Precautionary Politics - Cornell College

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14 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 4 μήνες)

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Presented by Kirstin

Wagner, Sara
Raue
,
Harry Blackwood, and Nick Campbell


B.A. with Distinction in
Political Science, Stanford
University, 1975


M.A., Princeton University,
1979


Ph.D., Princeton University,
Dept. of Politics, 1983


Professor of Government at
Franklin and Marshall
College


Author of
Divided Natures:
French Contributions to
Political Ecology

and
Merleau
-
Ponty

and the
Foundation of an Existential
Politics




1) Defining Scientific
-
Based Risk Assessment
and the Precautionary Principle


2) Comparing SBRA and PP


Case
-
Study: GMO’s


3) Why the Precautionary Principle should be
the preferred method of policy
-
making


4) How the Precautionary Principle could be
implemented

Science
-
Based Risk
Assessment

Precautionary Principle


Science
-
based risk
assessment is a
process by which the
potential risk of an
action is assessed
based on scientific
experimentation to
obtain proof of public
or environmental
harm.


The precautionary
principle is a moral and
political principle which
states that if an action or
policy might cause
severe or irreversible
harm to the public or the
environment, in the
absence of a scientific
consensus that harm
would not ensue, the
burden of proof falls on
those who would
advocate taking the
action.

What are SBRA and the PP?

“In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach
shall be widely applied by States
according to their capabilities
.
Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full
scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing
cost
-
effective measures

to prevent environmental degradation.”








Rio Declaration, 1992


“The lack of certainty… must not delay the adoption of
effective and
proportionate
measures that aim to prevent a risk of serious and
irreversible damage to the environment.”








France
Barnier

Law, 1995


“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 Statement, 1998




“Better Safe Than Sorry”

SBRA

Precautionary Principle


Use of scientific experimentation to Use of scientific experimentation to
prove the harmfulness of an action/ prove the safety of an action/policy


policy



Use of cost
-
benefit analysis to


Use of philosophy, history, and


establish grounds for action


sociology to establish grounds for





action



Results are quantitative


No tangible results



Driven by
marginalist

economic


Driven by desire to protect the public
reasoning




and environmental well
-
being



Technocratic in its political


Democratic in its political implications
implications

SBRA versus the Precautionary Principle



GMO’s: What are they?



Genetically modified organisms



Organisms that have been modified by genetic engineering, a process
by which DNA corresponding to a particular gene is extracted from one
organism


bacteria, plant, or animal
-

and transplanted into the cells of
a target organism.



Why genetically engineer crops?



Increased shelf
-
life, increased vitamin content, higher crop yields, more
resistance to adverse environmental conditions, ripening control, more
resistance to herbicides/pesticides, etc.


What are Transgenic Soybeans?



Soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist
herbicide.



What happened?




1) United States tried to introduce genetically modified
soybeans into Europe.



2) Europeans refused to have GMOs introduced into their
food supply before more investigation.



Reasons for European Precaution


Shortened time frame between discovery and
commercialization


leads to less understanding of health and environment
effects


Transferred DNA is not placed in specific place in the
cell


Causes different desired results


No complete understanding of DNA structure and function


Traits require interaction of multiple genes


Change nature of food supply


Transgenics

replace
nontransgenic

species in markets


Impossible to keep
transgenics

from the environment





Risks of growing and consuming transgenic
crops
-
Long
-
term safety to health and
environment


Genetic engineering can produce unwanted effects


Health


Allergy provoking genes without consumer knowing


Antibiotic
-
resistant, pest
-
protected


Environment


Herbicide resistant,
biopesticide

production


Genes emerge by process of natural selection


Pollen of transgenic crops harmful to species


Biodiversity effects


Genetically engineered plants have higher survival rate


GMOs replace native species and destroy natural reserves





Use of SBRA


Little testing on animals, humans, or fields


Rush to bring product to market


Limit range of scientists evaluating GMOs


Decisions based on extrapolated data


“substantial equivalency”=same food so no need
to label GM foods


Cannot detect danger of GM food is food is mixed


Unlabeled and untracked


Cannot trace problems back to source


Tested relative to conditions in U.S. not globally



Use of Precaution


GMOs not handled with same regulations as traditional
food


Advise from commissions


Health risks, nutritional value, probability of cross
-
breeding,
scientific procedures, classifies by degree of risk, laboratory,
production, transportation, disposal


Different types of GMOs categorized


Degree of environmental danger


Expertise diversity in evaluations


Safety levels, confinement levels


Assessors do not act with interest of state or industry


Consesus

conferences=public opinions about regulations,
citizens question scientists about uncertainty


Mandate labeling and traceability





The United States tends to favor Science
-
based Risk Assessment while Europe tends to
favor use of the Precautionary Principle. This
often places the U.S. and Europe at odds in
matters of trade.


“Precautionary situations fit poorly into
established patterns of thought.”


Political theory is aimed at problems with
immediate impacts


People should “know” when they are in distress


Politics have always functioned around
geographically localized problems


No one can be held individually responsible for
global problems


Nature has always been thought to be resilient to
human action

Which method of risk assessment is
preferable? SBRA or the PP?


Effects on the scale of climate change or the depletion of the
ozone layer confound existing approaches to risk management.



Damages from new risks can take many years to become evident
and then their effects can last for generations, therefore,
precautionary action is needed to avoid these effects.



Sometimes a technology is so novel that there has not been
enough time to completely test its effects in all the
circumstances it will be used.



The PP appeals to one’s moral sensibilities



“The fundamental logic for precaution is this: the fear of serious consequences,
combined with uncertainty about the conditions under which they might materialize,
creates a
moral obligation
to take precautions.”



A technology or practice should only be regulated if there is
scientific evidence that it has a causal relationship to an
identified problem.



Studies must be objective

influenced as little as possible by
people’s emotions or by special interests; therefore, they should
be based purely on science.



Risk
-
management should be cost
-
effective. Priority should be
given to regulatory measures which bring the greatest net social
benefits.



The use of SBRA provides concrete and material costs that can be
measured in tangible units, whereas the precautionary principle
calls for preemptive action, so there is no way to concretely
measure the possible costs and benefits.



Precaution is actually more science
-
based than the traditional
approach because there are fewer political or economic
pressures.


There is nothing admirably “scientific” about “science
-
based risk
management” if the resulting information is false.


Many opponents of the precautionary principle argue that the
Earth is resilient to recover from all human
-
made disturbances,
but this is hardly scientific.


The precautionary method examines and discusses links
between nature and humans.


It opens environmental issues to a discussion of uncertainties.


It mandates trans
-
disciplinary research.


It promotes the public interest, and the interests of future
generations, as opposed to the immediate interests of a
particular group.




National Environmental Policy Act (1969)


Clean Air Act (1970 and 1977)


Clean Water Act (1972)


Endangered Species Act (1973)


Toxic Substances Control Act (1976)


Pollution Prevention Act (1990)


Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (1992)



*Anticipatory Environmental Action*



Use of precaution on a case
-
by
-
case basis, where judgment
is a matter of official discretion.


Example: Canadian mad cow




Latour’s

Vision of Government



Setting up research programs to gather information
about the risk posed by new products and
technologies before they are put into use.



Long
-
term environmental and health monitoring.



Systematically favoring “green” measures and
technologies.



Reinforcing the independence of regulatory bodies.






Community
-
based research


Woburn, Massachusetts


Consensus conference model


Representativeness


Educative process


Neutrality and objectivity


Findings and policy
-
recommendations


Publicity




Globalization



Environmental social learning



Global world
-
view