The Era of Global Risk

An Introduction to Existential Risk Studies

Edited by SJ Beard, Martin Rees, Catherine Richards, Clarissa Rios Rojas | 2023, Open Book Publishers

This innovative and comprehensive collection of essays explores the most significant threats facing humanity in the 21st century: threats that cannot be contained or controlled and can potentially bring about human extinction and civilization collapse. Bringing together experts from many disciplines, it provides an accessible survey of what we know about these threats, how we can understand them better, and most importantly, what can be done to manage them effectively.

These essays pair insights from decades of research and activism around global risk with the latest academic findings from the emerging field of Existential Risk Studies. Voicing the work of world-leading experts and tackling various vital issues, they weigh up the demands of natural systems with political pressures and technological advances to build an empowering vision of how we can safeguard humanity’s long-term future.

The book covers a comprehensive survey of how to study and manage global risks with an in-depth discussion of core risk drivers, including environmental breakdown, novel technologies, global-scale natural disasters, and nuclear threats. The Era of Global Risk thoroughly analyses the most severe dangers to humanity.

One of the most prominent advocates for the importance of global risk has been the World Economic Forum, who defines a global risk as “the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition that, if it occurs, could cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries”. – quote from Introduction, xi

Inspiring, accessible, and essential reading for students of global risk and those committed to its mitigation, this book poses one critical question: How can we make sense of this era of global risk and move beyond it to a period of global safety?


Beard, S., Rees, M., Richards, C. and Rios Rojas, C. (eds) (2023) The Era of Global Risk: An Introduction to Existential Risk Studies. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.