Indian-origin expert's UK climate review calls for accountability of nature in global economics

Aditi Khanna
·3-min read

London, Feb 2 (PTI) A fundamental change in how we think about and approach economics is needed to reverse biodiversity loss and the impact on nature can no longer be a blind spot in global economic analysis, a leading British Indian economist led independent global review concluded on Tuesday.

Professor Partha Dasgupta’s ‘The Economics of Biodiversity’, commissioned by the UK’s Treasury department and launched at the Royal Society by Prince Charles, is dubbed as the first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for biodiversity.

His findings warn that humanity has collectively mismanaged its global portfolio of assets, meaning the demands on nature far exceed its capacity to supply the goods and services we all rely on.

“I welcome Professor Dasgupta’s Review, which makes clear that protecting and enhancing nature needs more than good intentions – it requires concerted, coordinated action,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“This year is critical in determining whether we can stop and reverse the concerning trend of fast-declining biodiversity… As co-host of COP26 [United Nations climate summit] and president of this year’s G7, we are going to make sure the natural world stays right at the top of the global agenda,” he said.

Dasgupta’s review argues that nature is the most precious asset and that significant declines in biodiversity are undermining the productivity, resilience and adaptability of nature. This in turn has put our economies, livelihoods and well-being at risk.

“Nature is our home. Good economics demands we manage it better,” said Dasgupta.

“Truly sustainable economic growth and development mean recognising that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them,' he said.

'It also means accounting fully for the impact of our interactions with nature across all levels of society. COVID-19 has shown us what can happen when we don’t do this,” he said.

The review makes clear that urgent and transformative action taken now would be significantly less costly than delay. It calls for urgent and transformative change in how we think, act and measure economic success and sets out the ways in which we should account for nature in economics and decision-making.

“If we want to realise the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark Review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets,” said UK environment secretary George Eustice.

“Protecting and enhancing our natural assets, and the biodiversity that underpins them are crucial to achieving a sustainable, resilient economy. That is why the UK is already investing more than 600 million pounds in nature-based climate solutions, such as tree planting and peatland restoration,” said Treasury minister Kemi Badenoch.

The review sets out three broad areas of focus, including ensuring humanity’s demands on nature do not exceed its sustainable supply and adopting a different metrics for economic success to move towards an inclusive measure of wealth that accounts for the benefits from investing in natural assets.

It also includes transforming institutions and systems to enable these changes and sustain them for future generations.

“This comprehensive and immensely important report shows us how by bringing economics and ecology face to face, we can help to save the natural world and in doing so save ourselves,' said broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough, who joined Prince Charles for the review launch. PTI AK NSA NSA