High-Consequence Analysis, Evaluation, and Application of Select Criteria

  • Ivars Gutmanis
  • John A. Jaksch
Part of the Advances in Risk Analysis book series (AIRA, volume 2)

Abstract

Industrialized societies have long viewed technological innovation as a primary means of obtaining higher levels of social well-being from limited resources. Increasingly, though, new technologies bring with them possible environmental consequences that are highly adverse, albeit with a very low probability of occurrence. Such technologies thus involve environmental risk — a social problem different from the familiar air or water pollution problems and of growing importance.

A number of characteristics distinguish environmental risk from pollution problems. The characteristics make environmental risk problems harder to manage through existing regulatory, legal, and economic institutions. Hence, technologies involving environmental risk impose on society extremely difficult collective decisions.

This paper is concerned with the process of reaching social decisions that involve low-probability, high-consequence outcomes. It is divided into five major parts.

Part I contains the introduction. Part II reviews the two main classes of criteria that have been proposed for social decisions: (1) approaches based on market mechanisms and their extension, and (2) approaches associated with Rawls and Buchanan, which not only focus on outcomes, but also impose a set of minimal constraints on the process for reaching decisions and social consensus. Part III proposes a set of eight criteria for evaluating social decision processes. In Parts IV and V we investigate applying the criteria to two case studies — one on nuclear waste disposal and the other on transportation of liquified natural gas.

This paper is based on two previous studies. The first, entitled Social Decision-Making for High Consequence, Low Probability Occurrences, was completed for the Environmental Protection Agency by the Corvallis Environmental Research Laboratory. The study team consisted of Mark Kendall and Ivars Gutmanis from the National Planning Association, and John Haldi and Thomas Vietorisz from Haldi Associates. Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow participated in the study as a consultant. The Project Officer was Dr. John Jaksch. The second study by Ivars Gutmanis et al., entitled Development of Risk-Benefit-Cost Analysis for Policy Formulation, was completed by Sterling Hobe Corporation under National Science Foundation Grant #ENV77-15501A01, Washington, D.C., July 1979.

Keywords

Risk Premium Nuclear Waste Social Decision Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Nuclear Waste Disposal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivars Gutmanis
    • 1
  • John A. Jaksch
    • 2
  1. 1.Sterling Hobe CorporationUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Protection AgencyUSA

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