Valuing The Environment Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONEnvironmental — страница 4

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distorted towards the values of those with the highest incomes (Beder, 1996). Finally, some believe that any attempt to value the environment is as absurd as trying to determine the value of family or freedom. As biology professor, David Ehrenfield states, it does not occur to us that by assigning value to diversity we merely legitimise the process that is wiping it out, the process that says: the first thing that matters in any important decision is the tangible magnitude of the dollar costs and benefits. People are afraid that if they do not express their fears and concerns in this language they will be laughed at, they will not be listened to. This may be true…But true or not, it is certain that if we persist in this crusade to determine value where value ought to be

evident, we will be left with nothing but our greed when the dust finally settles. (Quoted in Beder, 1996) CONCLUSIONS This essay has described a few of the valuation techniques that are now being used to establish monetary values on environmental assets in an attempt to place them on a level playing field. The environmental effects of a development can now be assessed at the design stage and measures can be taken to mitigate or avoid potential hazards. None of the methods of valuation discussed earlier is altogether satisfactory and each only measures some aspects of the environment. The opponents of these techniques believe that the environmental assets are beyond any sensible monetary valuation and that these techniques are bound to fail as they rely on the preferences of the

current generation of people, disregarding any other living beings, present or future. As with any discipline that studies human behaviour, the valuations cannot and should not be expected to be 100% accurate (Barde and Pearce, 1991). These techniques can easily be manipulated by agencies and individuals having vested interests. It is thus imperative that the public and decision makers realise that valuation techniques per se are not panaceas to the environmental problems we are facing. Despite their inaccuracies and other limitations the author believes that these techniques can have a positive role to play in protecting the environment, if carefully applied. As Turner et al. say: economic (monetary) valuation of non-market environmental assets may be more or less imperfect

given the particular asset together with its environmental and valuation contexts; but, invariably, some valuation explicitly laid out for scrutiny by policy-makers and the public, is better than none, because none can mean some implicit valuation shrouded from public scrutiny (1994, p.109). REFERENCES : Abelson P., 1979, Cost benefit analysis and the environmental problems, Saxon House, Great Britain Barde JP. and Pearce D.W. (eds.), 1991, Valuing the Environment: Six case studies, Earthscan, London Costanza R. et al., 1997, The value of the world s ecosystem services and natural capital, in Nature, vol. 387, no. 6230, 15th May Dobson A.,(ed.), 1991, The Green Reader, Andre Deutsch, London Hanley N. and Spash C., 1993, Cost-benefit analysis and the environment, Edward Elgar

Publishing Ltd, Great Britain Jacobs M., 1991, The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future, Pluto Press, London Pearce D., 1993, Economic values and the natural world, Earthscan, London Smith M.J. (ed.), 1999, Thinking through the environment : A reader, Routledge, London Turner K., Pearce D. and Bateman I., 1994, Environmental Economics: An elementary introduction, Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hertfordshire World Wide Web: Partha Dasgupta, 1996, The Economics of the Environment in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 90, pp. 165 221 Can We Put a Price on Nature’s Services? By Mark Sagoff National Centre for Environmental Decision-making Research (NCEDR) , 1996, Cost Benefit analysis and Environmental Decision making, US Gregory R., 1998, Identifying Environmental Values, in Tools to Aid Environmental Decision Making, by Dale V.H. and English M.R (eds.), Springer-Verlag Web version of Beder S., 1996, The Environment Goes to Market, as submitted for publication in Democracy and Nature