The 12 Principles of the Ecosystem Economics Paradigm

Simon M Lamb

Author of “Junglenomics: Nature’s solutions to the world environment crisis: a new paradigm for the twenty-first century and beyond”

  1. Markets should not be free to profit to the detriment of the environment, species or human beings
  2. It should be financially rewarding to conserve and enhance the natural world
  3. A right to “safe-to-breathe air” should be enshrined in law
  4. Goods and services that are less damaging to the environment should be made cheaper than more damaging competitors
  5. Green technology research and development should be prioritized and supported, and proven products and services fast-tracked into mass production and deployment
  6. New investment markets that profit from the conservation of the natural world should be devised, initiated, underwritten, and fast-tracked
  7. Non-core environmentally damaging industry and business should rapidly convert to green technology and practices or be priced out of business
  8. Core environmentally damaging industry and business should be motivated to avoid, minimize or mitigate its environmental impact, while cleaner alternatives are developed, supported and fast-tracked to replace them
  9. No pollutive or environment-degrading materials should be permitted to escape into the environment from the economy free of substantial cost
  10. The collection and re-use of escaped pollutive or environmentally damaging materials should be made profitable
  11. The poor in developing economies should be prioritized for inclusion in new green development
  12. Universal education, primarily in Africa, should become a central priority for the international community, to increase opportunity and reduce birth rates


Manifesto based on “Junglenomics” for an Environment-Saving Economics Revolution (Draft)

updated 15/01/20

National Action

Business & Industry

  1. Universal Environmental Accounting. Introduce environmental accounting for all businesses and public bodies to formalize the Bloomberg/Carney “Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures” (TCFD), and to provide comprehensive national inventories of all pollutive emissions, environmentally degrading and wildlife destructive processes and practices
  2. Create a national database of environmental impacts. Use environmental accounting inventories to create a national database of all negative human impacts on the environment, upon which to base the following policies and initiatives. Also to facilitate a bespoke national environment advisory service for business to help fast-track a green economy, and ensure that all new businesses include potential taxation on their external costs in their profit projections
  3. Facilitate Clean Business Adaptation. Establish Business Environmental Adaptation Trust Funds by way of annual levies on environmentally damaging businesses, held in Trust and available for draw-down to adapt to more environmentally friendly processes, and to develop more environmentally benign products

Greenhouse Gases, Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation

  1. Establish the principle of ‘environmental neutrality’. Replace the concept of “carbon neutrality” with “environmental neutrality” to help focus efforts on minimising, mitigating and avoiding all external environmental costs (“externality accounting”)
  2. Speed up the reduction of noxious emissions. Raise levies on continuing environmentally damaging emissions. Ringfence the proceeds through Environmental Adaptation Trust Funds (see 3 above) to i) subsidise benign substitutes and alternatives, and ii) develop and deploy new technology to minimise the escape of harmful substances into the environment and to pressurise businesses to depart from business as usual as rapidly as possible
  3. Increase business symbiosis. Incentivise, facilitate and reward businesses to develop or relocate in clusters to achieve symbiotic cost synergies and reduce environmental footprints
  4. Roll out widespread Carbon Capture & Storage. Fund the rapid development and deployment of CCS, carbon absorption and carbon negative processes in high emission industries (such as concrete and steel manufacture) via CCS Investment Bonds (see 22 below)
  5. Revise carbon offsets. Re-assess and revise carbon offset tree-planting and rewilding schemes at home and abroad to ensure that only those that create species-rich diversity or restore already depleted ecosystems with appropriate species in appropriate regions, and that are permanently protected from commercial exploitation (i.e. re-wilded in perpetuity).
  6. Fast-track low emission vehicle development & deployment. Close the price gap incrementally by introducing graduated vehicle purchase levies on vehicle manufacturers based on carbon/pollution and component manufacturing outputs, ring-fenced to subsidise the development and prices of new and existing clean energy vehicles
  7. Expand rail freight facilities. Create a national network for roll-on, roll-off container rail freight combined with distribution hubs for local delivery by electric-powered vehicles. Where viable create additional railway lines next to existing ones, and create a commission to explore the reopening of “Beeching Cut” lines to reinvigorate local economies and remove freight and passengers from roads.
  8. Fast-track low emissions air travel. Introduce air-fare levies based on the pollutive output per journey of flights, ring-fenced to subsidise the faster development of a new generation of low emissions aircraft and fund R&D and market entry for alternative green aero fuels (such as fuel from waste), exempting non-business fares to economies whose conservation funding and jobs depend on tourism
  9. Discourage unnecessary business air travel. Introduce substantial flight levies on business fares to conferences, ring-fenced for the development and operation of sophisticated and secure virtual conference platforms
  10. Develop freight airships. Subsidise research & development of airships for freight transportation and fast-track its deployment
  11. Improve shipping emissions. Substantially reduce shipping emissions by incentivising ships (which carry 90%. of world trade) to slow their speeds by 20% from 2012 levels
  12. End the use of bunker fuel by shipping. Introduce strong dis-incentives for ships to use low-grade bunker fuel via emissions levies ring-fenced to subsidise 14 above
  13. Fast-track low emissions technology for ship propulsion. Develop and deploy hybrid onboard wind propulsion, conversion to natural gas, and to install emissions scrubbers
  14. Enforce shore power facilities & use for shipping. Make electric shore-power mandatory for shipping at all ports to avoid auxiliary engine use
  15. Fast-track the evolution of green energy. Accelerate green energy substitution and battery storage technology (wind/solar/wave) by increasing subsidies funded from carbon intensive energy generation levies, while steadily and significantly reducing oil tax subsidies (currently some $6tn pa worldwide) and accelerating R&D.
  16. Ban CCS-free fracking, and involve local democracy in planning decisions. Abandon plans for fracking unless served by Carbon Capture and Storage facilities, and add CCS facilities to existing plants funded from CCS Bonds. Allow local democracy to determine planning permissions
  17. Revolutionize carbon Cap-and-Trade. Introduce an annually rising carbon price floor for carbon Cap-and-Trade markets, along with a carbon tax along the lines of the proposed US scheme (which returns most proceeds to consumers to compensate for energy price rises

