English German Lithuanian. Edita Satiene Coordinator gave a general description of the partnership.
All partners of the learning partnership gave a presentation about their institutions and the contribution to the learning partnership. After the conference the partner met the staff of Kaunas City International Relations department. Partnership presentation in the final Conference.
Partnership presentation in the final Conference Information about Lifelong Learning Program and Grundtvig partnership. Introduction of the Partnership and project results. English German. This was part of "a project in our project", because the crew worked without getting money. The movie lasts 30 Minutes and was shown in television on April 16th, and every participant got a DVD of the movie, so that he or she will remember it for a long time.
Hier ergab sich ein "Projekt im Projekt", da das Filmeteam aus Senioren bestand, die ehrenamtlich unser Projekt begleiteten. The main part were "best practice"-examples, because in the TGS is succeed in doing sports for elderly people since The seniors, who use regularly the offers of the TGS, helped with great engagement und organized a barbecue and the dinner at the last evening. General program culture. General program culture A trip to the historicoldtown of Seligenstadt and to Hanau with a visit of Schloss Philippsruh liked the guests very much.
Visit the Mayer of Rodgau in the city hall. Visit the Mayer of Rodgau in the city hall The mayor of Rodgau with the apprpriate person of the ressorts Sport and Culture invited us and our guests to say how important such a project is, because of the demografic change. This projects main task are the questions How to mitivate elderly people? This project impressed every partner and was introduced a second time by Heide Klabers at the last public conference in Kaunas.
Final Evening with visits of the Landrat and the head of the Sportkreis. Final Evening with visits of the Landrat and the head of the Sportkreis Oliver Quliling and Peter Dinkel attended our dinner at the last evening in Rodgau und brought some little presents for our guests. Oliver Quiling said, that the TGS is a exapmle for other clubs and points out that sport for elderly people is a task for the future.
Der Landrat unterstrich bezeichnete unseren Verein als Vorbild und den Seniorensport als Zukunftsaufgabe. Final Meeting in Kaunas. Final Meeting in Kaunas Heide Klabers, as the representative of Germany, explaines "Bewegungsstarthelfer" again and showed the politicans und seniors from Lithuania what offers the TGS has for elderly people. Sport for the health and some hiking in the nature is the program. Our partner from Graz was so impressed, that they will do some similar project in the future and a cooperation after HeFill is planned.
Gesundheitssport und Wanderungen in der Natur sind der Inhalt. Summary of the event Part 1. Summary of the event Part 1 This learning partnership has completely reached its aimes. There was a harmonic and friendly working atmosphere, when we interchange our know-how and learned from each other. The workshops showed the different structural requirements. The differences between our 4 organisations non-profit or full-time where very interesting and stimulates the Ideas of doing something similar in our own country Part 2.
Teil 2. Summary of the event Part 2. Summary of the event Part For Seniors it is very important to do sports regularly to be healthy and fit. But they need to be motivated and to be attracted. The following aims were reached with success: part 3. Die folgenden Lernziele waren gesteckt und konnten umgesetzt werden: siehe Teil 3. Summary of the event Part 3. Summary of the event Part 3 1. How to establkish and how to expand offers for elderly people?
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How can I find the "target audience seniors" and how to contact them? How to extend the needed infrastructures? How to find partners for kooperation und how to build a connection with them? How to reach isolated seniors and how to help him? How to extend the personal responsibility of healthyness? English Italian. During the course were demonstrated the activities realised during the workshop in Rodgau Germany.
During the course were demonstrated all the activities realised during the workshops in Graz and Kaunas. HeFiLL Meeting, All organisations had the possibility to get in contact with the representatives. HeFiLL Treffen, The Presentation was about the structure and philosophy of GEFAS as well as various projects in the field of ICT for elderly people, lifelong learning, and sports and health.
After the presentation the audience were invited to questions in an open discussion. The European Shared Database has been developed by the Lifelong Learning Programme National Agencies with the financial support from the European Commission, to enhance the visibility of Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig partnerships and to make their results directly accessible to a wider audience, in accordance with the objectives of dissemination and transparency of the European Commission. The contents are provided directly by beneficiaries and reflect the views only of their authors.
Ecological classification extended the selective visibility of nature even further. It separated biological diversity further from its cultural ties. This in turn paved the way for the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity describing one subset of biological diversity — genetic diversity — as a "genetic resource" to which access could be regulated and benefit sharing protocols negotiated. The web of relationships in nature that could be economically valued as "genetic resource" had thus been made visible, identifiable, measurable and tradable.
In parallel, ecologists and ecological economists began to describe nature as ecosystems that were home to an identifiable set of species. Crucially, these ecosystems were shown to provide a series of ecological functions that were essential to human well-being — and which were not yet valued economically. It is at this juncture that current approaches to economic valuation of nature set in: They attempt to define clearly identifiable "services" that are provided by those ecological functions. The MEA played a key role in this classification of ecosystems and their ecological functions.
