Precautionary Principle Speakers
The University of Maine at Machias will host several speakers this fall on the Precautionary Principle, a prescription for policy and process in areas of risk and uncertainty, including climate change, public health, and national security policy.
Jonathan H. Adler, this year's Koch Speaker on Environmentalism and Freedom, will open the series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 13.
Here is some background on the Precautionary Principle in Maine
UN agenda on chemicals
I carefully read your editorial calling on Sens. Snowe and Collins to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Before imposing the green nanny state on the entire country, I hope they will press for an open discussion and clear understanding of two terms which were not surprisingly omitted from your editorial: “precautionary principle” and “Agenda 21.”
According to the United Nations Sustainable Development bureaucracy, Agenda 21 is a “comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, governments, and major groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.”
The UN’s 1992 Rio Declaration on the Environment contained the following version of the precautionary principle: “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.”
More recent versions of the precautionary principle have called for requiring that products be proved safe before allowing them on the market and have advanced a very risk averse and technophobic agenda. It’s a prescription for sustainable poverty, not sustainable development.
Climate change and chemicals policy efforts are firmly grounded in Agenda 21 and various versions of the precautionary principle, despite the fact that environmental advocates have been generally unwilling to admit it.
Associate professor of economics and public policy
University of Maine at Machias