Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature! - Lake Harding Association

Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

By Micah Moen 97 Comments December 4, 2019


I’m here to talk to you about the economic invisibility of nature. The bad news is that mother nature’s back office isn’t working yet, so those invoices don’t get issued. But we need to do something about this problem. I began my life as a markets professional and continued to take an interest, but most of my recent effort has been looking at the value of what comes to human beings from nature, and which doesn’t get priced by the markets. A project called TEEB was started in 2007, and it was launched by a group of environment ministers of the G8+5. And their basic inspiration was a stern review of Lord Stern. They asked themselves a question: If economics could make such a convincing case for early action on climate change, well why can’t the same be done for conservation? Why can’t an equivalent case be made for nature? And the answer is: Yeah, it can. But it’s not that straightforward. Biodiversity, the living fabric of this planet, is not a gas. It exists in many layers, ecosystems, species and genes across many scales — international, national, local, community — and doing for nature what Lord Stern and his team did for nature is not that easy. And yet, we began. We began the project with an interim report, which quickly pulled together a lot of information that had been collected on the subject by many, many researchers. And amongst our compiled results was the startling revelation that, in fact, we were losing natural capital — the benefits that flow from nature to us. We were losing it at an extraordinary rate — in fact, of the order of two to four trillion dollars-worth of natural capital. This came out in 2008, which was, of course, around the time that the banking crisis had shown that we had lost financial capital of the order of two and a half trillion dollars. So this was comparable in size to that kind of loss. We then have gone on since to present for [the] international community, for governments, for local governments and for business and for people, for you and me, a whole slew of reports, which were presented at the U.N. last year, which address the economic invisibility of nature and describe what can be done to solve it. What is this about? A picture that you’re familiar with — the Amazon rainforests. It’s a massive store of carbon, it’s an amazing store of biodiversity, but what people don’t really know is this also is a rain factory. Because the northeastern trade winds, as they go over the Amazonas, effectively gather the water vapor. Something like 20 billion tons per day of water vapor is sucked up by the northeastern trade winds, and eventually precipitates in the form of rain across the La Plata Basin. This rainfall cycle, this rainfall factory, effectively feeds an agricultural economy of the order of 240 billion dollars-worth in Latin America. But the question arises: Okay, so how much do Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and indeed the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil pay for that vital input to that economy to the state of Amazonas, which produces that rainfall? And the answer is zilch, exactly zero. That’s the economic invisibility of nature. That can’t keep going on, because economic incentives and disincentives are very powerful. Economics has become the currency of policy. And unless we address this invisibility, we are going to get the results that we are seeing, which is a gradual degradation and loss of this valuable natural asset. It’s not just about the Amazonas, or indeed about rainforests. No matter what level you look at, whether it’s at the ecosystem level or at the species level or at the genetic level, we see the same problem again and again. So rainfall cycle and water regulation by rainforests at an ecosystem level. At the species level, it’s been estimated that insect-based pollination, bees pollinating fruit and so on, is something like 190 billion dollars-worth. That’s something like eight percent of the total agricultural output globally. It completely passes below the radar screen. But when did a bee actually ever give you an invoice? Or for that matter, if you look at the genetic level, 60 percent of medicines were prospected, were found first as molecules in a rainforest or a reef. Once again, most of that doesn’t get paid. And that brings me to another aspect of this, which is, to whom should this get paid? That genetic material probably belonged, if it could belong to anyone, to a local community of poor people who parted with the knowledge that helped the researchers to find the molecule, which then became the medicine. They were the ones that didn’t get paid. And if you look at the species level, you saw about fish. Today, the depletion of ocean fisheries is so significant that effectively it is effecting the ability of the poor, the artisanal fisher folk and those who fish for their own livelihoods, to feed their families. Something like a billion people depend on fish, the quantity of fish in the oceans. A billion people depend on fish for their main source for animal protein. And at this rate at which we are losing fish, it is a human problem of enormous dimensions, a health problem of a kind we haven’t seen before. And finally, at the ecosystem level, whether it’s flood prevention or drought control provided by the forests, or whether it is the ability of poor farmers to go out and gather leaf litter for their cattle and goats, or whether it’s the ability of their wives to go and collect fuel wood from the forest, it is actually the poor who depend most on these ecosystem services. We did estimates in our