Principle 3

We advocate property rights

•  to establish and preserve rights and responsibilities;

• to account fully for social and environmental costs based on the values assigned by   the rights holders; and

• to internalize risks and costs (and to eliminate moral hazards) in decision making.

The Principle in Practice:

  • Probe International works to give river populations the right to say “no” to hydrodam developers who want to flood their land to generate electricity revenues. With that right securely in their hands, they could set a price at which they would be prepared to lose their land and livelihood, thereby forcing dam developers to internalize the true costs of their energy development. Projects like the Three Gorges dam, which has forced some 1.4 million people to move – would almost certainly not proceed because they would be too expensive. Instead, less costly and innovative sources of power – smaller dams, high efficiency gas turbines, clean coal – would be chosen and energy developments would soon reflect the values that citizens place on their environments.

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