Economic assessment for the environment (EcoAssess)
This research programme has four specific goals:
· To develop theory and methods for applying cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to problems involving the management of our natural environments and resources;
· To use a set of empirical studies to show how CBA may be used, and how CBA may be extended to address ecosystem services, resource dynamics, risk and uncertainty, monetary and non-monetary valuation and distributional issues;
· To apply these tools to assess the costs and benefits of current Swedish environmental policy targets; and
· To effectively integrate findings into a cooperative outreach programme involving key stakeholders in the government sector.
Policymakers want better tools to evaluate the trade-offs associated with alternative environmental objectives, policies, and instruments. A key assessment tool is cost-benefit analysis (CBA). While CBA has been used historically to help define key trade-offs in environmental policy, gaps still exist between practical application and theoretical foundations. Key gaps that need to be addressed in CBA work include accounting for ecosystem services, resource dynamics, risk and uncertainty, distributional issues, benefit transfers, resource equivalency, goal conflicts and policy instruments such as taxes and tradable permits.
This research programme will (1) address these CBA gaps by extending current theories and empirical methods within a structured approach, and (2) disseminate this research to end-users to help facilitate the practical application of CBA.
Our programme will be managed by applied environmental economists. Recognizing that close cooperation with natural scientists is required for this programme to be successful, our research team will use its vast experience to work with natural scientists and ecologists, who will play key roles as members of this team.
The program will deliver a concise and easy-to-use CBA Handbook that will present how the latest insights from economic and ecological theory may be combined into a toolkit that may be directly applied in practice. This will be combined with a number of seminars and workshops working with officials from the government sector.
Participants include research groups at the Dept. of Forest Economics, SLU Umeå, the Dept. of Economics, Umeå University, the Dept. of Marine Ecology, Gothenburg University, among others.
Cost-benefit analysis, Ecosystem services, Impact assessment, Valuation
Programme leader: Bengt Kriström, SLU Umeå
Contact person at fms: Sofia Ahlroth
Period: 2008-01-01 - 2012-12-31
Source of funding: Naturvårdsverket (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency)