Latest Issue

It’s gone too far

The EU’s extreme version of the “precautionary principle” could cost us our health

By Bjorn Lomborg   October 2013

The precautionary principle used to work. It was set out at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and stated that complete scientific evidence was not necessarily required in support of action on the most serious environmental threats. Unfortunately, since then, this well-intentioned principle has become a destructive tool, used to support bad policies.

Acting on incomplete information is what we do. If a child tries to cross a busy road for ice cream, we don’t wait for a complete model of all the traffic before intervening. We make a quick assessment, and send them down to the pedestrian crossing. But now,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect