The Lack of Clarity in the Precautionary Principle
AbstractThe precautionary principle states, roughly, that it is better to take precautionary measures now than to deal with serious harms to the environment or human health later on. This paper builds on the work of Neil A. Manson in order to show that the precautionary principle, in all of its forms, is fraught with vagueness and ambiguity. We examine the version of the precautionary principle that was formulated at the Wingspread Conference sponsored by the Science and Environmental Health Network in 1998. That version fails to indicate who must bear the cost of precaution; what constitutes a threat of harm; how much precaution is too much; and what should be done when environmental concerns and concern for human health pull in different directions. Whether this vagueness is a strength or weakness of the principle, depends on what purpose(s) the precautionary principle is supposed to serve.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.
Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.erica.demon.co.uk
precautionary principle; cost-benefit analysis;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- R. Turner, 2007. "Limits to CBA in UK and European environmental policy: retrospects and future prospects," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 253-269, May.
- Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 137764, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
- Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," Conference/Workshop Proceedings 31906, Productivity Commission.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andrew Johnson).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.