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Risk and response

Understanding risk

It's interesting to reflect on risk and response. There’s probaiblity of accidents a ratio of1 in 43,000,000 rail journeys, 1: 125,000,000 air trips, and 1: 2, 360,000 fair grounds (that’s a lot of rides). The grids that represent these would be squares with 6557x 6557, 11,180 x 11180, and 1536x 1536 respectively. Each grid would be green, with just one red square representing the risk of a negative outcome. On these grids, it would be hard to spot the red.

For the risk of dangerous climate change on the other hand, the grid would be a10 x 10, with 99 of the squares red, and just one green one. This single green, represents our current 1% chance of avoiding dangerous climate change

Managing risk

It’s interesting to consider what we do, and have done, to manage risks to these levels. Airplanes are rigorously inspected on a regular basis by highly trained engineers, flown by experienced pilots and crew who have trained how to recognise, avoid and respond to danger. We manage the risk of fire in the house and at work by installing fire alarms which are regularly tested, running fire drills, liaising with the rescue services, training children at school and specifying fabrics that don’t emit dangerous fumes. We do this for a risk of one in tens of millions.

For a ninety-nine to one chance of creating dangerous climate change, government has no plan and little real preparation. It’s to take action on this; we’ve developed two programmes / processes to accelerate change:

Making Carbon History – experiential learning exercise to help organisations start to understand impact and benefit of the 9% annual reduction in CO2 emissions that’s needed to avoid the worst impact of climate change

Securing our Sustainability – an illustrative strategy designed to help public sector organisations understand what a transformational strategy would actually look like

Reader Comments (1)

'Understanding risk' - That's a very compelling way of putting, Andy.

October 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGary Loch

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