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Title: Justice and the Distribution of Risks from Unconventional Energy Technologies
Author(s): TUCKER, Aviezer
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 25    Issue: 3   Date: 2018   
Pages: 539-565
DOI: 10.2143/EP.25.3.3285429

Abstract :
The application of the theories about risk distribution of Beck, risk assessments of Luhmann and Giddens, and justice as the internalization of externalities of Schmidtz to the analysis of the social and political reactions to new ‘unconventional’ technologies for extracting natural gas and oil from shale rock discovers correlations between injustice in the distribution of risks and rewards and risk assessment and trust, reinforced by a feedback causal loop in which high assessment of risk and distrust reinforce each other. The unaccountability of technocratic and political elites has increased distrust and generated a feedback causal loop that increases the unaccountability of elite decision making when elites adjusted to popular distrust by attempting to enact decisions about the distribution of risk from new technologies in stealth or when the population was distracted. Geopolitical risk may balance technological risk assessment when the assumption that technological risks reduce geopolitical risks. The article applies this model to explain the politics and policies of unconventional energy in Europe. It further supports the model by a comparison with regulatory policies for the extraction of unconventional energy resources in the United States and by examining a case in England, where the government attempted to decrease injustice in the distribution of risk.

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