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"Understanding & Acting" conference

Is the risk of blackout real?

Grégoire Chambaz

Lecture by Grégoire Chambaz, deputy editor of the Swiss Military Review (RMS), officer in the Swiss army (captain) and sustainability specialist. His current research focuses on the processes of collapse of complex societies, existential risks and dangers (including blackout) and the security impacts of anthropocenic trajectories. He has written several papers for the RMS (among others) on institutional and individual responses to disasters, the security impacts of climate change and the risk of blackout.

Pylône électrique cassé

Abstract: A blackout is the interruption of power supply to a region. It is a phenomenon unknown to the general public, but feared by specialists. The consequences of such an interruption are variable, depending on the area affected, the duration of the interruption and the resilience of the affected area. From the disruption and shock of the early days, the lack of electricity can quickly turn into a very dangerous risk at virtually every level. To speak of this risk is to recognize the vital dependence of our societies on an uninterrupted power supply. It also indicates the growing vulnerability of our operations and infrastructure as we move to the digital age. Faced with the risk of blackout, are our societies resilient, even sustainable?

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