The current identification of "ecosystem services" is to a large extent based on the classifications used in the MEA. The following section will look at what is involved in making these newly identified "ecosystem services" visible to the economic eye. The term "Payment for Environmental Services", or PES, is used to describe many different arrangements to pay for a certain practice that will protect or restore some function or process of nature. Such arrangements, however, have entirely different historical and social origins because the struggles, motivations and pressures that gave rise to them differ greatly.
The original PES programs used public funds to implement a policy that was for the public good. The amounts to be paid are negotiated or set by the state or directly among the parties involved. The payment may compensate for the lack of enforcement capacity in relation to a ban on clear cut logging. The "service" is described in very general terms, or not at all. No direct or detailed measurement of the quantity or quality of the specific "service" for which payment is received, is necessary and the payment is not linked to permission to destroy or pollute above legal limits elsewhere.
Payments do not require a financial market and no environmental commodity or asset is bought or sold. Modification of existing law to create new assets or define environmental commodities is not required. PES initiatives of this type are voluntary, without a law demanding the payment. In general, no claims are made that the payment is "equivalent" in economic or ecological terms to the damage caused. The amount of payment is decided by the company or public entity offering the payment.
Some basic indicators to verify what could be claimed to be the result of the payment might be used but no quantification and monitoring of specific "ecosystem services" is necessary. Financial markets are not involved and no "environmental services" commodity is created or traded. Contracts that describe how the payment will be spent might be involved but the obligations only last for the duration for which payment is received. Risks to community cohesion and conflict exist, especially when the payments are by the company or public entity linked to a development or industrial activity that is opposed by part of the community.
More recently, "offset" PES schemes where a payment gives permission to destroy or pollute above a legal limit have become more controversial. These are the PES schemes discussed in the section "Economic valuation as a way to transform environmental legislation into tradable instruments" of this paper, page The fundamental difference in such "offset" PES schemes is that the payment buys the permission to pollute or destroy nature above a legal limit. Laws are changed so that destruction above the limit can be considered in compliance with the law as long as a payment is made for the extra pollution or destruction to be "offset" elsewhere.
Causing such pollution or destruction of nature above the legal limit was previously an offense, a violation of the law — and it could result in a fine or other penalty. Such schemes always increase the ecological and social damage for the community living in or near the location where the company uses the offset credit to pollute more or destroy more nature. PES schemes that involve trade in "environmental services" always require territorial control. Offset PES schemes therefore require contracts that are very different from the contracts used in PES schemes that do not involve offsets.
Only in the case of offset PES schemes do the contracts have to include legal obligations that last beyond the period over which payments are received. For more information see World Rainforest Movement : When "payment for environmental services" delivers a permit to destroy. The logic underlying valuation of nature is that economic growth and environmental preservation are compatible only when nature and its functions are priced and integrated into capital circulation.
For such pricing and market integration to be possible, nature needs to be prepared: The existing relationships that define nature as we understand it today need to be re-defined. New boundaries need to be established around those relationships that are to be made visible as providers of an "ecosystem service". Those services in turn must be defined so they are recognized as the same service by different people. And they must be made measurable in units that can be compared and to which property rights can be attached. Once nature has become describable as a provider of measurable ecosystem service units, units from different places and of different quality can be compared and equivalences between them can be negotiated: x units of service A with high quality is the same as y units of the same service at a different quality, or z units of a slightly different service.
The Kyoto Protocol, for example, established such equivalences by adopting a decision that one tonne of methane has the same global warming potential as 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, so 1 unit of methane emission is equal to 25 units of carbon dioxide equivalent, CO 2 e. Once this equivalence had been accepted, methane emissions could be compensated for by reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, or vice-versa.
With equivalences between units from different places and with different qualities having been established, the units are ready for trading. Furthermore, as in the secondary market for emission allowances, financial products based on these units can be developed and traded as derivatives. Some advocates of economic valuation insist that economic valuation does not automatically lead to pricing and trading see below.
However, for many proponents, price discovery through market transactions is an important objective of economic valuation. They argue that such price discovery mechanisms help efficient allocation of scarce resources. They claim that environmental legislation that limits the use of a particular "ecosystem service" and that allows market-based instruments for implementing the limit is the way to create such scarcity and at the same time establish a market in tradable units of the restricted substance or ecosystem service.
The Kyoto Protocol and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme provided such limits for greenhouse gas emissions; the US Clean Air Act limited sulfur dioxide emissions and allowed trade in pollution rights to achieve the mandated reductions; the US Clean Water Act and amendments in restrict filling up of wetlands while allowing continued destruction as long as compensation credits are bought and the destruction can be shown to have been compensated with improved wetland functionality elsewhere.
