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Valuing Nature For Climate Change Policy: From Discounting The Future To Truly Social Deliberation

John Gowdy ()

Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics

Abstract: The recent human impact on the environment is so unique in the geological record that the official geological body that defines the division of geological time, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, is considering designating a new geographical epoch called the Anthropocene, calling attention to the global impacts humans, and particularly the human economy, are having on the Earth’s biological, atmospheric and geological systems. Using the example of climate change, it is argued below that the magnitude, suddenness, and long-term consequences of the current human abuse of the natural world calls for a radical new approach to valuing nature, one based not on individual choice in the immediate present but rather on a socially embedded “deeper sense of time”. Such an approach would move beyond attempts to “correctly price” nature based on imputed market values and would instead rely on shared social values and a concern for future generations. These shared social values can be made concrete through discursive processes drawing upon our long evolutionary history of collectively solving the problem of intergenerational sustainability.

JEL-codes: A10 A11 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Chapter: Valuing nature for climate change policy: from discounting the future to truly social deliberation (2013) Downloads
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