levels and composition of income change. In effect, such models would link concerns for sustaining the environment with concerns for sustaining the economy.


What a system of resource and environmental accounts will not do is identify best management schemes for sustaining the environment per se (other than giving some indication of the economic costs of such schemes). Environmental and resource management design requires much more information than can be expected to be forthcoming from the accounts. It must be remembered that there is a difference between environmental and resource accounts and environmental and resource data systems. The latter contain the physical and scientific data that are essential for the development of resource and environmental policy measures. The former contain the data that support a much broader economic policy framework.

I believe that if environmental policy interests are defined solely by environmentalist concerns for the protection and conservation of the natural environment, the contribution of resource and environmental accounts will be only of peripheral interest. On the other hand, if policymakers have a broader humanistic focus—a focus wherein environmental wealth has an important but not exclusive role to play in the production of human well-being—then I believe that resource and environmental accounting can make a key contribution to the process of policy formation.

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