In Dollars and Sense

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Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1139
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1139b

Many researchers and policymakers have argued that the environment is markedly undervalued in economic and political deliberations. How, then, should value be assigned to environmental resources and ecosystem services in order to make economic and risk assessments and to set prices? For example, how should society charge for pollution or for release of greenhouse gases, and how should priorities among different development or abatement plans be set?

Recent work has developed several approaches to these questions, which lie at the crossroads between economics and the environmental sciences, and a special section of Environmental Science & Technology provides reviews from several leading researchers and discussion of the problems and challenges in addressing environmental and health issues in both the industrialized and developing worlds. For instance, one study by Poulos and Whittington concludes that approaches that work well for developed countries may fare poorly in less-developed countries and thus complicate global comparisons.—BH

Environ. Sci. Technol.34, 1381-1461 (2000).

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