Global Futures:Modelling the global economic impacts of environmental change to support policy-making (Technical report)

  • 01/02/2020
  • WWF

The Earth’s ecosystems are in steep decline, putting their ability to provide the ecosystem services on which the world’s economies rely at risk. Unless we reverse these trends, the implications for human wellbeing are profound. Although the depth of humankind’s reliance on nature cannot be fully captured in a single economic metric, such as gross domestic product (GDP), analysing changes in GDP does provide meaningful, and alarming, insights into changes in human wellbeing. Our analysis shows, with new levels of sophistication described below, that the loss of six ecosystem services under a business-as-usual trajectory leads to losses of US$9.87 trillion in real GDP by 2050, estimated as the net present value discounted to 2011 US$. This figure is derived from a new, first-of-its-kind model that combines a global economic model with a high-resolution ecosystem services model, generating results that are relevant for both global scale and local, landscape-level analysis.