This morning's email brought me the latest update from carbon offset firm, TerraPass--and along with it, some provocative thoughts about the just-released IPCC Report on global climate change. As if the report itself weren't sobering enough, we're reminded in the TerraPass piece that the collective conclusions of the thousands of scientists and reviewers who put the report together paint a rather conservative picture of the likely impacts of global warming.
This seems due to the fact that many scientific viewpoints were 'homogenized' to pull the overall report together. As well, in true scientific fashion, the lack of thorough understanding of several (potentially very significant) ongoing 'ice flow' phenomena prevented those scenarios from being included. In any event, this is a very interesting writeup--take a minute to check it out.
The report's impact: action or inaction?
The TerraPass post also prompted a comment string that I felt I had to weigh in on as well. A commenter observed as to how often 'inaction' is based on a lack of 'certainty' about things like the impact of climate change--note, the IPCC report claims a 90%+ likelihood that its predicted outcomes will happen.
It's ironic, I observed in my comments (and will repeat again here), that the models and ‘predictability’ that seem to be readily accepted in deciding other no less significant issues—like, say, going to war--are certainly no better. Would any of you deny that critical decisions are made day in and day out on the basis of much less outcome certitude than the IPCC report gives us?
This seems clearly a case of the natural skepticism of science working against itself, and it raises some very intriguing communication challenges for those who can help put things in their proper perspective. And guess what? That's exactly what I've set out to do in this eConsciousness raising--and issues straightening out--channel. So stay tuned. There's lots more interesting stuff to come, I'm sure.
P.S.: Interesting...just to show you how the communications battle is being waged, here's a snippet from a recent analysis of the IPCC report's conclusions:
"An independent review of the latest United Nations report on climate change shows that the scientific evidence about global warming remains uncertain and provides no basis for alarmism."
This comes from the Canadian Fraser Institute, which definitely has an agenda of their own. Their web site and this Wikipedia piece will give you the flavor. Now, who said this wasn't going to be confusing?