study that for countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia, even though ecosystem services — these benefits that flow from nature to humanity for free — they’re not very big in percentage terms of GDP — two, four, eight, 10, 15 percent — but in these countries, if we measure how much they’re worth to the poor, the answers are more like 45 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent. That’s the difference. Because these are important benefits for the poor. And you can’t really have a proper model for development if at the same time you’re destroying or allowing the degradation of the very asset, the most important asset, which is your development asset, that is ecological infrastructure. How bad can things get? Well here a picture of something called the mean species abundance. It’s basically a measure of how many tigers, toads, ticks or whatever on average of biomass of various species are around. The green represents the percentage. If you start green, it’s like 80 to 100 percent. If it’s yellow, it’s 40 to 60 percent. And these are percentages versus the original state, so to speak, the pre-industrial era, 1750. Now I’m going to show you how business as usual will affect this. And just watch the change in colors in India, China, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa as we move on and consume global biomass at a rate which is actually not going to be able to sustain us. See that again. The only places that remain green — and that’s not good news — is, in fact, places like the Gobi Desert, like the tundra and like the Sahara. But that doesn’t help because there were very few species and volume of biomass there in the first place. This is the challenge. The reason this is happening boils down, in my mind, to one basic problem, which is our inability to perceive the difference between public benefits and private profits. We tend to constantly ignore public wealth simply because it is in the common wealth, it’s common goods. And here’s an example from Thailand where we found that, because the value of a mangrove is not that much — it’s about $600 over the life of nine years that this has been measured — compared to its value as a shrimp farm, which is more like $9,600, there has been a gradual trend to deplete the mangroves and convert them to shrimp farms. But of course, if you look at exactly what those profits are, almost 8,000 of those dollars are, in fact, subsidies. So you compare the two sides of the coin and you find that it’s more like 1,200 to 600. That’s not that hard. But on the other hand, if you start measuring, how much would it actually cost to restore the land of the shrimp farm back to productive use? Once salt deposition and chemical deposition has had its effects, that answer is more like $12,000 of cost. And if you see the benefits of the mangrove in terms of the storm protection and cyclone protection that you get and in terms of the fisheries, the fish nurseries, that provide fish for the poor, that answer is more like $11,000. So now look at the different lens. If you look at the lens of public wealth as against the lens of private profits, you get a completely different answer, which is clearly conservation makes more sense, and not destruction. So is this just a story from South Thailand? Sorry, this is a global story. And here’s what the same calculation looks like, which was done recently — well I say recently, over the last 10 years — by a group called TRUCOST. And they calculated for the top 3,000 corporations, what are the externalities? In other words, what are the costs of doing business as usual? This is not illegal stuff, this is basically business as usual, which causes climate-changing emissions, which have an economic cost. It causes pollutants being issued, which have an economic cost, health cost and so on. Use of freshwater. If you drill water to make coke near a village farm, that’s not illegal, but yes, it costs the community. Can we stop this, and how? I think the first point to make is that we need to recognize natural capital. Basically the stuff of life is natural capital, and we need to recognize and build that into our systems. When we measure GDP as a measure of economic performance at the national level, we don’t include our biggest asset at the country level. When we measure corporate performances, we don’t include our impacts on nature and what our business costs society. That has to stop. In fact, this was what really inspired my interest in this phase. I began a project way back called the Green Accounting Project. That was in the early 2000s when India was going gung-ho about GDP growth as the means forward — looking at China with its stellar growths of eight, nine, 10 percent and wondering, why can we do the same? And a few friends of mine and I decided this doesn’t make sense. This is going to create more cost to society and more losses. So we decided to do a massive set of calculations and started producing green accounts for India and its states. That’s how my interests began and went to the TEEB project. Calculating this at the national level is one thing, and it has begun. And the World Bank has acknowledged this and they’ve started a project called WAVES — Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services. But calculating this at the next level, that means at the business sector level, is important. And actually we’ve done this with the TEEB project. We’ve done this for a very difficult case, which was for deforestation in China. This is important, because in China in 1997, the Yellow River actually went dry for nine months causing severe loss of agriculture output and pain and loss to society. Just a year later the Yangtze flooded, causing something like 5,500 deaths. So