Global economic activity over the past century has had a substantially negative effect upon biodiversity. Even with current rates of eradicating fossil fuels, it is vital to target the replenishment of biodiversity by improving governments’ abilities to sustainably develop. The UK has demonstrated to be more proactive in such commitments by reversing the environmental damages caused by economic growth. The G7 2030 Nature Compact reveals a clear plan to achieve “nature positivity” – the act of investing in a greener earth, improving levels of biodiversity, and becoming more active in sustainable development. While it may appear rather utopian, with afforestation rates overturning rates of deforestation and animal habitats going untouched, it is vital for the UK government to target nature positivity by 2030 and stand as an international environmental leader.
Why should nature positivity be a target? The recent Dasgupta Review reveals human economic activity in relation to, for example, deforestation, as a central cause to the increasing loss of habitat and species extinction over the past century.1 In observing the timber industry, it affects both climate change and biodiversity loss, making it a core target for the UK. At home, the UK’s ‘Trees Action Plan’ serves to increase rates of afforestation. The Dasgupta Review supports Policy Exchange’s earlier findings in that increased afforestation in the UK has a direct effect on ecological decline. If the UK is able to achieve a rate of afforestation which can combat ecological decline, they must manage it at a regional level and create economic incentives which can counteract the rates of deforestation.2 The timber industry must therefore reach improved levels of sustainable development which will serve as precursor in preventing species extinction.
At the international level, the UK has the ability to stand as a role model and convince global powers to follow. Observe, for example, Russia. During the 1930s, the USSR began increasing exploitation of coal in the Russian Arctic. At present, Russia seeks to continue such mineral exploitation of coal, with current plans to increase “coal output by up to 50% by 2035.”3 At the same time, Russia holds the largest percentage of natural forests in the world – if Russian mineral exploitation increases, deforestation rates will follow and could counteract the efforts of the G7. The UK must not only abide by the biodiversity commitments revealed in the Leaders Pledge for Nature and the G7 Nature Compact, but exemplify the benefits of sustainable development with nature positivity as a target so countries such as Russia reverse directions.
Targeting nature positivity by 2030 presents two opportunities for the UK: i) to improve levels of biodiversity; and ii) to step into the international arena as an environmental leader which leads by example. If the UK is successful in laying out several legally enforcing policies over the next decade and reveal strong economic benefits of bettering levels of biodiversity and sustainable development, other global powers will feel pressure to follow, of which can only bring us closer to our target of nature positivity by 2030.