Economics for a Fragile Planet

This book has been covered in an episode of Dialogues for the Common Good by Ingmar Schumacher.

Book description

In a world of growing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, ensuring a safe Anthropocene for humankind is essential. Managing an increasingly “fragile” planet requires new thinking on markets, institutions and governance built on five principles: ending the underpricing of nature, fostering collective action, accepting absolute limits, attaining sustainability, and promoting inclusivity. Rethinking economics and policies in this way can help to overcome the global challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater scarcity, and deteriorating marine and coastal habitats. It requires decoupling wealth creation from environmental degradation through business, policy and financial actions aimed at better stewardship of the biosphere. In this book, renowned environmental economist Edward Barbier offers a blueprint for a greener and more inclusive economy, and outlines the steps we must take now to build a post-COVID world that limits environmental threats while sustaining per capita welfare.


‘This is the most thorough and expansive introduction to a conception that sees the human economy as embedded in Nature. Beautifully written and technically adroit, it displays the author’s wide social sympathies. University courses in environmental and resource economics can find no superior text today to include on their list.’

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta – University of Cambridge

‘Ed Barbier was at the frontier of new economic thinking with Blueprint for a Green Economy. Here, he continues to innovate and challenge us to reinvent and realign economics for a fragile planet. And not a moment too soon.’

Steven Stone – UN Environment Programme

‘At the intersection of economics and the environment, Barbier’s timely book details in a clear and accessible way the rationale for saving our planet. For too long we have undervalued nature – at our peril. Barbier lays out the roadmap for the kind of economic thought and policymaking needed to save our ‘fragile planet’ – for us and those who will inherit this earth from us.’

Achim Steiner – United Nations Development Programme

‘This is a must-read book for anybody concerned about the future of the environment and the lives of current and future generations. It dissects the underlying causes of today’s environmental emergencies, climate change, loss of biodiversity, quantity and quality of water, and degradation of the marine environment. It assess their impacts on human well-being and identifies the changes needed in our economic and financial systems to become a more sustainable and equitable society. This book shows that business as usual is not an option, but the solutions exist – actions are needed now by governments, businesses, financial institutions and consumers.’

Professor Sir Robert Watson, CMG, FRS

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