Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Nature Is A Blind Spot In Economics That We Ignore At Our Peril, Says Dasgupta Review


Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’s review presents the
first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for
biodiversity. It calls for urgent and transformative change
in how we think, act and measure economic success to protect
and enhance our prosperity and the natural
world.

Grounded in a deep understanding of ecosystem
processes and how they are affected by economic activity,
the new framework presented by the Dasgupta
Review
– which was commissioned by HM Treasury – sets
out the ways in which we should account for nature in
economics and decision-making.

Professor Dasgupta
said:

Truly sustainable economic growth
and development means recognising that our long-term
prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s
goods and services with its capacity to supply them. It also
means accounting fully for the impact of our interactions
with Nature across all levels of society. COVID-19 has shown
us what can happen when we don’t do this.

Nature is
our home. Good economics demands we manage it
better.

The Prime Minister
said:

This year is critical in determining
whether we can stop and reverse the concerning trend of
fast-declining biodiversity.

I welcome Professor
Dasgupta’s Review, which makes clear that protecting and
enhancing nature needs more than good intentions – it
requires concerted, co-ordinated action.

As co-host of
COP26 and president of this year’s G7, we are going to
make sure the natural world stays right at the top of the
global agenda. And we will be leading by example here at
home as we build back greener from the pandemic through my
10 point plan.

The Exchequer Secretary to
the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch
said:

Protecting and enhancing our natural
assets, and the biodiversity that underpins them, is crucial
to achieving a sustainable, resilient economy.

That is
why the UK is already investing more than £600 million in
nature-based climate solutions, such as tree planting and
peatland restoration.

I want to thank Professor
Dasgupta for his landmark Review. We will examine the
Review’s findings and respond formally in due
course.

Environment Secretary, George
Eustice said:

If we want to realise the
aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark Review
to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we
need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply
of our natural assets.

This is what lies at the heart
of the government’s 25-year environment plan, our approach
to future farming policy, efforts to embed biodiversity net
gain in the planning system, and other initiatives such as
£3 billion for climate change solutions that restore nature
globally and our new due diligence law to clean up our
supply chains and help tackle illegal
deforestation.

Sir David Attenborough
said:

The survival of the natural world
depends on maintaining its complexity, its biodiversity.
Putting things right requires a universal understanding of
how these complex systems work. That applies to economics
too.

This comprehensive and immensely important report
shows us how by bringing economics and ecology face to face,
we can help to save the natural world and in doing so save
ourselves.

The Review argues that nature
is our most precious asset and that significant declines in
biodiversity are undermining the productivity, resilience
and adaptability of nature. This in turn has put our
economies, livelihoods and well-being at risk.

The
Review finds that humanity has collectively mis-managed its
global portfolio of assets, meaning the demands on nature
far exceed its capacity to supply the goods and services we
all rely on.

The Review makes clear that urgent and
transformative action taken now would be significantly less
costly than delay and will require change on three broad
fronts:

  • Humanity must ensure its demands on
    nature do not exceed its sustainable supply and must
    increase the global supply of natural assets relative to
    their current level. For example, expanding and improving
    management of Protected Areas; increasing investment in
    Nature-based Solutions; and deploying policies that
    discourage damaging forms of consumption and
    production.
  • We should adopt different metrics for
    economic success and move towards an inclusive measure of
    wealth that accounts for the benefits from investing in
    natural assets and helps to make clear the trade-offs
    between investments in different assets. Introducing natural
    capital into national accounting systems is a critical
    step.
  • We must transform our institutions and systems
    – particularly finance and education – to enable these
    changes and sustain them for future generations. For
    example, by increasing public and private financial flows
    that enhance our natural assets and decrease those that
    degrade them; and by empowering citizens to make informed
    choices and demand change, including by firmly establishing
    the natural world in education policy.

The
Review will launch formally later today (2 February) at an
event
hosted by the Royal Society, with guests including His Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and Sir
David Attenborough. The government has welcomed the
Review’s final report and is expected to respond formally
to the Review’s findings in due course.

Further
information

  • The UK Government commissioned
    Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta to lead an independent, global
    Review on the Economics of Biodiversity in Spring
    2019.
  • The Review published its interim
    report
    in April 2020.
  • Professor Dasgupta has
    been supported by an Advisory Panel, drawn from academia,
    public policy and the private sector. More
    information about the Panel is available.
  • The
    publication of the Review comes ahead of COP15 for
    Biological Diversity, where new long-term international
    targets for addressing biodiversity loss are expected to be
    agreed; and COP26 for climate change, where Nature and
    nature-based solutions to climate change are expected to
    play a prominent
    role.

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