By the transferable "wetland credit", backed up by physical wetland restoration or creation, had become common enough for the Chicago Board of Trade to allow the trading of such credits on the exchange. In all of these instances, the assumption has been that existing regulation or non-market approaches had failed. The possibility that such market-based instruments are introduced precisely because the existing environmental regulation has been effective has rarely been considered.
The far more plausible explanation for continued pollution or loss of biological diversity, however, is that existing environmental legislation is effective but not sufficient to halt destruction. Another common experience with these markets so far is that it has proven impossible to establish limits that would make the ecosystem service in question so expensive that unit prices would approach the level that challenges the actual core industrial business model. Economic valuation techniques are in the process of re-defining the previous conception of nature as a complex web of inter-related and ever-changing relationships into an image of nature as a provider of measurable services.
Institutional changes are currently introducing commercial principles such as efficiency, methods such as accounting and cost-benefit assessment and the objective of profit maximization into environmental governance and resource management practices. In parallel, the economic value that has been attached to ecosystems is used as the basis for creating tradable instruments, such as carbon or biodiversity credits.
These are then marketed as compensation credits and offsets. The units — or rather, the placeholders that represent the units — have become a bearer of economic value; they can now be banked, or traded for profit or for compliance with environmental legislation. The "green economy" promise thus leads to a re-definition not of "growth" but of "green". Technical disputes over accuracy of the measurement replace political dispute over what is produced, by whom, and for whom. Nature's complexity, interconnectedness and uniqueness mean that no two places are the same. Abstracting or re-defining this such that unique places become comparable providers of "ecosystem services" is easier said than done.
The disputes among practitioners attempting to define what actually passes as a "wetland credit" under US Clean Water Act regulations is just one example of the technical complexities. Why is describing nature in this way so important that those who promote economic valuation of nature are prepared to face all the complexities and contradictions such an endeavor entails? At one level, it is claimed that a nature described through measurable units "ecosystem services", merchantable timber, coal, oil, iron ore, etc.
The units — or the placeholders for these units — bear value. Planners and corporations can better appreciate the value of nature in their decisions if it is presented as "a highly efficient and valuable machine"  or a "precious piece of infrastructure"  , the argument of advocates of economic valuation of nature goes.
On another level, the challenge is considered worthwhile because a nature presented through quantifiable and comparable units facilitates business-friendly implementation of legally prescribed limits on pollution or destruction, once they exist: If discrete units can be identified, they can be measured and if they can be measured, they can be compared and even swapped — not physically but through exchange of the monetary value that is considered adequate for replacement of the service units elsewhere. Such an exchange of units makes continued pollution or destruction in any one location possible even where it appears legally prohibited.
However, approaches to limiting destruction of nature curtail the rights of those affected by pollution or loss of biodiversity: Citizens lose legal and regulatory avenues to prevent a corporation from taking a specific project or investment forward that would result in pollution or destruction above a legal limit in any particular place because market-based instruments allow such excess pollution as long as it has been compensated elsewhere. Economic valuation of nature changes our understanding of nature as a particular place what philosophers call de re valuation to an acceptance that nature is whatever fits a certain description de dicto valuation.
In fact, the conversation about change and how to bring about the desired change will be radically different depending on whether environmental crisis is understood as market failure and incomplete internalization of externalities or whether economic valuation of "natural capital" is considered the 21 st century's approach to bringing more of nature under the control of capital markets.
There are also many indications that introducing payments for ecosystem services reduces moral or ethical commitment that is tied to a specific place. Economic valuation based on the worldview that nature is "something out there, an external object and separate from human society" leads to entirely different action than mobilizing for change that is rooted in the understanding of nature as unique to any one place, often sacred, because it is the result of human and non-human entanglements that have come together in this particular place. Could the resulting policies work together in a "policy mix"?
The current debate over eliminating binding national targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency to allow the EU Emissions Trading Scheme "to pull its weight" suggests that such market-based instruments are a poor fit for a "policy mix" see section "Just another tool in the policy toolbox", below. The following section looks at differences between some of the ends that different supporters hope to achieve through economic valuation of nature — and how the common language of economic valuation and abstractions provides room for each of these different expectations. Economic valuation as an instrument for "full internalization of externalities".
But capitalism is dependent on creating externalities, on always internalizing unevenly and always only partially. Based on human values that selection process — via individual and societal choices — determines what is considered a relevant part of nature in the context of ecosystem services. A new selection of the human-non-human relations is made accessible by removing its status as "externality". This is done by creating identifiable units that can be measured and become bearers of value.
These bearers of value can then be internalized into capital circulation.
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On closer inspection, the process of economic valuation of nature is comparable to the invention of botanical classification systems which turned some tree species into a "natural resource" or "raw material" and enabled those trees re-defined as timber to enter capital circulation while all the life connected to these trees remained dispensable "externalities".
