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Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management

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  • Peterson, Deborah C.

Abstract

Since the late 1980s, the concept of precaution has been incorporated into numerous international agreements and laws, as well as in domestic statutes and policies in many countries. This paper examines the international emergence of the concept and its application in Australia. Despite rapid growth in adoption of the so-called ‘precautionary principle’, the concept remains highly controversial, and its success in terms of improving environmental and natural resource management has been questioned. A common misconception is that the principle prescribes action. In fact, internationally accepted definitions are about decision-making processes. This paper argues that implementation guidelines are essential to ensure that precautionary decision-making is consistent with good decision-making principles, and to avoid unnecessary costs and perverse outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 4), pages 1-21, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aareaj:116985
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/116985/files/j.1467-8489.2006.00372.x.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicolas Treich, 2001. "What is the Economic Meaning of the Precautionary Principle?," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 26(3), pages 334-345, July.
    2. Sunstein Cass R., 2005. "The Precautionary Principle as a Basis for Decision Making," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-10, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Annette Weier & Paul Loke, 2007. "Precaution and the Precautionary Principle: two Australian case studies," Staff Working Papers 0705, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
    2. Baker, Rick & Ruting, Brad, 2014. "Environmental Policy Analysis: A Guide to Non‑Market Valuation," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Macquarie, Australia 165810, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Deborah C. Peterson, 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(4), pages 469-489, December.
    4. Randall, Alan, 2009. "We Already Have Risk Management - Do We Really Need the Precautionary Principle?," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 3(1), pages 39-74, August.

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