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Regulatory Design for Scientific Uncertainty: Acknowledging the Diversity of Approaches in Environmental Regulation and Public Administration

Author(s): Judith Jones

Environmental regulatory design addresses scientific uncertainty through a range of regulatory design tools. The seven approaches identified and considered in this article are termed (1) the acknowledgement of scientific uncertainty (2) the burden shifting approach (3) the sound science approach (4) the consequences approach (5) the consensus approach (6) the estimation approach and (7) the adaptive management approach. Analysis of some common environmental legislative frameworks suggests that, rather than occurring in isolation, these seven approaches are frequently incorporated into legislative regimes in a multitude of combinations. The article also highlights the implications of expressly embedding a precautionary approach within pre-existing environmental regulatory frameworks, such as has occurred within Australian environmental regimes. Finally, the article explores the advantages and disadvantages of each approach and the various circumstances that favour the adoption of a particular regulatory approach to scientific uncertainty. In doing so, it suggests an agenda for future empirical research on approaches to regulatory design for scientific uncertainty.

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Centre: CLAH

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