The precautionary principle

The World Petroleum Conference in Calgary last month gave voice to a climate-change approach called the precautionary principle. It's a new label for an old argument favoring costly remedy for theoretical disease. For the oil and gas industry to adopt the approach is not at all cautious.The approach is not cautious because it leads automatically to high taxation of the industry's products. All proposals for reducing human emissions of heat-trapping gases amount to taxing fossil energy heavily enough to force people to use different, more-costly fuels. Before any business consents to such manipulation of its customers, it should be certain that benefits warrant the cost.The oil bus...

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