Tag Archives: Integrated Assessment Models

Climate policy based on naive assumptions in modelling the 2°C target

6 Feb 2013  Climate policy based on naive assumptions  environmentalresearchweb

Liz Kalaugher, editor of the Institute of Physics’ environmentalresearchweb, reports on the Cabot 2012 Annual Lecture “Real clothes for the emperor: facing the challenges of climate change”.

In his presentation Anderson argues scientists at the interface of climate and policy commonly use naive assumptions when modelling the 2°C target. “Integrated assessment models typically use similar and inappropriate sets of assumptions, and so repeatedly come up with the same narrow and fundamentally flawed answers.” He suggests assumptions are massaged to give a more palatable picture. “We’ve underplayed everything we can – done exactly what the sceptics have said – but in reverse”.

Asked if those like James Hansen are too extreme, he notes how it is important to use extreme adjectives when they appropriately reflect the ‘extreme’ conclusions of our analysis. Many climate scientists use words like “challenging” and “doable” in relation to a 2°C limit for temperature rise – it all sounds too feasible and does not acknowledge the scale of radical change forthcoming from the  analysis.