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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:41 PM

 

'I got it wrong on climate change it's far, far worse.'

Author of 2006 review speaks out on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is 'on track' for 4C rise

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then."

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."

He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies. "This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential,"
he added.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos?INTCMP=SRCH

When the economy is being pronounced as imperiled, you know bloody well this is serious!

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Response to Ian Iam (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:57 PM

1. Every climate scientist I've talked to (and I work around them)

have told me that climate scientists tend to be very conservative when they do their calculations, predictions, and numerical extrapolations and -- that if they're wrong -- they're wrong in the sense that climate change is and will be much worse than they predict - not less severe - but rather more severe.

These people are scientists. They do NOT want to look like crackpots and chicken littles when they come to a conclusion or make predictions. Thus, they are extremely careful about it and extremely conservative in their stated conclusions. Not that they are never wrong - of course they sometimes are. But on climate change, they are not. They are almost all in agreement across the board and around the world (except those bought off by Exxon-Mobil, Koch Bros, et al. or otherwise silenced). Their research is careful, peer-reviewed and their conclusions almost unanimous.

They'd certainly like to understate the issue than overstate it. And in most cases, I think they have and that's why you now see them coming out and saying: "it's worse than we thought".



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Response to ProfessionalLeftist (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:18 PM

2. Other cohorts just don't understand how self-critique is the nature of science. I'm afraid the

average perception of how one thinks is really much more like a "bandwagon". People may assume that you acquire an "idea" of one type or another and then the task is to find others who agree, the more the better, because the numbers alone mean that you are right about whatever.

Science is so much the opposite of all of that and people don't understand that, so when they hear or read science they think it works the same way their own thinking does and it most assuredly does not.

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Response to patrice (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:30 PM

3. nor do they understand the discursive requirement of "hedging"

Enculturation into science writing entails learning how to qualify arguments all over the place. Even with startling data, one has to position one's self humbly within a larger community across space and time.

Then, Republican deniers take text from those articles and twist it to make it sound like the scientists really aren't sure about their findings.

I remember one asshole House member asking a scientist during a hearing, yelling at him, basically, "is it right or wrong?! can you not answer a question with yes or no!? why can't you tell us the truth!?" etc. etc. (so he could have footage for his campaign web site, we presume).

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Response to ProfessionalLeftist (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:56 PM

4. I think half our problem with getting John Q Public to "get it" about climate change stems from

the difference between what laypersons consider to be "research" and what scientists do.

Laypersons, from what I can surmise, think "research" consists of reading about a subject in books, periodicals, and online; thinking about what you have read; and coming to whatever conclusion you wish based on your personal interpretation of what you've read.

Scientists consider "research" to be the application of scientific principles to controlled studies and retrospective studies which begin with a hypothesis, test that hypothesis, statistically evaluate results, and arrive at conclusions - all of which are then subjected to a rigorous process of peer review prior to publication.

This is probably why so many laypersons lack any respect whatsoever for scientists and the scientific method. We're not even speaking the same language.

I wish I had $100 for every time a client (usually of the cat hoarder or rescuer or breeder persuasion) has informed me that THEY are experts because THEY have done research into such-and-such disease, and when I ask them at what university I get a blank look, and then they tell me that they do it on their own, and I realize that they have NO idea what scientific research even IS.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:29 AM

6. I think there's some real truth to that......

Last edited Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:22 AM - Edit history (2)

Which is why you've got deniers falling back on things like Climategate or using typical winter cold to say that climate change is a {air quote} "myth" {/air quote} (even though there is plausible evidence out there suggesting that BOTH heat and cold extremes could continue to become more and more common as time wears on), or those on the opposite extreme who claim that the IPCC is being "too conservative" and "too optimistic" with "everything"(when in reality, while it is true that the IPCC has fallen a little on the optimistic side in terms of Arctic ice melt and a small number of other issues, they have been remarkably accurate on pretty much everything else, especially temperature rise.).

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:18 PM

7. Two threads on this forum seem to tie in to John Q. Publics' ambivalence

regarding peer reviewed scientific evidence.



http://www.democraticunderground.com/101654334

THE PROPAGANDA MODEL: CORPORATE/POLITICAL COLLUSION IN CREATION OF OLIGOPOLISTIC MAINSTREAM US MEDIA

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101654312

Public schools should not be run 'like a business' (opinion from Larry Lee) (al.com)



Both in effect tying public perception of life; as being above all else business, the first thread being a warning against the power of corporate media brainwashing and the second an epiphany against the corporate supremacist train of thought in regards to education.







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Response to Ian Iam (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 08:24 PM

5. Seeing is Believing--15 Top Notch Environmental Films

 

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