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February 2024 Newsletter

In This Month's Newsletter:

  • Register for the last few envecon tickets 

  • And get CPD Accreditation!

  • Economic Evidence for the Restoration of Somerset's Wetland Moors

  • Natural capital baseline & scenario to support recovery

  • UK Announces Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain

  • Our reaction & recommendations

 

Register for the last few envecon 2024 tickets & get CPD accreditation!



In addition to sessions on new research about the impacts of climate change, distributional analysis, green finance, and planning for future research for the marine environment, we will also have posters this year. See the packed agenda which will be lead by our keynote speaker, Emily Shuckburgh OBE, Director of Cambridge Zero.


Posters will showcase work on:

  • a comprehensive review of literature on the economic benefits of nature-based solutions,

  • the impact of climate change on growth in China, and

  • the behavioural factors that influence households’ willingness to pay for microgeneration heating technologies.

envecon 2024 is now CPD accredited by CIWEM: Click here for tickets!


 

Economic Evidence for the Restoration of Somerset's Wetland Moors



Recently, we helped the Somerset Coast, Levels and Moors Nature Recovery Project with their work on the special wetland habitats of the inland Moors and valleys in Somerset: one of the most important wetland landscapes in England.


The purpose of the work was to evaluate the baseline status and a future pathway for change for the recovery of nature across 41,000 hectares of Somerset. Historic land use in the area has had detrimental impacts on the health of this habitat. The challenge for the Recovery Project is to create a vision of land use that supports local livelihoods while restoring the wetlands for wildlife, conserving carbon, and helping the landscape to become resilient to the pressures of climate change.


Our baseline evaluation provided an understanding of the relevant benefits and costs for existing patterns of land use, focusing on farming, peat extraction, tourism, and conservation. We then modelled how these costs and benefits would change in two future scenarios: ‘business as usual’ (including the impacts of climate change) and a ‘nature recovery’ scenario. The analyses showed the scale of undesirable outcomes in the business as usual case and the potential benefits of the nature recovery scenario for nature and livelihoods.


By using the natural capital approach, we can provide evidence that is useful and understandable to all stakeholders in the region. This will help with collaboration on strategies and monitoring to enable a future that supports people and nature.



 

Our Reaction: Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain in the UK




12 Feb, 2024 marked the UK government’s announcement of the first-ever mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain market in the world!


Back in 2020, we developed a model for Defra to estimate the potential size of the BNG market, including incentives, barriers to entry, trade volume, and unit prices. Through interviews with buyers and sellers, we gained insights into market dynamics. Since then, we've provided advice to investment management firms and landowners on how the market would impact them.


Recently, we've been delving into the complexities of BNG for the marine environment.


We are not here to put a dampener on the good news, but let’s remember a few things to ensure BNG delivers as expected:


It is still better to avoid damaging nature than offsetting the damage, even if offsetting could generate ‘net gain’. The BNG market is designed for unavoidable, residual impacts. The opportunity to offset these impacts should not hinder work to reduce them in the first place.


Markets succeed at maximising the benefits they are created for, and, left unregulated, fail to take account of impacts on anything else. We can avoid new markets like BNG repeating the failures of conventional markets, by:

  • Remembering that BNG is a market for one of the benefits of nature – however important biodiversity is. Land owners (suppliers) and regulators should be mindful that providing BNG may not be the best option everywhere or may preclude other benefits to be provided.

  • Empowering the suppliers to know which benefits to provide where, with information on what makes economic, social, as well as financial sense.

  • Monitoring the transactions and seeking transparency by investing in people who will operate and regulate the market, so that we can ensure the BNG market outcomes will be ecologically feasible, economically viable, and socially acceptable.

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