Economics Department Professors Edward Barbier and Joanne Burgess co-authored an article with Professor Thomas Dean of the College of Business titled “How to pay for saving biodiversity” which was published in the prestigious journal Science on May 4, 2018.
They argue that to preserve the rich array of species around the world, corporations will need to engage and contribute financially as part of a global agreement. In the piece, they propose modeling the new global pact after the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. But instead of focusing primarily on governmental entities as partners, they say corporations in industries that rely on biodiversity should invest in the effort as well.
The reason for that, they claim, is that governments don’t have the financial wherewithal to contribute the $100 billion a year that would be needed to protect the earth’s broad range of animal and plant species. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, corporations in industries like seafood, insurance and forest products stand to significantly increase their profits by investing in the effort — and avoid financial losses that would necessarily come with irreversible declines in biodiversity.
“Let’s get the companies and non-state entities involved from the beginning, so that we can deal with the funding issue,” says Barbier, a world-renowned environmental economist who joined CSU last year. “It’s the good thing for their bottom line, and corporations are beginning to realize that. I think we’re at a turning point, but if we don’t act quickly, we’re going to lose much of the world’s remaining biodiversity.”
The authors say the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, one of the first international environmental agreements negotiated, has not done enough to reverse the decline of biological populations and diversity on land and in oceans. They add that neither has the Global Environmental Facility, which was created the same year for biodiversity conservation in developing countries. Those countries host the most biodiversity in part because so many of them have tropical climates.
Similarly, the CSU faculty write that the Aichi Biodiversity Targets that governments around the world have agreed to are seen as too modest because they call for conservation of only a small percentage of the habitats needed to save global biodiversity. Based on scientific recommendations, their proposed international agreement would preserve at least half of the world’s terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine habitats by 2050.
“It is critical that the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt this November finds creative solutions to the current biodiversity conservation crisis,” Burgess says. “As our article discusses, establishing a Global Agreement for Biodiversity with expanded conservation and finance targets is required. Creating mechanisms for corporations to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem could help mobilize financial resources and create incentives to avert a catastrophic loss of biodiversity.”
Barbier and Dean met last year and began discussing the idea while serving together on a panel hosted by CSU’s Global Biodiversity Center, which is housed at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Barbier and Burgess, who are married, have been writing about corporate incentives for environmental stewardship for years.
According to projections in their article, the seafood industry stands to gain $53 billion annually from a $5 billion to $10 billion investment each year in a global agreement on biodiversity, while the insurance industry could see an additional $52 billion with a similar investment. By spending $15 to $30 billion annually, the forest products industry would attain its sustainable forest management goal. Companies that participate would also create new marketing opportunities such as certified labeling campaigns.
“This is where the right thing to do and the bottom line come together,” Barbier says. “And it’s fairly urgent. I don’t see the funding gap closing any other way.”
He notes that some industries have already seen corporations band together in sustainability agreements like the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship initiative.
“At its foundation, this article is arguing that corporations have a vested interest in the preservation of biodiversity, and that interest should lead them to support efforts to preserve our biosphere,” Dean said. “For too long we have viewed corporate and environmental interests as adversarial, when they need to become aligned if we are to be successful both economically and environmentally. What seems obvious to me is that corporations that depend on the health of our ecosystems are at risk of losing the foundations of their businesses in the long run. Growing awareness of this challenge will increasingly motivate corporations to engage.”
Their article continues to attract media attention internationally as can be seen in the June 28, 2018 publication “Scientists call for a Paris-style agreement to save life on Earth” on The Guardian’s website.
The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) at Colorado State University has announced the selection of four Global Challenges Research Teams and six Resident Faculty Fellows from a competitive field of proposals. The awards are intended to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of complex global environmental issues, foster collaborative cross-campus partnerships, and support sustainability research at CSU.
Congratulations to our own Assistant Professor Anders Fremstad for being selected as a 2018-2019 SoGES Faculty Fellow!
Fremstad will study the impact of a carbon tax in the State of Colorado. Placing a price on carbon disproportionately burdens low-income households, but rebating carbon tax revenues in equal dividends can protect the purchasing power of most Coloradans, including the vast majority of residents in the bottom half of the income distribution. This project builds on Fremstad’s national analysis by accounting for Colorado’s expenditure patterns and fuel mix.
