Friday, 10 October 2008

Wrecking nature costs megabucks - official

An EU report prepared by a Deutsche Bank economist studies the economic effects of not halting the loss of ecosystems and species and states that the financial cost of such loss dwarfs financial market losses. (But it isn't grabbing headlines because it isn't sudden but continues year after year.) The argument is that as forests decline, nature stops providing resources and services that it used to provide for nothing - you know, little things like food, water, getting rid of excess CO2, stuff like that - and there is a financial cost to either having to do without, or provide them by human efforts instead. The report, like the Stern Review, brings economics to bear on the biodiversity loss issue and maybe will help politicians to bring it into their policy deliberations. Plenty of them have been deaf to ethical arguments about the value of the natural world, but they are more likely to hear economic ones. Aren't they? The study (commissioned by the European Commission) is ongoing.

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