Planet's Retirement Account Loses $2-5 Trillion Every Year: Natural Capital Loss 'Dwarfs Bank Crisis'


photo: Zach Klein

As everyone looks in stunned awe and fear as their stock portfolio and retirement plan suddenly isn't worth as much as it was two weeks ago, a new EU-commissioned report highlights the annual costs of depleting the planet's natural capital. The loss of valuable ecosystem services caused by deforestation—absorption of carbon dioxide, changes in water patterns, etc.—is "not only greater [than the current financial crisis] but it's also continuous; it's been happening every year, year after year," Deutsche Bank economist Pavan Sukhdev told the BBC. He went on to explain in further details the money lost through our wholesale squandering of natural capital:Wall Street Losses Don't Come Close to Annual Natural Capital Losses
You can get from the headline that the total figure for annual natural capital losses in somewhere between $2 trillion and $5 trillion. That's a pretty wide range, I'll give you, but Sukdhdev explained that current Wall Street losses aren't even in the bottom of that range.

So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today's rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year.

7% of Global GDP Lost Per Year
The first phase of the study concluded that the annual decline in the world's forests is equivalent to losing about 7% of global GDP per year. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) review is expected to be completed in 2010...

...By which time the planet will have lost 14% of global GDP, or $4-10 trillion dollars because of short sighted human activity depleting natural resources at a greater rate than they can recover.

via :: BBC News
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Tags: Deforestation | Economics | Environmental Footprint