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Nature-al Resources

What comes to mind when you hear the words "natural resources?" Oil. Water. Nature. Nature? In fact, yes, nature is one of the big ones. Ecologists and economists have a name for the natural resources that nature provides: "ecosystem services." They've calculated that globally the dollar-value of those services could be $54 trillion annually in 1997 dollars--for comparison the Gross World Product for 2008 was around $62 trillion. Most people don't call nature's resources "ecosystem services" though. Instead, they use words like '"skiing," "fishing," "ranching," or "vacationing." As it turns out, those are exactly the kinds of things that are going to be impacted by global warming--in ways that make entire state’s economies feel the heat. Those particular examples came out of a recent Climate Action Team report issued for the state I live in, which pointed out that global warming was likely going to cost California hundreds of millions of dollars annually by impacts on ecosystem services. I wrote about a little more about that on KQED's Climate Watch blog, if you're interested. For the place you live, the examples may be different, but the moral is the same. Nature depends on climate. We depend on nature.