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Setting Appropriate Baselines for Offsets to Avoid Perverse Incentives: BBOP Webinar

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 29, 2014 11:14 PM
Please join us for a webinar on 30 January (10:00 am UTC). Dr. Martine Maron, The University of Queensland, will draw from recent papers she authored ("Calculating the benefit of conservation actions" and "Faustian bargains? Restoration realities in the context of biodiversity offset policies") examining how systematic errors in estimating baselines and offset activity scenarios risk exacerbating biodiversity decline through offset trades, and ways to improve policy design to avoid this.
When Jan 30, 2014
from 05:00 AM to 06:00 AM
Attendees Maron, Martine
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According to Dr. Maron, despite rapid growth in biodiversity offsetting globally, the policy goals in terms of biodiversity outcomes are usually poorly articulated. In particular, the baseline against which “no net loss” is measured is rarely specified, but implicitly is usually one of ongoing decline. This is of particular importance where offsets are designed to “avert loss” that would otherwise occur. In essence, this means that a baseline of decline may be entrenched by the operation of the policy. This results in a perverse incentive, as efforts to improve protection of biodiversity or act to reduce rates of biodiversity decline should also reduce the baseline rate of decline used for offset credit calculation, potentially increasing the difficulty and cost of achieving adequate offsets. Dr. Maron and her co-authors argue that biodiversity offset policies should be developed in the context of broader biodiversity conservation goals in order to reduce the risk of perverse outcomes. This should include planning for the future obsolescence of averted loss offsets in the context of slowing and ultimately halting biodiversity declines.

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