Climate Uncertainty and Risk: Table of Contents

by Judith Curry

A preview of the contents of my forthcoming book Climate Uncertainty and Risk. Plus an update on the publication process and availability of the paperbook version for pre-orders.

My forthcoming book Climate Uncertainty and Risk (see this previous blog post) provides a rethinking of the climate change problem, the risks we are facing, and how we can respond.

I’m working on figuring out how to present my book in interviews and op-eds, beyond the description blurb for the book.  My first foray was an interview with Tom Nelson [link]. 

Below is the description that I presented in the interview.

Part I  The Climate Change Challenge

Part I describes how the challenge of climate change has evolved in context of a complex interplay among: scientists, organizations that support research, government-sponsored assessments of climate research, national and international climate policy, politics, and the needs and desires of diverse populations in a rapidly changing world. Polarization has deepened in a fog of confusion about what we know versus what we don’t know and what we can’t know. People trying to understand climate change are left confused by international and national policies and commitments that don’t seem doable or politically feasible.

To assess objectively the risks from climate change and the policies designed to mitigate it, Part I takes a step back from the current debate and broadens our framework for thinking about climate change.

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Chapter 1 provides some basic political context and addresses how the climate change issue has been parlayed into a crisis.

Chapter 2 describes the underpinnings of the so-called climate consensus, from the perspectives of philosophy and politics of science and  social psychology.

Chapter 3 introduces the range of challenges that international policy responses are facing.

Chapter 4 deconstructs how politics and problems at the science policy-interface have been highly detrimental both to the scientific and policy processes.

If you’ve been following my blog for the past decade, much of this material will look familiar to you. In writing the book, I’ve worked to consolidate and improve the logic of my arguments.  The greatest challenge in writing Part I was to keep this as politically neutral as possible, so that I don’t turn anyone off from either side of the political spectrum before they get to the good stuff in Part III.

Part II Uncertainty of 21st Century Climate Change

Part II has more actual physical science content.  This Part focuses on the range of plausible outcomes of climate change in the 21st century, including natural climate variability and plausible worst-case scenarios. This formulation starts the climate change clock in the year 2000, which characterizes the current climate to which humanity has more-or-less adapted.

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Chapter 5 describes the climate uncertainty monster, which I introduced in a paper published in 2011 (and which was featured in the inaugural posts of this blog).

Chapter 6 describes global climate models, including their uncertainties.  Context is provided for why we placed so much confidence in these inadequate tools.

Chapter 7 Summarizes relevant results from the recent IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.  I provide updated information on why the extreme emissions scenario RCP8.5 is now regarded to be implausible.  I also provide an update on why high values of climate sensitivity are regarded as implausible, and also the controversies about the lower values of climate sensitivity.  I also describe the very tame conclusions of the IPCC on attributing extreme weather events to human-caused warming

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Chapters 8 and 9 present more innovative material, describing how I approach developing regional climate scenarios for the next several decades, without directly using climate models.  This approach is designed to work in context with robust decision making frameworks, which are described in Part III.

The approach described in Chapter 8 focuses on integrating reasonable emissions scenarios and climate sensitivity values, along with scenarios of natural climate variability.  I present an argument that regional climate variability in context of local vulnerabilities is more important for decision making than changes in global mean temperature.

Chapter 9 addresses scenarios of future worst-case outcomes.  Worst-case scenarios have an important role to play in many decision-making frameworks. This chapter describes how we can credibly formulate worst-case scenarios, and assess whether they are plausible.  Examples describe extreme weather and climate events, and global sea level rise.

Part III  Risk and Response

Part III presents a framework for analyzing climate risks in all of their complexity and ambiguity, towards formulating pragmatic and adaptable policies. This Part describes how climate risk has been badly mischaracterized and mismanaged.  It describes best practices from risk science and decision making under deep uncertainty. I show how a focus on resilience and antifragility can lead to broader risk management frameworks that are politically viable and support human well-being, both now and in the future.

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The overall theme of these three chapters is robust decision making. Writing Chapters 10 through 12 required that I develop a broad understanding of risk and decision sciences, from many different perspectives (which required reading several books and hundreds of journal articles).  Chapters 10 and 11 describe how we have mischaracterized and mismanaged climate risk, and present better approaches in context of the latest research in risk science and governance.  Covid-19 provides an interesting example of risk assessment and management, having both counterpoints and similarities to climate change. Chapter 12 describes the decision making aspect of risk management, under the paradigm of decision making under deep uncertainty.

