Jonathan B. Wiener, Perkins Professor of Law and Professor of Environmental Policy and Public Policy Studies at Duke University, was elected the next president of the international Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) at the organization’s annual meeting, held Dec. 3-6 in Baltimore, Md. He will serve as president-elect for one year, and assume the post of president for the year beginning December 2007.
The SRA is an international professional society of experts in risk analysis who study the assessment and management of risks to health, safety, environment, security and other areas. The SRA’s approximately 2,000 members come from diverse sectors and disciplines, from toxicology to public policy and law. Wiener is the first law professor or lawyer elected president of the SRA.
“I am deeply honored that my colleagues have asked me to lead the SRA,” said Wiener. “At its core, risk analysis means thinking through our choices about the future. And the risks we face – such as terrorism, global climate change, pollution, epidemic diseases, and hurricanes – have never been more in need of sober, sensible analysis. Too often decision makers skip the analysis and leap to ill-considered choices (in all directions) because they think they know the answer without doing the thinking. Judicious use of risk analysis can help us avoid these tragic mistakes.”
Wiener specializes in the study of risk regulation and the use of risk analysis in environmental law and policy, both in the United States and internationally. His groundbreaking work has focused on how the interconnectedness of risks vexes regulatory policy, including the analysis of and remedies for “risk-risk tradeoffs”; the study of the “precautionary principle” in U.S., European, and international law; and the development of risk-based approaches for global climate change, biotechnology, terrorism and presidential oversight of the regulatory system.
His books include The Reality of Precaution (forthcoming), Reconstructing Climate Policy (AEI Press 2003, with Richard B. Stewart), and Risk vs. Risk (Harvard University Press 1995, with John D. Graham), which is the foundational work in the field of risk-risk tradeoffs. He is also a University Fellow of the think tank Resources for the Future.