The global system is built on buying and selling, but all too often, nobody pays for the basic goods and services that sustain life – water to drink, soil to grow food, clean air to breathe, and rainforests that regulate the climate.
Continuing to ignore the value of nature in our global economy threatens humanity itself, he says Independent report on biodiversity and economicsCommissioned by the British government and released on Tuesday. The study, led by Partha Dasgupta, an economist at the University of Cambridge, is the first comprehensive review of its kind.
“Although we have enjoyed the fruits of economic growth, the demand that we have achieved for nature’s goods and services has for several decades exceeded its ability to provide them on a sustainable basis,” said Mr. Dasgupta. “The gap is widening, threatening the lives of our grandchildren.”
The report notes that for many people, nature has a spiritual or intangible value that is impossible to measure. But nature’s services to humans have been taken for granted in our global economy, in large part because they are generally free. Humans are farming, hunting, poaching, logging, mining, and burning fossil fuels so greedy that we have caused the collapse of biodiversity. Most possible number Million species of plants and animals are endangered Of disappearance, and World leaders have failed to act.
Combined with the intangible losses that occur when a species disappears, the erosion of biodiversity poses concrete threats to humanity.
“Just as diversification within a portfolio of financial assets reduces risk and uncertainty, diversity within the natural assets portfolio increases nature’s resilience to withstand shocks,” said Mr. Dasgupta. “At the global level, climate change and Covid-19 are two startling expressions of nature’s loss of resilience.”
Economically, the report reframes itself as an asset. It offers a new economic model for leaders around the world to make calculations that take into account nature’s benefits, for example the way in which wetlands protect from floods and peatlands store massive amounts of carbon.
“What the Dasgupta report does really well is highlighting the value of what Mother Nature gives us without claiming a fee,” said Matthew E. Kahn, an environmental economist at Johns Hopkins University. “When you go to Starbucks, Starbucks wants to be paid for that cup of coffee. Mother Nature provides services but does not demand a stream of payments.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles and David Attenborough all spoke at the release of the report on Tuesday, praising the project and calling for action.
Prince Charles said: “It is very insane to continue on this path.” “Sir Partha Dasgupta’s basic parade is a call to action that we must pay attention to, ladies and gentlemen, it is our responsibility and we must not fail.”
The report says the solution begins with an understanding that our economies are embedded in nature, not outside of it. And he urges the need to change the way we measure economic success, because GDP does not explain the decline in the value of assets, including environmental assets. The authors write: “As a basic measure of our economic success, it thus encourages us to pursue unsustainable economic growth and development.”
The report says that international arrangements are needed to manage the specific environments on which the entire planet depends. And leaders are asked to explore a system of payments for states to preserve vital ecosystems such as tropical rainforests, which store carbon, regulate climate, and nurture biodiversity. Fees can be collected for the use of ecosystems outside of national borders, such as fishing in the high seas, and international cooperation can prohibit fishing in environmentally sensitive areas.
The release of the report comes ahead of a United Nations meeting on biodiversity later this year; Environmentalists hope this will lead to an international agreement to tackle biodiversity loss, modeled on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The United States is the only country in the world, with the exception of the Vatican, that is not a party to the United Nations Basic Treaty on Biological Diversity.
Preservation groups praised the report.
“The idea that we are part of nature and that natural capital is an asset that must be managed sustainably will not come as a surprise to indigenous communities who have valued nature through the ages,” said Brian O’Donnell, Campaign for Nature. But for those who have adopted economic systems based on unlimited growth, a fundamental rethink is required in how “progress” is assessed and measured.