clearly there was a problem with deforestation. It was associated largely with the construction industry. And the Chinese government responded sensibly and placed a ban on felling. A retrospective on 40 years shows that if we had accounted for these costs — the cost of loss of topsoil, the cost of loss of waterways, the lost productivity, the loss to local communities as a result of all these factors, desertification and so on — those costs are almost twice as much as the market price of timber. So in fact, the price of timber in the Beijing marketplace ought to have been three-times what it was had it reflected the true pain and the costs to the society within China. Of course, after the event one can be wise. The way to do this is to do it on a company basis, to take leadership forward, and to do it for as many important sectors which have a cost, and to disclose these answers. Someone once asked me, “Who is better or worse, is it Unilever or is it P&G when it comes to their impact on rainforests in Indonesia?” And I couldn’t answer because neither of these companies, good though they are and professional though they are, do not calculate or disclose their externalities. But if we look at companies like PUMA — Jochen Zeitz, their CEO and chairman, once challenged me at a function, saying that he’s going to implement my project before I finish it. Well I think we kind of did it at the same time, but he’s done it. He’s basically worked the cost to PUMA. PUMA has 2.7 billion dollars of turnover, 300 million dollars of profits, 200 million dollars after tax, 94 million dollars of externalities, cost to business. Now that’s not a happy situation for them, but they have the confidence and the courage to come forward and say, “Here’s what we are measuring. We are measuring it because we know that you cannot manage what you do not measure.” That’s an example, I think, for us to look at and for us to draw comfort from. If more companies did this, and if more sectors engaged this as sectors, you could have analysts, business analysts, and you could have people like us and consumers and NGOs actually look and compare the social performance of companies. Today we can’t yet do that, but I think the path is laid out. This can be done. And I’m delighted that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the U.K. has already set up a coalition to do this, an international coalition. The other favorite, if you like, solution for me is the creation of green carbon markets. And by the way, these are my favorites — externalities calculation and green carbon markets. TEEB has more than a dozen separate groups of solutions including protected area evaluation and payments for ecosystem services and eco-certification and you name it, but these are the favorites. What’s green carbon? Today what we have is basically a brown carbon marketplace. It’s about energy emissions. The European Union ETS is the main marketplace. It’s not doing too well. We’ve over-issued. A bit like inflation: you over-issue currency, you get what you see, declining prices. But that’s all about energy and industry. But what we’re missing is also some other emissions like black carbon, that is soot. What we’re also missing is blue carbon, which, by the way, is the largest store of carbon — more than 55 percent. Thankfully, the flux, in other words, the flow of emissions from the ocean to the atmosphere and vice versa, is more or less balanced. In fact, what’s being absorbed is something like 25 percent of our emissions, which then leads to acidification or lower alkalinity in oceans. More of that in a minute. And finally, there’s deforestation, and there’s emission of methane from agriculture. Green carbon, which is the deforestation and agricultural emissions, and blue carbon together comprise 25 percent of our emissions. We have the means already in our hands, through a structure, through a mechanism, called REDD Plus — a scheme for the reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. And already Norway has contributed a billion dollars each towards Indonesia and Brazil to implement this Red Plus scheme. So we actually have some movement forward. But the thing is to do a lot more of that. Will this solve the problem? Will economics solve everything? Well I’m afraid not. There is an area that is the oceans, coral reefs. As you can see, they cut across the entire globe all the way from Micronesia across Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Madagascar and to the West of the Caribbean. These red dots, these red areas, basically provide the food and livelihood for more than half a billion people. So that’s almost an eighth of society. And the sad thing is that, as these coral reefs are lost — and scientists tell us that any level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere above 350 parts per million is too dangerous for the survival of these reefs — we are not only risking the extinction of the entire coral species, the warm water corals, we’re not only risking a fourth of all fish species which are in the oceans, but we are risking the very lives and livelihoods of more than 500 million people who live in the developing world in poor countries. So in selecting targets of 450 parts per million and selecting two degrees at the climate negotiations, what we have done is we’ve made an ethical choice. We’ve actually kind of made an ethical choice in society to not have coral reefs. Well what I will say to you in parting is that we may have done that. Let’s think about it and what it means, but please, let’s not do more of that. Because mother nature only has that much in ecological infrastructure and that much natural capital. I don’t think we can afford too much of such ethical choices. Thank you. (Applause)

