Saturday, 30 October 2010

World Bank and the Environment: Valuation: Australian water forum: Data


Prime River Real Estate
River Frontage in four states and one territory
of the driest inhabited continent on Earth.
Has been allowed to run down in recent times
but has been refurbished periodically.
Owners currently discussing proposed 21st century refurbishment.
Pre-sale inspection is strongly advised
along with the phrase Caveat Emptor.
Well treed - but not so much as it used to be
and some trees are in poor condition.
Significant wildlife but many species
have long since departed.
Subject to periodic bushfire.
Some parts of the property have heritage/RAMSAR listing
and maintenance of these sections of the property 
must comply with regulations.

Well, Networkers, you get my drift.  This is just to point out that the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoelleck, said in Nagoya where the Biodiversity summit has just concluded:
"The natural wealth of nations should be a capital asset valued in combination with its financial capital, manufactured capital and human capital" 
While I agree with Zoelleck's sentiments on the environment as part of a nation's natural wealth, what will it mean when we give our natural assets a dollar value?

Living with Climate Change
Washington DC, USA
31 January 2011

The World Bank estimates that the economic value of farmland, forests, minerals and energy worldwide exceeds $44 trillion.  In that statement no mention is made of water, oceans, marine parks, national parks and reserves.  No mention is made of the value of air, polluted or clean. In faction, no mention of the cost/devaluation price of pollution or despoilation at all.  No mention is made of how natural assets might be devalued through invasive predators and pests; misapplication of science; and negligence.
  • Is dollar valuation the one thing that will save our environment from the despoilers?  
  • Will dollar valuations force governments and corporations to be alert to the value of competing resources i.e. mining v. agriculture v. tourism v. development v. environment? 
  • Will giving natural assets a value, something like a real market value, make them more vulnerable?  
  • Will our natural assets become commodified in a manner similar to the way water has become commodified and is now traded?

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