Over the past year or so, the concept of developing markets for environmental services has attracted unprecedented attention in Australia. For example, environmental credit trading is gaining currency as a potential mechanism for managing dryland salinity, biodiversity, and preserving native vegetation in agricultural regions. The prospect of commercialising environmental services such as carbon sequestration, water filtration, and aquifer recharge is exciting because it would overcome the current situation where public demand for improved environmental quality fails to be communicated to private firms via a market mechanism. However, the creation and trade of property rights in environmental services is still in its infancy and numerous obstacles stand in the way of implementing market programs. This paper reviews the current status of environmental markets in the US and UK and highlights the lessons that can be gleaned from the success and failure of programs in these countries.


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