"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, December 15, 2009

30th Anniversary of "Global Warming"

An excellent session chaired by Tony Busalacchi and Ray Pierrehumbert (thanks to Rodrigo Caballero for tuning me in) on the 30th anniversary of the first NAS report on climate change, chaired by Jule Charney in 1979 with some of the all time great minds in meteorology (Charney, Bolin, Smagorinsky) and oceanography (Wunsch, Stommel) participating.

I'll have more to say about this session later. The most important point, though, is that despite all the press about "global cooling scares" in the 1970s, by 1979 the NAS was capable of getting the whole picture right, in the complete absence of any observable recent warming.

The relatively brief report, "Carbon Dioxide and Climate, A Scientific Assessment", is available online, and genuine skeptics are invited to compare the best scientific opinion of the 1970s not only with current consensus thinking but also with the observed climate trajectory.

4 comments:

Phil said...

Shame that we've done next to nothing about it in the following 30 years.

David B. Benson said...

Right on!

climatesight said...

It's all a question of whether scientists 1) knew that our emissions would eventually cause warming, and then watched it happen; or 2) saw that it was warming, realized that it correlated with our emissions, and accepted it as causation.

The scientific community knows it is 1. But most of the public thinks it is 2.

Michael Tobis said...

Climatesight, yes, I agree with your assessment.

The thought prompted by your observation is that if the social scientists and media experts really wanted to help, they would identify public misonceptions like this, find out how prevalent they are, and help us find ways of correcting them.