Slow and steady does not win the race when it comes to biodiversity

August 31, 2021

Delaying action to protect biodiversity will double the cost and result in the extinction of more species when compared to immediate action, according to findings published by Vivid Economics and the Natural History Museum. The Urgency of Biodiversity Action study – submitted as evidence to the landmark Dasgupta Review – compares the costs and impacts of acting now to prevent biodiversity loss, with deferring actions until 2030. It found that acting immediately could halve the costs of preventing decline in nature to citizens worldwide, and slash the current rate of extinction by a quarter. The study urges governments to take measures now to curb biodiversity loss, mainly by improving the effectiveness of protected area enforcement, developing reforestation programmes and aligning market incentives with biodiversity goals.

One of the five main conclusions of the Urgency of Biodiversity Action report is, “If action is delayed, it becomes infeasible to stabilise biodiversity intactness globally even at today’s depleted level.” It is hard for anyone to read this sentence without screaming, “WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE WAITING FOR THEN?” It is also difficult to understand what more damning proof is needed, to make the significant shift towards slowing and ultimately halting the mass destruction of our ecosystems. The Dasgupta Review describes the depletion of the natural world as an “extreme risk” and a failure of economics, which will inevitably lead to a “catastrophic breakdown” with “devastating cost” to humanity. Although the conclusions of these reports are often emphasising policy and governmental action, companies should reflect, not only on the biodiversity impact of their business activities, but on the effect this mass extinction event will have, if action is delayed any further. Ultimately the question is, if not now, when?

Author: Abi Frankfort