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Title: A Note on Georisk, Sustainable Development and Law

Abstract

Whatever science has to say about risk and sustainable development, ultimately relevant decisions will be taken by political actors. The means they will most often use in order to implement those decisions, however, will be legal (for example, regulations). While law may, therefore, be the point of contact, as it were, between scientific expertise and policy decisions, on the one hand, and the individual or corporate actor, on the other, it can equally appear to be no more than a tool in the hands of more powerful forces and thus low in the list of priorities to be examined in this complex field. Within law, however, there has been increasing discussion in recent years about whether it is actually able to produce the sort of social change that policy actors (and perhaps also scientists) believe that it can. It is, therefore, important to know whether law as it is traditionally understood can deliver what is expected of it and, if not, what sort of adaptations may be required in order to increase the likelihood of success. This paper will begin by briefly reviewing some of the key literature on regulatory failure and consider the ways in which such a problemmore » could serve to exacerbate the risk from seismic events. The paper will then move on to consider a concrete example: the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Although this clearly belongs to the domain of technological rather than seismic risk, it is instructive for present purposes for at least two reasons. Firstly, this was an incident with an impact on a scale comparable to a major seismic event: while it certainly presented a severe challenge in the emergency phase, it has equally stretched scientists, policy makers and regulators in the ongoing rehabilitation phase and exposed many of the shortcomings of traditional regulatory approaches. Secondly, the common political and legal history of the countries affected by this event and many of those in the Black Sea to Caspian region - as former Soviet, transition economies - renders the example particularly pertinent. The people and authorities affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident have had almost 20 years to consider the shortcomings of traditional approaches. The past decade in particular has seen the emergence of a number of innovations. The final part of this paper will examine these new approaches and consider the extent to which they may offer lessons to scientists, policy makers and regulators concerned with seismic risk.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. School of Law, University of Aberdeen, Taylor Building, Old Aberdeen AB24 3UB (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20800056
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 825; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: International workshop on recent geodynamics, georisk and sustainable development in the Black Sea to Caspian Sea region, Baku (Azerbaijan), 3-6 Jul 2005; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2190732; (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 58 GEOSCIENCES; BLACK SEA; CONCRETES; FAILURES; GEOPHYSICS; HAZARDS; LEGISLATION; MANAGEMENT; REGULATIONS; SEISMIC EVENTS; SEISMICITY; SEISMOLOGY; SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Citation Formats

Paterson, John. A Note on Georisk, Sustainable Development and Law. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2190732.
Paterson, John. A Note on Georisk, Sustainable Development and Law. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2190732.
Paterson, John. Thu . "A Note on Georisk, Sustainable Development and Law". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2190732.
@article{osti_20800056,
title = {A Note on Georisk, Sustainable Development and Law},
author = {Paterson, John},
abstractNote = {Whatever science has to say about risk and sustainable development, ultimately relevant decisions will be taken by political actors. The means they will most often use in order to implement those decisions, however, will be legal (for example, regulations). While law may, therefore, be the point of contact, as it were, between scientific expertise and policy decisions, on the one hand, and the individual or corporate actor, on the other, it can equally appear to be no more than a tool in the hands of more powerful forces and thus low in the list of priorities to be examined in this complex field. Within law, however, there has been increasing discussion in recent years about whether it is actually able to produce the sort of social change that policy actors (and perhaps also scientists) believe that it can. It is, therefore, important to know whether law as it is traditionally understood can deliver what is expected of it and, if not, what sort of adaptations may be required in order to increase the likelihood of success. This paper will begin by briefly reviewing some of the key literature on regulatory failure and consider the ways in which such a problem could serve to exacerbate the risk from seismic events. The paper will then move on to consider a concrete example: the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Although this clearly belongs to the domain of technological rather than seismic risk, it is instructive for present purposes for at least two reasons. Firstly, this was an incident with an impact on a scale comparable to a major seismic event: while it certainly presented a severe challenge in the emergency phase, it has equally stretched scientists, policy makers and regulators in the ongoing rehabilitation phase and exposed many of the shortcomings of traditional regulatory approaches. Secondly, the common political and legal history of the countries affected by this event and many of those in the Black Sea to Caspian region - as former Soviet, transition economies - renders the example particularly pertinent. The people and authorities affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident have had almost 20 years to consider the shortcomings of traditional approaches. The past decade in particular has seen the emergence of a number of innovations. The final part of this paper will examine these new approaches and consider the extent to which they may offer lessons to scientists, policy makers and regulators concerned with seismic risk.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2190732},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 825,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}
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