Economy, ecology…they’re closer than you think

This piece on the Beeb gives me the heebie-jeebies. Not because it tells me anything new, but because finally, a mainstream media outlet is publishing what regular enviro-lefties like me have known for a long, long time:

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.


Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.

“It’s not only greater but it’s also continuous, it’s been happening every year, year after year,” he told BBC News.

“So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today’s rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year.”


Key to understanding his conclusions is that as forests decline, nature stops providing services which it used to provide essentially for free.

So the human economy either has to provide them instead, perhaps through building reservoirs, building facilities to sequester carbon dioxide, or farming foods that were once naturally available.

Or we have to do without them; either way, there is a financial cost.

So, in other words: The economy is more dependent on the ecology than most crapitalists believe. And if they go on wantonly destroying our ecology, everyone will have to pay a price…EVERYONE. Including the disaster capitalists who, in Naomi Klein’s book, thought that they could own the world and simply jet away from all natural disasters to some well-appointed, “plutonomy”-friendly desert island.

Get scared, rich people, you’re no more immune than the rest of us.

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