How much would it cost?

Written by E. O. Wilson

It may be feared that saving biodiversity will be so expensive as to endanger the market economy.  This assumption is a mistake.  The cost of saving most of Earth's fauna and flora would be relatively trivial for the market economy and, of course, immensely profitable for the natural economy.  In 2000 Conservation International concluded that in order to put a protective umbrella over the 25 hottest spots on the land would require one payment of $30 billion.  The benefit, if the allotment is joined by wise investment strategy and foreign policy, would be substantial protection for 70% of the Earth's land-dwelling fauna and flora.  This single outlay (one payment only), or its equivalent spread over a few years, is approximately one part in a thousand of the annual gross world product.  By coincidence, the latter amount, roughly $30 trillion, also happens to be the estimated rate of the ecosystems services given free by Earth's remaining natural environment. 

E. O. Wilson, The Creation, pp. 97-98.

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