Perhaps the most important lesson is that researchers must be frank about their uncertainties and gaps in understanding — but without conveying the message that nothing is known or knowable. They must emphasize that — although many holes remain to be filled — there is little uncertainty about the overall conclusions: greenhouse-gas emissions are rising sharply, they are very likely to be the cause of recent global warming and precipitation changes, and the world is on a trajectory that will shoot far past 2 °C of warming unless emissions are cut substantially. Researchers should also emphasize that cities and countries can begin to prepare for the effects of climate change through both mitigation and adaptation, even though they do not know the exact course of the changes.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Some Realism about Climate Science
The January 21st issue of Nature contains a useful article (here) about "The Real Holes in Climate Science" (as distinct from the mythical problems often cited by skeptics). It also includes an editorial (here) putting in proper perspective, and drawing appropriate lessons from the controversy surrounding the leaked e-mails of several climate researchers, including: