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16 - Scientific Uncertainty as a Key Obstacle to Efficient Legal Protection of the Environmental Interests of Future Generations

from Addressing Science, Scientific Uncertainty, and Precaution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2021

Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Marcel Szabó
Affiliation:
Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Hungary
Alexandra R. Harrington
Affiliation:
Albany Law School
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Summary

Making environmental policy is essentially an act of balancing the short-term economic interests of present generations and the long-term environmental benefits of posterity. Such balancing ultimately rests on a value judgment, which is formed on the basis of economic, ethical, and scientific considerations of stakeholders. This chapter focuses on the latter aspect of environmental policy-making, namely, the problems that arise in taking into due account the scientific facts in such balancing. It will explore the reasons why scientific warnings on environmental degradation or the risk thereof are often incapable of driving policy decisions, and it will discuss how invoking trust obligations of States may promote a balance that is more sensitive to scientists’ inputs.

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Intergenerational Justice in Sustainable Development Treaty Implementation
Advancing Future Generations Rights through National Institutions
, pp. 295 - 314
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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