The final three chapters are the punchline to this book.

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Chapter 13 is on Adaptation, Resilience & Development.  This is the longest chapter in the book, I had to cut a lot of material out of this chapter. I really have enough material here that I could have written a separate book on this topic.  The chapter emphasizes that what has been cast as a global “crisis” is for the most part thousands of local vulnerability emergencies that are revealed by extreme weather events. The chapter describes the paramount importance of adaptation, resilience and development, while also describing how international policies and aid programs have badly messed things up.

Chapter 14 is on mitigation.  Whenever I mention this book to anyone, invariably the first thing they ask me where I stand on mitigation.  What I do in this chapter is something different, that rejects emissions targets and deadlines while developing a holistic vision for 21st century energy and transportation infrastructure.  I describe a comprehensive risk management approach, that starts with envisioning what we would like our energy systems to look like circa 2100.  This includes all of the different values in play, of which eliminating CO2 emissions is not the most important.  Risks of a rapid energy transition to 100% renewable energy exceed any conceivable near-term risks from climate change itself.

Chapter 15 pulls it all together.  The chapter describes a climate politics that harnesses enlightened self-interest, rather than focusing on austerity.  I propose a politics of uncertainty that is relentlessly pragmatic.  This new politics is regional/local (not global), and plays to central values of human flourishing and thriving.  The book concludes with this statement:

“By acknowledging uncertainties in the context of better risk management and decision-making frameworks, in combination with techno-optimism, there is a broad path forward for humanity to thrive in a changing climate during the 21st century.”

JC reflections

One take away message from my interview with Tom Nelson is that I need to figure out how to describe the book less formally.  I’m trying to reach both academic and general audiences, and people across the complete spectrum of the climate debate.  We’ll have to see how successful I am with achieving these aims.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Book update

Book production has almost completed the copy-editing phase.  So far, everything is on schedule for June publication.

The paperback version will be released at the same time as the hard cover; you can now pre-order the paperback (including on Amazon).  I had to commit to purchasing a LARGE number of hardback books in order for the paperback book to be published simultaneously (publisher was going to release paperback version 15 months after hard back version).

The prices are set at $110 for hardback, $35 for paperback, and e-version between $15 and $20 (Barnes and Noble has the Nook version listed at $15.49.)  Amazon Kindle version should be available for pre-orders two weeks before the publication date.  I have yet to look into an audio version, but I have been getting numerous requests for this.

There is a new cover design, which was improved with input from my daughter (new cover hasn’t made it to yet.)

Pre-orders of hardback and paperback, plus Barnes and Noble Nook version are available:

Anthem press

Barnes & Noble

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52 responses to “Climate Uncertainty and Risk: Table of Contents

  1. We have learned that the net present value of religion-based science is less than zero.

  2. Dr. Curry, thank you for your continued fine work on the technical and social issues of climate. It appears your forthcoming book will be very helpful to thinking people no matter their scientific education.

    Sadly, however, climate has degenerated into a purely political issue. Leftist (feel good) ideologues and profiteers of all stripes will continue to have their way in the political arena until hard economic and physical reality (economic privation and energy shortages) slap normal people in their collective faces.

    In the meantime economic and strategic power will continue to shift from the West to the East.

  3. “The greatest challenge in writing Part I was to keep this as politically neutral as possible, so that I don’t turn anyone off from either side of the political spectrum before they get to the good stuff in Part III.”

    That’s always a problem, given the divisiveness of the issue. However, I think you need not worry too much. Nearly all skeptics believe there is no significant global risk from climate change, not to count the many that believe it is beneficial, and local risks are to them as they have always been from weather and climate local vagueries. I think it is a very interesting book and I’ll get my copy to read it from cover to cover, but talking about climate risk means you are not likely to attract many skeptical readers beyond those that know you and appreciate your views. I have been observing for a time that your blog articles are not very well received by many readers at WUWT. Polarization is increasing, not decreasing, and those in the middle soon find themselves under the crossfire.

    • Agreed. I expect the book might make more headway with the alarmed than with a big portion of the WUWT crowd – a few of them refer to me affectionately as their favorite lukewarmer, but many completely dismiss me because they know more about science than I do, and there is no “climate problem”. But my real target is the muddled middle, which I think is the largest group.

      • Bill Fabrizio

        Judith …

        > I’m trying to reach both academic and general audiences, and people across the complete spectrum of the climate debate.

