Dossier: New Economy of Nature

Dossier: New Economy of Nature

Photo: Ines Meier. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

The economic valuation of nature is reaching a new dimension: elemental functions - such as carbon storage in forests - become ‚ecosystem services‘ and nature itself - the forest - is viewed as ‚natural capital‘. Proponents of new markets and payments for ecosystem services did not lose time to set up web portals bundling their information. A collection of critical perspectives and analyses, however, was missing so far. That’s what we want to change.

Our web dossier illustrates what the concept of the „New Economy of Nature“ stands for, explains nature’s role in the Green Economy and why this approach has been of increased interest to economy and politics recently. We name key actors and institutions that are shaping the discourse and highlight contradictions as well as disputable assumptions.

The Heinrich Boell Foundation has critically followed this debate with publications and events for several years - find more information in our article "Further information on the New Economy of Nature".

An ecological crisis that is becoming increasingly hard to ignore is confronting policymakers with a dilemma: they are being called upon to protect the conditions for life on Earth without overly hampering industrial production and economic growth.

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We don’t need any “reconciliation of the economy and ecology”. Instead, we should be saying no to destructive and exploitative projects and policies - and yes to a repoliticisation of environmental debate.

Corporations whose business models require the exploitation and destruction of nature are increasingly marketing products as carbon-neutral and deforestation-free. This is made possible by the concept of “compensation instead of reduction”. How does it work?

 

Trading in compensation credits is used to legalize emissions that exceed binding regulatory limits. It also occurs in areas without legal limits.

The world map shows various projects, initiatives and studies, grouped in four categories: biodiversity offset, Clean Develoment Mechanism (CDM), legislation, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation&Degradation (REDD/REDD+). To learn more about the initiative and for additional links, please klick on the respective symbol on the map.

REDD is a mechanism for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” in so-called developing countries that has been discussed in the context of the UN climate talks since 2005.

The basic concept of REDD is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details - the animated film gives a flavour of the research.

The call for an economic valuation of nature, and in particular for limits ​​on pollution and the destruction of nature, is linked to the demand for a more flexible implementation of environmental laws and regulations. The idea of “compensation instead of reduction” is intended to guarantee this flexibility.

Trade with compensation credits is a prime example of how abstractions influence environmental policy. The astonishing reduction of unique habitats to a few measurable indicators is a prerequisite for trading biodiversity offsets.

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

For your further reading

Green Economy. Creator: zack Mccarthy . Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

The economic and ecological bases of a general prosperity are in danger. The Green Economy offers a model, based primarily on large-scale technological innovation. A solution if it results in even more consumption?

Creator: FERN. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

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.

Just in time for the current UNFCCC COP in Morocco (7-18 November 2016), we are publishing the second edition of "Carbon Metrics". The revised edition takes last year's Paris Agreement into account and also looks at the impacts of new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Publication Series on Ecology 35: From climate change to ecosystem degradation – the solution to these problems could re-side in an economic “valuation” of nature and its services. But can that really give nature any better protection? This publication provides a readily under-standable introduction to the subject and illuminates the concepts and instruments that fol-low from the idea of monetarizing nature.