Climate Catalysts: What’s A Planet Worth?

An independent report commissioned by the UK’s Treasury details groundbreaking research into the economics of biodiversity loss

The Earth as seen from the Apollo capsule. Source: NASA

Executive Summary

  • The Economics of Diversity: The Dasgupta Review, an independent report commissioned by the British government in 2019 was published by its lead author, Sir Partha Dasgupta, a professor of economics at Cambridge University, in February 2021.
  • This in-depth report, the first of its kind, finds that the demands we are making on Nature “far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on.”
  • The Dasgupta Report attempts to quantitatively model a monetary value for the goods and services Nature provides human civilization for “free,” discusses the management of nature-related financial risk and uncertainty and sets forth ideas for how the public and private financial sectors might be harnessed to spur a sustainability revolution.
  • In this article, I mention Blue Nest Beef and PrairieFood and quote a recent conversation with Mr. Jimmy Emmons, a regenerative farmer and rancher in Oklahoma.

The Research

First, a confession: I have not read the report.

  • Between 1992 and 2014, assets produced per person roughly doubled but the stock of natural capital per person declined by nearly 40%. (Headline Messages)
  • Current extinction rates are 100 to 1,000 times higher than at any time in human history. (Headline Messages)
  • Around one-sixth of the carbon footprint of the average diet for a citizen in the EU is directly linked to tropical deforestation. (Abridged Version)
  • Natural ecosystems have been easily ignored in economic and political conversations to this point because they are silent (e.g., trees), invisible (e.g., underground fungi and microorganisms), and / or mobile (e.g., schools of fish).

Why This Research Matters

Economics is the science of how to make choices when confronted with limitations.

Passionate about harnessing the power of the free market to solve humanity’s biggest adaptation challenge.