This podcast is a must-listen interview for anyone with an interest in the natural world. It brings together one of the world’s leading economists – Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University, author of the recent groundbreaking study – “The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review” with the real-world financial expertise and political nous of Secretary Hank Paulson, former US Treasury Secretary.
Their conversation focuses on the global biodiversity crisis – the risks to human prosperity, the strong links with climate change, and how, in order to manage these risks, the world must do better at valuing nature and broaden its economic goals beyond GDP growth.
Back in the early 1990s when I was studying economics at university, I was taken aback when I learned that economic models took nature’s services for granted; in essence nature’s benefits were considered free and inexhaustible. As Professor Dasgupta says, going back just a few decades, “this was not a travesty, as we were small beer at the time. But now we are not”. Today, demand for the Earth’s resources and services severely outstrips the ability of the Earth to renew itself, bringing with it tremendous risks. This is cause for a fundamental realignment to bring the global economy within the boundaries of the biosphere and to no longer consider it independent.
It’s a fascinating and hugely important subject. Education, the need for government regulation and generational equity feature strongly. If you have a spare 45 minutes, please listen and, if you are motivated to do something, think about what you can do to make a difference – whether it’s writing to your elected representative, asking questions about how your company or organisation is incorporating biodiversity into its strategy and operations, or by making personal choices as consumers.
For more on the “Dasgupta Review”, see here.
For more on the Paulson Institute’s “Financing Nature: Closing the Biodiversity Financing Gap”, see here.
Title image: a longhorn bee sp., Shunyi District, Beijing, July 2021.
2 thoughts on “Valuing Nature”
This is a brilliant dissection of how we make nature’s benefits a reality in economic terms. A must read as Terry says.
Thank you, Jane. This is an important and urgent discussion, if we are to have a chance of stemming biodiversity loss and avoiding the worst of the associated risks. I hope finance and economic ministers everywhere have this on their listening list.