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Public authorities often invoke the precautionary principle to ban or postpone the development of innovative projects with uncertain but potentially harmful irreversible impacts on the environment or health. As stated in the Rio declaration, the precautionary principle suggests balancing costs and benefits associated with irreversible decisions while taking account of the perspective to acquire better but costly information in the future. Though the real option theory seems to be an appropriate tool to deal with the precautionary principle it has two important limits with this respect.
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