Foreign Affairs: Predicting the Next Crisis features articles by two C-PREE faculty

Oct. 13, 2020

Articles by two C-PREE faculty were featured in the November/December 2020 issue of the magazine Foreign Affairs. The topic of this issue was "What are We Missing? Predicting the Next Crisis." 

Elke U. Weber's piece, "Heads in the Sand: Why we Fail to Foresee and Contain Catastrophe," explores the psychological barriers to effective decision-making and governance in response to crises. Weber also provides recommendations for how policymakers could improve decision-making, by drawing on the expertise of scientists, understanding the richness of human behavior, and finding opportunities to work with psychological barriers, rather than against them.

"Not only do humans fail to anticipate crises; they also fail to respond rationally to them. At best, people display “bounded rationality,” the idea that instead of carefully considering their options and making perfectly rational decisions that optimize their preferences, humans in the real world act quickly and imperfectly, limited as they are by time and cognitive capacity."

Read her full piece here: 

Michael Oppenheimer's article, "As the World Burns: Climate Change's Next Dangerous Phase," discusses the compounding effect of climate disasters as they are expected to become more frequent, such as extended heat waves, as well as the potential for chain reaction or "tipping points" across systems that drive the climate. While there have been increasing calls for rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Oppenheimer argues that not enough attention has been given to preparing for climate risks. Building adaption strategies to climate change takes time and often involves unpopular political decisions, but is critically important to address some of the unavoidable warming already set to occur. 

"It is true that no amount of adaptation will be enough if emissions remain unconstrained, because that would lead to warming that would go far beyond what humans have ever experienced. But it is also true that no amount of emission reduction will be enough to spare communities that do not also adapt."

Read his full piece here: