Environmentalists often harbor real skepticism about the "Gross Domestic Product" as a measure of economic health; after all, the GDP doesn't measure clean air or water, and both pollution resulting from industrial and commercial activity and cleanup of that pollution get counted. But what are the alternatives? Gernot Wagner of Environmental Economics ventures to describe some of the alternatives from the perspective of an environmentally-focused economist.
The short version: all of the alternatives raise good points, but none of them are perfect, mostly for the same reason that market approaches to environmental protection are so fraught with difficulty -- assigning value to the environment is more of a political than an economic process.
Right. In my opinion, we won't progress on this front until we realize that there is no such thing as economics - and there's no such thing as politics. Neither exists in isolation; they twine together to form Political Economy. This isn't an academic distinction - on the contrary, it's a plea to leave the academy and look at the real world.