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E-109: Environmental Politics Section Meeting 3 October 14, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "E-109: Environmental Politics Section Meeting 3 October 14, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 E-109: Environmental Politics Section Meeting 3 October 14, 2008

2 Administrative Midterm from last year has now been posted Midterm procedures on website Professor Jasanoff attending lecture Project will be posted shortly Finalizing details for the final paper

3 Key Concepts Precautionary Principle and its Sources Moral Ought v. Prudential Ought Product v. Process Civic Epistemologies National Styles of Regulation Vorsorgenprinzip 1992 Earth Summit (Rio Declaration) Principle 15 NEPA

4 Topic #1 Why do some countries adopt the Precautionary Principle while others adhere to a risk assessment- based approach when addressing environmental issues? What factors influence the choice of methodology?

5 Background: WTO Complaint How did the EU treat GM foods? Why? How did the US treat GM foods? Why? What was the controversy about? What arguments did each side present?

6 Topic #1: Application What role did the Precautionary Principle and risk assessment play in the United States/European Union GM controversy? In your opinion, how should the WTO have ruled on this issue?

7 Topic #2 What is the definition of “Precaution” or “the Precautionary Principle”? Are there multiple? If so, why are there multiple definitions? How do the different definitions compare? Do we even NEED a definition of “precaution”? What are the advantages and disadvantages of defining this principle? Are these definitions satisfactory, in your opinion? What (if anything) could be included or excluded to improve them?

8 Topic #2 Some Examples:  “where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed” (World Charter for Nature, 1982)  “lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost- effective measures to prevent environmental degradation” (Rio Declaration, 1992)  “[action should be taken even if there is] no scientific evidence to prove a causal link between emissions and effects” (declaration for North Sea protection, 1990)  “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically” (Wingspread conference, 1998)

9 Canadian Fisheries What were the issues? What management approaches were taken and what were the outcomes?

10 Topic #2: Application How was the Precautionary Principle incorporated in the management of the Canadian fisheries? What “definition” of precaution was applied here? Were there multiple definitions applied?

11 Topic #3 Are the risk assessment and precautionary approaches mutually exclusive? Does a “middle ground” between these two approaches exist? If so, what are some examples? If not, is a combined approach possible?

12 Wrap-Up Questions? Comments?

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