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Defra group reaction to the Dasgupta Review

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The world is being put at ‘extreme risk’ by the failure of economics to take account of the rapid depletion of the natural world, according to the Dasgupta Review which was published today (2 February).

The independent, global Review presents the first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for biodiversity. It calls for urgent, transformative changes in how we think, act and measure economic success to protect and enhance our prosperity and the natural world.

A front page Guardian article notes that the UK will host COP26 in November and carries a statement from the Prime Minister who welcomes the review and states that ‘this year is critical in determining whether we can stop and reverse the concerning trend of fast-declining biodiversity’. The Review has attracted a lot of interest on social media and there is further coverage in BBC Online and The Telegraph.

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme (2:33:16) and BBC News to discuss how the new framework presented by the Review sets out the ways in which we should account for nature in economics and decision-making. Professor Dasgupta was questioned over how such a policy would function and what kind of measures would be needed to encourage a more economic approach to biodiversity loss.

Welcoming the Review, Environment Secretary, George Eustice said:

If we want to realise the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark Review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets.

This is what lies at the heart of the government’s 25-year environment plan, our approach to future farming policy, efforts to embed biodiversity net gain in the planning system, and other initiatives such as £3 billion for climate change solutions that restore nature globally and our new due diligence law to clean up our supply chains and help tackle illegal deforestation.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and Adviser to the Board of Trade, said:

This excellent report’s call to change our measures of economic success is about creating jobs fit for a greener world economy and longer-term, more steady, returns for investors with nature’s recovery at their core. As more and more countries look to green finance for an economic boost, there’s a race to mobilise trillions of dollars to reverse natural decline and manage climate shocks, like floods and droughts. Governments and companies everywhere should take a good look at their global supply chains and heed these recommendations.

Tony Juniper, Natural England Chair, said:

For too long it has been widely assumed that the degradation of the environment was a necessary price of progress. This Review reveals, however, that the opposite is in fact the case, and how a healthy natural world is essential for sustaining the health of our economy and society.

The clear upshot is that we now need to ensure collective and sustained action to ensure the natural world on which we depend is not only protected, but also restored at transformational scale. This will require a step change in investment, both public and private, in the recovery of Nature.

The restoration of the natural world will bring a range of valuable dividends, making this one of the wisest investments we can make, with rich returns seen in, for example, improved public health and wellbeing, catching carbon from the air, helping us adapt to the changing climate, ensuring supplies of clean water, boosting tourism and protecting our future food security.

Read Natural England’s response to the review.

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