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Role of Information in Environmental Regulation

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Role of Information in Environmental Regulation

  1. 1. The Role of Information in Environmental Regulation: Science in the Service of Society? Rónán Kennedy! ! Law School, ! National University of Ireland Galway!
  2. 2. Information in Environmental Regulationl  “Information” is fundamental!l  Source: usually physical sciences!l  Raw material for decision-making process!l  Gives rise to FOI, public access to information!l  Advent of ICT: greater scope for information processing in environmental regulation!
  3. 3. Promise of ICT for Environmental Regulationl  More rigourous!l  Large-scale tracking of pollution emissions!l  ‘Data mining’!l  Information dissemination!l  Better understanding, visualisation, forecasting...!
  4. 4. Promise of ICT for Environmental Regulation Expands scope and span of control!l  Improves functioning of markets !l  More specialised, decentralised and sophisticatedl regulatory organizations! Transparency can help avoid distortions of the politicall process!
  5. 5. Science, policy and law connection Not a linear or coherent relationship!l  Inadequate scientific literacy (bad science)!l  Scientific models used in legislation may not be !l  •  accurate! •  up-to-date! •  ‘objective’!
  6. 6. Problems with Information in Environmental Regulation Information ‘Quality’ in the regulatory process: data as al political football! Impact of Information?!l  •  Toxics Release Inventory shows potential! •  But success due to under-reporting, gaming?!
  7. 7. Thematic Issuesl  Paradox of transparency: more can be less!l  ‘Agile’ regulation?!l  More iterative processes!l  How to gather enough data?!l  “Mash-ups”!l  Privacy!
  8. 8. Conclusionl  Development of “informational governance”?! l  ‘the idea that information is fundamentally restructuring processes, institutions and practices of environmental governance’ (Mol)!l  But inequalities of power persist!l  The state remains relevant!l  Expensive infrastructure required!

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