A Core Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle still has neither a commonly accepted definition nor a set of criteria to guide its implementation. ‘There is,’ Freestone ... cogently observes, ‘a certain paradox in the widespread and rapid adoption of the Precautionary Principle:’ While it is applauded as a ‘good thing,’ no one is quite sure about what it really means or how it might be implemented. Advocates foresee precaution developing into ‘the fundamental principle of environmental protection policy at [all] scales.’ ... Sceptics, however, claim its popularity derives from its vagueness; that it fails to bind anyone to anything or resolve any of the deep dilemmas that characterize modern environmental policy making.

Stephen M. Gardiner
Published in: Journal of Political Philosophy
2006 4 (1) Pages 33–60