Monetisation of nature – UK National Ecosystem Assessment

In response to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (published yesterday), George Monbiot argues that the monetisation of nature is a definitive neoliberal triumph.

His criticism of the valuation of ecosystem services as “pure reductionist gobbledegook;” or “an almost comical attempt to force both nature and human emotion into a linear, mechanistic vision;” is a little harsh… and takes the bigger picture goals of ecosystem services out of focus. That said, he highlights the business lobbyist bias, criticizing the at-times illogical assumptions of the costing system. “So, for example, it says the market price of an hour spent travelling in a taxi is £45, but the price of an hour spent travelling by bicycle is just £17, because cyclists tend to be poorer than taxi passengers.” Entertaining read anyways.

Working in a development context, I’ve generally looked at the valuation of ecosystem services as a means of poverty alleviation. Take a look at this post by Garry Peterson for a comprehensive overview of some of the challenges researchers are facing regarding Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA).

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