Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Poverty & the Environment

A UN organization produced a new report out today authored by an apparently huge group of environmentalists economists including some of my heroes like Ed Barbier and Karl-Goran Maler who do environmental work in developing countries. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but it's being touted here as putting some large numbers on previously somewhat ignored places, including identifying what environmental services mean to the poor. If policymakers can be convinced of the value of their natural resources, whether they be the economic contributions of coral reefs (tourism & fishing) or of forests helping to pollinate nearby orchards, maybe they will act to protect them more. Governments of geographically large countries such as India and Brazil are signing on, while unsurprisingly the US is not. I'll be pretty surprised if this really changes policymaker behavior- how many million reports have come out in the past year?- but I like having an increased ability to build an economic case for protecting the environment.

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