Vulnerability and risk: Some thoughts from a political and policy perspective

  • Sarewitz D
  • Pielke R
  • Keykhah M
  • 179


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 126


    Citations of this article.


Public policies to mitigate the impacts of extreme events such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks will differ depending on whether they focus on reducing risk or reducing vulnerability. Here we present and defend six assertions aimed at exploring the benefits of vulnerability-based policies. (1) Risk-based approaches to covering the costs of extreme events do not depend for their success on reduction of vulnerability. (2) Risk-based approaches to preparing for extreme events are focused on acquiring accurate probabilistic information about the events themselves. (3) Understanding and reducing vulnerability does not demand accurate predictions of the incidence of extreme events. (4) Extreme events are created by context. (5) It is politically difficult to justify vulnerability reduction on economic grounds. (6) Vulnerability reduction is a human rights issue; risk reduction is not.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Extreme events
  • Predictions
  • Public policy
  • Risk
  • Uncertainty
  • Vulnerability

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free