Sharing an uncertain world – lessons in managing risk

On 13th and 14th July, Quintessa attended a conference “Sharing an Uncertain World: Lessons in Managing Risk” at the Geological Society, Burlington House. The meeting was one of a series of events on the topic of risk, which is the Geological Society’s theme for 2017, its “Year of Risk”.

The conference drew together speakers working in various geosciences and other sectors and aimed to compare how different earth science fields and other industries manage differing risks.

Several speakers highlighted that different sectors use different terminology for risk and risk assessments. Certainly, there was some evidence for this, with some speakers using “hazard”, “risk” and “uncertainty” to mean the same thing. However, mostly the differences between sectors concern the specific uncertainties and risks of concern. Most participants regarded risk of an event in the “classical” sense to be a product of the event’s probability of occurrence and some measure of its impact. In fact, different sectors use broadly similar methods for assessing risks and much of the difference between sectors concerns the approaches to managing the risks.