State of Science: Selling Science

Matthew Bailes has another excellent entry in the “State of Science” series of public conversations on science:

Selling Science: The Lure of the Dark Side


  1. #1 Alastair McKinstry
    November 23, 2011

    It would be unthinkable that climate scientists would not, at least subconsciously, be using the potential catastrophic consequences of global warming to maximise their funding.

    This “catastrophism == more funding” meme is a serious misreading of the problem. As a climate modeller (never mind as a human!) a big catastrophe is not what I want; it leads to despondency: why should a politician bother funding us to do anything at all if the problem is so huge?

    The real challenge is getting realistic ‘everyday’ forecasts for whats going to happen over the next few decades. We know (from observations, theory and models) that we expect more extreme conditions: drier summers, heavier flooding in the North, etc. So we need more reservoirs, etc to catch the winter rains, etc. but also, when the rain does fall the individual events are likely to be more severe: we need bigger drains.

    How much bigger? thats the 64 trillion dollar question and our models aren’t up to it. We need to remove the uncertainty.

    Climate modelling is not going to save us from a Global Warming catastrophe, and I don’t know anyone who pretends that it will. We know what we need to do already, and its a political, not modelling, problem. The modelling is about minimising the cost of adapting to our new warmer, climate.

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