"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Falsifiability cuts the Other Way

Lifted verbatim from the IJI with thanks & apologies:
It turns out, however, that Pielke Jr. is a proponent of the idea that the global warming theory is a conspiracy — or something like a conspiracy. And if there’s one thing we know about conspiracy theories, it’s that they tend to be unfalsifiable. Let’s look at Pielke Jr.’s theory:

Today’s scientists could oppose research whose funding is predicated on the claim that action depends on further reduction of uncertainties. The effect in both cases would be to remove science as a cause of gridlock and to make viable new lines of research that would better support the needs of society.

Such a quixotic response is of course unlikely, not simply because it would require scientists to argue against their own professional self-interest, but also because it would reveal the amazing incoherence of our current approach to connecting climate policy and science.

Given that climate scientists aren’t actually claiming that “action depends on further reduction of uncertainties” — indeed, James Hansen argued the opposite — I wonder what potential observations will convince Pielke Jr. that scientists aren’t engaged in a conspiracy to secure funding!

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