The great nature sale
The green economy the UK government and others are pushing at Rio is based on the idea that we are trashing the global commons because we don’t value it properly. Therefore, they say, we need to put a financial value on nature and the services (clean air, water, resources like trees, food, fuel) it gives us. Then we can bring these things into the market and pay the proper price.
At first glance, this might seem like a good idea. Proponents of the false green economy often sound like they are saying all the right things. They appear to accept the need to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions, and they talk of placing a proper 'value' on nature. But they are confusing value with price, and by doing so they open the door for green markets that price everything but value nothing.
Below are some examples of how this is happening and of what the alternatives look like.
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Valuing and quantifying the carbon stored in forests, so that private companies will have to earn the right to cut down trees or emit carbon.
Creating markets in financial instruments derived from endangered species and natural processes like pollination by bees.
Building a globally integrated market for fresh water, turning water into a financial asset that can be traded, sold and invested.
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Green economy blog
Regular updates from our campaigners on issues around the green economy, financialisation and the Rio+20 conference.
The great nature sale
Discussions about the green economy are being captured by rich country governments and corporate interests. Their proposals include allowing speculators to bet on the price of water, selling off land that indigenous people and small-scale farmers have used for generations and creating new financial instruments linked to the survival of endangered species.
Want to know more?
Our briefing, Rio+20 summit: Whose green economy?, explains what is being proposed at Rio, the corporate plan for the future of our planet, and the sustainable alternatives being proposed by social movements and civil society in the global south.