environmental economics

The application of economics to the environment, treating it as any other scarce resource and assigning costs and benefits accordingly. In 2008, The Economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB) study estimated that the worldwide damage to the natural environment caused by human activity was $2–4.5tn. Environmental economics is said to take account of costs and benefits that might otherwise be disregarded, and thus gives a basis for decision-making. However, monetizing elements of the environment is ‘a pretence that everything has a price or, in other words, that money is the highest of all values’.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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