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Lange, M., Burkhard, B., Gee, K., Kannen, A.. Risiko im Kontext von Offshore-Windkraft und systemischem Risikodiskurs. In: Kannen, A., Schernewski, G., Krämer, I., Lange, M., JanÃen, H., Stybel, N. (eds.). Forschung für ein Integriertes Küstenzonenmanagement: Fallbeispiele Odermündungsregion und Offshore-Windkraft in der Nordsee. Coastline Reports (15), pp. 1-13. EUCC - Die Küsten Union Deutschland e.V., Rostock, 2010.


Emerging systemic risks are currently widely discussed as a new type of risk in the modern world. Developed to take account of the ’increasing complexity’ (Renn & Keil 2008) and the connectedness of social, ecological and economic systems, the concept is used here as a context for discussing selected results obtained in the research project Zukunft Küste – Coastal Futures. Based on different conceptional approaches (such as the Ecosystem Services approach) and a range of tools the project has assessed various ecological and socio-economic impacts of offshore wind power generation in the North Sea. Since only one complete windpark has installed so far these results are based on assumptions using Germany’s offshore wind energy targets for 2030 as a basis. The characteristics of systemic risks, namely complexity of causes and effects, uncertainty and ambiguity, are used as a framework for placing specific results into a wider systems context. This is helpful for assessing the cumulative impacts that can arise from large-scale offshore wind farm installation and the interaction of offshore wind farming with other marine uses. Whilst it is possible to establish a range of cause and effect relationships within the case study system, the concept of systemic risk offers a useful vantage point for understanding that these do not imply linear pathways of change or predictable outcomes.

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