Discounting, Ethics, And Options For Maintaining Biodiversity And Ecosystem Integrity
This paper presents the economic logic behind the concept of discounting the future and discusses how it applies to biodiversity conservation. How should economists account for the effects of biodiversity and ecosystem losses in the immediate and distant future? The authors discuss how to integrate traditional cost-benefit analysis with other approaches to understand and measure, where possible, environmental values. They conclude that losses of biodiversity and ecosystems have properties that make it difficult to apply standard welfare analysis including discounting the future.