The New York Times has an article pointing out that the IPCC’s response to uncertainty, at least based on leaked drafts of the upcoming report, is somewhat asymmetrical, favoring relative complacency:
In one case, we have a lot of mainstream science that says if human society keeps burning fossil fuels with abandon, considerable land ice could melt and the ocean could rise as much as three feet by the year 2100. We have some outlier science that says the problem could be quite a bit worse than that, with a maximum rise exceeding five feet.
The drafters of the report went with the lower numbers, choosing to treat the outlier science as not very credible.
In the second case, we have mainstream science that says if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles, which is well on its way to happening, the long-term rise in the temperature of the earth will be at least 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but more likely above 5 degrees. We have outlier science that says the rise could come in well below 3 degrees.
In this case, the drafters of the report lowered the bottom end in a range of temperatures for how much the earth could warm, treating the outlier science as credible.
… Is it right to throw out bleeding-edge science in the one case while keeping it in the other?
I don’t always agree with everything Joe Romm says. But this time I agree with everything Joe Romm says.