Global catastrophic risk

hypothetical future event that has the potential to damage human well-being on a global scale

A global catastrophic risk is a hypothetical future event that could damage human well-being on a global scale, even endangering or destroying modern civilization. An event that could cause human extinction or permanently and drastically curtail humanity's potential is known as an "existential risk." Over the last two decades, a number of academic and non-profit organizations have been established to research global catastrophic and existential risks, formulate potential mitigation measures and either advocate for or implement these measures.

QuotesEdit

 
Look again at that dot That's here. That's home. That's us ... In all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. ~ Carl Sagan
  • Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.
  • There are clear and predictable consequences for the world if human beings continue to rape the earth and plunder its resources; to exploit, oppress, and dominate the weak and the poor for the sake of greed and the hunger for power; to depend on ever-rising levels of violence and ever more lethal instruments of death and destruction in order to secure positions of power and privilege.
  • The American, English and French newspapers are spewing out elegant dissertations on the atomic bomb. We can sum it up in a single phrase: mechanized civilization has just achieved the last degree of savagery.
    • Albert Camus, Combat, 8th August 1945. Quoted in In a Dark Time Nicholas Humphrey, Robert Jay Lifton, 1984, (p.27).
  • The unacceptability of the Doomsday Machine raises awkward, unpleasant, and complicated questions that must be considered by both policy maker and technician. If it is not acceptable to risk the lives of the three billion inhabitants of the earth in order to protect ourselves from surprise attack, then how many people would we be willing to risk?
  • Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.
  • The future of mankind is going to be decided within the next two generations, and there are two absolute requisites: We must aim at a stable-state society [with limited population growth] and the destruction of nuclear stockpiles. … Otherwise I don't see how we can survive much later than 2050.
    • Jacques Monod quoted in John C. Hess, 'French Nobel Biologist Says World Based On Chance', New York Times (15 Mar 1971), 6.
  • The flame from the angel's sword in the Garden of Eden has been catalyzed into the atom bomb; God's thunderbolt became blunted, so Man's dunderbolt [sic] has become the Steel Star of Destruction.
  • Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches. The other has seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger. Well that's the kind of situation we are actually in. The amount of weapons that are available to the United States and the Soviet Union are so bloated, so grossly in excess of what's needed to dissuade the other, that if it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable. What is necessary is to reduce the matches and to clean up the gasoline.
    • Carl Sagan, during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). Misquoted as “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”
  • Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.
Despite nuclear abolition being the long-awaited wish of all A-Bomb survivors, there are still more than 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with nuclear states continuing to modernize their nuclear forces. ~ Hidehiko Yuzaki
  • Despite nuclear abolition being the long-awaited wish of all A-Bomb survivors, there are still more than 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with nuclear states continuing to modernize their nuclear forces. Moreover, nuclear disarmament continues to stagnate, further exacerbating global tensions.

Muffley: I'm afraid I don't understand something, Alexei. Is the Premier threatening to explode this if our planes carry out their attack?
Russian Ambassador: No, sir! It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to trigger itself automatically.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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