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Comment on "Uncertainty"

August 2012

Citation: ELR 10737

Author: Gordon Woo

The precautionary principle is often cited to assure the public, in situations where decisions have to be made under great uncertainty, that safety is paramount. However, this blanket assurance comes at the cost of foregoing a potential public benefit associated with an alternative riskier decision. Those basing a decision on the precautionary principle might implicitly or subconsciously
also consider such benefit loss. For reasons of transparency and auditability, there is practical merit in attempting to make this explicit and measurable. This has been done by Daniel Farber in his paper "Uncertainty."

Gordon Woo, Ph.D., is a catastrophist at Risk Management Solutions (RMS).

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