Ensia

The Cost of Environmental Crime

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Courtesy of Ensia

For $200 billion, you could buy two International Space Stations, Facebook or Peru’s economy. But according to a new report from the United Nations Environmental Programme and INTERPOL, you could not match the value of illegal wildlife trade and environmental crime worldwide.

In “The Environmental Crime Crisis,” researchers outline the scope and consequences of illegal wildlife trading and environmental crime. At $213 billion, environmental crime is worth 60 percent more than global official development assistance and stealing much-needed revenue from developing economies. Worse yet, money from this criminal activity is winding up in the hands of militias and terrorist groups, which bring in millions from illegal charcoal and ivory trading.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The report cites a wide range of efforts that organizations and governments are making to take a bite out of environmental crime. In Tanzania, rangers are getting specialized training to address poaching, and in Brazil, satellite monitoring and police operations reduced deforestation in the Amazon in 2012 to the lowest level since 1988.

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