Furthermore, there is little disagreement, even among advocates of economic valuation, that much of nature will continue to remain outside the economic calculus. For example, the social, cultural and spiritual connections and functions that are also part of "nature" will remain "externalities" to economic calculus see "the language of abstraction" on the ongoing controversy related to measuring ecosystem services.
If they remain "externalities", these functions of and relationships with nature will remain invisible to the economic eye. And that in turn means they remain dispensable if one follows the logic of those who claim that "we only treasure what we can measure". This is a central argument made in favor of economic valuation of nature. But: If only that which is made visible to the economic eye will be treasured in decision-making, these social, cultural and spiritual values and relationships of nature will continue to be threatened with destruction.
Economic valuation of nature will not end their invisibility to the economic eye. Consequently, "full internalization of externalities" will remain an illusion.
Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services | Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
The "ecosystem services" regulated by law are the ones economic valuation focuses on — almost exclusively. Looking at which parts of nature are considered for inclusion in the economic calculus also reveals that this new round of "internalizing externalities" will be as partial as previous rounds. Slated for internalization are particularly those "ecosystem services" for which international environmental regulation has restricted access or is expected by industry to limit availability in the near future: greenhouse gas emissions have been limited through a UN climate treaty and thus the capacity of trees in a forest to store carbon is of interest as a "carbon offset" that allows industry to exceed the legal limit and still claim to be in compliance with the legal limit because they paid someone elsewhere to make a reduction for them.
Or destruction of habitat for rare species is restricted and thus biodiversity banks that offer replacement units which can be swapped for the protected habitat are established. This was the case when in the late s legislation protected many ecological functions of wetlands in the USA, which consequently complicated draining or otherwise destroying these wetlands. Yet the protection the law offered to the ecological functions of wetlands was soon interpreted as being achievable through "net protection".
This sparked the creation of wetland credit markets. Such credits allow the destruction of a wetland in one place as long as a wetland is restored or additionally protected elsewhere so that the balance of protection of ecological functions can be shown to be "net zero". Considering these experiences, it is difficult to see how economic valuation of ecosystem services could really address the roots of nature's destruction — an economic system premised on partial and uneven internalization of only those portions of nature that can be described as distinct and measurable units and to which an economic value can be attached.
Or is the problem mistaken for the solution? Economic valuation of nature as a communications tool to raise concern among society, business and politicians over ecosystem functions and the continued loss of biological diversity. Conservation practitioners and NGOs who support the economic valuation of nature consider the concept to be merely an effective communications tool, a means to getting the message across that "we must pay attention to the environment".
From this perspective, the frame of economic valuation just provides the language and methodologies that are needed to calculate figures showing the economic value of some parts of nature and biodiversity. The resulting numbers are expected to strengthen the case for conservation where arguments concerned with nature's intrinsic value and its multiple benefits to society have failed to prevent destruction. But what if changing the message to "we must calculate the value of the environment" leads to a different debate altogether than persevering with "we must pay attention to the environment" would?
What if "we must calculate the true cost of nature's destruction" merely paves the way for "now we know the price of destruction and can plan accordingly"? The example of bee pollination payments to protect a native forest in Costa Rica highlights another danger that lies in accepting the discourse of economic valuation as an argument for protection of nature: Devaluation. The argument for protection of the forest was reduced to the forest providing the ecosystem service of bee pollination to nearby coffee plantations, and protection of the forest was paid for through payments from the coffee plantation owner.
However, soon after, world prices for coffee plummeted, and the coffee plants were replaced with pineapple plants. But pineapple plants do not need bees for pollination, they rely on bats. Worse still for the forest reduced to the ecosystem service "bee pollination", pollination is actually harmful to pineapple productivity because the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In this context, the logic of economic valuation of the ecosystem service " bee pollination" would have led to an argument for destroying the forest because its value to the previous beneficiary had become negative: a cost, not a benefit.
It is also sometimes argued that valuation of ecosystem services is required to accurately determine the financial incentives for, say, a wetlands protection program. If one looks at existing environmental service payment programs, however, these do not require economic valuation of ecosystem services unless their character as subsidy program is changed and they become compensation programs. And even where figures for the economic value of ecosystem services exist, they are rarely used to set the level of payment, as Liu et al.
In almost all PES programs, the level of the payment is established through negotiation or determined by law; it is usually informed by the cost of alternative means of achieving the same result cost of water purification though building a treatment plant, e. If protection of nature really were the objective of economic valuation of nature, the rush towards economic valuation puts the cart before the horse, as Geoffrey Heal notes: "Providing the right incentives is not the same as valuing the services: we can provide the incentives without valuing the services, and we can value the services without providing incentives for conserving them.
