Catastrophic Harm Version Precautions as Insurance

For some risks, people seek to create a margin of safety that operates as a kind of regulatory insurance. In deciding on our own behavior and the behavior of sensible governments, we might favor special precautions against worst-case scenarios. Perhaps it makes sense to buy extra insurance for catastrophic risks, on a principle of risk aversion. When low-probability risks of catastrophe are placed on-screen, so that people will not ignore them, many people are willing to pay much more to avoid...

Costs and Benefits of CFC Regulation

Why did the United States adopt such an aggressive posture with respect to ozone depletion A large part of the answer is that cost-benefit analyses, by the Council of Economic Advisers and others, suggested that the United States had far more to gain than to lose by a well-designed agreement. The EPA's analysis projected that existing emissions would produce over 5 million skin cancer deaths by 2165, together with over 25 million cataract cases figures that would be cut to 200,000 and 2...

Availability

In thinking about risks, people rely on certain rules of thumb heuristics that serve to simplify their inquiry.117 When using these mental short-cuts, people answer a hard question by substituting an easier one.118 Should Americans be fearful of hurricanes, nuclear power, AIDS, mad cow disease, alligator attacks, sniper attacks, or avian flu To answer this question, people try to think of relevant examples.119 If images of the threat come easily to mind, people are far more likely to be...

Ozone Depletion

Chlorofluorocarbons CFCs were originally used as fluids in refrigerators, in part because they were far safer than the available alternatives, which were either flammable or dangerously toxic.4 In addition to their numerous cooling applications, CFCs came to be used as propellants in aerosol spray cans. Widespread commercial and military uses for CFCs and related chemicals, prominently including halons, produced billions of dollars in revenues for their manufacturers. The idea that CFCs posed a...