Faulty eco-accounting

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Written by Al Gore

Our current system of accounting also ignores the present value of all of the important services that healthy ecosystems provide, most of which we now take for granted.  The predictable pattern of ice-pack melting in mountain regions provides clean drinking water for hundreds of millions of people, yet we take it for granted even as it is disappearing. Healthy soils recycle nutrients that make modern agriculture possible, yet we routinely ignore this function even as we contribute to its destruction with the heavy use of pesticides and oil-based fertilizer.  A healthy population of bees pollinates many food crops, not to mention flowers, yet the systemic threat to bees from environmental degradation is not taken into account.  Looked at in aggregate, the value of these and other ecosystem services worldwide was calculated in a 1997 study in Nature  magazine at $44 trillion per year (in 2008dollars)—none of which shows up in business or market accounting.

Al Gore, Our Choice, p.339.

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