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Two sides of the same coin. “Better safe than sorry” “Always err on the safe side” More formally (and more controversially): “The lack of complete certainty.

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Presentation on theme: "Two sides of the same coin. “Better safe than sorry” “Always err on the safe side” More formally (and more controversially): “The lack of complete certainty."— Presentation transcript:

1 Two sides of the same coin

2 “Better safe than sorry” “Always err on the safe side” More formally (and more controversially): “The lack of complete certainty is not a justification to do nothing.” If there is a reasonable suspicion of harm, AND … there is scientific uncertainty about cause and effect THEN … We have a duty to take action to prevent the potential harm. Burden of proof is on those who claim there is no risk. (from the Science and Environmental Health Network)

3 Any purposeful action will produce some unintended consequences (Wikipedia) May be foreseeable or unforeseen May be beneficial or harmful Acting to prevent potential harm (as per the Precautionary Principle) may lead to these

4 Side effect of aspirin blood thinning Preparation H Face (wrinkle) treatment Minefields as small bird sanctuaries Belief in AGW ???????? Like Rachel Carson and Silent Spring

5 Drug side effects DDT ban Increased malaria Rabbits in Australia, kudzu in SE U.S. Tougher DUI laws increased hit and run Three strike laws increased murder Prohibition organized crime CAFE standards more traffic fatalities Password requirements worse security (people write tough PW’s down) Seat belt laws increased reckless driving Improved health care increased strain on Social Security Belief in AGW building more nuclear reactors negative economic impact Impact on 3 rd world

6 PP addresses reasons NOT to use fossil fuel produces CO 2 produces GW? destroys planet? LUC deals with reasons TO continue using fossil fuels inexpensive source of energy hard to replace source of transportation energy drives economic growth could alleviate poverty in third world

7 Replacing fossil fuels is going to be expensive Alternative sources of electricity are significantly more expensive There isn’t currently a decent FF alternative for transportation Transportation costs effect the price of almost all goods Dependence on foreign sources of FF’s causes uncertainty in our economy, Not to mention, geopolitical grief We can afford it, but can Third World? Even if we can afford it, could we put the extra cost to better use?

8 Suppose the Dean’s determine that excessive tardies 6 th, 7 th, and 8 th periods are due to open campus lunch. What is their reaction? What are unintended consequences?

9 From Bjorn Lomberg The Skeptical Environmentalist Economist Economist_Bjorn_Lomborg__Global_warming_is_not_a lomborg-global-warming-is-not-a- priority.html_priority.flv Economist_Bjorn_Lomborg__Global_warming_is_not_a lomborg-global-warming-is-not-a- priority.html_priority.flv


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