97 Comments found

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null

Economy is just e mere mask

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chubito33

woo 2nd

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Pakislav

This is awesome. We really do need to value nature. Hank Green told us, the Nerdfighters that before.

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MrC0MPUT3R

People ask why in the past global warming created rain forest and more rain, but today it causes deserts and drought. It's because the climate is changing too fast, and because we cut down the trees too quickly. I hate when people argue against something they aren't educated about

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sweYoda2

Resource based economy would be nice, google the venus project.

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DrDe

I hope people are finnaly going to have the insight that we need nature and if we don't support it, we all will die! We need nature, nature doesn't need us! Remember that!

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1111 1111

love the vid

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rpm297

The real economy is photosynthesis.

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Arcus Veles

@WhatAxBrit Stop that. The intro isn't too loud any more. You're wasting a top comment slot that could be better filled by the usual interesting opinions and expressions of awe these videos draw.

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Boomshaker

So the problem is long term vs short term profit?

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Andreas Fjord Larsen

@MrC0MPUT3R I know. The evidence is obvious and right there. Even the research requested by big Oil companies tells us that Global warming is a thing, and that it will be devastating within this decade. And yet people prefer to close their eyes and ears and make nonsensical arguments like "If it's global warming, how come we still have winter?"
Jeeez

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RadioactiveBraunMan

well, this is a proper analysis of costs associated with possible deforestation and unsustainable damage to the eco system.

And that for a change is a valid argument, in contrast to most of the "omg ze poor polar bears.." kind of crap.

Climate change is real and happening, its not the end of the worlds, and it will create both problems for some as well as benefits to others.

Putting a correct pricetag on that is essential to figure out to what to do where first.

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Dan

plenty of resources for 1 billion.

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I love applebees

4:11 Why do they show a guy that is sleeping? That doesn't make the talk sound more interesting.

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J whitenstall

@sweYoda2 aye, I prefer the idea of using reason and logic to manage resources, using Earthship Architecture to bridge the gap between where we are and the Venus Project would be a truly evolutionary step for mankind. Both socialism and capitalism have been failing to protect our future for some time, and putting a price on things essential to our survival is insane imo.

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mathematicscore

LISTEN TO THIS MAN.

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Jeremy Edwards

Capitalist economic calculation, resource extraction, production and consumption got us into this situation of environmental degradation, so to use more of the same logic is scary. People know the true value of the the resources that sustain their lives. Real people know nature is invaluable and can not be economically quantified. Only the rich and those psychologically disconnected from the earth would want to put a value on nature. Some times i wonder what planet Capitailists come from?

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abeismain

The fact that people think global warming is caused by humans means that the person is fooled. And don't worry, there is a lot of people who are convinced of this, it's sad, really. But then it's good because it's causing businesses to make electric cars, but wait, doesn't electric cars cause more hazardous waste?

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kiekert2007

it bothers me that nature is seen as undeveloped land. it is developed to sustain life.

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Miss Cinnamon Teal

I saw a male redbellied woodpecker and a female hairy woodpecker. They make some funny jokes in nature don't they?

