Some Perspective

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

So reports the BBC, citing the newly released “Teeb” report, that estimates the annual cost of forest loss is between $2 and $5 trillion, or about 7% of global GDP. Those are staggering numbers, though I’m not sure “dwarfs” is right word to describe how it compares to the current world economic crisis: last week $2.4 trillion of share value was lost in the U.S. stock markets, and didn’t I hear something about $700 billion and then another $250 billion in bailouts by the U.S. government alone?

Wonky nitpicking aside, the Teeb report delivers a massively important message.  It puts the value of natural capital in the only terms that our economic system is capable of acknowledging:  dollars.  Lots and lots of them.  So there is hope that the Teeb report may have an impact similar to that which the Stern Review had on the business community regarding climate change, particularly in Europe. 

Now please keep in mind, I’m just the messenger, but speaking of biodiversity, Scientific American just published a story entitled “One Quarter of World’s Mammals Face Extinction.”  How much is that worth?