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Words on Wednesday: Brief Communication – The dark side of risk and crisis communication: legal conflicts and responsibility allocation

Words on Wednesday: Brief Communication – The dark side of risk and crisis  communication: legal conflicts and responsibility allocation

Words on Wednesday aims at promoting interesting/fun/exciting publications on topics related to Energy, Resources and the Environment. If you would like to be featured on WoW, please send us a link of the paper, or your own post, at ERE.Matters@gmail.com.

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Scolobig, A.: Brief Communication: The dark side of risk and crisis communication: legal conflicts and responsibility allocation, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 1449-1456, doi:10.5194/nhess-15-1449-2015, 2015.

Abstract:

Inadequate, misinterpreted, or missing risk and crisis communication may be a reason for practitioners, and sometimes science advisors, to become the subjects of criminal investigations. This work discusses the legal consequences of inadequate risk communication in these situations. After presenting some cases, the discussion focuses on three critical issues: the development of effective communication protocols; the role, tasks, and responsibilities of science advisors; and the collateral effects of practitioners’ defensive behaviours. For example, if the avoidance of personal liability becomes a primary objective for practitioners, it may clash with other objectives, such as the protection of vulnerable communities or the transparency of decision making. The conclusion presents some ideas for future research on the legal aspects of risk communication.

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Suzanne Hangx is a post-doctoral researcher at the High Pressure and Temperature Laboratory of Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research focusses on fluid-rock interactions and how they affect the mechanical properties of rocks. By breaking rocks on a (more or less) day-to-day basis, she aims to make a contribution to potential solutions of societally relevant earth scientific issues, such as subsurface CO2 storage or surface subsidence induced by hydrocarbon or groundwater pumping. Suzanne is currently the Subsurface Officer of the Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

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