If our concern is to conserve these services, then valuation is largely irrelevant. Let me emphasize this: Valuation is neither necessary nor sufficient for conservation. We conserve much that we do not value, and do not conserve much that we value. As environmental activist and writer George Monbiot points out, demonstrating value in money terms does not change power imbalances. He discusses the flawed conclusions the TEEB report draws from the large economic value they calculated for ecosystem services that mangrove forests in Thailand provide.
Monbiot notes that the immense figure for the ecosystem services the mangrove forests provide is no protection if a shrimp farm business with the necessary political connections can make even only a fraction of the figure from running a shrimp farm in the middle of the mangrove forest, destroying its use value for everybody else.
The "hard facts" that economic valuation provides strengthen the case for conservation. Another crucial assumption by those who see ecosystem service valuation as a communications tool is that decisions about large infrastructure and other activities that destroy nature are taken on the basis of objective assessment of "hard economic facts and figures" and based on economic "cost-benefit" assessments.
However, there is little evidence to substantiate that assumption. In France, researchers assessed what role economic cost-benefit analysis had played in decision-making on four examples of controversial and complex large infrastructure projects a hydroelectric dam, a new motorway, a large-scale drainage scheme and an industrial waste dump site. A striking result from those case studies, from the point of view of ecosystem service valuation, is that decision-makers were ready to fund and implement these infrastructure projects despite a cost-benefit balance that was negative to the order of tens or hundreds of millions of euros.
In "Tools for what trade? More policy-oriented arguments also claim that economic valuation is just "another tool in the policy box", and what harm could there be in experimenting with new instruments? The EU ETS started out as one tool — albeit the favored one by key EU bureaucrats — in the EU's policy package for tackling climate change, alongside binding national targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. We do not let the ETS do the heavy lifting that is why a carbon market with a single target is needed.
Get rid of all the other targets and policies and let the carbon market do the technology dispersion", David Hone of Shell said at a carbon markets conference organized by the German Government in April The experience of how a major fossil fuel company like Shell has been able to frame the failure of the EU ETS to produce the carbon price that had been expected as a problem not with the ETS but with other policy approaches such as binding targets for renewable energy or energy efficiency — and how the EU proposal for the next climate and energy policy package is suggesting to scale back the "competition" by scrapping nationally binding targets for renewable energy — provides a stark lesson on what could be at stake in the experiment with economic valuation of nature as "just another tool in the policy box".
Economic valuation as a way to "t ransform environmental legislation into tradable instruments" . Few who share his objective have been as explicit about the purpose they see for economic valuation of nature as Pedro Moura Costa, co-founder of Bolsa Verde Rio BVRio. Such a transformation turns a "zero biodiversity loss" or "zero land sealing" policy goal into " net zero biodiversity loss" or " net zero land sealing" where exceeding the limit in one place is acceptable if it is compensated by extra protection or less pollution elsewhere.
Such a transformation requires measurable units that are comparable to each other so they can be traded between those who pollute less than the law allows and want to sell their excess "pollution rights" and those who wish to exceed pollution limits and can do so legally by acquiring additional "pollution rights" or "rights to destroy".
These units are often referred to as "offset credits".
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In a similar manner, the Clean Development Mechanism, one of the "flexible mechanisms" under the Kyoto Protocol, allowed companies in industrialized countries to pay someone elsewhere in the global South to reduce emissions for them while they exceeded the greenhouse gas emissions limit by continuing to burn fossil fuels as before.
The offset mechanism allowed an industrialized country or a company in these countries to emit more CO 2 than the Protocol permitted. Despite overshooting the limit they could still claim to have complied with their Kyoto Protocol reduction target because they had paid someone elsewhere to make a reduction for them. The revision of the Code enables land owners who had previously destroyed more forest than allowed by law to avoid restoring the illegally destroyed forest on their own land and instead buy "forest restoration credits" from someone elsewhere who had destroyed less forest than the law allowed.
One result of such changes in environmental legislation: maximum levels of destruction or pollution become the new minimum because every unit of pollution or destruction below the legal maximum acquires an economic value as a tradable right to pollute. Instead of reducing pollution or destruction of nature, such changes to environmental legislation thus will always ultimately result in higher levels of pollution and destruction compared to standard "command-and-control" approaches: Every unused legal permission that previously would have led to levels of pollution or destruction staying below the legal maximum if the right was not exercised in a specific location can now be transferred to those wanting to pollute or destroy more than the law allows and for whom the cost of acquiring the credit is less than the profit made with continued pollution or destruction at their production site.
Changing environmental legislation is a process that does not happen overnight. There are therefore still relatively few examples revealing the full extent of how economic valuation and "natural capital" perceptions of nature are transforming environmental legislation into tradable instruments. What is already becoming apparent, however, is that the most popular application of economic valuation of nature is offsetting. World Business Council for Sustainable Development member Rio Tinto, for example, is implementing "biodiversity offset" projects to supposedly compensate environmental destruction caused by its controversial mining sites in Madagascar and Mongolia.
