At an EU meeting in Brussels, dubbed the Low Carbon Prosperity Summit, the UK’s Prince Charles made the case that without healthy ecosystems, the global economy will suffer.
“We have to see that there is a direct relationship between the resilience of Nature’s ecosystems and the resilience of our national economies,” he told Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), business leaders, and other policy makers. “If the fabric of the Earth’s life-support system fragments, as it appears it may be starting to do; if those systems become weak or even collapse—essentially, if Nature’s capital loses its innate resilience—then how long does it take for our economic capital and economic systems to lose their resilience too?”
He added: “I cannot see how we can possibly maintain the growth of GDP in the long term if we continue to consume our planet as voraciously as we are doing.”
The heir to the English throne also attacked climate change deniers for their “corrosive effect on public opinion”.
He stated that such self-described skeptics “deny the vast body of scientific evidence that shows beyond any reasonable doubt that global warming has been exacerbated by human industrialized activity.”
In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it was ‘very likely’ (over 90%) that human activities are the primary cause of warming over the past century. Since the industrial revolution, the Earth has warmed on average approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The last decade was the warmest since record keeping began, and 2010 among the world’s warmest years.
“I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them that they failed their future; that they ignored all the clear warning signs,” he continued. “I wonder, will such people be held accountable at the end of the day for the absolute refusal to countenance a precautionary approach for this plays a most reckless game of roulette with the future inheritance of those who come after us?”
Prince Charles also said that environmentalists must change their message and focus on the many benefits of living sustainably.
“If we are constantly told that living environmentally friendly lives means giving up all that makes life worthwhile, then it is no surprise that people refuse to change,” he said.
(10/06/2010) The cost of environmental damage to the global economy hit 6.6 trillion US dollars—11 percent of the global GDP—in 2008, according to a new study by the Principles for Responsible (PRI) and UNEP Finance Initiative. If business continues as usual, the study predicts that environmental damage will cost 28 trillion dollars by 2050. The new study undercuts the popular belief that environmental health and economic welfare are at odds.
(10/20/2010) Leaders from around the world meeting in Nahoya, Japan for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to discuss solutions to stem the current mass extinction crisis may be in need of a little book: The Little Biodiversity Finance Book. While a recent report by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) found that degradation of ecosystems—including biodiversity loss—was costing the global economy $2-5 trillion annually, one of the primary threats to wildlife around the world is simply a lack of funds to enact program. But The Little Biodiversity Finance Book says that with the right policy initiatives the burgeoning ecosystem market could be worth $141 billion by 2020.
(10/13/2010) Too many people consuming too much is depleting the world’s natural resources faster than they are replenished, imperiling not only the world’s species but risking the well-being of human societies, according to a new massive study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), entitled the Living Planet Report. The report finds that humanity is currently consuming the equivalent of 1.5 planet Earths every year for its activities. This overconsumption has caused biodiversity—in this case, representative populations of vertebrate animals—to fall by 30 percent worldwide since 1970. The situation is more dire in tropical regions where terrestrial species’ populations have fallen by 60 percent and freshwater species by 70 percent.