Tag Archives: SEEA

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 »

Live Research Bulletin: How Asian Countries Are Protecting Their Environments and Economies

Development RoastBy Carolynn Look and Garance Marcotte

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese Proverb

Some of the greatest ancient civilizations used to roam the lands that are now India, China, and Thailand. They were known for practices that showed a deep-rooted respect for the world around them, both in their daily lives and in their spirituality. Still today, the harmony between man and nature is seen in many parts of Asia, from Mongolian nomads living in yurts, to Tibetan monks leading minimalistic lives and seeking spiritual balance with everything around them. However, in many other places, this relationship has changed. Rapid urbanization is changing the continent’s landscape as rural-urban income disparities increase, water bodies are becoming severely damaged and pollution is at some of the world’s worst levels. Read More »

Live Research Bulletin: How are governments greening national accounts in Latin America? (Part I)

Development RoastBy Adam Nelson and Allan Spessoto

“…Gross national product … counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage….Yet [it] does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.”

Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

It has long been established that the way that national wealth is calculated is a poor measure of development. Gross and Net Domestic Products (GDP and NDP) positively count only the production of material goods, including weapons, cigarettes and handcuffs, but do not count some of the positive aspects of society like poetry, relationships, and music. Nor does it deduct ‘progress’ when the health of the environment, human beings or animals is negatively affected at the hand of pollution and toxic industries. Or give credit to ecosystems for the services they provide to nourish people and planet, like the rainforest’s capacity to purify air, stabilize soils and nutrients, curb global warming, and provide food, shelter, and cultural sustenance to millions of people. For many, such deductions and credits would mean having to put a dollar value on things in life that are just too sacred to be commoditized. For others, such a value is the first step to making them visible, and thus making them count, when they were taken for granted before. Throughout the month of November, Development Roast has shared with you a series of INESAD Live Research updates on how whole nations are rallying behind the call for green growth by trying to integrate the environment in national accounting calculations. Today, we start with the first of a two-part update on Latin America.

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Live Research Bulletin: The opposite poles of environmental accounts of Canada and the United States

“I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet.” Republican Presidential Candidate Governor Mitt Romney, an interview on “Meet the Press”, September, 2012.

This month, Development Roast has published several posts offering insights into different principles and practices of green accounting. After our overview of European experience with environmental accounting, we now turn to North America. Excluding Mexico (which will be discussed next week in the Latin America update), the two remaining countries show us quite different experiences with greening the national accounts. While Canada has shown to be an example of comprehensive implementation, the United States suspended its national project for environmental accounting in 1995 and hasn’t made large attempts to develop these accounts since. Read More »

Live Research Bulletin: Accounting for the Environment in Europe—Progress and Lessons.

Throughout November Development Roast is bringing you live research updates on an INESAD working paper currently in progress that is investigating national environmental accounting efforts around the world. Today, Carolynn Looks sums up the European experience.

A kilo of tomatoes in Spain typically costs around €1.99. This price includes the efforts of the farmer who grew the tomatoes, transportation costs, and the work of the retailer. What it does not include is the cost of emissions as these tomatoes make their way across Europe, or of water usage, deforestation and loss of biodiversity as monoculture plantations spread across Spain’s rural landscapes. Because of an increasing recognition of such detrimental effects, economists and governments have started to realize that air, water and forests are not in fact free and have asked themselves: What is the price of an old Cypress tree? How much does a clean river cost? How do you place a value on a gulp of unpolluted air, or on an entire habitat?

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