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Macroeconomics and the Environment

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy

Though scientists and environmentalists have long expressed concern over the rapid deterioration of the global environment, economists have largely failed to recognize the issue’s relevance to their field. Salah El Serafy argues for an increased focus on the economic aspects of environmental degradation, calling for a fundamental shift in how economists measure and discuss national income.
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Chapter 15: Pricing the invaluable: services of the world’s ecosystems

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy


As a member of the Editorial Board of Ecological Economics, I was invited to comment on an ambitious article published in the journal Nature (volume 387, May 15, 1997, pp. 253–260), which put a monetary value on the services of ecosystems, estimating these services at an annual value amounting to nearly twice the conventionally recorded global GNP. The lead author of the article was Robert Costanza. This comment appeared in Ecological Economics, 1998, volume 25, number 1, pp. 25–27.

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