Visionary Science, Ethics, Law and Action in the Public Interest

Analyzing the Practice of Cost-Benefit Analysis in a Decaying World

Cumulative Impacts: Death-Knell for Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Decisions
Joseph H. Guth, J.D., Ph.D.
In a new article published in the Barry Law Review, SEHN Legal Director Joe Guth argues that we have long assumed we can tolerate the endless growth of small increments of environmental damage in the pursuit of economic growth. But now, the mounting cumulative impact of the human enterprise is threatening the long-term habitability of the biosphere. The law will have to abandon its use of cost-benefit analysis to justify individual environmental impacts and instead adopt the goal of maintaining the functioning ecological systems that we are so dependent upon.