Challenging the certainty that ecological preservation is incompatible with economic growth, Green Capital shifts the focus from the scarcity of raw materials to the deterioration of the great natural regulatory functions (such as the climate system, the water cycle, and biodiversity). While we can find substitutes for scarce natural resources, we cannot replace a natural regulatory system, which is incredibly complex. It is then essential to introduce a new price into the economy that measures the costs of damage to these regulatory functions.
This shift in perspective justifies such innovations as the carbon tax, which addresses not the scarcity of carbon but the inability of the atmosphere to absorb large amounts of carbon without upsetting the climate system. Brokering a sustainable peace between ecology and the economy, Green Capital describes a range of valuation schemes and their contribution to the goals of green capitalism, proposing a new, practical approach to natural resources that benefits both businesses and the environment.
"By systematically destroying the natural foundations of our economic and social development, we deprive ourselves of the chance for sustainable growth. Is there a way out? The answers that de Perthuis and Jouvet provide are a model of realism, characterizing in operational terms the radical shifts required to escape the trap we are in."
– Claude Henry, Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University
"In this colorful and creative book, Christian de Perthuis and Pierre-André Jouvet go beyond the usual environment versus economy debate to show that the real challenge is to recognize the significant values we are already enjoying (often without paying) from nature's capital, and to incorporate those values efficiently into our market signals and decisions. Emphasizing the need for enterprise and innovation, it distinguishes growth as more production from growth as better value. Green Capital offers an eclectic, imaginative and pragmatic synthesis of environmental economics and sensible economic policy."
– Jonathan Wiener, Duke University
"Trend is not destiny. For those who want to find a better way to live on the earth, this book will be a source of insight and inspiration."
– Frank J. Convery, Chief Economist, Environmental Defense Fund
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Christian De Perthuis is a professor of economics at University Paris-Dauphine and head of the Climate Economics Chair. He is the author of several books, including Economic Choices in a Warming World, and as chairman of the Green Tax Committee, designed the carbon tax that was introduced by the French government in January 2014.
Pierre-André Jouvet is a professor of economics at the University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-la Defense and the scientific director of the Climate Economics Chair. His recent book is Global Environmental Commons: Analytical and Political Challenges in Building Governance Mechanisms.