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date: 15 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the strengths and weaknesses of ‘command and control’ environmental standards. It argues that a key shortcoming of such standards is a ‘conceptualization gap’: i.e. limited conceptualizations of how the natural environment works, and how it is influenced by human actions. After considering a working definition of command and control standards, the chapter discusses their significance, how they are related to self-regulation and economic incentives, and their implementation deficit. The chapter then explains how applied science models that analyse environmental risks can help to close the ‘conceptualization gap’ that limits the significance and effectiveness of command and control environmental standards. It suggests that closing the conceptualization gap can involve to rely on integrated and harmonized standards, which, in turn, can be achieved by using the abstract, conceptual, and thus potentially trans-jurisdictional ‘language of science’. To this end, the chapter introduces the DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts, and Responses) applied science model, describing its features and highlighting its limitations in providing an integrated view of environmental risks.

Keywords: command and control regulation, applied science models, harmonization, EU environmental law, comparative environmental law

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