To know and not to know. To act or not to act…?
The task of the European Environment Agency (EEA) is to provide information of direct use for improving decision-making and public participation. We often provide information in situations of scientific uncertainty, in which the precautionary principle, enshrined in the Treaty of the European Union, is increasingly relevant.
The growing innovative powers of science seem to be outstripping its ability to predict the consequences of its applications, whilst the scale of human interventions in nature increases the chances that any hazardous impacts may be serious and global. It is therefore important to take stock of past experiences, and learn how we can adapt to these changing circumstances and improve our work, particularly in relation to the provision of information and the identification of early warnings.
“Late lessons from early warnings” is about the gathering of information on the hazards of human economic activities and its use in taking action to better protect both the environment and the health of the species and ecosystems that are dependent on it, and then living with the consequences.