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WHAT ARE ENVIRONMENTAL-ECONOMIC ACCOUNTS?
The System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting
The conceptual model adopted by the ABS and the international statistical community for environmental accounts is the United Nations’ System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), which is due to become an international statistical standard in 2012. The SEEA is a satellite system of the SNA, meaning that accounts produced under this standard bring environmental and economic information together within a common framework. This allows for consistent analysis of the contribution of the environment to the economy, the impact of the economy on the environment, and the efficiency of the use of environmental resources within the economy.
The SEEA framework consists of four types of accounts:
2. Stock accounts for environmental assets: natural resources, land and ecosystems. Stock accounts include the level of stock available and changes to stock within a given period due to both human and natural causes. Stock accounts can be presented using physical and/or monetary values.
3. Accounts that explicitly identify environmental transactions in the SNA. For example Environmental Protection Expenditure (EPE) accounts disaggregate traditional National Account flows to show those monetary transactions that are relevant to environmental protection.
4. Accounts that show how SNA aggregates can be adjusted to reflect the impact of economic activity on the environment. Depreciation of produced assets (termed consumption of fixed capital (COFC) in the national accounts) is deducted to derive various 'net' income measures in the national accounts such as net domestic product (NDP), net operating surplus (NOS), net national income and net saving. In the SNA, no similar deduction is made for non-produced environmental assets when they are depleted or degraded as a result of economic activity. These types of adjustments can give rise to an aggregate sometimes referred to as ‘Green GDP’.
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