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Archive for the ‘Sustainable Leaders’ Category

Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services are provided to us free by nature and contribute invisible or unaccounted for economic value to our global economy, including such simple things as clean air, clean water and the ability to grow crops.

Inspired by the 2006 Stern Review for Climate Change, the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative, a G8+5 commissioned project, has taken on the challenge to draw attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity, and highlight the growing cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

TEEB provides guidance to important policy makers, national governments, local governments and regional decision makers, to help them internalise the value of nature in proper policy making frameworks, in order to properly account for these valuable services.

The top 3,000 businesses are estimated to have externalities of almost $2.1 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.5% of global GDP, every year. These significant externalities can be described as third party (or external) effects arising from the production and/or consumption of goods and services, for which no appropriate compensation is paid.

It is believed that accounting for these externalities and our preciously-limited Natural Capital now, will result in significant cost savings in the future. If we continue our current consumption levels of these valuable services, without accounting for them, the cost of replicating them once they have been exhausted, is almost incalculable.

To find out more, see this video where the TEEB Study Leader and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Special Adviser introduces and explains the project.

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With today being International Women’s Day, we decided to feature Vicki Arroyo, a woman who is becoming increasingly influential in the field of environmental law and policy. Her efforts to educate and shape not only our views about climate change mitigation but to be the catalyst for collective action in every level of society is a life-long struggle that she truly believes in.

She campaigns across the world, to convince every level of our global society from the individual to the policy-makers in the US Government and decision-makers on the international stage that we need to avoid the oft used default policy of planning based on Stationarity, which is the notion that we can anticipate the future based on the past, and plan accordingly.

In an excellent thought-provoking TED Talk entitled ‘Let’s prepare for our new climate’, she discusses how “climate change is affecting our homes, our communities, our way of life,” and that “we should be preparing at every scale and at every opportunity,” to account for this unprecedented change.

Arroyo continues by explaining that it is up to us to us to find ways to plan and to prepare for these new challenges, and in doing so, find ways not only survive but to thrive within this ever-changing environment and encourages us to call on our government leaders and require them to do the same.

Vicki Arroyo is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown University Law Center where she is also a Visiting Professor. She oversees the Centre’s work at the nexus of climate and energy policy, supervising staff and student work on climate mitigation and adaptation at the state and federal level, to find viable solutions to climate change’s inevitable disruptions to our current practices.

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