Typical economic statistics do not include most of the things that keep us alive. A big reason is that we just don’t understand that “ecological services” we get for free because we have not figured out good ways to measure them. Estimates of the true worth of ecological services can range from near zero (a free good) to absurdly astronomical figures. I suppose we can say that they are priceless in both cases.
But we do indeed need to find a way to measure these services, because anything that doesn’t get measured gets wasted. Anything that belongs to everybody gets abused by anybody. And anytime the ones getting the benefit are not the ones paying for it … you get the picture.
Above is a spring time robin.
We discussed how to value and compensate ecological services and compare them to more conventional economic measurements at an ecosystems services seminar in Charlottesville. There was a lot to think about and I will write more about it tomorrow.
Until then, there is a good Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explanation of how a Federal cap & trade on CO2 would work.