UNEP-WCMC produced in July 2014 a report Towards a Global Map of Natural Capital. It gives an overview of the global perspective and maps for:
- terrestrial carbon;
- soil quality for plant growth using maize as a reference crop;
- terrestrial biodiversity (species richness adjusted by intactness);
- marine biodiversity (species richness across 13 taxa); and
- marine global fish catch
together with a composite map that integrates these elements. Looking forward, the ambition is to increase the number of measures of natural capital, and to attempt to analyse changes over time.
Dickson, B., Blaney, R. Miles, L., Regan, E., van Soesbergen, A.,Väänänen, E., Blyth, S., Harfoot, M. Martin, C.S., McOwen, C., Newbold, T., van Bochove, J. (2014). Towards a global map of natural capital: key ecosystem assets. UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.
The Arts Council (ACE) published a report in July 2014 on Understanding the value and impacts of cultural experiences, commissioned from WolfBrown. This report is a broad international literature review that deals with language and concepts; measuring individual impacts; valuing arts and culture from the marketing perspective; and creative capacity of an organization. Value is discussed in terms of economic, social and public value, with a primary emphasis on the arts - the broader interest of the humanities and sciences don't seem to be part of scope.
This follows the ACE review earlier in 2014 of The value of arts and culture to people and society. This was an evidence review, looking at economy; health and wellbeing; society; and education, together with gaps in evidence and needs for future research.
Also interesting is the current work of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value which has developed discussion and evidence to ask "what kinds of investment do we need to ensure the future of culture and how can we work to ensure that all forms of culture are inclusive and accessible for all?"
The UK House of Commons Energy and Climate Change committee has produced a report on its inquiry on the IPCC 5th Assessment WG1 contribution (physical science).
The inquiry concluded that WG1's message - that greenhouse gas release from deforestation and fossil fuel use has caused much of the climate change of the late 20th Century and will continue to drive warming if unabated - was "the best available summary of the prevailing scientific opinion on climate change currently available to policy-makers. Its conclusions have been reached with high statistical confidence by a working group made up of many of the world’s leading climate scientists drawing on areas of well-understood science. The overall thrust and conclusions of the report are widely supported in the scientific community and its summaries are presented in a way that is persuasive to the lay reader. As in all areas of science that involve highly complex dynamic systems, there are uncertainties. But these uncertainties do not blur the overwhelmingly clear picture of a climate system changing as a result of human influence."
The inquiry said that IPCC had responded well to criticism and had tightened its review processes to make AR5 "the most exhaustive and heavily scrutinised Assessment Report to date". However, the committee suggested an increase in the level of transparency by involving non-climate scientists as observers through the whole process. The committee said that "the thousands of peer-reviewed academic papers ...together form a clear and unambiguous picture of a climate that is being dangerously destabilised".
Welcome to Policy: Science, Biodiversity and Museums
This site covers a wide range of policy issues relating to biodiversity, museums and science. It's selective and although it's a blog it is more alert than comment. John Jackson from the Natural History Museum in London maintains the site, primarily to alert colleagues and collaborators to new developments - you can use the contact link on the top right of this page. It is not an official organisational site.