Catastrophe: Risk and Response by Richard A. PosnerCatastrophe: Risk and Response by Richard A. Posner

Catastrophe: Risk and Response

byRichard A. Posner

Paperback | December 1, 2005

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Catastrophic risks are much greater than is commonly appreciated. Collision with an asteroid, runaway global warming, voraciously replicating nanomachines, a pandemic of gene-spliced smallpox launched by bioterrorists, and a world-ending accident in a high-energy particle accelerator, areamong the possible extinction events that are sufficiently likely to warrant careful study. How should we respond to events that, for a variety of psychological and cultural reasons, we find it hard to wrap our minds around? Posner argues that realism about science and scientists, innovativeapplications of cost-benefit analysis, a scientifically literate legal profession, unprecedented international cooperation, and a pragmatic attitude toward civil liberties are among the keys to coping effectively with the catastrophic risks.
Richard A. Posner is Judge of the U.S. Court Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books, including Overcoming Law a New York Times Book Review editors' choices for best book of 1995 and An Affair of State, one of their choices for Best Book of the Y...
Title:Catastrophe: Risk and ResponseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 5.59 × 8.7 × 0.91 inPublished:December 1, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195306473

ISBN - 13:9780195306477

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Table of Contents

IntroductionWhat is catastrophe?The organization of this bookSome useful disctinctions1. What are the catastrohpic risks, and how catastrophic are they?Natural catastrophesScientific accidentsOther unintended man-made catastrophesIntentional catastrophesCatastrophic synergies and lesser-included catastrophes2. Why so little is being done about the catastrophic risksCultural factorsPsychological factorsEconomic factors3. How to evaluate the catastrophic risks and the possible responses to themThe difference cost-benefit analysis can make: the case of RHICA modest version of the precautionary principleDiscounting to present valueTaxes, subsidies, and options: the case of global warmingValuing human livesRisk versus uncertaintyCoping with uncertaintyPolitics, expertise, and neutrality: RHIC revisitedSummary4. How to reduce the catastrophic risksInstitutional reformsFiscal tools: a recapSome hypothetical regulatory policiesConclusionNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book provides a balanced and immensely informative discussion of catastrophic risks to the planet, and makes a logical first stab at policy responses. It should stimulate far more attention to the growing threat of such catastrophes as bioterrorism, strangelet disasters from particleaccelerators, and non-linear climate change, among the academic and policy community."--Ian W. H. Parry, Resources for the Future