This week saw the launch of the UK’s first conservation credit scheme. Conservation credits work very similar to carbon offsetting. If an area of land or water is to be developed, the developers can offset their impact by buying credits in biodiversity. Areas of biodiversity will then get developed in designated locations. Biobanking is becoming a really big emerging market.
While the idea of need to compensate for environmental damage seems like a good idea, you can’t manufacture biodiversity. Letting builders or developers essentially pay for environmental degradation, is not doing anything for conservation, if anything it’s just showing that everything has a price tag.
By issuing conservation credits, it inherently implies that a price can be put on biodiversity- but how can you measure and value this? And can it work retroactively? What about damage that’s already been done?
Like carbon offsetting, you are paying to alleviate guilt, pressure, bi-laws. But you cant really put a price on biodiversity. You can’t pay £500,000 to create a panda reserve because something that you want to build just might happen to obliterate a wild turkey population.