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Hafiz Music

This looks like the beginnings of a Resource Based Economy. Look up The Zeitgeist Movement.

Everyone involved with the Occupy Movement should watch this!!!!!!!

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MikeDD86

Guy sleeping in the crowd 4:16 lol

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vpsaline

The problem with pricing nature is that it's priceless. Take it away and what are you left with? Nothing! Everything depends on it.

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boblflef

I realised at 4:15 this video was boring me when I saw a guy in the audience sleeping as the words "when did a bee actually ever give you an invoice"

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ThePuffyDuck

@abeismain It's sad someone who has never studied the climate thinks he knows more about the climate than 97% of scientists who actually study it.

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pvaultinfish

@jemmre you have a simplistic "this is how it is" attitude. There is no right/wrong when it comes to questions. I would suggest an intellectual pursuit of the dualities in all things thinkable. People often do not know what is best for them. Working in value for nature in our economic situation is a very good temporary realistic approach for our current economic situation. Change takes time. Don't overestimate what 'real people' know and keep learning.

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bogart99

Welcome to the human population crisis the unacknowledged taboo subject that is driving the environmental problems we face. We are 4 billion above the carrying capacity for the human race and still growing. Capitalist economics the driving force of the modern world calls for endless growth to be sustainable at the expense of the environment which is unsustainable.
If we are to continue down the path of unchecked growth we need to come up with a better system or face a massive collapse later.

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abeismain

@ThePuffyDuck I'm a person who is a skeptic in all information that is given. I never trust information until I see arguments between two sides. You should read some arguements that present both cases. Google this– is global warming caused by humans — and click the second link, that is if you give a shit and if you truly think humans cause global warming. I've read the whole thing because it's very interesting!89

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Xzation

Looked like Bob Saget in the thumbnail.

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ThePuffyDuck

@abeismain That's not being a skeptic, that's called being an ignorant American. I don't care what the opinion of someone on YouTube is, I've studied climate and the Environment, I've been to science meets discussing the climate. There is no debate in the science world anymore, just debate mainly between ignorant Americans in politics and media. The world and its scientists are laughing at you.

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ThePuffyDuck

@ACANOFSODA What are you, 12? Are you new to YouTube? You expect me to take someone like you or him seriously? If you're going to question the science of something, go talk to scientists about it face to face. No matter what I say, he will deny it. So please, hop off your imaginary pedestal, this is the Internet. Now, go away kid.

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ThePuffyDuck

@ACANOFSODA Fair enough, you aren't new to YouTube then. Instead, it seems that you have yet to realize how reality works. Whining and complaining on YouTube as you and the other fellow are doing, is useless. I simply pointed out this fact when he claimed Global Warming is nonsense and I called him out on the fact that he has most likely NEVER talked to a real scientist, much less looked at the actual data face to face.

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RWW

This is a powerful idea, but it's been fully fleshed out by free-market ("Austrian") economists and writers. The most natural and just way to valuate natural resources is simply to allow people and private organizations to buy and sell them freely.

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ThePuffyDuck

@ACANOFSODA What inconsistencies? Can you read? My very first comment was that his pathetic opinion on Global Warming means nothing in the real world, and much less in the scientific world because the debate is over. What's emotional? Most people act like 12 year olds, including you. You honestly think your ignorant opinion matters, which is just sad.

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FatalAnimal

@abeismain If not people what is it caused by?

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FatalAnimal

@abeismain If not people what is it caused by?

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MrC0MPUT3R

@jay19xxx You just made my day. Thank you.

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abeismain

@FatalAnimal wow, really!? your question means that you haven't looked at the opposing views, shame on you! Shit! You are missing out in, actual hard core evidence/research. PLEASE go to this website and explore other reasons for global warming, —————> takeonit.com/question/5.aspx <—- copy and paste to address bar and tell me what you think.

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FatalAnimal

@abeismain Why do you avoid my question? I asked you what is causing the earth to warm if not caused by humans. The answer to that question is not "You have not looked at the opposing views" Are you going to brave and attempt to answer the question? Don't attempt to strawman my question and tell me what I have looked at and what I have not.

