Should a price be put on the planet? Absolutely not, according to a commentary made on the Mines and Communities website last month:
Maybe, perhaps, perhaps not. That’s the apparent (lack of) conclusion to a study called “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)”, released last week and foreshadowed in our earlier report. If there’s any “firm” conclusion reached by this meeting of minds as diverse as conservationists and mining companies, it’s that damage to the planet’s natural capital can be set at between US$2 and US$4.5 trillion each year. The estimate is hopelessly broad and correspondingly vague. But, instead of asking what the figure ought to be, the key question is: who stands to benefit from fixing a price at all?