But these solutions may be missing something fundamental, according to Partha Dasgupta, an economist at the University of Cambridge. In a 2021 report commissioned by the British government, Dasgupta made the case for a change in how natural resources are valued, and the idea has since gained momentum: Last month, the White House released a draft proposal on what constitutes cost-benefit ratios Analysis should be considered when it comes to ecosystem services in government, practices based on his work.

DealBook spoke to Dasgupta about updating economics to take nature into account.

Traditional economics does not take into account the value that the earth providessaid Dasgupta, but instead assumes that ecosystems are self-regenerating and capable of providing unlimited services, and that there will be an unlimited supply of materials. His report included what he calls “important new calculations” for treating natural resources like the ocean and functions like pollination as assets that, in theory, increase the chances of investing in and managing our ecosystems to increase production enable more goods. “Asset management is a very well-understood phenomenon,” said Dasgupta. “But for various reasons, Mother Nature’s assets do not carry the signals we need to manage them appropriately.”

How this idea is implemented varies from place to placesaid Dasgupta, but now there is a vocabulary and a method to address the underlying problems. The Biden proposal, for example, states that “failure to fully embrace the bounty of nature” has led to an “erosion of our nation’s natural treasures.” Dasgupta called the proposal “a good job” but said he was not confident it would be implemented or that his ideas would be understood more broadly quickly enough to prevent disaster. “We are in a firefighting situation,” he said. “Extreme weather events are occurring as we speak.”

Dasgupta fears that an important nuance in his work will be lost, even if it is becoming more and more popular. Nature’s services are interconnected and “can be brought down like a house of cards,” he said. “You remove a card from the house and the whole house collapses.” Climate protection solutions that focus on goods and technologies, such as replacing oil with solar energy, therefore do not take into account the bigger picture – the interconnectedness of everything.

Policymakers often assume that a few tweaks and some human ingenuity will enable infinite goods and growth; Not Dasgupta.

Source : www.nytimes.com

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