Description: A number of individuals and organizations advocate the use of comparative, formal analysis to determine which are the safest methods for producing and using energy. Some have suggested that the findings of such analyses should be the basis upon which final decisions are made about whether to actually deploy energy technologies. Some of those who support formal comparative analysis are in a position to shape the policy debate on energy and environment. An opposing viewpoint is presented, arguing that for technical reasons, analysis can provide no definitive or rationally credible answers to the question of overall safety. Analysis has not and cannot determine the sum total of damage to human welfare and ecological communities from energy technologies. Analysis has produced estimates of particular types of damage; however, it is impossible to make such estimates comparable and commensurate across different classes of technologies and environmental effects. As a result of the deficiencies, comparative analysis connot form the basis of a credible, viable energy policy. Yet, without formal comparative analysis, how can health, safety, and the natural environment be protected. This paper proposes a method for improving the Nation's approach to this problem. The proposal essentially is that health and the environment should be considered as constraints on the deployment of energy technologies, constraints that are embodied in Government regulations. Whichever technologies can function within these constraints should then compete among themselves. This competition should be based on market factors like cost and efficiency and on political factors like national security and the questions of equity.
Date: February 1, 1981
Creator: House, P W; Coleman, J A; Shull, R D; Matheny, R W & Hock, J C
Item Type: Refine your search to only Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department