Risks are measurable using either a quantitative or qualitative approach. In the context of the risks facing the greater society, it is safe to assume that they are always changing in terms of their quantitative and qualitative scope of influence. This is because underlying causes and threats, as well as related factors and circumstances, can exacerbate a specific risk while opportunities as well as solutions and circumstances can lessen such. Nonetheless, determining the extent in which these risks are changing both quantitatively or qualitatively can be tricky because of the variability of associated factors and diversity in related circumstances.
The field of risk management has nonetheless emerged to deal with risks affecting different fields and disciplines to include business and organization management, economy and finance, and governance and society. Part of risk management is measuring the scope of influence of a risk and the probability that such risk will transpire (Roggi & Ottonelli, 3-10). Nonetheless, when talking about the extent of risks changing quantitatively and qualitatively, it is important to note that “quantitative” refers to anything that is measurable by numbers while qualitative” pertains to anything that is measurable or more appropriately, assessable and recognizable through descriptions or qualifiers. Determining the extent of the quantitative and qualitative change of risks can be challenging.
For instance, in determining the extent of the quantitative and qualitative changes in the risks to the society brought by contemporary environmental problems, it is important to take into consideration the causes of these problems as well as the actions undertaken to resolve them. Consider global warming and climate change as an example. Note that human-induced carbon emission is one of the main causes of these environmental problems and the corresponding risks to the society are rising sea levels and extreme weather scenarios that could result in ecological imbalance and affect human and non-human habitat (Mann, 193-230). With continued carbon emission, the risks are quantitatively high and qualitatively dangerous. Furthermore, with more carbon emission, these risks have a higher quantitative scope and more dangerous qualitative scope. The extent of the risks changing quantitatively and qualitatively is straightforward—the change will follow a linear and upward trajectory. This means that the risks such as rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions will become more plausible or in other words, higher and more dangerous, with the continued increase in carbon emission.
There are measures that have been identified that could reduce the carbon emission and thereby, resolve the environmental problems involving global warming and climate change. Examples of these measures include steering away from fossil fuels and leaning toward renewable energy sources, promoting electric and hydrogen-fuel vehicles, and carbon capture and storage solutions (Jacobson, 148-173). Nonetheless, reducing the carbon emission would not only mean resolving global warming and climate change but also lessening the risks or the likelihood of rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. With lessened carbon emission, the risks are quantitatively low and qualitatively normal to safe. Furthermore, with continued reduction of carbon emission over time, these risks will have lower quantitative cope and less dangerous qualitative scope. The extent of the risks changing quantitatively and qualitatively is straightforward—the change will follow a linear but downward trajectory. This means that the risk such as rising sea levels and extreme weather condition will become less plausible or in other words, lower and less dangerous, with continued reduction in carbon emission.
However, the aforementioned circumstances—either continued increase in carbon emission due to lack of action or continued reduction in carbon emission due to effective action—are too idealistic. In a real world setting, there is a constant battle between increasing and reducing carbon emission as societies and nations across the world remain dependent on fossil fuels while still finding solutions to curb emissions. Thus, in reality, the extent of the risks changing quantitatively and qualitatively is not really straightforward. There are many things to consider such as the underlying factors or causes of the risks and the opportunities and solutions for reducing such risks. The quantitative and qualitative scope of the risks are continuously changing and leaning toward various extent.
From the aforementioned, determining the extent in which risks are changing both quantitatively or qualitatively can be challenging especially if there are no clear actions intended to completely cut off the underlying factors or causes of the risks, in addition to the lack of consistent and effective efforts to lessen and completely remove the risks. This is not to say that risks cannot be quantified or qualified. As mentioned above, risk management has emerged as a field intended to deal with the identification, measuring or assessment, and prioritization of risks, as well as by determining the actions or measures that could be used to reduce the risks or even lessen their impacts. Efforts aimed at reducing the risks or their impacts would definitely result in a quantitative and qualitative changes leaning toward a “lower” quantitative value and a more “positive” qualitative description.
Jacobson, M. Z. “Review of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security.” Energy and Environmental Society. 2 (2009): 148-173. DOI: 10.1039/b809990c. PDF
Mann, M. E. “Do Global Warming and Climate Change Represent a Serious Threat to Our Welfare and Environment?” Social Philosophy and Policy. 26.2 (2009): 193-230. DOI: 10.1017/S0265052509090220. PDF
Roggi, O. and Ottonelli, O. “An Evolutionary Perspective on the Concept of Risk, Uncertainty, and Risk Management.” In Eds. O. Roggi and E. Altman, Managing and Measuring Risk: Emerging Global Standards After the Financial Crisis. Singapore: World Science Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. Print