Further information on the New Economy of Nature

Here you will find recommendations and links to the most important articles, publications, databases and videos related to our dossier "New Economy of Nature".

1. Inside the Green Economy – Promises and Pitfalls.
Barbara Unmüssig, Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer. Oekom, 2015.

The concept of the Green Economy is being touted as a model to solve ecological and economic problems. But can it really? The authors investigate the basic assumptions of the Green Economy, its hypotheses and solutions. Can “green” technologies truly be a solution if they boost consumption further? What is the value of green growth if emissions from the use of fossil fuels continue to grow at the same time? What are the limits and contradictions of a concept that wants to save nature by assigning a monetary value to its services?

2. New Economy of Nature.
Thomas Fatheuer. Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2014.

Can nature be protected more effectively by expressing the value of the vital services it provides to humanity in dollars and cents? The publication “New Economy of Nature” introduces the topic and highlights the concepts and instruments that are arising from the idea of an economic valuation of nature.

3. Carbon Metrics. Global abstractions and ecological epistemicide.
Camila Moreno, Daniel Speich Chassé and Lili Fuhr. Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2016.

The authors use the metric mindset in climate policy to illustrate how a great deal of new knowledge is emerging, but a lot is being lost at the same time. The threat of climate change is seen almost exclusively as a problem of excessive CO2 emissions that need to be measured as accurately as possible. Causes, complex interrelationships and political and economic interests are made invisible by the abstraction that metric thinking brings to climate policy. This also affects the search for solutions, because the way in which we describe a problem broadly defines the actions and measures we take into consideration to solve it.

4. On the Value of Nature. The Merits and Perils of a New Economy of Nature.
Barbara Unmüssig. Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2014.

This publication outlines the conflicting goals and various perspectives in the debate on the economic valuation of nature. The arguments illustrate why a differentiated analysis of the economic valuation and pricing of nature is necessary, but also where the differences and diverse connections lie. The author also explores the consequences that arise from the fact that the new market-based conservation instruments tend to relieve the state of its responsibility for setting limits for pollution and the destruction of nature and ensuring compliance.

5. Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services. Recognizing Nature’s Value or Pricing Nature's Destruction?
Jutta Kill. Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2015.

This publication illustrates the historical and political context in which the economic evaluation of nature takes place today. The author explains that while this is not a new phenomenon, it nevertheless differs from earlier waves of economic valuation of nature. She notes that an important difference is that the central instrument of the current economic evaluation of nature – trading in compensation credits – is not based on tangible goods or resources. The product that is sold in a compensation trade is rather a failure to act, through which emissions are mitigated or the destruction of nature is reduced. The publication is supplemented by online comments on the arguments and analyses it discusses.

6. A new economy that recognizes nature's value? Exploring false hopes and assumptions of economic valuation of nature.
Jutta Kill. 2016. [Link coming soon]

7. Die vermessene Natur. REDD: Wie die Klimapolitik den Wald entdeckt und verändert.
Thomas Fatheuer. FDCL, 2015.

Die vermessene Natur presents the currently popular REDD+ approach, which is designed to unite forest conservation and climate protection. After an introduction to the conceptual basics of REDD, the author describes experiences with the implementation of REDD. The publication concludes with an analysis of forest-related decisions at the climate summit in Paris in December 2015.

8. REDD: A Collection of Conflicts, Contradictions and Lies.
World Rainforest Movement, 2015.

The publication “REDD: A Collection of Conflicts, Contradictions and Lies” contains the perhaps most extensive collection of critical reports and case studies on REDD+ projects. The 24 examples document how REDD+ projects threaten smallholder land use and forest peoples while at the same time being unsuitable for tackling the causes of large-scale deforestation: not one of the documented REDD+ projects targeted precisely those causes.

