23rd September

Economic assessment underway of 'Irish environment' produce

National Capital Forum will be establsihed 'to advance a comprehensive economic assessment of the whole range of resources, goods and services produced by the Irish environment,' conference delegates were told.

More than 100 representatives of businesses, investors, State agencies, landowners, environmental NGOs and academics were attending Natural Capital: Ireland's Hidden Wealth. The two-day event at the National Botanic Gardens focused on ways to accurately measure in economic terms, the 'natural capital debt - the unacknowledged cost of environmental degradation and its impact on human wellbeing.'

Pictured with Minister Jimmy Deenihan (centre) are left to right: Brendan Dunford; Micheal O’Briain; Declan Little; Hannah Hamilton; Cara Augustenborg; Paddy Woodworth; Jane Stout; James Aranson; Matthew Jebb and Catherine Farrell.

Pictured with Minister Jimmy Deenihan (centre) are left to right: Brendan Dunford; Micheal O’Briain; Declan Little; Hannah Hamilton; Cara Augustenborg; Paddy Woodworth; Jane Stout; James Aranson; Matthew Jebb and Catherine Farrell. Photo Paddy Rowland.

"Contemporary tax-payers, future generations and the world's poor all pay this debt, whether we realise it or not," remarked Dr Rudolf de Groot, a lead author of The Economics of Ecology and Biodiversity TEEB report. "We may think of nature as priceless, but we must learn to recognise all its value," he added.

 

Addressing delegates, Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht noted that during Ireland's economic crisis, focus on biodiversity was lost and that was to our detriment. 

The conference unanimously endorsed a proposal to establish a national Natural Capital Forum with the support of public and private agencies. 

EU member states have agreed to integrate Natural Capital Accounting into their GDP calculations by 2020.

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