Monday, October 4, 2010

$5,000,000,000,000: The cost each year of vanishing rainforest

Matt Chorley in the Independent: British scientific experts have made a major breakthrough in the fight to save the natural world from destruction, leading to an international effort to safeguard a global system worth at least $5 trillion a year to mankind.

Groundbreaking new research by a former banker, Pavan Sukhdev, to place a price tag on the worldwide network of environmental assets has triggered an international race to halt the destruction of rainforests, wetlands and coral reefs.

With experts warning that the battle to stem the loss of biodiversity is two decades behind the climate change agenda, the United Nations, the World Bank and ministers from almost every government insist no country can afford to believe it will be unaffected by the alarming rate at which species are disappearing. The Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, later this month will shift from solely ecological concerns to a hard-headed assessment of the impact on global economic security.

The UK Government is championing a new system to identify the financial value of natural resources, and the potential hit to national economies if they are lost. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) project has begun to calculate the global economic costs of biodiversity loss. Initial results paint a startling picture. The loss of biodiversity through deforestation alone will cost the global economy up to $4.5trn (£2.8trn) each year – $650 for every person on the planet, and just a fraction of the total damage being wrought by overdevelopment, intensive farming and climate change….

The Santa Lucia cloud forest, Ecuador, shot by Hjvannes, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

1 comment:

Alex said...

It has been great to see an actual practical approach being taken here. Instead of focusing on environmental losses as its own element, they are actually placing a monetary value onto this. Now its not a matter of convincing businesses to change practices to be altruistic, now its showing them that environmental protection is a strong business and monetary policy.

We are actually discussing this with experts and luminaries on a World Tour of events on Biodiversity. Check it out,