Classifying global catastrophic risks

03 May 2018

We present a novel classification framework for severe global catastrophic risk scenarios. Extending beyond existing work that identifies individual risk scenarios, we propose analysing global catastrophic risks along three dimensions: the critical systems affected, global spread mechanisms, and prevention and mitigation failures. The classification highlights areas of convergence between risk scenarios, which supports prioritisation of particular research and of policy interventions. It also points to potential knowledge gaps regarding catastrophic risks, and provides an interdisciplinary structure for mapping and tracking the multitude of factors that could contribute to global catastrophic risks.