Natural capital - sustaining economic growth

Alongside global warming, the destruction of the world’s biodiversity and natural capital threatens to undermine economic growth. Another 3 billion people and a world economy some 16 times bigger by 2100 threatens environmental destruction on a scale which would make the twentieth century look positively benign. On current policies, natural capital – those assets nature gives us for free – will be massively depleted and undermine economies. To put growth on a sustainable basis requires that natural assets are taken seriously – in national and corporate accounts, on balance sheets, and by providing compensation for damage, pollution taxes and a nature fund. This lecture sets out how to do this, how to start restoring natural capital, and why it is necessary for sustainable economic growth.

About the Speaker: Prof Dieter Helm is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Smith School, Fellow in Economics, New College and Professor of Energy Policy, University of Oxford. Dieter holds a number of advisory board appointments in Britain and Europe. Current appointments include: Independent Chair of the Natural Capital Committee, and member of the Economics Advisory Group to the UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. During 2011, Dieter assisted the European Commission in preparing the Energy Roadmap 2050, serving both as a special advisor to the European Commissioner for Energy and as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on the Roadmap. He also assisted the Polish government in their presidency of the European Union Council.