Valuing Nature or Pricing Nature's Destruction?

Economic valuation of nature is not new. In fact, it has been a companion of capital accumulation for centuries. Yet, despite the long history of valuing select portions of nature economically, there seems to be a new quality to current approaches. Jutta Kill's paper "Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services: Recognizing Nature's Value or Pricing Nature's Destruction?" explores where the recent initiatives aimed at 'ending the economic invisibility of nature' differ from previous approaches to economic valuation of nature. We also invited a number of scientists, academics and environmentalists to comment on the discussion paper and present their views.

Commentary on this Discussion Paper

“Denominating biodiversity in dollars…justifies the claims of those with the greatest purchasing power worldwide to the greatest share of the earth's biomass and all that it contains.”
Kathleen McAfee
The major problem I see is not that economic valuation approaches are used, but that they tend to become the major logic of arguing, even within circles of conservation biologists, that it tends to become pervasive and all-embracing.
Kurt Jax
Nature does not “provide services” as a laundry does. It is not delivering services. Falling prey to this terminology, we may end up perceiving nature not in its ecological naturalness and its fertility, resilience, diversity and richness and not even as experienced nature but as large service industry.
Konrad Ott
The new economy of nature tends to produce a similar right to decide what lives and what does not in the /natural world/ according to its economic value for capital, whether that world lies in the hands of corporations or of states.
Ivonne Yanez
... the key battle over the new forms of economic valuation of nature is not about how to improve measurement techniques so that externalities can at long last somehow be internalized."
Larry Lohmann
The market no longer conveys the message “we can grow as much as we want as long as we pay the price.”
Herman Daly