Is seeking certainty in climate sensitivity measures counterproductive in the context of climate emergency? The case for scenario planning

Derbyshire, James ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1505-412X and Morgan, Jamie (2022) Is seeking certainty in climate sensitivity measures counterproductive in the context of climate emergency? The case for scenario planning. Technological Forecasting and Social Change . ISSN 0040-1625 [Article] (Accepted/In press)

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Abstract

Climate emergency is fast becoming the overriding problem of our times and rapid reductions in carbon emissions a primary policy focus that is liable to affect all aspects of society and economy. A key component in climate science is the “climate sensitivity” measure and there has been a recent attempt using Bayesian updating to narrow this measure in the interests of “firming up the science”. We explore a two-stage argument in this regard. First, despite good intentions, use of Bayes sits awkwardly with uncertainty in the form of known unknowns and surprise. Second, narrowing the range may have counterproductive consequences, since the problem is anthropogenic climate change, and there are asymmetric effects from under-response in the face of irreversible and ampliative effects. As such, narrowing the range using Bayes may inadvertently violate the precautionary principle. We take from this that there is a case to be made for scenario focused decision frameworks.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 35232
Notes on copyright: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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Depositing User: James Derbyshire
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2022 12:09
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 12:09
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35232

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