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Diego Velasco

Please, someone consider the Yasuni – ITT iniciative in Ecuador yasuni-itt.gob.ec/

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Jeremy Edwards

@pvaultinfish Simplistic, ah, yea, so whats the monetary value of your life? Because last time i checked humans where a part of nature, and if we want to start valuing everything by its monetary value then this is where we end up (or have ended up). Slaves to the monetary system and the economy. Yes it is simple. Very simple. No corporation, government or individual in the western world would ever start calculating their ecological debt let alone start paying it back. The truth is simple.

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ThePuffyDuck

@FatalAnimal He is a joke. He really doesn't know anything about Climate science. He's the average ignorant person who goes on websites, reading information that probably isn't factual, and then coming to a baseless conclusion that there is a "controversy" or that it is "debatable."

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FatalAnimal

@ThePuffyDuck – I just wanted an answer to the question. He acted like it was so obvious but then never provided any kind of answer What is causing the earth to warm? Its not debatable that the earth is currently in a warming trend and if they are 100% sure humans have nothing to do with it then what is the cause?

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abeismain

@FatalAnimal lol, i swear my intentions are to answer your questions!! but the fact is that global warming is due to earth's inevitable occurrences just like rain, or earthquakes!! if you say we control global warming, or are a major cause of global warming. That is like saying, we control rain, we are a major cause of rain!

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FatalAnimal

@abeismain Lets try this again. I asked you WHAT IS CAUSING THE EARTHS CURRENT WARMING TREND" Are you going to answer the question or avoid it. "inevitable occurrences" is nebulous nonsense. Of course humans are not the major source of heat on planet earth – that would be the sun! DUH! Humans don't necessarily cause rain but if think that we don't have an effect on rain then you are being willfully ignorant! Ever heard of acid rain? Let me guess that is fake as well LOL

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Amogh Mund

Wow… A much needed stick for the blinded govts and corporations to save all from being frog in a pot with fire underneath.

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pvaultinfish

@jemmre but reality is complicated. even if there was universal truths, and there somehow was a consensus, interpretations of how to carry it out would vary. are you suggesting anarchy? what would your ideal world look like tomorrow?

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abeismain

@FatalAnimal lol!! why does it matter what's the cause!? The link that i gave you provides causes of global warming, fuck! I'll go and copy and paste it! here: "mostly caused by atmospheric water vapour (36-70%)!" Plus obviously CO2 contributes to global warming, but humans contribute 5% of CO2 to the CO2 that ALREADY EXISTS and WILL EXISTS.

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lollerfisk

Oh, ew. Angry dumb people fighting each other. Remind me not to scroll down on TED videos ever again.

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Nick Combs

Hmmm… Mr

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Nick Combs

Hmmm… Mr. Sukhdev is trying to apply our invented score called money to real resources, but what we really need to do is recognize that by valuing our money, it distracts us away from what really matters in our lives and our societies. It's all well and good to invent a way to account for envirnmental losses, but Puma, for example, is not really losing millions of dollars every year. Nature does not literally tax them for the harm they do. So nothing is likely to ever come of this attempted s

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delatroy

I've always thought about how to bring economics into conservation, but it seems to me that on the individual business level there isn't any incentive to do so.

Yes on the grand scale it's much easier to see the cost / benefit, but it needs to be implemented on the individual scale and I still don't know how that can work and… it must work on this level if it's going to work at all.

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Soko delic

@MentalHygieneMusic You misunderstand. He is trying to illustrate, quite competently, that in order to save our ecosystems (and planet), we must understand them in terms of their economic impact in order to gauge where we stand. There will always be a system. How that system affects peoples lives and the planet is the issue. This is a strategy to counteract the negative effects of economics. To change it, we must change what we value, money derived from destruction or…

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Soko delic

money derived from preservation of the present ecosystems and/or rehabilitation of ecosystems.

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Pete

He's trying to reverse the effect by using greed and common sense to aid in us to understand how we use the environment, put a value on it, and sell it so that we can economically strive? Our capitalistic world shouldn't hold weight on earth. This guy's "dream" would result in a nightmare. The rich would prosper and the poor will be even poorer.

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Jeremy Edwards

@pvaultinfish Have you seen Zeitgeist documentary. This is my ideal world, and it completely does away with the monetary system. This talk has some good ideas, im not against what he is saying, i just think that to suggest that we have to put a monetary value on things in order to appreciate them is the wrong way to go. We should appreciate them for the intrinsic value they give to our lives, and the the lives of other species and the ecology as a whole. Nature is not a resource, it is life.

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GauravA42

@pedrogregorio Free market capitalism is the most brilliant, productive and widespread system, and it drives innovation. Its human nature, it alows us to compete in everything. If this is applied to other things,it could be far more effective in driving policies, as the environment will not be saved, unless there is real incentive. People can protests and cry all they want, but at the end of the day it will only be money that will come to the rescue. Greed is universal, but it can be good.

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invinciblemode

@DanielManahan being vegan isn't the solution. In fact it's the problem.

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pnggolfer9

@Jimmyretired Are you serious? Ever heard of the Manhattan Project?

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Ariaan Bruinsma

@pedrogregorio I disagree, as more precautions would be taken to calculate and specialize in green-tech (with the smallest carbon footprint possible). There will be more job opportunities. It draws the smaller communities/poorer closer to the bigger communities/richer.

At least that's my view on this, I guess we really don't know until we really implement it.

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dookiecheez

@lllraverslll
You're solution has not only not been tried billions of times every day for just about every problem imaginable, and failed miserably for this particular problem, but also relies on people agreeing with you what is right or wrong. I seriously doubt people depleting the environment pent their fingers and go "YES YES EVIL MUAHAHAH!". Given that the economy is the driving force behind the depletion of natural resources it only makes sense that the valuing system be monetary.

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JosephOR

Good job TED, you listened to your viewers, now I can go and watch the next vidoe without fear of hearing loss!

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dookiecheez

When the market, a blind an unwieldy behemoth, has not been given the true cost of things it is no wonder when it fails to act with our best interests 'in mind'. While we can propose unrealistic utopian solutions, I believe the first reasonable action we should take to resolve this is to fix the current system. Until we do that, I have little confidence that we can progress to a superior model. Valuing natural capital sounds like a good start.
Fantastic talk; well put and thought invoking.

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r

@lllraverslll Yeah like that'll work. I wish it could bit no way. Far to many greedy arseholes that judge their worth as a human along with their wealth.

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EclecticSceptic

@GauravA42 Lol, if you call 20% of people on Earth living on < $1 a day, and 80% of people living on < $10 a day brilliant.

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basan

I'm usually a fan of utopist ideas, but this is so far outside what's even possible that I would argue that we all wasted valuable resources by watching this.

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bary1234

Human overpopulation is the problem. We are a swarm of locusts, causing massive irreversible damage to biodiversity and nature of this planet.
We have to end religions, liberate women, reduce birthrates and hope we still have some biodiversity left when our numbers start to diminish after couple of decades.

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goPistons06

@jemmre but what is "intrinsic value"? people value things differently, value is subjective. prices are useful since they serve as signals coordinating production and consumption between large amounts of people.

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Mary H

@lollerfisk Welcome to Youtube.

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joe.public

It appears to me that the speaker is looking at the problem in reverse.
The problem globally is the violent enforcement of monetary (economic) value of land and nature.

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goodsirknight

buckminster fuller lives

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613

I think we need to expand zoo's endangered species programs and loosen the restrictions on private citizens keeping them. There was a rancher in Texas who got shut down for importing a herd of endangered gazelles, he bred them to three times the number he brought in but still got shut down, how does that help the gazelle? The Golden Toad was recently discovered and within 5 years has gone missing presumed extinct, they discovered it in a pond with over 500 adults, but left them all!

