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The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal by Indur M. Goklany...

Goklany argues that selective application of this principle distorts the policy debate.



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Item Specifications...


Pages   119
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 25, 2001
Publisher   Cato Institute
ISBN  1930865163  
ISBN13  9781930865167  


Availability  0 units.


More About Indur M. Goklany


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Indur M. Goklany has worked with federal and state governments, think tanks and the private sector for over 30 years, and written extensively on globalization and environmental issues including sustainable development, technological change, food and health. He has represented the United States at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in the negotiations that established the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He was chief of the Technical Assessment Division of the National Commission on Air Quality and a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency s Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation. He is the author of "The Precautionary Principle and Clearing the Air: The Real Story of the War on Air Pollution".

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Public Policy
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
4Books > Subjects > Outdoors & Nature > Environment > Conservation
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Earth Sciences > Environmental Science
6Books > Subjects > Science > Earth Sciences > Environmental Science



Reviews - What do customers think about The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal?

A Must Read Examination of the Precautionary Principle  Sep 5, 2003
"Environmental scholar Indur Goklany disagrees with both the UN and the EU visions. In his new book The Precautionary Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment, he makes a powerful case that many environmentalists have misapplied the plain language of the precautionary principle, a concept he argues was intended originally to be a general notion recommending that policymakers choose rules to produce net reductions in environmental and public-health risks. Instead, environmentalists have turned the precautionary principle into a regulatory nightmare, transforming precaution into something quite different.

Goklany takes a novel tack, arguing that the attraction the precautionary principle holds for many in the general public is that its plain language indicates only a "look before you leap" sensibility that strikes people as intuitively reasonable. Read properly, the precautionary principle compels regulators to look, but then to let people leap when the evidence indicates that a technology will yield net benefits. In Goklany's interpretation, the precautionary principle insists that both the risks of adopting a new technology and the risks of technological stagnation be examined in regulatory decision making. According to him, genuine precaution is impossible without conducting some sort of risk-risk assessment. By pushing this view, he rejects many European environmentalists' claim that risk analysis is ineffective as a barometer of the environmental costs of economic activities."

-From "The Independent Review," Fall 2002

 
A biased book that bends the truth and neglects reality  Oct 5, 2002
While it proports to be an unbiased analysis of precaution, before one reads this book, they need to know the books political perspective. The book is published by the Cato Institute which has a long history of anti-regulatory, anti-environmental positions. This book is no exception. Lake many other Cato Institute publications, the author takes selective pieces of information out of context to provide a less than true reality of the so-called abuse of precaution. To date, we have many very good examples of the health and economic impacts of not taking precaution based on early warnings - lead, asbestos, tobacco. I suggest readers chose an excellent European Union report called Late Lessons from Early Warnings which provides 14 case studies written by experts about how early warnings of damage were not headed. Goklany's case studies - which are noted for being examples of precaution taken too far are far from that. There is general consensus in the scientific community that climate change is happening and possibly resulting in impacts to health and ecosystems. We still do not know the potential range of impacts from genetic engineering - though there is no evidence that restrictions on genetic engineering have caused damage. Goklany presents precaution as a choice between often too bad options - either we have genetic engineering or people starve in the third world, while neglecting that any risk can be addressed through various options, for example integrated pest managment. For an examination of the anti-regulatory position on preventive, precautionary policies, this book is a good choice. For an objective view on environmental risks, it is not
 
An intelligent critique of unprincipled precaution  Mar 18, 2002
Goklany's "Precautionary Principle" is a thoughtful examination of this political paradigm. In its basic form, the precautionary principle states that harmful actions should be prevented or halted, even if evidence of harm is incomplete. Although this ideal seems reasonable on its surface, it has resulted in a number of undesirable consequences that beg for a better solution. These negative consequences are so common and so expensive as to suggest that the principle itself is lacking or applied wrongly. I like to call it, "unprincipled precaution," rather than precautionary principle, because its mindless application has been so destructive.

Goklany rightly goes to the core of the problem: devotees of this "principle" typically see only Type 1 Errors and are blind to Type 2 Errors. Type 1 Errors are errors of commission. Type 2 Errors are errors of omission.

This book covers many examples of regulatory actions taken under the rubric of the precautionary principle to avoid Type 1 Errors which led to Type 2 errors with equal or greater negative consequences.

Goklany avoids preaching, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that many of the devotees of the precautionary principle are zealots with an ax to grind. Otherwise it is hard to understand their unwillingness to consider the effects Type 2 Errors that accompany they regulatory actions they seek.

Instead of trashing the precautionary principle, Goklany proposes a more balanced approach to risk, in which both Type 1 and Type 2 Errors are considered and their effects are balanced in any given case. The application of his approach is discussed for several contemporary examples that give the book its substance.

Any discussion of risk assessment and the precautionary principle should consider the merits of Goklany's arguments.

 
An intelligent critique of unprincipled precaution  Mar 18, 2002
Goklany's "Precautionary Principle" is a thoughtful examination of this political paradigm. In its basic form, the precautionary principle states that harmful actions should be prevented or halted, even if evidence of harm is incomplete. Although this ideal seems reasonable on its surface, it has resulted in a number of undesirable consequences that beg for a better solution. These negative consequences are so common and so expensive as to suggest that the principle itself is lacking or applied wrongly. I like to call it, "unprincipled precaution," rather than precautionary principle, because its mindless application has been so destructive.

Goklany rightly goes to the core of the problem: devotees of this "principle" typically see only Type 1 Errors and are blind to Type 2 Errors. Type 1 Errors are errors of commission. Type 2 Errors are errors of omission.

This book covers many examples of regulatory actions taken under the rubric of the precautionary principle to avoid Type 1 Errors which led to Type 2 errors with equal or greater negative consequences.

Goklany avoids preaching, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that many of the devotees of the precautionary principle are zealots with an ax to grind. Otherwise it is hard to understand their unwillingness to consider the effects Type 2 Errors that accompany they regulatory actions they seek.

Instead of trashing the precautionary principle, Goklany proposes a more balanced approach to risk, in which both Type 1 and Type 2 Errors are considered and their effects are balanced in any given case. The application of his approach is discussed for several contemporary examples that give the book its substance.

Any discussion of risk assessment and the precautionary principle shooed consider the merits of Goklany's arguments.

 
A critical appraisal of the assessment process  Dec 10, 2001
Environmental risk assessment has long been a part of international agreements and business controls: this provides a critical appraisal of the assessment process, showing that the current uses of the precautionary principle "First, do no harm" is flawed and ignores problems. Goklany creates a new framework for solving such problems and thus provides new food for thought.
 

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