by 2030 in an effort to protect biodiversity. But beyond protecting nature, the new strategy also recognizes the urgent need for increased funding to protect nature and biodiversity and pledges €20 billion Euros per year for nature.

Why This Matters: COVID-19 has underscored the urgency with which we must protect nature. As EU climate chief Frans Timmermans explained, “By destroying nature at an unprecedented rate… we literally threaten our own life, our health and our wellbeing.” So far there hasn’t been a global commitment broad enough to protect the natural places we need. It’s why a global commitment to 30 by 30 is so critical to achieve–this step by the EU is an important signal for the rest of the world.

The Specifics: As the Campaign for Nature wrote in a press release responding to the announcement: The commitment to protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030 from the powerful 27-national bloc marks an important step towards achieving an ambitious global deal for nature at the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity COP15, expected to take place in Kunming, China in 2021.

  • Scientists assert that protecting at least one-third of the planet is the minimum needed to address runaway extinctions, mitigate climate change, provide clean air and water, and support nature-dependent industries like forestry, agriculture and fishing.

Connection to COVID: The European Commission said this new strategy would be “a central element” of the EU’s recovery efforts to Covid-19. The Commission also argued that protecting and restoring biodiversity can have a positive economic impact on a number of sectors such as farming, fishing and tourism and boost job creation at a time when countries are reeling from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

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