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Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation

Source(s):  European Environment Agency (EEA)

This second volume presents case studies covering a diverse range of chemical and technological innovations, and highlighting a number of systemic problems. It contains five parts: (i) lessons from health hazards and the value of independent scientific research and risk assessments; (ii) emerging lessons from ecosystems and their wider impacts such as climate change, floods and ecosystem resilience more broadly; (iii) emerging issues and potentially harming technology, including the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents cases; (iv) costs, justice and innovation; and (v) implications for science and governance, including the use of insurance schemes and the reasons why businesses frequently ignore early warnings.

The overall report illustrates how damaging and costly the misuse or neglect of the precautionary principle can be, using case studies and a synthesis of the lessons to be learned and applied to maximising innovations whilst minimising harms. It has been designed, structured and written in order to help politicians, policymakers and the public to: (i) understand better the ways in which scientific knowledge is financed and used in taking decisions to reduce harms; (ii) learn from some very expensive 'mistakes' in the past; (iii) be aware of the costs of actions and inactions for hazardous technologies and the role that some businesses have played in ignoring early warnings; (iv) consider how the law could be better used to deliver justice to those harmed; and (v) explore how best to engage the public in helping to make strategic choices over innovations.

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  • Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation
  • Publication date 2013
  • Number of pages 746 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 9789292133498

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