Natural capital accounting is the latest effort to financialise our air, water, forests and land by putting a price on nature to save it. In the name of sustainable economic development, focusing on our natural capital, or environmental "assets", the theory claims that if private companies and countries account for environmental resources used in the production of other goods - accounting for their cost to the environment - we can better see the sustainability of our current economic path. The hope is that this knowledge leads us to mitigate the chances of degrading natural resources beyond their renewable capacity.
On November 14, the European Commission adopted “A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources”, commonly known as the Blueprint. The Blueprint is made of 18 measures intended to increase the EU’s political efficiency in the field of water policy. These 18 measures were put forward after evaluation of the European legislative framework of water management through a procedure called Fitness Check. The Fitness Check identified inconsistencies, deficiencies and difficulties in implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD ) adopted in 2000 as well as various associated policies (urban wastewater, nitrates, groundwater, flooding...). Most of the measures suggested by the Blueprint have to do with the economic and financial aspects.
The private shareholdings in the Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) were bought back by the State of Berlin in late 2013. We wish to take this further and democratise both Berliner Wasserbetriebe and water policy as a whole, and so achieve transparent, socially just and environmentally sustainable water management in Berlin.
This demands a complete return of the formerly part-privatised company to ownership of the State of Berlin. To this end, the Berliner Wassertisch has drawn up a draft water charter for Berlin. Our intention is to develop this draft further by means of a broadly-based debate within society. We wish to bring together all the different areas of expertise on the subject of water in our city, and to invite Berlin’s population to actively participate. We regard the Berlin water charter as the basis for statutory regulations and as a guide for Berliner Wasserbetriebe.
Notes for the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit
There is a crucial, missing component in the both the current analysis of climate chaos and in the proposed solutions to it. Most climate academics and activists see climate chaos as almost solely the result of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels as well as methane pollution from extractive industries and animal production. The solution to the crisis is to curb the creation of CO2 and other air pollutants and move to alternative and sustainable energy sources.
While I of course fully recognize and support the science behind this analysis and join with other climate activists in fighting the growth in fossil fuels, especially those coming from fracking and the tar sands of my own country, Canada, I do strongly feel that there is a missing piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed if we are to properly understand the true nature of the crisis. That missing piece is our abuse, mismanagement and displacement of water.