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Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

International Society for Ecological Economics ISEE Conference 16-19 June 2012, Rio de JaneiroECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS AND RIO+20: CONTRIBUTIONS AND CHALLENGES FOR A GREEN ECONOMY GUANABARA I Ecological Debt and Indigenous Peoples Chair: Bernardo Aguilar-Gonzalez [950] RECORDING ECOLOGICAL DEBTS IN THE NATIONAL ACCOUNTS: POSSIBILITIES OPEN BY THE DEVELOPMENT OF ECOSYSTEM CAPITAL ACCOUNTS JEAN-LOUIS WEBERSpecial Adviser on Economic Environmental Accounting European Environment Agency


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Ecosystems are “privately produced public goods” (Chichilnisky, 1997).

As private assets, they are owned and managed in view of benefits.

As public good, they are “non-exclusive, non-rival”: everyone has the same right to use them

 When an economic agent degrades ecosystems by its activity, it creates a debt to victimized communities and/or to the society in general


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

The degradation of ecosystems’ capability to deliver biomass, freshwater and natural cycles regulation or socio-cultural services is not recorded in companies’ accounting books and in national accounts.

Therefore depreciation is not charged in the price of our consumptionof commodities.

Consuming ecosystem capital without paying is equivalent to create ecological debts that are transmitted to others, to our present and future generations or to those countries from which we import products produced under unsustainable conditions.


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Ecosystem capital simplified accounts are currently being implemented in Europe by the European Environment Agency.

Their objective is to measure the ecosystem resources that are accessible without degradation, the actual intensity of use of this accessible resource and the change in the capability of ecosystems to deliver their services over time.

Such accounts can be implemented world-wide now to measure ecological debts embedded into international trade.

Debts can be measured in physical units, not only in money


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

The framework of Simplified Ecosystem Capital Accounts:

Ecosystem capital capability (& degradation) can be measured by combining the measurements of 3 broad ecosystem services:

biomass/carbon, freshwater and systemic services

carbon

there is little or no compensation or tradeoff between them; the use of one should not reduce the use of the others

biomass/carbon, freshwater are firstly recorded as conventional balances

systemic services (regulating, socio-cultural…) are measured indirectly in relation to ecosystem integrity.

systemic services

water

The simplified ecosystem capital accounting circuit

Ecosystem capital

depreciation

Ecological debts

Calculating economic aggregate

Healthy ecosystem

benefit

Adapted from

Aoyama Yukiko, Oguro Michio, and Yano Tohru,

Tohoku University, Sendai,Japan, November 2011

Ecosystem degradation


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Land cover, landscape units, 1km2 grids and calculation of ecosystem capability

Accessible Carbon

“+”

4

2

6

1

5

4

Accessible Water

6

4

10

8

4

3

“+”

Landscape integrity, biodiversity


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Land cover, landscape units, 1km2 grids and calculation of ecosystem capability

Accessible Carbon

“+”

12

6

12

4

2

5

1

4

10

10

Accessible Water

20

20

6

4

15

15

10

8

4

3

“+”

Landscape integrity, biodiversity

“=”

Total ecosystem capital capability

(or potential)


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Development

Capability2

Capability1

9

12

-3

11

10

+1

20

12

-8

12

15

-3

Degradation

Time 1

Time 2

Capability2 – Capability1 = Change in capital

Adapted from

Aoyama Yukiko, Oguro Michio, and Yano Tohru

Tohoku University, Sendai,Japan, November 2011


Ecu a composite currency to measure ecosystem degradation and ecological debts and credits

ECU: a composite currency to measure ecosystem degradation, and ecological debts and credits

In physical accounts, measurements are made in basic units (tons, joules, m3 or ha) and converted to a special composite currency named ECU for ‘Ecosystem Capability Unit’.

The price of one physical unit (e.g. 1 ton of biomass) in ECU expresses at the same time the intensity of use of the resource in terms of maximum sustainable yield and the direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem condition (e.g. contamination or biodiversity loss). Loss of ecosystem capability in ECU is a measurement of ecological debt.


Ecu ecosystem capability unit

ECU: Ecosystem Capability Unit

1 ECU = 1 unit of accessible ecosystem service

The price of one physical unit (e.g. 1 ton of biomass) in ECU expresses at the same time the intensity of use of the resource in terms of maximum sustainable yield and the direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem condition (e.g. contamination or biodiversity loss).

François 1st (1515-1547), Ecu d'or au soleil du Dauphiné, Source : Münzen & Medaillen GmbH (DE)


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Measuring ecological debts and credits is a pre-condition of action.

Ecological debts and credits in ECU can be new financial instruments, embedded in portfolios of governments and companies.

They can be taken into accounts in a range of financial mechanisms.


Ecosystems are privately produced public goods chichilnisky 1997

Thank you!

Jean-Louis Weber

[email protected]


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