It’s a capitalists’ mistake not having fully incorporated nature as part of capital.
Until now, and in the worst way.
From 1970 to 2008, the earth system has lost 30 percent of its biodiversity. In tropical areas, the loss has even been as high as 60 percent. This is the result of an economic system that monetizes nature as a “thing”, objectified as this forever-flowing resource to be exploited, sold, transformed, and profited from.
So let’s take a closer look at “green economy”, which looks a little bit (I mean, a lot) like transnational corporations promoting more capitalism under the ambiguous moniker.
Back to biodiversity; We’re in a great struggle to preserve biodiversity, but how do we put a price on the free services that plants, animals, and ecosystems offer humanity? Back up a sec, what do you mean, “put a price on”?
Specific functions of ecosystems and biodiversity that can be priced and then put out into a global market are being identified as “Natural Capital”.
The following is an excerpt from a report by Ecosystem Marketplace of what motivates Green Economy advocates:
Given their enormous impact on our daily lives, it’s astounding that we don’t pay more atten¬tion, or dollars, to ecosystem services. Ecosystems provide trillions of dollars in clean water, flood protection, fertile lands, clean air, pollination, disease control – to mention just a few. These services are essential to maintaining livable conditions and are delivered by the world’s largest utilities. Far larger in value and scale than any electric, gas, or water utility could pos¬sibly dream of. And the infrastructure, or hard assets, that generate these services are simply: healthy ecosystems.
So how do we secure this enormously valuable infrastructure and its services? The same way we would electricity, potable water, or natural gas. We pay for it.
Next steps are privatizing functions and processes of nature and then labeling them “environmental services”, setting a price and putting it out on the market. The report also includes estimates of annual values of these “environmental services”.
REDD(Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)’s purpose is to isolate one of the functions of the forest, like it’s ability to capture and store carbon, and then measure how much CO2 it can capture. Once the value of the potential carbon storage of the forest has been estimated, carbon credits are issued and sold to wealthy countries and behemoth corporations who buy/sell these credits as polluting permits in the carbon markets.
If Indonesia has a deforestation rate of 1,700,000 hectares per year and only deforests 1,500,000 next year, it’ll be able to sell in the REDD market the carbon credits for teh amount of CO2 that’s stored by the remaining 200,000!
Corporations purchasing the credits still release CO2 into the atmosphere, as they’ve essentially bought polluting permits for the rich. (Kind of like how some religious organizations will sell “free passes” to commit wrongs under many guises and names, methinks)
Big deal: Only countries that REDUCE their deforestation will be able to put carbon credits in the REDD market. So if a place has always preserved its forest, they won’t be able to sell any carbon credits from reduction of deforestation. Results include countries that are cutting down trees with the purpose of increasing deforestation later, so that in the future the “reduction of deforestation” will be higher and they’ll be able to put more carbon credits onto the market.
That’s just the “green economy” for forests: the entire system is about monetizing nature and cheating everyone.
You can see where this will lead.
Lots of market-based solutions require monetizing nature and that just plalys into the paradigm of commercialization.
Dr. Vandana Shiva says in her book ‘Making Peace with the Earth’,
“Green economics needs to be an authentic green, it cannot be the brown of desertification and deforestation. It cannot be the red of violence against nature and people, or the unnecessary conflicts over natural resources”.