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Environmental risk and the precautionary principle. “Late lessons from early warnings” applied to genetically modified plants

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  • Iulie Aslaksen
  • Bent Natvig
  • Inger Nordal

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

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    Abstract

    The environmental risk associated with genetically modified organisms (GMO) implies that new approaches to risk assessment, risk management and risk communication are needed. In this paper we discuss the role of the precautionary principle in policy responses to GMO risk. We first discuss application of the criteria in the European Environment Agency report “Late lessons from early warnings: The precautionary principle 1896-2000” to environmental GMO risk, with focus on crop plants. Moreover, we discuss Bayesian analysis in the context of improving the informational basis for decision making under uncertainty. Finally, environmental uncertainties are intertwined with economic uncertainties. Providing incentives for improved risk assessment, risk management and risk communication is crucial for enhancing social and environmental responsibility and thereby facilitate implementation of precautionary approaches. We discuss ethical screening of companies as an example of how such incentives can be provided.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 398.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:398

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    Keywords: Environmental risk; precautionary principle; Bayesian analysis; genetically modified organisms.;

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    1. Batie, Sandra S. & Ervin, David E., 2001. "Transgenic crops and the environment: missing markets and public roles," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(04), pages 435-457, October.
    2. Gollier & Jullien & Treich, 2000. "Scientific progress and irreversibility : an economic interpretation of the Precautionary principle," Working Papers 156240, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
    3. Noussair, C. & Robin, S. & Ruffieux, B., 2001. "Do Consumers Not Care about Biotech Foods or Do They Just Not Read the Labels?," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1142, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    4. Harhoff, Dietmar & Régibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 2001. "Some simple economics of GM food," Munich Reprints in Economics 20396, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Gollier, Christian & Treich, Nicolas, 2003. " Decision-Making under Scientific Uncertainty: The Economics of the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-103, August.
    6. Madhu Khanna & William Rose Q. Anton, 2002. "Corporate Environmental Management: Regulatory and Market-Based Incentives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 539-558.
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