summary of science in environmental policy paper

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School of Environment
Douglas Mac Donald

Reading report 1Using Science in Environmental Policy Can Canada do betterSummaryTed Schrecker argues in this reading that different factors inhibit science from determining Canadian environmental policy and therefore policy is not based on science aloneOne example used was that of the Atlantic cod industry where bureaucratic influence had seriously compromised the scientific basis for fisheries management Schrecker Ted 2001 From lack of transparency in the studies concerning this issue overly optimistic scientific reports were used to determine regulations in fisheries management without any external review or critique Schrecker also argues that when faced against the market with the power of economic return advocates for environmental conservation normally lack comparable resources Schrecker Ted 2001 Canada being economically reliant on natural resources will often pick economic returns over environmental conservation even if it means that in the long run the market will fail as seen in the Atlantic cod case Kathryn Harrison explains this as blame avoidance The government does not want to be directly involved in shutting down the industry so it lets environmental degradation continue until the resources can no longer bear the industry and blame can be placed upon the market conditions Science is never certain but to reach closer to certainty scientists try to minimize their chances of getting a false positiveHowever in the calculation of uncertainty there are both false positives and true rejections true findings that are rejected Schrecker argues that the weight of each of these outcomes is not always equal and that this weight is not often scientifically cons
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