Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Setting a price on nature
The Economist on a book by Helm and Hepburn: Bowing to the primacy of economics, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a huge global study of the state of the planet published in 2005, pushed the idea that nature provided “ecosystem services” to people as a way of persuading humanity that it trashed nature at its peril. That led to the establishment of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, an initiative designed to put numbers on, and publicise, the economic benefits of biodiversity. Other country-level schemes were also established around the world, of which Britain’s is perhaps the most advanced. Some of the people involved in Britain’s effort have also contributed essays to a new book which provides a useful guide to the methods, uses and pitfalls of valuing biodiversity.