Submission of Evidence to The House of Lords Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning

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Change log
Whittlestone, Jessica 
Hobson, Thomas 

In this submission we:

(1) introduce our approach to defining and classifying extreme risks, including global catastrophic risks and existential risks (addressing question 1: "What do you understand the term ‘extreme risk’ to mean?");

(2) highlight two important cross-cutting themes emerging from our research, which are key to grounding risk assessment and management: (a) the systemic nature and political, technological and environmental context of extreme risks, and (b) the relationship between extreme risk and questions of global justice (addressing questions 2: "Are there types of risks to which the UK is particularly vulnerable or for which it is poorly prepared?" and question 6: "How effectively do current ways of characterising risks support evidence-based policy decisions?"); and

(3) summarise our research findings on key tools for appropriately responding to extreme risks, including tools for foresight (addressing question 5: "How can the Government ensure that it identifies and considers as wide a range of risks as possible?"); tools for crafting intervention policies and ensuring their effective implementation (addressing question 7: "How effectively do Departments mitigate risks?"); tools for resilience (addressing question 10: "What challenges are there in developing resilience capability?"); and tools for governance (which go beyond the questions posed by the committee to consider the UK's role in the global governance required to address extreme risks).

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