Bonds & Funds

  1. Launch Climate War Bonds. Establish Climate War Bond Funds (target 2% of GDP) with coupons funded by levies resulting from environmental accounting and carbon tax receipts to fund shore protections and relocate populations vulnerable to sea level rise
  2. Launch Carbon Capture & Storage investment bonds. Channel coupon Income to fund Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) through Investment Bonds, raised from carbon taxes on new and existing major greenhouse gas emitters not already served by CCS facilities

Waste and Recycling

  1. Recycling Centres. Establish comprehensive free-to-use recycling centres in all regions, funded by polluter pays levies
  2. Make manufacturers financially responsible for the recycling of their non-compostable or non-profitably recyclable packaging and products. Establish deposit return schemes and levies on all single-use containers
  3. White goods and electronics. Incentivise white goods markets to migrate towards lease, repair, replace and recycle contracts, rather than wasteful and inefficient private ownership
  4. Ban all non-essential and easily substitutable single-use plastics, such as cotton buds, plastic bags and straws, within 2 years, ensuring that their replacement materials are environmentally neutral and from sustainable sources
  5. Environmentally Pollutive waste. Make all previous pollutive waste (including plastics) profitable to retrieve and recycle (including ocean garbage islands), via subsidies raised from levies on its producers and/or distributors, ring-fenced to subsidise symbiotic clean- up companies. Re-use. Subsidise and fast-track re-use technologies for all waste products from polluter pays levies. Ensure that all previously escaped pollutive waste is profitable to retrieve and recycle by attaching commercial value to it
  6. Recycling Levies. Place recycling levies on the price of all potentially pollutive products currently not profitable to recycle, ringfenced to ensure they become profitable to re-use or recycle
  7. Supply chain responsibility and tariffs. Make companies responsible for determining and reporting the environmental footprint of their supply chains, and introduce tariffs based on the environmental cost of imports

Land Development

  1. Adopt Biodiversity Offset schemes as national policy. Roll out biodiversity offset schemes to avoid, minimise or mitigate the effects of all new development on greenfield sites
  2. Permanently protect valuable environments. Permanently exclude all sites listed as being of high biodiversity, amenity and/or scenic value from further significant development
  3. Fast-track green building technology. Incentivise the development of high-tech, low cost, low energy building, including the incorporation of waste products (such as plastics), through ringfenced levies raised on new low-tech, environmentally less efficient building
  4. Green-up City Landscapes. Incentivise the greening of city landscapes through a ringfenced levy on residents and businesses
  5. Enhance Greenbelt Protection. Protect “Greenbelts” around major conurbations by requiring a mandatory 500% value-added levy on greenfield sites within them, while subsidising the ‘green’ development of brownfield sites
  6. Revise Planning Rules and incentives to encourage brownfield and more dense urban development over greenfield development, and allow local regions to decide what quantity and type of housing is needed and where it should go

Agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture

  1. Determine the relative environmental merits of different types and sources of foodstuffs. Appoint a small team comprised of ecologists and economists to determine the relative environmental merits of different types and sources of foodstuffs, to identify and recommend production improvements, and to provide public information and guidance and create economic advancement for the least environmentally costly options
  2. Promote Soil Conservation. Reward highest standards of soil conservation on farms, and lowest usage of artificial fertiliser, pesticides and fungicides. Reward production of “apples with spots” etc
  3. Advantage Nature-friendly and conservation agriculture. Roll out substantial support for Nature-friendly and conservation agriculture, paid for from levies raised on herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertiliser, and on non-conservation food products
  4. Award tax credits for farms that meet new minimum environmental standards certified by accredited inspectors, with penalties for farms that fail to achieve accreditation
  5. Include farms in biobank schemes. Encourage farmers to put up less productive areas of land to enter into high-quality bio-banks as development offsets, so that such land acquires permanent income at a rate that at least equals its potential agricultural returns
  6. Pay farmers for ecosystem services. Pay land managers for conserving and increasing wild areas of land that provide ecosystems services to the nation, raised from a modest annual levy on all tax-paying citizens (Costa Rica model)
  7. Support land-based fish-farming. Subsidise the development and mass deployment of land-based, agriculturally-symbiotic fish-farming enterprises from levies raised on the sale of depleted fish species
  8. Improve coastal fish-farming techniques. Greatly improve the regulation and oversight of coastal fish-farming, incentivise open sea farming from levies on inshore farms, and subsidise the use of cleaner fish for lice control through ring-fenced levies on chemicals
  9. Ban sea-floor dredging
  10. Promote larval protein sources. Impose rising levies on fishmeal-based feed, ringfenced to subsidise and develop alternative feed protein sources, such as insect maggot farming
  11. Develop and deploy Aquaponics systems. Fast-track the development and deployment of aquaponic food production

Wilderness, Wildlife & the Natural Environment

  1. Set whole Ecosystem Protection as a conservation priority. Introduce measures that conserve entire ecosystems rather than just individual species
  2. Influence youth culture. Recruit young key-influencers (e.g. pop-stars, musicians and actors) to come together to promote a nature-friendly culture among the younger generation
  3. Enhance Nature education. Introduce environment and wildlife studies as a compulsory school subject
  4. Support ‘farming’ of threatened wild species. In select cases, subsidise the farming of endangered wild species from tourist revenues for release into the wild, and to supply markets as substitutes for wild species
  5. Grant Legal rights to wilderness guardians. Establish non-transferable group, and where appropriate individual, legal rights for indigenous forest and wilderness dwelling peoples over their traditional lands, tied to conservation covenants, to give them recourse through the courts against destructive trespass, and to enable them to profit from sensitive tourism and environment-friendly traditional skills and practices

Co-operative International Action

  1. Establish a World Environment Organisation (comprised as suggested in ‘Junglenomics’)
  2. Establish an International Climate Fund to finance, deploy and fast-track climate-friendly technology and behaviours around the globe
  3. Facilitate the sharing of green technology and medicine. Agree an international, low-tax, fast-track trading zone platform for the rapid international deployment of new environment-friendly technology and processes that mitigate carbon emissions, pollution, food production and medicine
  4. Agree an environmental protection treaty. Agree an international treaty to place substantial import levies on wilderness-damaging supply chains and markets (for example on primal forest, marshland, mangroves, coral reefs)
  5. Set new conservation standards. Agree and set international standards for wilderness conservation, rewilding, social inclusion and wilderness protection schemes to avoid locally inappropriate “carbon offset schemes”
  6. Negotiate a change to WTO rules. Change WTO rules to permit countries to charge levies on external costs on imports (environmental border taxes) where levies have not already been charged at point of origin; or where such levies have been charged at point of origin, to permit nations to charge such amounts as are necessary to bring them up to equal their national import environmental levies, providing they charge identical net levies domestically to ensure a level playing field
  7. Establish an environmental trading standards cartel. Develop an international “green trading cartel” to impose levies or bans on goods agreed to be produced to the detriment of wilderness and wildlife, co-ordinated in order to maintain a level trade playing-field between participating nations
  8. Raise import levies on external costs. Charge import levies on the external environmental costs that increase prices higher than green alternatives on all goods imported from non-cartel members, ringfenced to lower the prices of environmentally benign competing products
  9. Environmental Services Investment Bond markets. Facilitate an international trading platform in Bonds that permanently protect wilderness and employ indigenous peoples as guardians, allowing them to carry on small scale, traditional exploitation and conservation of forest resources and sensitive tourism, whilst creating substantial Trust-held funds for new green infrastructure and housing to wilderness-rich but poor nations.
  10. Create new UNCLOS agreement. Initiate a new UNCLOS agreement that mandates the universal use of tracking devices and legalises, licences and incentivises “corsairs” to counter pirate fishing on the high seas
  11. Agree new international standards for coastal ecosystem protection. Agree international standards for coastal and on-land fish farming to protect valuable habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves, ban all production that causes further loss or degradation of natural habitat, and impose levies on farms that have already replaced mangroves, ring-fenced to preserve and protect remaining mangrove forests
  12. Enhance Marine Protected Zones. Extend and maximise interconnection between Marine Protected Zones, and facilitate limited, licenced and unobtrusive exploitation of MPZs (including fishing and tourism) by indigenous peoples using traditional methods
  13. Expand small business loan schemes. Expand the micro-loan system in poor countries to help develop more environmentally sustainable wealth-creating enterprises
  14. Initiate an ambitious international program to Improve education and health in Africa. Agree and enact an international project to fast-track the building of schools and the provision of teachers, educational tools, clinics, hospitals for the most deprived areas of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, with the primary aim of increasing female empowerment and reducing huge predicted population rises