Economics of Biodiversity – The Dasgupta Review

Julia Dance writes:

Can Sir David Attenborough and I recommend Sir Partha Dasgupta’s Review, commissioned by HMRC (Yes, Really, HMRC), “The Economics of Biodiversity”? HMRC (Yes, really, HMRC) also has an abridged and a headline version together with an impressive collection of responses from movers and shakers around the world. Everyone with an interest in Climate Change and Biodiversity must read this because, as we know, MONEY TALKS. It will give you the knowledge you need to be an individual or group nuisance in talking truth to power. Good Luck, and get those email fingers tapping…

Some figures (from Sir David’s introduction).

  • 96% of the mass of all mammals of the planet is ourselves and the animals that we rear for food.
  • 70% of all birds now alive are – for us to eat. (From Sir Partha’s Review)
  • Estimate of all global direct subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity: US $500 billion per year. Estimate for global, governmental subsidies for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity: US $68 billion per year.

Here are four headline messages from part one, “The state we are in and why”.

  • Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature.
  • We have collectively failed to engage with Nature sustainably, to the extent that our demands far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on.
  • Our unsustainable engagement with Nature is endangering the prosperity of current and future generations.
  • At the heart of the problem lies deep-rooted, widespread institutional failure.

The six headlines from part two, “The Road Ahead”

The The six headlines from part two, “The Road Ahead”

  • The solution starts with understanding and accepting a simple truth: our economics is embedded in Nature, not external to it.
  • We need to change how we think, act and measure success.
  • Ensure that our demands on Nature do not exceed its supply, on a sustainable basis.
  • Change our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path. Our accounting system needs to be calculated on the sum of our Produced Capital, Human Capital and Natural Capital.
  • Transform our institutions and systems – in particular, our finance and education systems – to enable these changes and sustain them for future generations.
  • Transformative change is possible – we and our descendants deserve nothing less

ACTION: Green Christian Editor Suggests:

What might we do next?

  1. Print this article out or email it to other members of your church or community, and to your MP.
  2. Read the – (Available as a Full Report, Abridged version or Headline Messages).
  3. Watch the video made by the Royal Society at the launch of the Dasgupta Review on 2 Feb 2021 – including talks by Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, Sir Partha Dasgupta, Nobel-prize winning biologist Sir Venki Ramakrishnan and Sir David Attenborough.
  4. Make some graphs (or get your youth group to do this) to display on your church notice board showing what the figures in the second paragraph above look like).
  5. Read the six headlines in the last paragraph. These are suggested policies for countries to adopt. But how about applying them to the decisions you make in your life throughout today? It will fix them in your mind and mean that you can share the ideas with others.



Author: Chris Warwick | Date: 9 April, 2021 | Category: Biodiversity | Comments: 1

Comments on "Economics of Biodiversity – The Dasgupta Review"

Iain Climie:

April 9, 2021

The great Harvard biologist E.O.Wilson pointed out that rainforests could be sustainably, sensible and profitably used I situ (see The Diversity of Life - UnMined Riches chapter) while the plains tribes of the US successfully conserved and exploited bison before those magnificent animals were nearly wiped out by European settlers who, for good measure, did wipe out the passenger pigeon and had a fair go at wiping out the local populace. Tribal peoples and many other local practices can often combine conservation with careful use - if we ca fight off the "greed is good" brigade.

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