Title: Climate Models as Economic Guides: Scientific Challenge or Quixotic Quest?
Authors: SALTELLI ANDREASTARK Philip B.BECKER WILLIAM EDWARDSTANO PAWEL
Citation: ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY vol. 31 no. 3 p. 79-84
Publisher: NATL ACAD SCIENCES
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC94904
ISSN: 0748-5492
URI: http://issues.org/31-3/climate-models-as-economic-guides-scientific-challenge-or-quixotic-quest/
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC94904
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In the polarized climate change debate, cost-benefit analyses of policy options are taking on an increasingly influential role. These analyses have been presented by authoritative scholars as a useful contribution to the debate. But models of climate – and especially models of the impact of climate policy – are theorists’ tools, not policy justification tools. The methods used to appraise model uncertainties at best give optimistic lower bounds on the true uncertainty, at best. Even in the finest modelling exercises, uncertainty in model structure is presented as known and manageable, when it is likely neither. Numbers arising from these modelling exercises should therefore not be presented as ‘facts’ providing support to policy decisions. Building more complex models of climate will not necessarily reduce the uncertainties. Indeed, if previous experience is a guide, such models will reveal that current uncertainty estimates are unrealistically small.
JRC Directorate:Joint Research Centre Corporate Activities

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