From Stratospheric Ozone to Climate Change: Historical Perspective on Precaution and Scientific Responsibility

TitleFrom Stratospheric Ozone to Climate Change: Historical Perspective on Precaution and Scientific Responsibility
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMcGinn, R, Mégie, G
ReporterScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume12
Issue4
Pagination596-606
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCLIMATE; , ENVIRONMENTAL , ETHICS; , GLOBAL , OZONE; , PRECAUTIONARY , PRINCIPLE; , professional responsibility , RESPONSIBILITY , SCIENCE , scientific integrity , WARMING;
AbstractThe issue of the impact of human activities on the stratospheric ozone layer emerged in the early 1970s. But international regulations to mitigate the most serious effects were not adopted until the mid-1980s. This case holds lessons for addressing more complex environmental problems. Concepts that should inform discussion include 'latency,' 'counterfactual scenario based on the precautionary principle,' 'intergenerational burden sharing,' and 'estimating global costs under factual and counterfactual regulatory scenarios.' Stringent regulations were adopted when large scientific uncertainty existed, and the environmental problem would have been prevented or more rapidly mitigated, at relatively modest incremental price, but for a time delay before more rigorous precautionary measures were implemented. Will history repeat itself in the case of climate change?
Notes(trans) Cover Date: October 2006.Source Info: 12(4), 596-606. Language: English. Journal Announcement: 41-3. Subject: CLIMATE; ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS; ETHICS; GLOBAL WARMING; OZONE; PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE; RESPONSIBILITY. Update Code: 20090226.
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