Read the SOURCE story here.
Please help us congratulate Dr. Cher Li’s Faculty Development award on Tuesday, April 11 from 3 to 5 pm in the Long’s Peak Room in Lory Student Center (Spring Faculty/Staff Meeting & Awards Ceremony). She is receiving this award from the College of Liberal Arts for her research project on the Under-representation of Women in Economics Majors.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Li as she accepts this important award!
Look forward to seeing you there!!
By Brian Thiede, Lillie Greiman, Stephan Weiler, Steven C. Beda and Tessa Conroy
Editor’s note: We’ve all heard of the great divide between life in rural and urban America. But what are the factors that contribute to these differences? We asked sociologists, economists, geographers and historians to describe the divide from different angles. The data paint a richer and sometimes surprising picture of the U.S. today.
Today Dr. Shulman turned the page on his ten years as department chair. He has served us well.
“Some or even most of you have heard by now that I will finish as department chair when I complete my second term on June 30. Alex Bernasek will replace me. I am grateful to Alex and confident that she will prove to be a good leader for the department. Anita will replace her as Coordinator of Graduate Studies. On top of all that, Jenifer will retire in September. Next semester a new team will take the helm, marking a pivotal change for the department.
Our graduate program has prospered over the past ten years. The faculty has worked consistently to improve its academic content & structure. We have put more resources into the program, creating graduate student scholarships, offering online & classroom teaching opportunities & supporting conference travel. Funded research opportunities have significantly grown. We have not only survived, we have thrived as one of the few genuinely heterodox departments in the country. We offer our students a unique mix of intellectual perspectives & applied skills. Our job placement record is impressive & many of our students have gone on to successful careers. I am proud of what all of us have accomplished together.
As for my plans, I look forward to contributing to our teaching programs in some new ways, including playing a more active role in the principles system. I also hope to focus more on my role as the research director of the Center for the Study of Academic Labor. Come see me if you are interested in academic labor markets & the economics of higher education. Whatever your research interests, I would be glad to serve on dissertation committees, & to help you in whatever ways that I can.”
How studying Economics can impact your life, career, and mentality.
Give it a watch to learn more about Economics and the gender gap from club members and faculty!
COIN: Finding tech workers still an issue, as is rising housing costs
Certification schools, outreach to women, millennials boost qualified tech workforce
When the Colorado Innovation Network published its first talent report in 2012, it noted a startling decline in students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. That’s still a concern, but COIN took a different approach with its new report Tuesday. Within the top-jobs category of careers with higher wages and growth, 55 percent are STEM-related. “What has changed from four years ago is how we look at that talent and recognize how it moves forward,” said Anna Ewing, executive director of COIN, a privately funded organization launched by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011. “The influx of millennials is a very impactful trend on the talent landscape. People want to come here and work from a lifestyle perspective. But that puts more pressure on housing and transportation.” COIN, which opened its two-day summit Tuesday, is less a fixer of problems than an identifier of issues. The report cites many things for the community to consider, she said. “It’s going to necessitate that employers get more creative in how they keep employees engaged,” Ewing said. “With generational differences in the workforce and cultural changes, workers want flexibility. They want technology tools and to customize their own career path.” The disconnect between traditional college degrees and employers has spurred “badging certification” programs, such as Denver’s Galvanize, which trains students to become software developers with an entrepreneurial edge that tech companies are seeking.
COIN researchers interviewed Chris Onan, co-founder of Galvanize, which has graduated 200 students. Of its data-science grads, 93 percent found a job within six months and averaged a $115,000 starting salary. Full-stack grads started at $73,000, and 98 percent found jobs within six months. The company has made efforts to reach women, veterans and minorities. It expects 500 students to go through its program this year, but that’s not enough to meet demand, said Mark Saldaña, Galvanize’s marketing manager. “Galvanize is going to have to scale (up) to meet employer demand for talent and student demand for technical skills in the coming years,” he said. “We’re partnering with organizations like IBM and (President Barack) Obama’s TechHire initiative to fill the skills gap.”
Stephan Weiler, a Colorado State University economics professor, worked on earlier COIN reports but not this year’s. He said women will be taking on more roles because more women are going to college.
BUSINESS By Tamara Chuang, The Denver Post, Posted: 08/25/2015
See complete article here: COIN article