We have received a comment from Prof Findlay from the University of Ottawa regarding the Economists’ coverage on biodiversity and growth.The comment is reproduced in its entirety below.
One point I might make about this argument, which the Economist glosses over, is that (as with most things), scale matters. The argument has been made that although economic prosperity does allow nations to allocate resources to conservation, those allocations are invariably domestic. Yet demand for natural resources still increases, and these natural resources are imported from elsewhere, contributing to environmental degradation abroad. This is precisely the point raised by Peter Dauvergne in his book “Shadows of consumption”. If this sort of thing is widespread (and Peter adduces evidence that it is), then one might indeed find that the relationship between domestic economic prosperity (e.g. GDP) and domestic environmental impacts is non-monotonic, but that integrated over the globe the relationship is in fact monotonic. – Prof Findlay