Here a note to the topic "environmental protection" and "economics" - which are often used in a contradictory way - seems to be appropriate: "Economic activity covers all rational human activities, which serve the purposeful use of limited goods for the need satisfaction." (Wikipedia)
Now where lays the contradiction to the demands of environmental protection? Rational activities? Limited goods? Exactly, there is no contradiction. The maximum well-being for humans can always be found where we live in harmony with our environment!
In October 2006, a 600 pages comprehensive study was published on behalf of the British Government. In this study, now widely known as the “Stern-report”, Nicholas Stern, the former executive economist of the World Bank, states that - due to the direct and indirect effects of the climate change - annually 5 per cent of the global gross domestic product are currently destroyed. If we stay inactive, this value will increase to 20 per cent, a consequence of this could be a strong recession.
Investments of just 1 per cent of the world wide gross domestic product (for example, in technologies to the reduction of the CO2-emission), however, could prevent the worst effects according to Sterns opinion. (GEO KOMPACT) It is noteworthy that this study is based on a purely economic aspect of the phenomenon!
Addendum: As explained at "Ecological Footprint", the climate change is just ONE of the symptoms of the global overuse which primarily needs to be fought!
A solution of environmental problems is probably only possible if we are all pulling in the same direction instead of always pointing a finger at someone else. In this world, we are not only explorers, but also shapers: with each act, each word and each thought, we change us and our environment - thus we should act consciously and be aware of our possibilities!