Wired UK: Apocalypse, Now?

In its March cover feature on the end of the world, Wired UK wrote about the work the GCRI does—along with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), and the Future of Life Institute (FLI)—to mitigate catastrophic risk. In an article on the 10 biggest threats facing civilization, Wired UK discusses the research GCRI does on the risk that an inadvertent nuclear war could cause a nuclear winter and on systemic risk from climate …

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Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: Trump and Global Catastrophic Risk

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum has a new article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on what Donald Trump’s election means for global catastrophic risk, which has been covered in Quartz and Elite Daily. Baum writes that the fact that Trump will have the authority to launch nuclear weapons should particularly concern us, given his tendency to behave erratically, Trump’s election also has implications for the prospect of conflict with Russia and China, the stability of the global world order, the survival of democracy in the US, and our …

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August Newsletter: New Director of Communications

Dear friends,

It is my pleasure to announce that longtime GCRI Associate Robert de Neufville has been promoted to the position of Director of Communications. Robert will oversee GCRI’s website and newsletter, as well as lead a renewed media outreach program. He also joinsTony Barrett, Grant Wilson, and myself on GCRI’s leadership team. Robert’s work is funded through a donation GCRI recently secured from Pattern, an AI company that, like GCRI, has a “geographically decentralized” structure in which workers can live anywhere in the world. We …

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GCR News Summary May 2016

President Obama and Prime Minister Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial image courtesy of Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, just a little more than one month after Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest ranking US official to visit the city where the US detonated a nuclear weapon at the end of World War II. Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, but did not apologize for the use of nuclear weapons against Japan. …

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GCR News Summary November 2015

Chinese power plant image courtesy of Tobias Brox under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (the image has been cropped)

Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber near the border between Turkey and Syria. Some reports indicate that the Russian plane’s pilots were shot and possibly killed as they parachuted from their damaged plane. It was the first time a NATO member shot down a Russian military plane since the end of the Cold War. Turkey claimed the Russian plane violated its airspace for five minutes and …

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GCR News Summary October 2015

Banjarbaru wildfire image courtesy of Amirin

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published former US airman John Bordne’s first-hand account of his commanding officer’s refusal to launch nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. On October 28, 1962, Bordne says the secret US missile site in Okinawa where he served received orders to launch missiles at four targets. Bordne said that even though the launch orders were initially confirmed the officer in charge suspected the orders were a mistake both because the US forces were not at DEFCON1 …

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GCR News Summary August 2015

Korean Demilitarized Zone fence image courtesy of Sangmun Shin/Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (image has been cropped)

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire after two South Korean soldiers were injured by land mines. South Korea claimed North Korea was responsible for placing the mines near a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries. South Korea responded by using loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda across the border. The Centre for North Korea-US Peace’s Kim Myong-chol, who some …

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GCR News Summary July 2015

Arecibo Observatory image courtesy of H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF

Iran reached an agreement with the P5+1 countries—the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany—to limit Iran’s nuclear program. The deal requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98% for 15 years. Iran also agreed to cut the number of centrifuges it currently uses to enrich uranium roughly in half and to enrich uranium to no more than 3.7% U-235 (the isotope that powers both nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons). Nuclear …

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GCR News Summary June 2015

Solar flare image courtesy of NASA/SDO under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (image has been cropped)

Pope Francis issued an encyclical saying the natural environment is “the patrimony of all humanity” and calling for a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet”. Pope Francis warned that we are warming the planet, depleting its reserves of clean water, and destroying its biodiversity:

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation …

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GCR News Summary May 2015

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft image courtesy of the US Air Force/Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt

China has converted some of its long-range missiles to carry multiple warheads. China’s decision to retrofit its missiles with “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles” (MIRVs) appears to be at least in part a response to the US expanding its missile defense in the Pacific. The US, the UK, France, and Russia already have missiles equipped with MIRVs. The New York Times noted in an editorial that because MIRVs can overwhelm missile defense systems, they increase …

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