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Integrating Natural Capital into National Accounts: Three Decades of Promise and Challenge

Brandon, C; Brandon, K; Fairbrass, A; Neugarten, R; (2021) Integrating Natural Capital into National Accounts: Three Decades of Promise and Challenge. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy , 15 (1) pp. 134-153. 10.1086/713075. Green open access

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Abstract

Economists and ecologists have worked for decades on measuring sustainability by supplementing or adjusting traditional economic indicators such as GDP. Given the threats to humanity from climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss, it is vital to incorporate values of natural capital into national economic decision-making. This review focuses on how natural capital applications, historically applied from local to global scales, address national-scale concerns. However, natural capital data and accounts have been only partially developed in most countries, given a lack of common metrics and monetary values. Existing accounts are often incomplete in both the types of natural capital and ecosystems they include (e.g., water, land, different ecosystem types) and the values they measure (e.g., market vs. nonmarket values). While it is important to continue work to embed natural capital into national economic accounts, the need for practical tools to analyze environmental problems is more urgent. We review alternative options for incorporating natural capital into national-scale decision-making and make recommendations for countries where the data, capacity, and political will to conduct formal natural capital accounting are lacking.

Type: Article
Title: Integrating Natural Capital into National Accounts: Three Decades of Promise and Challenge
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/713075
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1086/713075
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138420
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