Prof John Thornes calculated the value of air we breathe based on the current price for carbon dioxide under the EU emissions trading scheme – 1.3p per cubic metre.
Everyone breathes around 15 cubic metres of air each day, which amounts to 19.5p a day or £71.17 a year.
The figure also means the world’s atmosphere is worth a staggering £4.3quadrillion – or 100 times the value of the global economy.
‘The Earth’s atmosphere brings an intrinsic set of natural goods and services to life on Earth.’
Scientists have identified 12 ‘basic atmospheric services’, including providing the air we breathe, natural global warming and supporting flight.
‘The atmosphere is fragile and it requires very careful management and protection,’ the professor added.
He has called for the United Nations to establish a Law Of The Atmosphere similar to the Law Of The Sea to protect the asset.
The 1994 convention outlined the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the oceans.
Prof Thorne presented his findings at the annual international conference of the Royal Geographical Society.