Legal Systems, Decisionmaking, and the Science of Earth's Systems: Procedural Missing Links

Robinson, Nicholas A.
February 2001
Ecology Law Quarterly;2001, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p1077
Academic Journal
Decisionmakers disregard scientific findings regarding environmental conditions, despite recommendations of the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Agenda 21 that science should provide a foundation for sustainable development. Although environmental degradation trends continue to exacerbate, decisionmakers address only selected issues. This Article examines an analytic paradigm for evaluating when decisionmakers are ready to address a problem and describes the catalytic role that scientific information can sense in prompting remedial action. Unless systematic procedures require evaluation of environmental scientific findings in the normal course of decisionmaking, science will continue to be ignored. One hallmark of Environmental Law has been lo fashion such procedures, as illustrated by integrative systems developed in international environmental law institutions, environmental impact assessment processes, licensing procedures for nuclear electrical generating facilities, and corporate environmental management.


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