Sounding Circle: Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'

 Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'4 comments
picture 10 Oct 2008 @ 06:21, by Raymond Powers

Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Barcelona

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

It has been discussed during many sessions here at the World Conservation Congress.

Some conservationists see it as a new way of persuading policymakers to fund nature protection rather than allowing the decline in ecosystems and species, highlighted in the release on Monday of the Red List of Threatened Species, to continue.


Capital losses

Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.

"It's not only greater but it's also continuous, it's been happening every year, year after year," he told BBC News.


Teeb will... show the risks we run by not valuing [nature] adequately."
Andrew Mitchell
Global Canopy Programme

"So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today's rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year."

The review that Mr Sukhdev leads, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), was initiated by Germany under its recent EU presidency, with the European Commission providing funding.

The first phase concluded in May when the team released its finding that forest decline could be costing about 7% of global GDP. The second phase will expand the scope to other natural systems.

Stern message

Key to understanding his conclusions is that as forests decline, nature stops providing services which it used to provide essentially for free.

So the human economy either has to provide them instead, perhaps through building reservoirs, building facilities to sequester carbon dioxide, or farming foods that were once naturally available.

Or we have to do without them; either way, there is a financial cost.

The Teeb calculations show that the cost falls disproportionately on the poor, because a greater part of their livelihood depends directly on the forest, especially in tropical regions.

The greatest cost to western nations would initially come through losing a natural absorber of the most important greenhouse gas.

Just as the Stern Review brought the economics of climate change into the political arena and helped politicians see the consequences of their policy choices, many in the conservation community believe the Teeb review will lay open the economic consequences of halting or not halting the slide in biodiversity.

"The numbers in the Stern Review enabled politicians to wake up to reality," said Andrew Mitchell, director of the Global Canopy Programme, an organisation concerned with directing financial resources into forest preservation.

"Teeb will do the same for the value of nature, and show the risks we run by not valuing it adequately."

A number of nations, businesses and global organisations are beginning to direct funds into forest conservation, and there are signs of a trade in natural ecosystems developing, analogous to the carbon trade, although it is clearly very early days.

Some have ethical concerns over the valuing of nature purely in terms of the services it provides humanity; but the counter-argument is that decades of trying to halt biodiversity decline by arguing for the intrinsic worth of nature have not worked, so something different must be tried.

Whether Mr Sukhdev's arguments will find political traction in an era of financial constraint is an open question, even though many of the governments that would presumably be called on to fund forest protection are the ones directly or indirectly paying for the review.

But, he said, governments and businesses are getting the point.

"Times have changed. Almost three years ago, even two years ago, their eyes would glaze over.

"Today, when I say this, they listen. In fact I get questions asked - so how do you calculate this, how can we monetize it, what can we do about it, why don't you speak with so and so politician or such and such business."

The aim is to complete the Teeb review by the middle of 2010, the date by which governments are committed under the Convention of Biological Diversity to have begun slowing the rate of biodiversity loss.


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4 comments

22 Oct 2008 @ 23:15 by a-d : You (& your Article)
are so right! Silent Spring died long time ago...and now... all what's left of The Garden of Eden doomed!.... IF .... IF ....if enough of us wake up and somehow take care of the CONSUMERS = destroyers ( CONSUME = DESTRUCTION by DEVAURing) we MIGHT be able to save SOMETHING... that hasn't yet turned into desert/ed-land!....  


29 Nov 2008 @ 17:41 by swanny @70.65.100.179 : 1000 year climate bonds
please scrutinize for errors omissions and additions

1000 year Climate change bonds

Bill C 0000 3008

Nov 28 2008

bill C 0000 2008 October 7 2008

Parliament Emergency Climate Bill



To Governor General of Canada

Honorable Governor General may it please you to consider this :
That when house of commons resumes I would recommend to begin the immediate debate of the following in the newly installed parliament of the October 2008 Federal Election

Problem:

Governments are short term. Humanity is short term. Companies are short term.
Except for those that look far into the future of and for the consequences of there actions today. The past and its solutions are somewhat the problem that has led us to the current environmental crisis today.
True we must live for today but we must all so from time to time regularly contemplate and make measures and plans for the future as well as well as examine our actions of the past and discern there flaws though taking into account as well the needs of then and times gone by and hopefully the lessons learned and wisdom gained. We want to help you Earth but to do that we must change and regularly think how we are impacting and effecting you today and what that may result in, in the future short term medium term, long term and very long term but as well to taking into that the compounded and cumulative effects and damages of our actions of the past and now. It is difficult true but it is necessary if we are to mutually coexist with the earth. We fall and fail here many times because of pride and the fear of death and are basic human nature but we must rise transcend these and perhaps be more than current selves if we are to be a viable species on the planet Earth.

Items For Debate:

1. The revival of the 7th generation initiative and discussion that was assisted by the Right Honorable Jean Chretien and the work of the Right Honorable Paul Martin in South America?

2. The creation of 1000 year climate change bonds for nations and the UN

3. The creation of 750 year climate change bonds for nations and provinces.

4. The creation of 100 year climate change bonds for existing corporations and citizens and teens.




Outcomes:

These additional measures should act to give real and effective credence to our true environmental and economic actions, concerns and cares, and will help retain and reallocate some of the current and existing government and company infrastructures as well as retain existing efficiencies and spread and reallocate them and the associated capital, assets, trusts and bonds and act as an outlet for them, as well as assist to reduce the pressure on the governments of the worlds tax dollars and allow Canadians themselves to put their money, gold, efforts, dreams and such where their mouth, wallets, hearts and future lies. Yes the Children. We do all this for them because as some simply pay lip service to them, we are ultimately dependent on them almost as much as we are dependent on you Earth. We must do this in a way similar to that of the natives as they cared for their children through caring for the environment and thinking of the 7 generations in the future. Will it have a beneficial long term effect on the environment and the global warming situation and the economy as well? well It it might and has a fair probability to help transition us to the emerging Canadian and Global Organic Ecovillage and their Ecocities and the new course and reality we are charting.

Additional Matters for debate:

1. Paul Martins revised Native settlement Bill

2. More help for children and seniors and disabled

Investigate the following for sound business and ecoeconomic fundamentals

3. Business and Finance

a. [link]

b. [link]

4. Assist with development and funding

a. [link]

b. [link]

5. Restructure to integrate with existing systems and future developments

a. [link]

b. [link]

6. Do research and feasibility studies

a. [link]

b. [link]

7. Assemble appropriate Parties

a. [link]

8. Do long long term studies

a. on the possible outcome and military assistance of a hydro electric
damn cracking or bursting

9. Share for education system renewal purposes

a. [link]


Submitted by Canadian Citizen Alfred George Jonas  



19 Feb 2009 @ 18:44 by spells : Part of Nature....
Our first mistake is the idea that Forests and Nature are there to provide "services" for us. It is not there to service humans, humans are a part of nature not something above or beyond it. Nor is Nature's existence about what it can do for humans. We are all a part of one another and we all effect one another.

If a statement should be made it's that we have a Neocortex, and this gives us more responsiblity to serve nature and be it's caretaker, not the other way around. Boy have we ever failed in that capacity. We destroy Nature for our so called profits and comforts and "advancements". As Nature is dying, so are we!!

We are not here on earth to seek financial gain, and Nature doesn't consider fees and such. If we worked with Nature and in Nature and lived in such a way, this would not even come up as an issue.  



21 Feb 2009 @ 16:36 by a-d : Thanks Spells
very right on!....If ever there was SOMETHING we NEED to realize rightNOW...this would be it!  


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