Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Global Biodiversity Loss Estimated at 14 Trillion Euros

A new report commissioned by the European Commission - 'The Cost of Policy Inaction (COPI): The case of not meeting the 2010 biodiversity target' - indicates that biodiversity is set to continue declining. Key drivers of biodiversity loss include overexploitation, invasion of non-native species and conversion of natural habitat to agricultural landscapes.

It has long been known that ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services to humankind, such as the provision of clean water, climate regulation, food and clothing, flood protection to mention but a few. Although these goods and services (Ecosystem Services (ES)) provided by biodiversity have been widely recognised, so far efforts to put a monetary value on these services has proved difficult at best.

The new report attempts to value ecosystem services in terms of the cost to the global economy of future biodiversity loss as a result of policy inaction. The study used a baseline valuation from 2000 to extrapolate ES loss to 2050, assuming predicted population growth takes place with the associated demand for energy and resources and that average global GDP increases 2.8% per annum with the highest growth in China and India.

The key findings of the study include:

  • 50 billion Euros worth of biodiversity providing ecosystem services is being lost each year
  • Land-based ecosystem loss is estimated at 545 billion Euros by 2010
  • Annual loss in ecosystem services from biodiversity loss could exceed 14 trillion Euros by 2050
This study is part of a much larger research effort on a global scale: The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity. It is hoped this study will result in a much wider global awareness of the cost of losing biodiversity and associated ES to mankind in an economic context, and ultimately result in a 'valuation toolkit' that will provide environmental economists and policy-makers a standardised approach to ES valuation.

Download the report here:

Target agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. See:

BES members and blog readers are invited to comment on this article

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