The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School
Europe’s Protected Area Policies Could Use a Little More Ambition
Outlet: Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Arthur van Benthem, Wharton Climate Center Faculty Co-Director, writes about his recent study that seeks to explore the effectiveness of Europe’s land protections and finds the quantity of land protected is not as important as policies that target areas with a meaningful trade-off between biodiversity gains and economic costs.
“The quantity of land protected is not a helpful goal in and of itself: protection policy should target areas with a meaningful trade-off between biodiversity gains and economic costs,” writes van Benthem. “In reality, however, we find that land chosen for protection is likely to be in areas that have always been forested or where we see a lot of greening on both protected and non-protected land. It appears that EU policymakers have successfully identified land that has never been under much threat of development.”
“None of this is to say that the EU’s framework for protection is flawed,” he explains. “What it does suggest is that the current target lacks ambition. To really help nature, European countries should increase the 30 percent target or start protecting land that is under direct development pressure.”