Rio Tinto is clear about the end to which it intends to apply economic valuation of ecosystem services: "The growing focus on exploration in developing countries means that there is potential for land-use conflict to become an increasingly significant issue for Rio Tinto. The Biodiversity Strategy was adopted in to manage the threats and opportunities presented by biodiversity and ecosystem service issues.
Biodiversity offsets will help Rio Tinto achieve the goal of net positive impact, while meeting legal requirements and maximizing conservation gains. The World Bank sees potential not only for the mining industry but also for oil palm and forestry corporations to profit from such a plan.
In the EU, the European Commission is exploring ways to extend to other environmental policy areas the pollution trading approach introduced with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the central policy instrument for reducing greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Union's industrial sectors.
In , the European Commission also explored proposals for introducing a trade-off scheme for pollutants in the EU's Clean Air Package. A policy change to "no net air pollution" would make the existing policy instrument that regulates air pollutants in the EU, the National Emissions Ceiling NEC Directive, largely ineffective in restricting pollution at the most polluted sites because excess pollution in one place could be compensated with "below-maximum" levels of pollution elsewhere in the EU.
While the application of these new market-based mechanisms is still at an early stage, what is beyond doubt is that "net zero" is not zero. It allows the continuation of business-as-usual industrial production that depends on destroying or polluting nature in places where legal or moral restrictions limit the destruction. Offsetting can thus help corporations maintain a social license to destroy which in turn undermines local resistance to such destruction: "Where's the problem", a mining company or a palm oil trader might argue, "the ecosystem service units we have destroyed here will be recreated or preserved elsewhere".
Economic valuation as a tool to achieve fairer compensation for victims of environmental catastrophes or those affected by ecological destruction. Another important argument for economic valuation of "ecosystem services" is its application as a tool to achieve fairer compensation for victims of environmental catastrophes or for communities negotiating compensation packages, e. Judges or negotiators for these communities, it is argued, would benefit from better information about the economic value of the ecosystem services the land provided and that the communities are forced to give up, or that was destroyed by an oil or chemical spill.
In such cases, would more detailed accounts of the economic value of the nature in question really contribute to a better outcome? Or might providing economic figures derived from the new techniques of valuing "ecosystem services" only muddy the discussion over the nature of the fine or compensation and elevate monetary payments above non-monetary components of compensation?
In "The Price of an Apology"  environmental philosopher John O'Neill explains why economic valuation of nature is unlikely to improve implementation of the "polluter pays" principle. He does so by exploring the role economic estimates play in elaborating judgements in different judicial traditions. He shows that in most if not all judicial traditions, monetary compensation may play a role but that the issue is not the economic "accuracy" of the fine even if this could be determined — which is impossible , but its place in a larger, socially-accepted process to right a wrong.
The state's judicial system and the common or traditional processes set up to determine the action needed to right a wrong will each have their own set of procedures. Applying new "ecosystem service" valuation methodologies may not be of much use to judges involved in setting penalties for polluters whose actions have permanently damaged a fishery upon which a community has always depended. Worse, insofar as economic valuation involves creating new points of consensus and building faith in the "accuracy" of ever more elaborate and technical ecosystem service accounts, judges and juries may begin to place more emphasis on the monetary payment aspect of legal judgements.
This risks reducing the importance of non-monetary aspects, such as public apologies, public recognition of the wrong and commitment to change future behavior. Another consideration often overlooked by advocates of economic valuation of nature as a means to improve implementation of the polluter pays principle is that monetary compensation is used in two very different contexts. One context is retrospective: Courts have to determine what losses or damage individuals or communities have suffered because of an oil spill or other accident.
Even in those cases, compensation is understood to consist of much more than a mere transfer of money from one bank account to another, as briefly touched on above. In the other context, compensation becomes part of a forward-looking project evaluation, in which a decision has to be made whether to allow future destruction. In many such examples, the people to be compensated reject the idea of monetary compensation altogether. The response of a member of an adivasi tribal community in the Narmada Valley in western India who was offered compensation for displacement as a result of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is indicative:.
What is the state compensating us for? For our land, for our fields, for the trees along our fields. Are you going to compensate us for our forest? What is the price of this? What price this land? Our gods, the support of those who are our kin — what price do you have for these? Our adivasi life — what price do you put on it?
For many who support the use of economic valuation as a way of presenting more accurate compensation estimates for damage after, say, an oil spill, the use of economic valuation to serve to justify future destruction is problematic. But it is in this prospective context of compensation, for future damages, that most economic valuation initiatives are taking place.
