Last Thursday, August 13th, humanity used up nature’s budget for the entire year, in what environmental think-tank Global Footprint Network (GFN) calls Earth Overshoot Day – the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what the earth can regenerate in that year.Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early month October (in 2000) to August 13th this year – two months earlier – indicating that human activities are putting ever more pressure on the earth.Carbon emissions are the greatest human-generated demand on nature, GFN says, making up more than half of humanity’s ecological footprint.“The costs of this ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day, in the form of deforestation, drought, water scarcity, erosion, biodiversity loss and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” the statement from GFN indicates.
Just days away from a historic adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the plans in place to finance development and low-emissions energy are woefully inadequate. Progress in reforming them have been too little, too late.Growing pressure on public finances, particularly in high-income countries, means states must do all they can to minimize transaction costs, enhance transparency, and apply lessons learned in one setting to others.Private finance is being viewed as the saviour. But is this misplaced? The $100 billion per year promised by developed countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 2020 to fund climate action in developing countries is to come from “all sources”. But to date, there is little to show.In July, world leaders met in Addis Ababa to agree an “Action Agenda” on financing for development. It names private finance as a vital resource.
The world’s no. 3 polluter has pledged to cut carbon emissions 33%-35% by 2030, ahead of a global summit on climate change in December.