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3. Firts Leg Of The Tripod: Threat Of Environmental Harm

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Chapter Summary

It is deemed appropriate to discuss the element of harm before the other two legs of the tripod, since environmental harm is the fundamental reason for the existence of the precautionary principle in the first place. Its anticipation and prevention has been the very purpose of the principle from the start. A useful, albeit somewhat arbitrary classification of threats of environmental harm is the one that focuses on their cause and distinguishes between (1) natural risks, (2) technological or cultural risks, and (3) mixed or induced risks. A theoretical distinction can be maintained between adverse effects, or impacts, and the actual environmental ham these provoke. This chapter centers on the first of the three core elements of the precautionary principle is composed of, namely the prospect of environmental harm.

Keywords: precautionary action; precautionary principle; tripod

10.1163/ej.9789004152120.i-352.16
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