Here, economic valuation serves to justify future destruction through advance payment in the form of compensation packages, biodiversity banking and conservation "offsets". And — there is no firewall between the methodologies used or the institutions involved: The same economic valuation techniques and methodologies will be used irrespective of whether the context is retrospective or prospective — where the calculations help pave the way for more destruction of nature where otherwise such destruction would jeopardize a companies' social license to operate. Talking about "nature" in the language of economists and corporations — as "natural capital", a "highly efficient and valuable factory" producing "ecosystem services" — might appear a minor concession worth making if the result is better protection of nature.
However, creating this visibility to the economic eye requires abstractions that may in the end result in much more far-reaching changes to how we understand nature than initially imagined. Many involved in the policy discourse underestimate the agency of abstractions — how abstractions and the application of accounting procedures will shape, not just report how we see nature.
Carrying out the necessary abstractions is already resulting in much conflict and dispute because the phrase "units of ecosystem service" has neither a pre-defined meaning nor a metrical or other unit in which it can be expressed. Creating a nature of "ecosystem services" thus involves choosing exactly which relationships that co-create the complex web of life will symbolize the different ecosystem services that are to represent nature as a whole. It involves defining what parts of a particular nature actually make up the ecosystem service "bee pollination" or "water purification" or "biodiversity" or "carbon cycling capacity" of a forest or peatland, etc..
Their presence or absence, scarcity or abundance will be irrelevant to the economic value of nature because that value will be determined exclusively through valuation of the relationships included in the definition of the "ecosystem services" to be measured. Karl Polanyi's "Great Transformation" and Timothy Mitchell's "Rule of Experts"  for example, describe how abstraction for recording in accounts will change the relations between goods that are exchanged and the web of relations that created the good.
In "The nature that capital can see", Morgan Robertson describes how the attempts at agreeing on an uncontroversial measure for "functioning wetland ecosystem" related to the US Clean Water Act's option for trading wetland credits have shown " that legal and capital logics [of selling ecosystem services] require information about ecosystem services that scientists cannot provide in an uncontroversial way.
Conflicts are also inevitable: Management so as to increase those relationships included in the definition and thus maximize their economic value will often lead to negative effects on other relationships that are not measured because they are not recognized in the definition. As for us here, all of the territory of Muara Tae has a high value.
The territory of Muara Tae is a daily source of livelihood. For farming, for gardening. So if you want to find high value, all of Muara Tae has value. Furthermore, definitions described in lengthy ecosystem service valuation handbooks often sound convincing to policy makers and economists but practitioners will immediately recognize them as impossible to apply.
The definition of each "ecosystem service" must at the same time be specific enough to separate one kind of "ecosystem service" from a related but distinct kind and general enough to also capture the relations that make up the same "ecosystem service" in different locations. Morgan Robertson describes the difficulty this poses for identification of what passes as a "wetlands credit" under the US Clean Water Act. The herbaceous plant Aster simplex , for example, is used in US government regulations as indicator of the presence of a functioning wetland ecosystem.
But there remains an unresolved scientific dispute over where one species of Aster begins and another ends; "there is, in fact, no current consensus on the very existence of a coherent and discrete species called Aster simplex ", Morgan Robertson writes. This scientific dispute now creates a problem for the practitioner who at any time of the year and with a reasonable investment of time the UK government, e. If Aster simplex is present, it does — and the owner of the wetland can sell wetland credits in regional wetland credit markets.
The identification of a plant specimen as Aster simplex thereby takes on relevance far beyond the scientific dispute over classification — it becomes a question of whether the ecosystem service "functioning wetland ecosystem" exists, and thus the wetland units become bearers of value as tradable credits. The example of wetlands credit trading demonstrates another peculiarity in "ecosystem service" markets that also holds true for carbon or biodiversity credits: The credits are traded even though no-one is quite certain what it is they are trading, or whether there is actually equivalence between the credits that are traded.
Robertson writes that in the case of wetland credits, "the process of asserting and testifying to their equivalence and comparability with other wetland credits is terribly complicated, and almost bespoke. Ecosystem service entrepreneurs continue to offer proposals for categorization and impatient investors push for more abstract definitions of their assets," while each attempt at further abstraction has been contested. Assessing the potential of trading the ecosystem service "carbon cycling capacity" of forests in carbon markets, The Munden Project wrote in that " forest carbon lacks a clearly defined process that is reliable in producing similar outcomes across different scenarios ", that "there is no clearly defined process for forest carbon accounting" and that "as an asset, forest carbon is currently created using a vague, malleable and insufficiently repeatable set of processes.
As long as the regulators — governments that adopt environmental legislation that includes the option to trade pollution or destruction credits — accept the credits traded as equivalent even when they are not able to verify that such equivalence exists, those interested in continuing to pollute or destroy nature will buy them. For the protection of the actual "ecosystem service", however, such trading where equivalence cannot be guaranteed — which is the case in all "ecosystem service" compensation schemes in existence — is bad news because it means that no ecosystem service equivalent to what has been destroyed or polluted over and above the legal limit has been protected elsewhere.
