What is the real value of the ecosystem?

Moscow, 31 Jan – “News.Economy” for Those who want to stop climate change, it’s time to pull out the wallet, go to the beach, find the nearest whale and write him a check for $2 million It’s the least I can do.

Whales spend a lot of unpaid work, cleaning and tidying our carbon mess. They accumulate it in their huge bodies with the growth and dying, carrying it to the ocean floor, not allowing him thus to circulate in the atmosphere. Scientists have found that whale excrement is a celebration of phytoplankton at the ocean surface, which sucks CO2 and isolates it in the depths of the waters.

In December, a group of economists from the IMF estimated that the cost of this service is based on the current market price of CO2 is about $2 million for Keith throughout his life. Given the current population of whales in the world, it’s more than $1 trillion.

This particular kind of interdisciplinary science – transfer services that perform various types and ecosystems (swamps, coral reefs, forests, etc.) in dollars, pounds of carbon and other numbers – called “Economics of natural capital.” Economists, natural capital also measure the value of other “ecosystem services” such as food production, water storage, pollination, removal of toxins from the air, soil and water, protection from erosion and floods.

article by Australian economist Robert Constance 2014 it is noted that the total cost of the performed services totals more than $140 trillion.

Since was first introduced the term in 1973 by the German economist E. F. Schumacher, a study of the natural capital has become an essential tool for conservationists, who are convinced political and business leaders to invest in environmental protection. According to the UN estimates, in 2017, more than 50 countries, including most of Europe and South America (but not USA), regularly include the economy prirodnye capital in their decisions on environmental policy.

on Monday, two researchers in this field was awarded the Tyler, the highest award for research in the environmental “Nobel prize for the environment”, in which each winner is awarded $100 thousand Among past recipients are the legendary ecologist E. O. Wilson, a chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall, author and biologist Jared diamond, a climatologist from Penn state Michael Mann, whose graph showing the temperature rise in the world, became “the most controversial chart in science.”

the Winners this year were Gretchen Daly, Director of the Center for the biology of conservation at Stanford University, and Pavan Sukhdev, economist and President of the world wildlife Fund. Sukhdev was the lead author of a major UN report for 2008, which States that the world loses natural capital worth $4 trillion per year due to deforestation, ocean pollution and other activities. Daly is the author of numerous books on the subject and founder of the Stanford project Natural Capital Project, which conducted a study on the value of natural assets from Kenya to Costa Rica and Nepal.

“Natural capital really a revolutionary concept,” said Heather Tallis, senior researcher of the Department of conservation, works closely with daily. – She was forced to move from a discussion of which is beyond our economy, that is the core of our economy.”

calculations of This kind can help companies to determine how climate change, pollution and other environmental impacts can affect their results. For example, in 2018, the Mexican government and industry, coastal tourism used the Economics of natural capital to access the insurance program and the protection of coral reefs. Reefs are the value to attract tourists and protect the beaches, hotels, roads and other key infrastructure.tours from storms, so the government shares the costs with local businesses that receive payments when storms or other impacts detrimental to the reefs. Meanwhile, the economy of natural capital is behind the initiatives for water conservation, which support companies and agencies that depend on clean, stable water for their operations.

“It’s like to pay for the drugs, instead of constantly paying for the bandages,” – said Tallis.

According to her, it is possible to draw a line between this concept and the recent letter from Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset Manager BlackRock. He warned that “information about climate risks force investors to reconsider the basic assumptions of modern Finance”.

Outstanding scientists and environmentalists argue that natural capital is declining dangerously; they also claim that the peculiar placement of price tags on the whales and ∎∎wetlands detracts from the natural values of nature. And it can be counterproductive in cases where a particular landscape or the body is deprived of little economic value or even goes against the interests of the individual: for example, the swamps may contain a hazardous infection, and wild animals can kill people or destroy property.

Adrian Vogl, lead scientist of the Natural Capital Project, said that scientists of natural capital are increasingly interested in the transition from dollar figures to other, more tangible indicators, such as number of lives saved by clean air and water, or predictions of how pollution and climate change will affect yields.

He noted that the next step is to help more governments and businesses use the idea of natural capital to balance economic growth with preservation of natural resources. Text: News.Economy