The UK government has committed to leaving the environment in “a better state than we found it” in response to a landmark review of the economic importance of nature. Major transport and energy infrastructure projects in England will need to provide a net-gain for biodiversity, and the government said it would ensure all new bilateral aid spending did not harm the natural world as part of an effort to ensure a “nature-positive” future. The commitments were part of the formal response to the Dasgupta review of Earth’s so-called natural capital, which found that the planet is being put at “extreme risk” by the failure of economics to account for the environment, concluding human development had come at a “devastating cost” to life-sustaining ecosystems. The first-of-its-kind 600-page assessment was commissioned by the UK Treasury in 2019 and undertaken by Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, a Cambridge University economist. It urged governments to adopt an alternative form of national accounting to GDP, which includes the state of the natural world and create new supranational organisations to protect oceans, rainforests and other public goods. In response, the UK government said it agreed with the central conclusion of the report that nature sustains human […]

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