Governing Disasters
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Governing Disasters

The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation

Edited by Alberto Alemanno

This is the first volume that addresses the complexities of the volcanic ash cloud that overshadowed Europe in April 2011, but has subsequently struck again in Australia, Chile and Europe. It does so from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing upon research from economics, law, sociology and other fields, as well as volcanology and leading expertise in jet engineering. Whilst our knowledge base is wide-ranging, there is a common focus on the practical lessons of the ash cloud crisis both for subsequent eruptions and for emergency risk regulation more generally.
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Chapter 4: Risk and the Role of Scientific Input for Contingency Planning: A Response to the April 2010 Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Eruption

Chris Johnson and Alain Jeunemaitre


JOBNAME: Alermanno PAGE: 3 SESS: 8 OUTPUT: Tue Sep 6 13:22:57 2011 4. Risk and the role of scientific input for contingency planning: a response to the April 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption Chris Johnson and Alain Jeunemaitre 4.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on the insights that the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010 provided for the coordination of scientific input to decisionmaking across the European aviation industries. Volcanic eruptions are part of a wider class of natural risks, including earthquakes, pandemics, and regional fires etc., that have to be managed collectively. These, in turn, form a sub-set of adverse events that also include man-made catastrophes, such as terrorist attacks, pollution etc. Natural and man-made risks are collectively known as contingency events. They are characterized by relatively low expected probabilities but extremely high potential consequences. The public increasingly expect commercial and regulatory agencies to adopt a precautionary approach to such events. These expectations extend not just from the time before any incident occurs but also under the stress and time pressure of decision-making during a contingency. If we are to meet these expectations, it is important that operational decision-making is informed by accurate scientific information on a wide range of issues. It should not be shaped by ad hoc political pressures, although these will inevitably play a role. The assessment and management of risk depends upon a clear scientific understanding of the contingency under consideration. Without significant prior consultation, Air Navigation Service Providers...

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