What is Lost Through No Net Loss

John O’Neill

Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

(Received 26 October 2017; revised 08 June 2019; accepted 22 July 2019)

No net loss approaches to environmental policy claim that policy should maintain
aggregate levels of natural capital. Substitutability between natural assets allows losses
in some assets to be compensated for by gains in others while maintaining overall
levels of natural capital. This paper argues that significant goods that matter to people’s
well-being will be lost through a policy of no net loss. The concepts of natural capital
and ecosystem services that underpin the no net loss approach to environmental policy
cannot capture important dimensions of value that are central to human well-being.

O’Neill what_is_lost_through_no_net_loss
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