PUBLICATION Journal article

Anthropocene Risk

The potential consequences of cross-scale systemic environmental risks with global effects are increasing. We argue that current descriptions of globally connected systemic risk poorly capture the role of human–environment interactions. This creates a bias towards solutions that ignore the new realities of the Anthropocene. We develop an integrated concept of what we denote Anthropocene risk—that is, risks that: emerge from human-driven processes; interact with global social–ecological connectivity; and exhibit complex, cross-scale relationships. To illustrate this, we use four cases: moisture recycling teleconnections, aquaculture and stranded assets, biome migration in the Sahel, and sea-level rise and megacities. We discuss the implications of Anthropocene risk across several research frontiers, particularly in the context of supranational power, environmental and social externalities and possible future Anthropocene risk governance. We conclude that decision makers must navigate this new epoch with new tools, and that Anthropocene risk contributes conceptual guidance towards a more sustainable and just future.

Keywords: Anthropocene

Keys, P., V. Galaz, M. Dyer, N. Matthews, C. Folke, M. Nyström, and S. Cornell. 2019. Anthropocene Risk. Nature Sustainability 2:667–673.