May 22, 2013
Decisions over whether or not to allow development of natural resources can have a major impact on peoples' lives. For some, a new development means job prospects and a higher standard of living. For others it means pollution, loss of native wildlife and a lower standard of living. Regardless of whether a development goes ahead someone is likely to be worse off. Decision-makers need to be able to weigh relative impacts, costs and benefits, to determine whether or not conservation or development will be beneficial overall. This means conducting proper economic evaluation of choices and trade-offs. This report lays out the case for proper economic valuation of resource decisions including their impacts on the environment and provides recommendations for how that should be done.