Economic valuation combines the appeal of the terms "value" and "nature" but puts them into an exclusively economistic context: While "value" has many non-monetary connotations as proponents of economic valuation of nature are quick to point out , a monetary value — a price — is what matters for economic valuation. The financial services industries are interested in economic valuation of nature as a way to create new assets and financial products that might provide new opportunities for investment and speculation.
Industrial land users who are increasingly facing sustained resistance to their continued destruction of biodiversity and who fear impending limits that might be put on the "raw materials" and the land that they appropriate hope to use the concept to transform legal restrictions so they ensure access to resources against payment of an additional fee. Ecological economists seek to employ economic valuation of nature as a means to "green GDP" through accounting for the cost of destruction that results from treating nature as an externality.
To politicians, economic valuation tools enable environmental regulation that establishes limits to environmental destruction they are doing something without unduly restricting economic growth. The World Bank and UNEP as well as international conservation NGOs engaged in land management see economic valuation as a way to increase funding for nature conservation.
Another appeal of the concept of economic valuation of nature resides in the possibility "to get it exactly backwards". Ecological economist Herman Daly, a strong proponent of economic valuation of nature, points out how some fellow proponents of the approach, in his view, "get it exactly backwards " : "The biggest mistake in integrating economics and ecology is confusion about which is the Part and which is the Whole. Given this fundamental misconception, it is not hard to understand how other errors follow, and how some economists, imagining that the ecosphere is part of the economy, get confused about valuation of natural capital.
More likely than confused misconception, perhaps, is that it's this exactly this openness of the concept to "misunderstanding" that provides its appeal. My commands ignore" . This paper has outlined why economic valuation is much less about recognizing nature's value and much more about putting a price on nature's destruction while leaving questions of power, winners and losers untouched.
The numbers that economic valuation of "ecosystem services" produces are everything but "hard facts"; they conceal hidden value judgements and implicit trade-offs. With regard to the various claims and arguments used to advance the economic valuation of nature, the paper concludes that:. The paper also concludes that making complexity legible — in this case through questionable numbers for a selection of ecosystem services — does not help to resolve questions of winners and losers, trade-offs, and who has the right to decide and the might to enforce a particular land-use change.
It therefore seems advisable to heed the critical reflection of an economist who was party to the data and methodology production required to invent the GDP: " These figures have been produced and people use them. They will continue to be produced, and people will continue to use them.
If we were starting afresh, I would have a great deal of sympathy with what has been said about not using a single figure, and not even producing one. Whether economic valuation of nature is seen as an opportunity to seize or a threat to oppose depends on what we consider a cause and what a symptom of current ecological crises, on motivations and values, and on the kinds of societies and economies we wish to construct. Do we really want to take away the sacred and mysterious and replace it with measurable service units that are swapped on trading screens and pretend the two are the same?
Or is it our responsibility towards future generations to resist the temptation of protecting nature by adopting the language and concepts of economists and corporations? It seems more important than ever that, acknowledging that failures, obstacles and resistance will be certain, we must insist on reinserting the political into the environmental discourse. The alternative to economic valuation of nature is to talk about why nature is made invisible in our current economic system, and why it is so appealing to politicians and corporate leaders to re-define nature, not economy: The alternative is to talk about power and privilege, about injustice and ecological debt; to insist that the moment is long overdue to re-define "economy" so as to fit in with nature instead of retreating into an accountant's debate about where one unit of ecosystem service ends and the other begins and which ones can be destroyed because they are being re-created somewhere else.
That does not mean that money is never a useful incentive for protecting nature, or that there is no justification for paying those who guard rather than destroy nature. The point is that no accounting of ecosystem service units is needed to employ financial incentives to protect nature. The shortcomings of such incentives may certainly be addressed and their functioning improved.
But they have shown that they can work because they have made it increasingly difficult for those places we commonly refer to as nature to be destroyed without conflict and opposition. It is this effectiveness of existing environmental legislation that the re-definition of nature as a collection of exchangeable service units threatens to eliminate. Carbon Trade Watch : Green is the colour of money. Coelho, R. O'Connor, M. Capitalism Nature Socialism. Volume 4, Issue 3, Lohmann, L. Mitchell, T. Egypt, Techno-Politics, and Modernity.
U of California Press. Robertson, M.
Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services
Kritische Studien zur Geschichtswissenschaft, Bd. Temper, L. It documented the devastating effects of the indiscriminate use of pesticides, particularly on birds. More than 1, experts worldwide were involved. Its principal objective is to mainstream the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making at all levels. It aims to achieve this goal by following a structured approach to valuation that helps decision-makers recognize the wide range of benefits provided by ecosystems and biodiversity, demonstrate their values in economic terms and, where appropriate, capture those values in decision-making.
It is supported by several governments and international institutions and additional corporations and business groups have signed the declaration since. Special Report No.
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