Measuring Environmental Values and Environmental Impacts: Going from the Local to the Global
- Cite this article as:
- Rothman, D.S. Climatic Change (2000) 44: 351. doi:10.1023/A:1005645301478
Measuring the impact of global change depends critically upon our ability to gauge the impacts of changes at the local and individual level. There are strong philosophical and practical concerns in measuring environmental, health, social, and economic impacts even at this level. Aggregating these across commodities, individuals, sectors, regions, and time presents further difficulties. Overcoming these obstacles oftentimes runs afoul of our inability to make interpersonal and intergenerational comparisons. This paper walks through the process of economic valuation from the very local scale of individual choices up to global aggregations across goods and services, individuals, space, and time. Along the way, important assumptions, particularly those related to analyses across different scales and aggregation from lower to higher scales will be emphasized. The effects of making different assumptions will be noted. Fundamental questions about the 'scientific' versus 'political/moral/ethical' nature of valuation will also be highlighted.