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Archive for January, 2015

State of Natural Capital 3

Remember a Government saying we should be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than it inherited? Maybe not, but the Natural Capital Committee hasn’t forgotten, identifying in its report released today that “significant improvements are possible with the right investments and these will open up a range of economic opportunities for enhancing quality of life for current and future generations”.

eftec’s work for the Committee shows that the way we manage natural capital really matters, and we can be strategic in how we decide what to invest in, and at what scale. Where to continue intensive farming? or how much wildlife habitat should we aim to restore? – local conditions matter to these questions, but so does economics. Intensive farming gets subsidies, wetlands that protect us from flooding don’t. But we can develop a strategy to change that, and target and coordinate investments in natural capital.

Why all this economics? Shouldn’t we protect nature for its own sake? Yes we should, but economics can help the money go further, such as by working out how to avoid the best quality farmland. And when the money runs out for that, nature needs to compete for resources in other ways – based on the health benefits of green space, or the wealth from sustainably managed fish stocks, or the value of water resources in the most populated river catchments. I commend the restoration of England’s natural capital to the country.

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