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

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  • Deborah C. Peterson

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. Copyright 2006 Commonwealth of Australia (Productivity Commission) Journal compilation 2006 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc. and Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajarec:v:50:y:2006:i:4:p:469-489
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-8489.2006.00372.x
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    1. 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.
    2. Elizabeth Fisher & Judith Jones & René von Schomberg, 2006. "Implementing the Precautionary Principle: Perspectives and Prospects," Chapters,in: Implementing the Precautionary Principle, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Peterson, Deborah C., 2006. "Precaution: principles and practice in Australian environmental and natural resource management," ConferenceWorkshop Proceedings 31906, Productivity Commission.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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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