Tag: public governance

Nuclear Energy, Risk, and Emotions

 By Prof.dr. Sabine Roeser *

The pictures of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima are in our minds and are updated daily. People from around the world feel compassion for the Japanese, who have had to cope with a triple disaster: earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. At the moment of writing this piece, it is far from clear how the latter of this apocalyptic triad will end. In the meantime, the debate about nuclear energy has taken an unexpected turn. In the last few years, there was a growing consensus that nuclear energy would be the solution to generate energy without CO2 emissions. The probability of an accident was said to be negligible. However, now that an accident has occurred, many people wonder whether nuclear energy is a really wise option (cf., e.g., Macilwain 2011). Germany immediately shut down several nuclear reactors, and the German Green Party achieved unprecedented results in the local elections due to its anti-nuclear position.

Nevertheless, there seems to be one constant factor in the debate about nuclear energy: proponents call opponents badly informed, emotional, and irrational, using these notions more or less as synonyms. However, such rhetoric denigrates and hinders a real debate about nuclear energy. In addition, it is simply wrong to equate emotions with irrationality, as they can be a source of practical rationality. I will argue that rather than being an obstacle to a meaningful debate about nuclear energy, emotions can be an important source of ethical insight that should be taken seriously.

Often when a new technology is introduced, a typical pattern can be observed: society is alarmed and worried about its risky aspects, whereas experts assure them that the risks are negligible. Policy makers typically respond to this in two ways: either they ignore the emotions of the public or they take them as a reason to prohibit or restrict a technology, as is the case with genetic modification in many European countries. Let me call these responses the technocratic pitfall and the populist pitfall, respectively. Experts and policy makers emphasize that a dialogue with the public is impossible as it is supposedly ill-informed and so emotional about certain risks that they are immune to rational, objective, scientific information. This pattern has occurred in regard to nuclear energy, cloning, genetic modification, carbon capture and storage, and vaccination, to mention just a few of many hotly debated, controversial, technological developments. Stalemates such as these may seem unavoidable. At least as long as we take it for granted that emotions are irrational and impenetrable by rational information. However, there are developments in the psychological and philosophical study of emotions that can shed an entirely new light on these issues.  Read more >

* S. Roeser, Philosophy Department, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands & Philosophy Department, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands e-mail: S.Roeser@tudelft.nl


Global Risk Management Survey 2013


Aon’s 2013 Global Risk Management Survey report is part of this process, capturing the latest risk trends and priorities facing companies around the world. The report unveiled the top 10 risks now and three years in the future.

Conducted in Q4 2012, the web-based survey gathered input from 1,415 respondents — a 47 percent increase in respondents from the 2011 survey — from 70 countries in all regions of the world and was conducted in 10 languages. Here are the top 10 risks ranked in the report:

Economic slowdown/slow recovery 1 1
Regulatory/legislative changes 2 2
Increasing competition 3 3
Damage to reputation/brand 4 8
Failure to attract or retain top talent 5 5
Failure to innovate/meet customer needs 6 4
Business interruption 7 11
Commodity price risk 8 7
Cash flow/liquidity risk 9 10
Political risk/uncertainties 10 6

In addition to identifying the top risk concerns facing companies today, the survey findings also cover the following topics:

  • How companies identify and assess risk
  • Approach to risk management and board involvement
  • Risk management functions
  • Insurance markets
  • Risk financing
  • Global programs
  • Captives Read more >

Download report

El Ayuntamiento de Getafe gana el Premio Udite

Es esta la Segunda edición del premio que se otorga a entidades locales por su gestión en las categorías de Bienestar Social, Bienestar económico, Bienestar ecológico, Gestión y Gestión del Riesgo.

La votación final, tras un largo proceso de selección que se inició en junio de este año, tuvo lugar el pasado lunes 5 de octubre en Bruselas, en el marco de las Jornadas de Puertas Abiertas del Parlamento Europeo, en las que estuvo presente la Federación de Directivos Territoriales de Europa (Udite), organización de la que es miembro el Consejo General de Secretarios, Interventores y Tesoreros de Administración Local (COSITAL).

El Premio fue recogido por Ana Isabel Olivella Antela, Concejala de Juventud, Cooperación Internacional y Plan Estratégico del Ayuntamiento de Getafe.

El otro finalista en la categoría de Gestión, y que competía con el Ayuntamiento de Getafe,  fue el Ayuntamiento de Rennes (Francia) con el proyecto: Servicios de Operaciones de Limpieza, para el establecimiento de nuevas modalidades de trabajo de limpieza / instalaciones, para el personal encargado de este trabajo. A esta categoría se presentaron un total de 4 ayuntamientos Europeos.

El plan estratégico de Getafe 2010

Por unanimidad del Ayuntamiento Pleno se aprueba el 13 de Septiembre de 2000, la elaboración de un Plan Estratégico para el Municipio de Getafe.

Entendiendo que el diseño de una ciudad no se puede acotar en un espacio de tiempo determinado, ni se puede establecer un modelo inalterable o perenne para el futuro porque la Participación, concepto clave en todo el proceso, es un elemento dinamizador de la convivencia ciudadana que genera continuas innovaciones, pero que el Conocimiento es el combustible que mantiene los ritmos de crecimiento y transformación de nuestra ciudad, se asumen para el proceso de elaboración del Plan Estratégico de Getafe 2010, los siguientes Valores o Principios clave. Leer más >

Corporate water risk tools

To mark World Water Day, Bill Baue takes a look at new corporate water risk tools introduced by WRI, Ceres, and GEMI

Source: Bill Baue for the Guardian Professional Network

The term ‘water risk’ is new enough to draw a blank on Wikipedia search, though the concept of measuring and managing water-related risks dates back to antiquity. Egyptian priests in Pharaonic times used nilometers to predict flood or drought from the rise and fall of the Nile. Now, the recent rise of water risk tool launches suggest that the business community is waking up to the physical, reputational, regulatory, and litigation risks around freshwater availability in a warming world. Read more >

Have we sown the seeds of dystopia?

The word dystopia refers to a fictitious place in which everything has gone awry. It is the flip side of utopia, the word coined by Sir Thomas More in his fictional portrayal of a seemingly ideal society. Although such ideas have fascinated novelists ever since More’s musings in the 16th century, there is now reason to fear that we are sowing the seeds of a variety of dystopia which is all too real. Read more >

Making cities resilient

“Cities and local governments need to get ready, reduce the risks and become resilient to disasters. For the next two years and beyond, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) will campaign together with its partners for this to happen.

The 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient” addresses issues of local governance and urban risk while drawing upon previous ISDR Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals, as well as on the sustainable urbanizations principles developed in the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign 2009-2013.”

Source: United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

Worrier’s Guide to Risk

Stories about risk can be worrying or even frightening. David Spiegelhalter’s ideas can help you understand more and worry less.

Source: Risk & Regulation Advisory Council, United Kingdom

The Worrier’s Guide to Risk is intended to help everyone make more sense of the seemingly unending series of stories on risk.

The guide offers an insight into the simple sorts of questions David Spiegelhalter asks. It distils many years of experience into a single page. It will not make you a professor of statistics but we hope it will help you to make better informed judgements about the risks that affect you and society.

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