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May 10, 2005

生態系が供給するサービスという考え方

しばらくは、『自然資本の経済』を読みながら、気になった箇所を紹介することになるかと思います。

この本では、これまでの資本主義では、ヒト、モノ、カネを「資本」と考えてきたが、これに「自然資本」加えて考えるべきであるとしています。これまで自然資本は、タダとみなしてきましたが、これを貸借対照表に取り入れるような考え方をすべきである(実際に計算するのは難しいにせよ)というのです。

こうしたことを述べているなかで、私が気に入ったところを紹介しましょう。

まず第一には、「生態系が提供してくれるサービス」という考え方です。

「森林は、木材という資源を提供するだけでなく、水の涵養や洪水の管理というサービスをも提供している。健全な環境は、きれいな水や空気、雨、海洋で生命を生み出す力、肥沃な土壌、河川流域の回復力などを自動的に供給するだけでなく、廃棄物処理、極端な天候に対する干渉機構、大気の循環といったあまり目立たないサービスも提供している。」

生態系が破壊され、こうしたサービスが提供されなくなることによって、経済的な繁栄に歯止めがかかってしまう。漁船の数が少ないから漁獲量が低下するのではなく、魚が減少したため漁獲が制限されている、ポンプが足りないから水不足なのではなく、帯水層の涸渇によって水不足になっている。これを回復するには、多大なコストがかかってしまうと書かれています。

環境問題というと、排気ガスを少なくして空気をきれいにする話であるとか、自然資本というと木材などの天然材料を思い浮かべていたのですが、「生態系が提供するサービス」という考え方が私には、新鮮でした。

実際、自然というのは、たいしたもので、動物が吐き出す二酸化炭素を植物が取り込んで成長し、動物にとって必要な酸素を吐き出している。人間を含む動物にとって、自然は、空気清浄サービスを無償で提供してくれているのです。

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