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World must start putting a value on nature

October 22, 2010

From The Telegraph

By Louise Gray

Natural goods and services, such as the pollination provided by bees or   filtration of water by wetlands, should be included in a nation’s economic   value in the same way as GDP, according to a major new United Nations report.

The ground-breaking move was suggested at a UN meeting of more than 190   countries in Nagoya, Japan to discuss the loss of wildlife around the world.

Pavan Sukhdev, an economist based in London, was ordered to look at the value   of nature in the same way British economist Nicholas Stern’s famous 2006   report looked at the financial implications of climate change.

His three year report said ‘ecosystem goods and services’, such as the   medicines found in plants or oxygen provided by trees, are worth billions of   pounds every year. Allowing nature to remain unaccounted for within the   economy would lead to the continuing rapid extinction of species and huge   financial losses. At current rates £1.3 – £2.8 trillion pounds worth of   damage is done every year just cutting down trees.But if countries start to calculate the value of services provided by nature,   Mr Sukhdev said it will become an explicit part of policy and decision   making.

“Teeb’s approach can reset the economic compass,” he said. “Do   nothing, and not only do we lose trillions of dollars’ worth of current and   future benefits to society, we also further impoverish the poor and put   future generations at risk. The time for ignoring biodiversity and   persisting with conventional thinking regarding wealth creation and   development is over. We must get on to the path towards a green economy.”

From The Telegraph

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