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How should society pay for services ecosystems provide?
Date:11/4/2011

of fertilizers and pesticides, two of the main reasons for the growing number of dead zones in the world's oceans.

A similar lesson can be found in the first generation of cap-and-trade systems, they say. The first U.S. markets for sulfur dioxide emission rights collapsed because of faulty design: They failed to take into account the interactions between multiple pollutants across state boundaries.

Establishing markets and payment for ecosystem services can provide incentives for sustainable supply of these services. Examples of successful approaches to environmental markets include cap-and-trade policies to limit pollution and certification for sustainably made products. But environmental markets need to be designed carefully. Doing it wrong could be worse than not doing it at all.

The scientists' report is timely, given the growing enthusiasm for the use of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes that allow governments and non-governmental organizations to pay for environmental public goods. For example, carbon sequestration is being paid for through the United Nations' Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, or REDD, scheme. The scheme pays countries to not cut down their forests, which in turn puts the brakes on loss of biodiversity, in addition to curbing carbon emissions.


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Contact: Jeff Falk
jfalk@umn.edu
612-626-1720
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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