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The Politics of Precaution examines the politics of consumer and environmental risk regulation in the United States and Europe over the last five decades, explaining why America and Europe have often regulated a wide range of similar risks differently. It finds that between 1960 and 1990, American health, safety, and environmental regulations were more stringent, risk averse, comprehensive, and innovative than those adopted in Europe. But since around 1990, the book shows, global regulatory leadership has shifted to Europe. What explains this striking reversal?
David Vogel takes an in-depth, comparative look at European and American policies toward a range of consumer and environmental risks, including vehicle air pollution, ozone depletion, climate change, beef and milk hormones, genetically modified agriculture, antibiotics in animal feed, pesticides, cosmetic safety, and hazardous substances in electronic products. He traces how concerns over such risks–and pressure on political leaders to do something about them–have risen among the European public but declined among Americans. Vogel explores how policymakers in Europe have grown supportive of more stringent regulations while those in the United States have become sharply polarized along partisan lines. And as European policymakers have grown more willing to regulate risks on precautionary grounds, increasingly skeptical American policymakers have called for higher levels of scientific certainty before imposing additional regulatory controls on business.
David Vogel is professor at the Haas School of Business and in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
We interviewed Toby Tyrrell about his new book “On Gaia” last week. This week, we’re proud to link to this article in which he details some of the research that led him to view the Gaia Hypothesis with a critical eye:
Yale sociolgoist Charles Perrow on how technology can nudge climate change politics in the Bloomberg ViewOctober 26th, 2011
Yale university sociologist and three-time Princeton University Press author Charles Perrow published a thought-provoking op-ed in the Bloomberg View. Check out some of his popular books ORGANIZING AMERICA: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism, THE NEXT CATASTROPHE: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters, and his classic work NORMAL ACCIDENTS: Living with High Risk Technologies.
From the Bloomberg View:
The House bill was already quite weak, containing many exceptions for agriculture and other industries, subsidies for nuclear power and increasingly long deadlines for action. In the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats from coal-dependent states sealed its fate. Getting past these senators is the key to achieving a major reduction in our emissions.
Technological challenges to reducing emissions exist, too. Most pressing is the need to develop the know-how to capture carbon dioxide on a large scale and store it underground. Such technology could reduce by 90 percent the emissions from coal- fired power stations. Some 500 of these facilities in the U.S. produce 36 percent of our CO2 emissions….(continued at Bloomberg View)
According to Library Journal’s most recent Best Sellers list, Diane Coyle’s new book The Economics of Enough was the third best-selling book in environmental science. Not too shabby for an economist!
The impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be felt in the region and around the world for a long time. The Association of American University Presses has compiled a list of books from 23 AAUP members to offer insight and understanding about the role of oil–in economic, technological, and political development, in international relations, and in global environments.
From the AAUP Press Release: Books for Understanding is a free public service of AAUP to help librarians,
A complete list of Books for Understanding can be found at:
We invite you to check out the complete list along with these Princeton University Press titles:
Oil and the Environment: General Environmental Effects of Oil Drilling and Refining
Oil in Economic and Political Development and Social Change: Around the World
The Central Asian Economies Since Independence
Oil and Energy Crises
Drilling Methods and Technologies
Power, Speed, and Form: Engineers and the Making of the Twentieth Century
I hope you will check out this neat debate taking place at Science magazine. In a first for them, they are offering a preview of a print review on their web site and hosting a debate with the author and the authors of the books reviewed (unfortunately none of Princeton’s titles are included, but I’ll post a list of “also of interest” books below). The subject is climate change and will no doubt attract impassioned voices from both sides, so read up on the article and the issue, and then head over to Science’s site to voice your own opinion.
Here is the official announcement of the debate from Science:
“The Climate Change Debates”
Having expanded far beyond atmospheric science, the contentious debate over the prospects of disruptive changes in Earth’s climate now also encompasses important political, economic, and social issues. The eight books considered in Kitcher’s essay review discuss some of the causes and consequences of the present controversy and how we might best move forward from it. The still-raging clashes on the reality of anthropogenic climate change and the actions we should take to mitigate its effects also raise fundamental questions about how science should work in democratic societies.
The review is available as a PDF at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/science.1189312v1
Readers are invited to join a moderated discussion of the issues raised in the review and the eight books at: http://tiny.cc/clichng
Key books on the subject from Princeton University Press:
The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate
The Great Ocean Conveyor: Discovering the Trigger for Abrupt Climate Change
Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate
Climate Change Justice