Green Accounting

Could Countries Trade Food With the Environment in Mind?

The world’s farming and transportation sectors are some of the biggest contributors to global warming and climate change since they emit around 14 percent of total global greenhouse gases each. Emissions are counted mainly from agricultural production and from the fossil fuels burned in road, air and sea freight, respectively. However, the two are also increasingly interlinked because of rapid growth of international trade in agricultural goods—such as foods, natural fibers and bio-fuels—over the last few decades. Agriculture’s impact on atmospheric pollution is rising because of the energy needed to move agricultural products between more and more countries around the world.

In theory, international trade is a good thing because it can reduce the price of goods for consumers and increase sales for producers, making everyone better off. However, this is a purely economic perspective that does not take important environmental issues into consideration. While goods will always continue to flow across national borders, if we are serious about reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and halting climate change, then we need to make sure that they do so in the most environmentally sound way possible. Read More »

Live Research Bulletin: How are private institutions helping to make the environment count in Latin America? (Part II)

Throughout the months of November and December, Development Roast will share with you a series of INESAD Live Research updates on how different institutions and individuals are rallying behind the call for green growth by trying to integrate the environment in national and sectoral accounting calculations. In Part I we discussed how the governments of Latin America are experimenting with green accounting. Today, we complete the two part live research update by taking a look at other efforts making the environment count in the region.

Where there is a dearth of government resources to compile green accounts (see our previous discussion of theory behind the techniques involved), international organizations, universities, and independent research institutions often fill the gap. Some environmental accounting studies are limited to calculating environmental costs of specific industries like logging in the Brazilian Amazon and mining in Chile. Others, like the Institute of Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)’s Bolivia’s green national accounts, take on the entire economy. Read More »

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