4th Transatlantic Dialogue on Precaution
"Risk Management in a Complex World" was the theme of the 4th Transatlantic Dialogue on Precaution, held at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA, on 19-21 September 2004, and hosted by the Duke Center for Environmental Solutions. R. Andreas Kraemer, who attended also the previous dialogues in the series, contributed as discussant on ozone depletion and climate change.
This series examines the "precautionary principle" and its reflection in actual regulatory programs in the U.S. and Europe. It goes beyond the current rhetoric of greater European precaution (e.g. regarding biotechnology, beef hormones and climate change) to study a wider array of concrete examples, including instances of greater American precaution (e.g. nuclear power, leaded gasoline, smoking, and mad cow disease in blood). It thereby fosters mutual transatlantic understanding of the complexity of actual regulations across risks. The project analyzes why different societies choose different risks to worry most about, and provides recommendations for when precaution makes sense in light of both target and countervailing risks.
Through a series of four transatlantic dialogues, the project compares the degree of precaution reflected in regulation of selected risks in selected countries, focusing on the United States (US) and Europe (including both the European Union and its Member States). The series thereby develops a better understanding of:
- the factors that influence the emergence and relative stringency of precautionary regulation,
- the impacts of precautionary regulation in practice, and
- when and to what degree precautionary regulation is desirable.
This series helps move the discussion of precaution from fractious debate to functional dialogue by bringing a new depth and breadth of analysis to a mutually edifying conversation.