"Natural capital – how to protect and enhance the natural environment" by Prof Dieter Helm

Past Event

03 June 2015, 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Department of Zoology
11a Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SZ

This book talk is hosted by the Biodiversity Insitute, an Oxford Martin School Institute

Speaker: Professor Dieter Helm, Professorial Research Fellow at the Smith School, Fellow in Economics, New College and Professor of Energy Policy, University of Oxford

Summary: Natural capital is everything nature provides us for free. It comprises renewables and non-renewables. Renewables carry on providing value for ever, as long as thresholds are not crossed, whereas non-renewables can only be used once. Natural capital policy requires compensation for damage, pollution taxes and the economic rents from depleting non-renewables to be deployed for a major restoration programme, underpinning sustainable economic growth. The seminar sets out the aggregate natural capital rules, the identification of assets-at-risk and how to protect the natural environment in the face of major population growth and infrastructure developments.

About the book

Natural capital is what nature provides to us for free. Renewables - like species - keep on coming, provided we do not drive them towards extinction. Non-renewables - like oil and gas - can only be used once. Together, they are the foundation that ensures our survival and well-being, and the basis of all economic activity. In the face of the global, local, and national destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems, economist Dieter Helm here offers a crucial set of strategies for establishing natural capital policy that is balanced, economically sustainable, and politically viable.

Helm shows why the commonly held view that environmental protection poses obstacles to economic progress is false, and he explains why the environment must be at the very core of economic planning. He presents the first real attempt to calibrate, measure, and value natural capital from an economic perspective and goes on to outline a stable new framework for sustainable growth. Bristling with ideas of immediate global relevance, Helm’s book shifts the parameters of current environmental debate. As inspiring as his trailblazing The Carbon Crunch, this volume will be essential reading for anyone concerned with reversing the headlong destruction of our environment.