Invasive Species Cost Assumptions In Environmental Risk Models

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Author: Michael Kraten, PhD, CPA

Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) produced a study entitled “Assessment Report on Invasive Alien Species and their Control.” It’s known colloquially as the IPBES Invasive Alien Species Report.

No, the Report didn’t focus on interplanetary visitors. Instead, it addressed the cost of combating species that are encroaching on new territories. The Anopheles Stephensi, for instance, is a mosquito species that is carrying malaria to new regions. Because of climate change, these regions are growing more hospitable to the insect.

How dramatic are these regional climate transformations? Believe it or not, for instance, climatologists now officially classify the New York City region as a “humid subtropical” zone. Evolving weather patterns are enabling invasive species to explore new areas, necessitating significant public and private expenditures to combat them.

How significant? CNN’s feature story about the Invasive Alien Species Report carried the headline “Invasive species cost the world $423 billion every year and are causing environmental chaos, UN report finds.” That’s a huge number, but it doesn’t help risk analysts identify expenditure trends that can be used to forecast annual cost increases in their environmental risk models.

Helpful information, though, is noted in a subsequent paragraph of the CNN story. It states that “the global economic cost is tremendous, scientists say, having at least quadrupled every decade since 1970.”

CNBC, the business news platform, published a story that was much more focused on information that is useful to risk managers. Its note that “the costs of invasive species have quadrupled every decade since 1970” is far more visible than CNN’s equivalent note, appearing as the second Key Point directly below the article’s title.

Ideally, risk managers should take the time to download the original IPBES report and review it for such information. Nevertheless, whether analysts skim these reports, reply on Key Points notations on business sites such as CNBC, or dig deeply into the stories of general news organizations like CNN, the information that they need to develop cost trends is often available for free online.

Originally published at All rights reserved by author.