n. A system in which economic measurements take into account the effects of production and consumption on the environment.
Some independent research groups have tried to devise a kind of 'green accounting' or 'general progress indicator,' but most economists say that so far, attempts to merge G.D.P. and environmental damage are seriously flawed.
But [the report's] central contention is correct: if environmental resources are free, they will be abused and over-used. Environmental protection will cost more in future if global phenomena like the greenhouse effect are to be effectively tackled. The thrust of this report, involving both the private sector and government in 'green accounting', and working through and with markets, gives Patten a basis for action which should recommend itself to the Prime Minister.
This phrase may have been coined in a report by Professor David Pearce, which was commissioned by the British Department of the Environment in 1989 and is discussed in the earliest citation, which is from that time.