9. The Endless Algebra of Climate Markets.
Larry Lohmann. CornerHouse Briefing, 2011.

The carbon market is a particularly impressive example of what happens when neoliberal thinking and approaches are applied to solving environmental crises. The author describes how emissions trading does not solve the social and environmental challenges of the climate crisis, but merely re-interprets them and packages them in discourses and instruments that suppress the issues of justice, responsibility and divergent political and economic interests from the outset. The author unmasks the argument of “internalizing external costs” as an endless loop of changing the subject rather than an approach to solving the problem, and notes that with each internalization, other dimensions of the destruction of nature are externalized.

10. The Nature that Capital Can See: Science, State, and Market in the Commodification of Ecosystem Services.
Morgan Robertson. Society and Space, 2006: Vol. 24: 367-387.

This article uses trading in wetland credits in the United States to illustrate the expectations being placed on scientists to provide information that they cannot deliver without conflict. The gaps in knowledge and lack of understanding of the dynamic, interconnected processes that define habitats are too great to permit the unconflicted production of standardized and abstracted data required by compensation trading. For example, a specific species of aster is considered an indicator of intact wetlands, whose destruction is only permissible if offset by credits. At the same time, however, a scientific dispute remains unresolved about whether the aster in question is a distinct species, encompasses several species, or may even be plants of different genera altogether. Misidentifications of “intact wetland” indicator species used to determine whether the destruction of the wetland is permissible and to what extent, and how that destruction must be offset, seem inevitable in such a context. The article shows that this is not an isolated case, but a largely intractable dilemma.

11. REDDheads: The people behind REDD and the climate scam in Southeast Asia
Stiftung Asienhaus; Chris Lang, 2016

REDD did not appear from nowhere. Behind the idea are people and institutions who have promoted REDD in different ways over the past decades. Understanding REDD means understanding the players involved and their motivations for promoting the scheme. The report, “REDDheads: The people behind REDD and the climate scam in Southeast Asia”, looks at those people and institutions in the southeast Asia region.

12. Biodiversity offsetting in practice.
Biodiversity Briefing No. 3, FERN, 2015.

This publication uses examples in the UK and France to illustrate how biodiversity offsetting has become a “license to trash”. Extensive end notes reference experiences with biodiversity offset trading in Australia and the United States, documenting a wide range of problems and contradictions in the design and implementation of biodiversity offsetting approaches.

13. The ‟Green Economy”: giving immunity to criminals.
WRM Bulletin 222, March 2016.

Bulletin 222 of the World Rainforest Movement explores the topic of biodiversity compensation and shows how the perpetrators of large-scale environmental destruction, pollution and human rights violations particularly stand to benefit from trading with compensation credits, and how the approach facilitates an almost unhindered expansion of destruction by industrial mining and the agro-industry. Further articles provide an overview of the countries in which environmental legislation has been or is being changed in order to establish compensation trading – and thus annul the protection of nature.

14. REDD Monitor [website]

A trove of information on REDD – an approach intended to unite forest conservation and climate protection. REDD stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation”. 

15. Finanzialisierung der Natur.
Finance and Trade Watch [web dossier].

The Finanzialisierung der Natur web dossier addresses activists and provides an accessible introduction to the financialization of nature. In addition to background information, the dossier provides educational materials, suggestions for further reading and calls to action.

16. Banking Nature.
Arte documentary, 2015.

“Banking Nature” investigates how various countries are transforming nature into a tradable product and making it accessible to the financial market. How did conservation become a global market? Why is the financial world so intensely interested in this new economic sector? What is the relationship between the actors on the new markets and those responsible for the recent global financial crisis? How are lobbyists influencing international institutions such as the UN or the EU to increase this “natural capital”? What are the laws governing these new markets?

17. The Story of REDD.
Animated movie.

This 7-minute animated video describes the history of REDD from its origins as an item on the agenda at the UN climate talks up to the conflict-ridden implementation of REDD+ projects in the forest and shows who the real winners and losers of REDD+ are.

This list of literature and links is part of our dossier "New Economy of Nature".