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Managing Complex Environmental Risks for Sustainable Development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis is concerned with the problematic question on how to manage complex environmental risks in a way that promotes sustainable development. While there are some positive signs on progressive and successful environmental policy, environmental change resulting from human activities still causes severe problems and risks worldwide.



Environmental risks are conventionally handled through a process in which experts try to quantitatively assess, evaluate and manage risks. This approach harmonises with mainstream interpretations of sustainable development, aiming at describing and prescribing a certain relationship between human and natural systems, for instance by policies that define limit values for pollutants.



Often, however, scientific incertitude (risk, ambiguity, uncertainty, ignorance) and diverging social values and norms as well as distrust, challenge such policies. The thesis describes this dilemma by an investigation of public risk policies in Sweden and the European Union for hazardous chemicals and genetically modified organisms.



Against this background, and in the light of new ideas on the notion of risk from social sciences, a new, complementary interpretation of the concept of sustainable development is suggested. This, in turn, is operationalised by help of new formulations of three principles for improving public risk management; the precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle and the principle of public participation.



Implementation of these principles would challenge present mainstream views on environmental decision-making. Thereby the thesis aims to contribute to the growing number of voices that ask for sustainable development in not only rhetoric, but also practices for long-term human welfare and planetary survival

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University Studies , 2005.
Keywords [en]
Sustainable development, risk assessment, risk management, complexity, trust, scientific uncertainty, hazardous chemicals, genetically modified organisms, reflexive modernization, ecological modernization, environmental policy, polluter pays principle, pr
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-21266ISBN: 9185335770 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-21266DiVA, id: diva2:594939
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2013-01-21

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Karlsson, Mikael

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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More styles
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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