Dossier: New Economy of Nature

Dossier: New Economy of Nature

 

The economic valuation of nature is reaching a new dimension: elemental functions - such as carbon storage in forests - become ‚ecosystem services‘ and nature itself - the forest - is viewed as ‚natural capital‘. Proponents of new markets and payments for ecosystem services did not lose time to set up web portals bundling their information. A collection of critical perspectives and analyses, however, was missing so far. That’s what we want to change.

Our web dossier illustrates what the concept of the „New Economy of Nature“ stands for, explains nature’s role in the Green Economy and why this approach has been of increased interest to economy and politics recently. We name key actors and institutions that are shaping the discourse and highlight contradictions as well as disputable assumptions.

The Heinrich Boell Foundation has critically followed this debate with publications and events for several years - find more information in our article "Further information on the New Economy of Nature".

 

An ecological crisis that is becoming increasingly hard to ignore is confronting policymakers with a dilemma: they are being called upon to protect the conditions for life on Earth without overly hampering industrial production and economic growth.

Corporations whose business models require the exploitation and destruction of nature are increasingly marketing products as carbon-neutral and deforestation-free. This is made possible by the concept of “compensation instead of reduction”. How does it work?

 

Trading in compensation credits is used to legalize emissions that exceed binding regulatory limits. It also occurs in areas without legal limits.

REDD is a mechanism for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” in so-called developing countries that has been discussed in the context of the UN climate talks since 2005.

The basic concept of REDD is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details - the animated film gives a flavour of the research.

The call for an economic valuation of nature, and in particular for limits ​​on pollution and the destruction of nature, is linked to the demand for a more flexible implementation of environmental laws and regulations. The idea of “compensation instead of reduction” is intended to guarantee this flexibility.

Trade with compensation credits is a prime example of how abstractions influence environmental policy. The astonishing reduction of unique habitats to a few measurable indicators is a prerequisite for trading biodiversity offsets.

Here you will find recommendations and links to the most important articles, publications, databases and videos related to our dossier "New Economy of Nature".