Debating Nature’s Value: The Role of Monetary Valuation
Environmental valuation is grounded in expected utility theory. Coupled with the ecosystem services framework, it provides a quantitative model of how aspects of the natural world influence human well-being. Like any model, the important issue is not whether it is ‘right’ or ‘true’, but rather whether it is ‘useful’. There are diverse possible uses, such as project appraisal, awareness raising, and supporting policy instruments. There are well-recognised problems, many applying also to market institutions and other forms of collective choice. The extent to which valuation is useful and acceptable will depend on environmental, economic, and social/political contexts. The key issue to debate is not whether monetary valuation is ‘accurate’, ‘complete’, or ‘true’, but rather ‘under what conditions is monetary valuation useful?’
This research has been supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 678760 (ATLAS).
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