Risk Conundrums : Solving Unsolvable Problems book cover
1st Edition

Risk Conundrums
Solving Unsolvable Problems

Edited By

Roger E Kasperson

ISBN 9781138956070
Published June 15, 2017 by Routledge
298 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A risk conundrum can be viewed as a risk that poses major issues in assessment, and whose management is not easily engaged. Such perplexing problems can either paralyze or badly delay risk analysis and directions for progression. Rather than simply focusing on the progress in risk analysis that has already been made, it is crucial to consider what has been learnt about these seemingly unmanageable problems and how best to move forward.

Risk Conundrums seeks to answer this question by bringing together a range of key thinkers in the field to explore key issues such as risk communication, uncertainty, social trust, indicators and metrics, and risk management, drawing upon case study examples including natural disasters, terrorism, and energy transitions. The initial chapters address risk conundrums, their properties, and the challenges they pose. The book then turns to a greater emphasis on systemic and regional risk conundrums. Finally, it considers how risk management can be changed to address these unsolvable conundrums. Alternative pathways are defined and scrutinized and predictions for future developments set out.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of risk governance, environmental policy, and sustainable development.

Table of Contents



  1. How Can We Be Sure That We Are Working on the Right Risks?
  2. Whose Views Really Matter in the End?
  3. How Do We Move Forward When There Is No Trust?
  4. How Can We Best Deal with the Unexpected?
  5. How Can We Learn More from Learning about Risk Controversies?
  6. The Role of Insurance and Other Policy Tools in Reducing the Economic Effects of Global Disasters
  7. How Can We Improve Decision Making in the Face of Catastrophic Risk?
  8. Risk Communication and Social Media
  9. China’s Development and Environmental Risk Management: A Balanced Perspective for the Future
  10. Addressing Risk Conundrums in Megacity Development: Mexico City
  11. Ambiguity in an Ambiguous Region
  12. Risk Conundrums of the Renewable Energy Transition: Can We Balance Opportunities, Optimism, and Challenges?
  13. Hydraulic Fracturing – A Risk for Environment, Energy Security and Affordability?
  14. Out of Harm’s Way: Challenges in Reducing Current and Future Coastal Risk Exposure
  15. Addressing Risk Conundrums in Sustainable Development
  16. Vulnerability does not just fall from the Sky: Addressing the Vulnerability Conundrum
  17. Risk Governance: Concept and Application to Systemic Risk
  18. How Can We Prevent the Collapse of Humanitarian Values in Foreign Policy Decisions?


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Roger E. Kasperson is Research Professor and Distinguished Scientist at the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University, USA.