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WORLD BANK REPORT URGES ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING

05/14/2012

The World Bank urged countries to place monetary value on natural ecosystems as part of their economic development in a report released last week. "At current rates, we are in danger of undermining the basis on which growth has been achieved in the last decades. We do not believe that current growth patterns are sustainable," said Rachel Kyte, vice president for sustainable development at the bank. Kyte gave the example of Thailand's pricing of mangrove swamps, which can be worth as much as $16,000 a hectare if their importance in providing a barrier against floods is taken into account. The more accurate value of the swamps, which is greater than the economic benefit of clearing them, has allowed Thailand to move towards more sustainable growth. Kyte also said that countries would benefit from looking beyond GDP as the sole measure of growth, though she stressed that GDP must continue to be the key measure for many years. In 2010, India became the first nation to announce that it would include environmental costs and natural wealth in GDP reporting. The Environment Minister said that India's high rates of growth were misleading, as traditional GDP reporting failed to take into account high costs from groundwater pollution and diminished public health. For the full story, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/09/world-bank-urgent-natu.... Earlier: http://elr.info/International/update/12.6.10.internationalupdate.cfm.