The False Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle emerged as a Green weapon within the ranks of German environmentalists in the 1970’s when the effect of acid rain on their forests was causing a panic. The concept of Vorsorge proclaimed that potential hazards should be reduced before there was any proof of harm. The German Clean Air Act of 1974 has been invoked to justify the implementation of vigorous policies not only to tackle acid rain but any other issue which has come up on the Green radar. It is the weapon of choice in both the Global Warming and GM food hysterias. It is clear there is a conflict of philosophies between the United States and the European Union over the proper use of precaution. The issue is primarily: do we rely on science-based risk assessment or the Precautionary Principle in exercising precaution? Stern and others have demanded measures which will be insanely expensive. Before we even consider going down such a road we would have to be sure the underlying science was correct. Despite the hysterical denials coming from the ranks of the Doomsters, it is increasingly obvious that many within the scientific community have grave doubts. The teaching of science in British schools in the last 20 years has been abysmal leaving the present generation of youthful idealists vulnerable to Cargo Cult Science, i.e. climate science served up as a secular fundamentalist religion.


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