The Safest Investment Would Be In Nature’s ‘Capital’

( – promoted by buhdydharma )


We have all seen what happened when what our financial markets mistakenly thought was worth investing in turned out to be a chimera: “What investors thought was safe as houses has turned out to be nothing more than the property of the poor disguised in a silver wrapper, enabling bankers to pocket billions.”

The BBC’s Green Room this morning has a better idea: Why don’t we invest in “Natures Capital”? Since forests perform the function of a giant planetary utility…

Since forests perform the function of a giant planetary utility, in performing a service essential for billions of dollars worth of industrial energy and food production:

“The Amazon releases 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere each day. This air-conditions the atmosphere, waters agri-business and underpins energy security from hydro to biofuels

To replicate what the Amazon does would be a $30-$50 billion a year investment,

“Were it possible to build a machine to do this, every day it would consume the energy equivalent to the world’s largest hydro dam running on full power for 135 years”

…but since nobody is reinvesting in this giant utility, “depreciation” is setting in.

By doing nothing, allowing the deforestation to continue, we are literally eroding our capital.

The world’s rainforests are a giant “utility”, providing services that we all use but none of us is paying the utility bill. Just as forclosures will happen if we cannot pay the mortgage, the utilities get turned off if we cannot pay the utility bill. Even natures utility, the Amazon, needs our capital investment to prevent depreciation. It is getting to the point where this capital is no longer generating any “income”.

So could preventing “depreciation” in our forests one day be a safer investment than houses? What if we invested in this giant utility, just like an investment in any other utility? We already have some forms of green investment such as Atmos, “with Atmos Financial your money reverses global warming” that’s their pitch at least. Supporting sustainable business can be a step in the right direction but direct investments of “green” into the Amazon is definitely the way to go. Letting it burn is endangering the foundation of our existence, far more than the global financial meltdown.

“Just one day of emissions from deforestation equates to 36 million people flying from London to New York. Seven billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually places rainforests just second to energy as a source of global emissions and is more than the entire world’s transport sector put together.”

Investing in natural capital may in time indeed turn out to be as safe as any other public utility but for that to happen we need the equivalent of an ecosystem services market with an environmental regulatory body that forces us to value the common goods that we continue to plunder at our peril.

This is why we need a carbon “market”.

Crossposted at Treehugger Forum

Photo from flikr user wildimagephoto


Skip to comment form

  1. Could we ‘market’ the idea of carbon markets in this way?

    I am no expert in investing, but according to the dimly remembered rules of Monopoly, I seeem to remember – isn’t investing in utilities a pretty safe investment…?

  2. …and particularly in the creation of carbon-consuming biotech products.  But that doesn’t really equate investing in nature’s “capital”, nor is it really past the theoretical stage.  And the need for carbon markets is rather different; that is based in the notion of pricing externality costs in carbon emissions.  Strictly speaking, we already have carbon “markets” – people investing in technologies and methods of carbon removal.  We just don’t have any commercially viable plans as yet.  Even the commercial value of the rainforest, due to the mispricing of carbon, doesn’t equal the commercial value of the land for other purposes.

    That being said, you do bring up an excellent point, which is that the carbon emissions people talk about most (transportation related) are a small fraction of the overall problem of carbon emissions.

  3. and his “normalization” of “relations” with then considered “Red China”, a communist totalitarian state ended up with China the carbon emission exempt protected state in which the entire western world’s financial houses supported the new industrial gold rush currently taking place in China.  The factories which used to be in the US are enabled by cheap “force them out of the rice paddies” and into the factories and are completely devoid of the 26 regulatory agencies currently regulating the very same business endeavors persued in the continental US.  Yes, I was just historized from my former job over this very subject so fuck you and your green fucking adgenda and carbon bullshit.  China is exempt and has been since 1993 which has in fact lured trillions of investment dollars to build factories that produce lead laced toys for children and contaminated food.  Energy saving twisty lamps that contain glue improper for the purpose of holding the slave made twisty lamp within it’s Edison based socket leaving it to short out, start a fire in your home and then drop onto the floor leaving you with mercury contamination within the EPA designated TLV of 1 square meter radius at 70 degrees F standard temperature.

    Market Big Al’s carbon trading scam?  I think fucking not.

Comments have been disabled.