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Quote of the day, precaution edition

[There has been] a drift of interpretation of the precautionary principle from what was, in effect, a holding position pending further evidence, to what is now effectively a stop sign.

Mark Walport comes over all real worldly

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Reader Comments (11)

What's his degree in, obviousology?

Nov 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

The full report is here:

Nov 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM | Registered Commentershub

As the evidence wanes, the sense of urgency increases.


Though the concern is. It for the planet, but their parasitic hold on the public's purse.

Nov 21, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterChip

Is this leading up to someone stating the obvious - that there is no real world hard evidence that global warming is anything other than the world leaving an ice age and certainly nothing to do do with industrial activity?

Nov 21, 2014 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Don't knock it Rhoda, this is the Government CSA beginning to fight back against some of the idiocies perpetrated under the Precautionary Principle. This is, to say the least, both surprising and welcome.

Nov 21, 2014 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Thanks for the link shub - my initial response it is looks light on input from successful innovators and risk managers and heavy on input from academics, including a very heavy front end from Stern and the Grantham Institute.

On page 11 there is this bullet point:
Industrial processes will need to make technological changes in order to meet domestic and regional targets on carbon emissions reductions. The European Union aims to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels

And on page 30 is "COMMUNICATING THE RISK OF CLIMATE CHANGE - CASE STUDY" which concentrates on the approach taken by An Inconvenient Truth....

I'll look a bit further in the coming days, but personally I will find it highly ironic if a report on "INNOVATION - MANAGING RISK, NOT AVOIDING IT" makes no mention of the downside impacts if the risks from "climate change" have been overstated hence giving significant misdirection to policy.

Nov 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I get sick of hearing supposedly intelligent people trotting PP out in argument as if it is the ultimate trump card.

The precautionary principle is, and has always been, a logical nonsense. It precludes both action and inaction, as they both have unknown consequences, thereby disappearing up it's own logical fundament.

This isn't the only logical flaw in it by any means.

Nov 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I've long said we should apply the Precautionary Principle to the Precautionary Principle.

Nov 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I am still waiting for that first principled greeny establishment character that stops jetting around to conferences to save CO2..and foregoes her pay unless for buying locally produced turnips for food.

Nov 21, 2014 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

From the link given by Stuck-Record, this gem:

The real problem with the precautionary principle is that it does not require facts, evidence, or rational evaluation of benefits vs. risks. That's why NGOs and environmentalists like it. Ignoring one risk and emphasizing another to justify one's pre-established point of view is simple intellectual dishonesty. And that's what the precautionary principle is really all about.

Nov 22, 2014 at 3:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

The "Precautionary Principle" is exactly the reason Japanese U.S. citizens were carted off to prison camps, in utter violation of the Constitution. "We can't wait to find out if they're loyal! We must act now!"

Nov 24, 2014 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered Commentertbiggs

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