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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,…

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