Valuing Nature topics at the Applied Environmental Economics conference (envecon) London 18 March 2016

Envecon image

envecon is the annual conference of the UK Network for Environmental Economists.

UPDATE: The presentations from this year's meeting (18 March) are now available here.

UKNEE is a multidisciplinary network – that’s how environmental economics is….a bridge between different environmental and social sciences, and economics….and decision makers. Attendance at the conference shows this mix: since 2004, we have had a mix of economists and experts in other fields, and a steady and equal proportion of academic researchers, private sector and public sector representatives.

This year the Valuing Nature Programme will have a stand at envecon - if you're coming along do come and say hello!  There are many papers in this year’s agenda that corresponds to the priority topics for the Programme. Some examples are given below. The conference is also a great chance to network during the day and the reception in the evening!

  • Natural hazards and extreme weather events

Tanvir Hussain (University of Freiburg) will talk about the land management scenarios under climate change and trade-offs between ecosystem services and stakeholder groups.

Michael Burton (University of Manchester) will give us examples of how to design economic valuation studies that present spatial information explicitly, in particular in the case of coastal management in the Kimberley in Western Australia.

Ladislav Tvaruzek (Committee on Climate Change) will talk about heat in the 5th carbon budget.

  • Human exposure to pathogens and aquatic toxins

Sarah Krisht (eftec) will present the method and findings of an Environment Agency commissioned valuation study on the economic value of improving bathing water quality in England.  On-site beach visitor and national population surveys are used to estimate cost of travel and how number of visits would change if the quality is reduced. While not separately viewed, bathing water pollution is associated with health impacts.

Marcella Veronesi (University of Verona) will talk about how to communicate the risk to human health information during economic valuation studies.

  • Urban ecosystems

Dr Rosalind Bark (Uni of Leeds) will talk about valuing urban river corridors using the effect of environmental benefits on property prices.

The full agenda is here.  There are many papers on natural capital accounting and ecosystem services covering different environmental media and economic sectors, and on low carbon economy.

The keynote speech will be given by Mark Gough, who is the Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition. The Coalition brings together global stakeholders to study and standardise methods for natural capital accounting to enable its valuation and reporting in business. Mark will tell us about the Natural Capital Protocol currently out for consultation. You can find the consultation draft here. I am particularly proud that my colleague Ian Dickie has contributed to the protocol, especially on the aspects of economic valuation.  Mark will also talk about the role of environmental economists in developing the natural capital approaches for business.  All in all relevant for the ‘network’ part of VNN.

The conference will also be an opportunity to hear about the ongoing refresh to the HM Treasury’s Green Book --- the official guidance for economic appraisal in the UK. That one is probably most interest to economists but still it will not be too technical for the general audience.

Finally, we will have the chance to hear about the new Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter. LEEP builds upon the established and internationally acclaimed track records of the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) and the Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR).  As well as specialising in a wide array of research topics, the Institute also places great emphasis upon its engagement with knowledge users in government and business, and is developing an interdisciplinary teaching programme.

We look forward to seeing you at envecon – the delegate fee is low as the conference is not-for-profit, and we offer discounts for groups, students and NGOs.

Ece Ozdemiroglu

10 March 2016