aAs we discuss how best to integrate environmental and economic goals, it is perhaps worth remembering that even central bankers need to eat, drink, and breathe fresh air. Food and water security, protection from weather extremes, the carbon cycle, public health, and the renewal of the air we breathe all depend on nature. It does not mean that nature is part of our economy, it is a part of it Our entire economic system is a wholly owned subsidiary of nature.
During recent years, there have been a series of expert reviews that have revealed the magnitude of the social and economic risks that accompany the ongoing degradation of nature. Some interpret these results as a reason to oppose economic growth. However, the main question is not about growth per se, but the style and quality of growth we seek. Growth that destroys nature will eventually stop. Economic development that, by contrast, is moving toward net greenhouse gas emissions and nature restoration is an entirely different prospect.
There are compelling examples of countries that have chosen this strategy. In the 1980s the Costa Rican government She decided to break the mold of growth resulting from environmental destruction, and instead embarked on a nature restoration program. Fast forward to 2010 and the country has already done it Not only the natural forest cover doubledbut also per capita GDP.
Here in the UK there is clear evidence of the benefits of a similar integrated approach. Restoring 55% of the UK’s peatlands to their near natural state would store carbon worth at least £45 billion, According to the study International Union for Conservation of Nature. Creating 100,000 hectares of wetlands at the top of major towns and cities can produce Benefit-cost ratio up to 9:1. Nature is also a major factor in the well-being of our residents, with one report It estimates that in 2020, the health benefits of outdoor recreation amounted to at least £6.2 billion.
Nature also supports big companies. Natural capital financing estimated that 13 of the 18 sectors that make up the FTSE 100 In 2018, operations were heavily dependent on natural capital (such as food and water), which is equivalent to three-quarters of the FTSE 100’s market capitalization. UK stock of natural capital assets On which are these estimated benefits in 2019 of £1.2 trillion. Globally, the services provided by ecosystems maintain the benefits It is valued at around $125 trillion year – more than one and a half times the size of global GDP. With the benefit of all this knowledge, GDP growth with the deterioration of the natural systems that enable it to exist in the first place is definitely the economics of a crazy house.
This is particularly the case when the costs of neglecting nature are revealed. 2021 You can study The global costs of environmental damage are already around $7 trillion per year and will double within a decade. Subtracting these costs from the raw measures of GDP growth, it becomes clear that narrow measures of economic progress are in fact an illusion derived from the incomplete measurement.
The UK was on a path that could deliver the shared economic recovery necessary in the face of the climate and nature emergencies, generating jobs and wealth at the same time as net zero carbon emissions and restoring the natural world. Post-EU agriculture policy and the toolkit contained in the Environment Act 2021 are among the powerful new levers we have to move forward in achieving environmental recovery goals, in the process of stimulating innovation, resilience and food and water security. The opportunity to use these and other policies and objectives to promote long-term economic and environmental growth is an unhistoric one, and one in which the government and its partners have invested a great deal of effort in recent years.
As government advisors and delivery partners on nature, natural england We look forward to working with a wide range of our partners in advancing our goal of preserving and enhancing the natural environment, and ensuring the sustainability of the economic recovery that the country is working towards.
Tony Juniper CBE is President of Natural England. Prior to taking up this position in April 2019, he was Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK, Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and President of the Wildlife Federation.