Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Climate qualifications (updated)

The Economist has posted an article on climate sensitivity that is likely to get much play. The piece points to uncertainties over how fast and far climate change will go, while disclaiming any suggestion that the overall issue is fake or trivial. I understand there's also a leader (editorial) on the subject that is not online (and which I will read; my copy of the print magazine should be arriving soon).

UPDATE 5:09 PM: I now see the editorial is online, and I find it quite sensible.

UPDATE 3/30: Some people, like Michael Barone, are claiming they were right all along to say climate change is not worth worrying about, though that's clearly not what The Economist article or editorial say or imply. I wonder, based on this triumphalist post by Steven Hayward, whether the joke might be on the deniers/downplayers; note Hayward's crowing about The Economist's "subtle signal of surrender," coupled with his own interesting concession of unspecified "difficulties": "The Economist goes on to provide a brief tour of new research that argues for a lower climate sensitivity, with upper bounds that would still present difficulties, but short of the blood-and-Gore catastrophe that as been the staple of the climate campaign from the beginning."

So, wait a second, you mean it's not a hoax after all?

For my part, I'd point out that some who raise "alarms" also have pointed out that there are uncertainties, which is why you need to hedge the risks, as was discussed in a noteworthy speech some time ago.

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