Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Sir Partha Dasgupta


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PROF Sir Partha Dasgupta is the world renowned Cambridge economist whose landmark review, The Economics of Biodiversity, was launched in London at the Royal Society on February 2, 2021.

It argues that when it comes to building everything from roads to dams, governments should take into account any damage to the environment as an integral part of the planning process. Dasgupta sums up his message, which has been welcomed by everyone from Prince Charles to Sir David Attenborough: “Put simply: without nature, there would be no life. The economics of biodiversity is therefore the economics of nature. But nature’s resilience is being severely eroded, with biodiversity declining faster than at any time in human history.”

At the rate in which nature is being degraded, “we would require 1.6 earths to maintain the world’s current living standards”.

He says: “I have one very important recommendation, which is we now need a global Marshall Plan for nature – like the Marshall Plan post Second World War to revive European economies.”

Nature is so important that Dasgupta thinks it should be taught to school children from the earliest age: “In fact, the review is ending with a plea to have nature studies as part of the permanent education of our children – from the beginning, absolutely. It should be compulsory, like how languages have to be compulsory.”

Dasgupta feels very strongly on the subject.

He has been combining the study of economics with ecology for the last 30 years. Back in March 2019, when the then chancellor Philip Hammond was looking for someone to conduct an independent review of global biodiversity, Dasgupta was pretty much the obvious choice.

The treasury published his “interim” review on May 1, 2020, and the full 610-page report in February 2021. “I was not so much interested in

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