Monday, October 5, 2009

(partial) Development Indicators

The South African government has released a third edition of the Development Indicators publication. The report does not contain a specific section on the trends in natural and environmental capital, but a few indicators did make it into the report:

- 470 000 'environmental' jobs were created in the expanded public works programme, compared to 980 000 in infrastructure and 200 000 in the social and economic spheres.
- membership of voluntary environmental organisations declined steeply from 7.9% of citizens in 1995 to 3.9% in 2006.
- International tourist arrivals increased sharply from 6.4m in 2002 to 9.6m in 2008.
- Greenhouse gas emissions per GDP is declining from 450MtCO2 eq in 1990 to 400MtCO2eq in 2007.
- Greenhouse gas emissions per capita is increasing from 9.87 tCO2eq per person in 1990 to 10.29 in 2007.

The mainstream economic growth model assumes that natural capital and the environment is in abundant supply, or that a combination of technological developments and the price mechanism will take care of natural resource and environmental shocks on the economy. These are very strong assumptions to make and one that needs to evaluated in much more detail in the further discussion of these recommendations.

Clearly the dominant thinking in economic development is still that natural resources are in abundant supply and scarcity (in quality and/or quantity) will have no discernible feedback effects that may threaten the country's development path.

No comments: