Cameron Hepburn

Implications of declining discount rates for UK climate change policy

with Groom, and Koundouri, in Peace, D. (ed) Valuing the Environment in Developed Countries, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, chapter 5, 2005

This is the second of two volumes of case studies that illustrate how environmental economists place values on environmental assets and on the flows of goods and services generated by those assets.

The first volume, Valuing the Environment in Developing Countries, illustrates methodologies and applications of valuation techniques in the developing world; this volume concentrates on developed or ‘wealthy’ nations where the first examples of economic valuation of the environment were carried out. This important book assembles studies that discuss broad areas of application of economic valuation – from amenity and pollution through to water and health risks, from forestry to green urban space. In this, his last book, the late David Pearce brought together leading European experts, contributors to some two dozen case studies exploring the frontiers of economic valuation of natural resources and environmental amenity in the developed world.

Essays on the role of valuation in environmental policy, environmental justice and green accounts are presented, and case study topics include:

• valuing forestry benefits
• GM crops
• water use and quality
• externalities in the electricity sector
• renewable energy benefits
• electricity transmission line disamenity
• urban greenspace
• chemical risks
• noise pollution.

Economic valuation has undoubtedly made an important contribution to the environmental debate, and the contributors illustrate how sophisticated techniques have become, and how powerful their application can be. As such, this significant volume will prove essential reading for academics, researchers, students and practitioners in the field of environmental economics.