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eluap

Conservation needs to be embraced by Conservatives!

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Jeremy Edwards

@ritchloui By intrinsic value, i mean, the sustenance nature provides us with. Whats the true value in monetary terms of this sustenance that provides us with life? It doesn't and cannot have a value, because it is in its essence invaluable. To give a monetary value to life is to degrade it, we cannot and will never be able to put a price on nature because we cannot afford to under this economic system. Not until the economic system changes can we truly appreciate the value of nature.

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Jeremy Edwards

@hempartist420 Fair enough. Can you give me some examples of models that are better? I agree that Zeitgeist is unrealistic in our current economic and social climate, but it is an example of how the technological advances made by our civilization could be better utilized for the benefit of human and environmental wellbeing. I think demanding that people pay the true cost for environmental degradation is as unrealistic as doing away with the monetary system. What do you think?

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SourcesAreEverything

Very important talk.

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The Ultimate Rage

@jemmre The dude who made the Zeitgeist movies didn't even bother to do basic research (not even a quick google search) for all the topics he covered before spouting out a bunch of CRAP, supported by ZERO evidence (citing barely any credible sources at all in all of those vids) half of which is easily refutable by wikipedia. With such blatant incompetence, why would you trust his ideas in important things like socio-economic restructuring?

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The Ultimate Rage

@eluap You would think they would right? lol

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Kris Owens

Valuable Information

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goshinbi

as much as I don't like the idea of a "price" on nature, a value a bit different. It's nice to see very quickly what it's worth in some quantifiable means. It it leads nicely to "why is it worth that much". Not a bad idea.

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Dauren Sar

Congratulations! I guess next step is selling air. We sell everything in such a natural way that we don't even recognize how brutally antihumanistic it is! You have no energy, simply die. You have not money to buy energy or its equivalents (food, fuel to warm up your home and so on) you just die. We hardly tolerate somebody's public strangulation but we easily tolerate somebody's death due to malnutrition or infectious deseases, why? Because it is not here. It is somewhere there, very far away.

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Amy Dentata

Rather than converting nature into an empty value of cold hard cash, I think this kind of thinking can instead transform economics into something less sociopathic. The end result is that "economics" gradually changes into "thermodynamics".

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SoldierOfGod12

You are correct!

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Lauretta W.

great lecture

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Carol Anande

Soo much wealth of knowledge you're sharing thank you….

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Sam

I'm really impressed.

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Krishnakumar V.P

Excellent Speech. very informative as well.

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Danielle O'Neal

I'm just saying there's a guy that was falling asleep at 4:15. I agree with him.

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Daniel McElhiney

best information iv heard in years

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macoy Ofalda

at the end is

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ian lee

RED+ and PES, the industry of carbon pricing, have the motivation to avert climate disaster whilst avoiding 'lifestyle' adjustments, that is, without wealth distribution.. The more that strategies for conservation compensation are conceived as 'markets', the more difficult it will be to achieve conservation. These schemes are a license for industry to keep polluting, and find a carbon offset in the 3rd world at a low price. This locks in 3rd world populations. RED and PES only benefit middle class landowners in developing countries and lead to displacement of indigenous and smallholder communities. There is no follow up of what is done with land after paying them, and many landowners don't now conserve until they are paid. What is needed is a synergy of climate mitigation, agriculture, and rural livelihoods with care and love for nature and traditional communities.

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Elyza Veta

This was a huge help for my ecology panel discussion, thank you

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Jakub Zelený

A typical example of a wrong economic theory

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Jenny Griffiths

One of the best, if scary, TED talks I've watched. Just brilliant, thank you.

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Chrispey Rice

I love mr mcreary

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Karen Rodriguez Romero

It's so sad to watch this TED talk from 8 years ago and know we have not done anything to change what is going on with our planet. On the opposite, we are doing worse than we were 8 years ago.

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Robert Marsh

Blatant hypocrite or just totally ignorant..

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