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Date: 2024-06-21 Page is: DBtxt003.php L0900-QN-for-Natural-Capital-01a
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QN-numbering ... Performance of the Three Capitals Social Capital Natural Capital Economic Capital
Quantification of Nature
There need to be several units of measure within natural capital (NC) because of the many roles that natural capital plays in the success of everything. It would be good if these could be be summarized or consolidated into a single unit of measure of natural capital as a whole, but this requires more understanding of natural capital values than there is at the present.
Every bit of energy on planet earth has its origin with the sun. This is important to recognise. The quantity of energy is immense, but the technical ability to use this energy effectively is not well developed yet.
The value of land should be related to a land value unit, and adjusted to reflect all the various uses there are for land, and not just those that a priced into money units as a result of trade. There is value in land when used for eco-services (forests for carbon, wetlands for fisheries, wildland for bio-diversity, natural land for water purification, etc). The unit of measure of land could be that 1 hectare of land = 1000 land units. Land use is constrained by a limited and fixed amount of land, and the value will change depending on the use being made of the land. Land may be used for urban development, suburban communities, rural agriculture, industrial use, tourism and various forms of ecoservice and habitat for bio-diversity. Many things associated with land and land use could be related to the idea that 1 hectare of undeveloped natural land equals 1000 (say)
Air Pollution
The atmosphere has been used as a waste dump for gaseous effluents since the beginning of time, but this became a serious matter during the era of industrialization and increase in energy use. Many noxious gases get released into the atmosphere by industrial processes and transport vehicles as well as particulates, all of which are detrimental to health and quality of life.
Greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the air pollution referred to above, there is also the environmental degradation arising from the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the atmosphere and the equilibrium of the weather. A unit of measure could be based on the idea that one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions = 1000, and everything to do with air pollution gets related to this unit. Many things associated with atmospheric pollution could be related to a ton of carbon dioxide emissions where 1 ton of CO2e equals 1,000 (say).
The value of water should be related to the value of life more than to the value of money. The price or cost of water varies depending on the abundance of water and whether or not water is renewable in the place where it is uses. The cost of water must include the cost of release of polluted water into the environment. The unit of measure for water could be that 1 liter of net water consumption = 1 water unit. Many things associated with water and water pollution could be related to the idea that 1 liter of fresh water has a value of 1 (say).
Resources ... Minerals
Minerals are an essential raw material for many industrial processes that in turn produce the goods and services people need to support their standard of living and quality of life. As products move through the supply chain, the flow aspect of these economic transactions are reported using a money price, but the impact of the loss of the mineral resource is not accounted for in the state of the natural capital. The value of a mineral resource may not need to be quantified when it remains in situ, but when it is depleted the value must be accounted for based on the value the resource contributes to economic performance.
Resources ... Energy
Energy is the big driver of the modern enviro-socio-economic system. Energy is a critical input for almost everything that supports the high standard of living and quality of life that is now possible. There is a sophisticated framework for analysis of cost, price and profit within the energy dimension of the modern enviro-socio-economic system but only a partial framework for the analysis and reporting of the value and impact of everything related to energy in this system. Major investment has been made in technology to exploit carbon based fossil fuels but, until recently little has been done to exploit the massive flows of renewable energy that exist but have only been exploited on a very limited scale.
The biology of the planet is valuable. A massive amout of what we use has its origins in biology
Ecosystem Services.
Nature is an amazing system. Even though there has been an immense amount of research and we know a lot, there is still a lot that we do not know. What we do know is that nature provides many services to maintain the quality of the environment and make it sustainable that are of huge value, but not priced at all in the conventional analysis of the enviro-socio-economic system
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