Catastrophic risks: How can we assess and manage them?

By Ortwin Renn, Klaus Lucas, Armin Haas, Carlo Jaeger. Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. 

Many catastrophic risks are major threats to the wellbeing of society. Such risks are called systemic risks. They threaten the functionality of vital services to society such as electricity production, water supply, climate stability, cyber security and amny others. With the assisatnce of complex models we may be able to find early warning signals to be informed about pending catastrophes before they occur.

While most OECD countries have been rather successful in reducing risks to human lives, health, and the quality of the environment, the record for new global risks such as climate change, pandemics, financial breakdowns, and social inequality is much less convincing. >>

Catastrophic risks are the main challanges towards future development in a globalized wolrd. They could endanger millions of lives, as well as the conditions for a humane social and a sustaining natural environment.

This is a theoretical piece that lays the ground for more empirical and practical research. The ultimate goal is to be better prepared for coping with systemic risks. >>