        The book sounds great. The best advice I can give you, being one of the ‘general audience’, is to select a good copy editor. If that is done by your publisher, then I would consider hiring your own prior to finalizing the manuscript. The number of errors, typos and even word substitutions (from spell check?) seems to have increased over the years. This just makes a technical subject even more difficult for us GAs. If you do hire a copy editor, consider choosing one who doesn’t have a science background.

        Best of luck!

      • “the muddled middle” That is my wife’s favorite refrain when discussing politics; they are so easily swayed by popular narratives.

    • Javier is quite correct: climate change “Polariarization is increasing.” Radically so. For example, this young spokeswoman in the UK for “Just Stop Oil” — which has a YouTube channel with over 7 million followers

      Four years ago, when I was last on a university campus for some climate talk — the University of Colorado at Boulder — I made a point to quietly listen to the chatter among grad students and profs and scientists afterwards. The scene I overheard evinced no shouting at all, but instead it was a convinced chorus of: Doomsday is Coming.

      I’m afraid that Dr Curry’s book will appeal to older and more sceptical people, but will have neither purchase power nor influence upon the younger set and debate anywhere, because there is none.

      The tine for this admirable volume was five to eight years ago. I think Curry’s whole majesterial critique of the science ten years after Climategate in 2019 laid forth the reason. The empirical findings of science no longer matter.

      But why do they not matter? Because the institutionalised funding for ever more wackiness and evil is very secure.

      Thus, there shall be no return to seriousness and sociable engagement or serious thought, not until and unless that fiscal security is deeply threatened. That’s the only productive way forward.

  4. Judy: Presentation Suggestions. As a personal preference, I like it when complex and nuanced arguments are boiled down to a easily remembered, appealing but paradoxical expression which can then be related with a memorable personal anecdote. Some classic examples include Irving Janis’s “Groupthink”, Cohen, March and Olson’s “Garbage Can Decision-Making” and, more recently, Bjorn Lomborg’s “Skeptical Environmentalist”. My guess is that your personal involvement in the Hockey Stick saga and Climate Gate is rich enough to communicate the more technical aspects of your book.
    Just my thoughts.
    Will you sign a hardcover copy?

    • Good points, thx. Will definitely sign hard copies, probably easiest for people in the U.S.

      • When Stairway Press published my book ‘The Lukewarmer’s Way’ some years back, it took about 30 seconds before knockoff publishers had it available online. Hope your publisher has better digital rights management than we did.

        Table of contents looks great and I can’t wait to get my copy.

  5. None of us will be around when this debate is settled. The two sides will be butting heads for many decades, if not centuries, to come. It’s more a matter of religion than science now. I have “faith” that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will have virtually no significant impact on the world as we know it now.

    • Nature will have its way, it will settle this itself over the next decade, and CO2’s moment will pass.

  6. I am so glad you are publishing this book that appears to bring all of the evidence together. I know you have been thorough in the way you were when the Guides were published on line. Thank you for your clarity and candor.

  7. Look forward to reading the book, but pessimistic that it will change much. I remember when Bill Nordhaus published Climate Casino – which is about as middle of the road consensus as it can get, focusing on the economics of climate change and he was basically called a denier.

    • The criticisms of William Nordhaus that I’ve read were more detailed than name-calling. The idea of pricing carbon, to incentivise technology development and discourage producing and consuming fossil fuels, has been accepted, but the level of the price recalculated in many ways, going up to the ‘ultimate cost of carbon’. Steve Keen has been most outspoken, but his criticisms were an eye-opener for me. We can engage with nuance on whatever level we choose.

  8. Have followed you for years now (had to think for minute, really has been that long). I was skeptical of the Mann led “official science” when McIntyre poked a hole in the hockey stick, and the official science just doubled down. As a healthy skeptic of govt science, recently validated by COVID, but still probably part of the “muddled middle” I am excited for your book. And hopeful that govt leaders may actually adopt a meaningful energy strategy because of it. Thank you for your continued work Dr Curry.

    • Michael, I think you touch on a point that is of very high current interest. Can we trust government science per se?

      Michael Crichton in his Climate of Fear suggested applying the careful protocols of medical science to climate science. Now, in the aftermath of Covid, we can see that it’s government funding produces the Mann effect. Covid served as an experiment of sorts.

      • I think by the Mann effect you mean motivated reasoning which can affect anyone.. I’d disagree about government funding however. Note that pharmaceutical research outcomes vary depending on the source, with pharmaceutical company funded research more likely to produce positive results and find fewer side effects. Part of that is publication bias, but the principle is the same, if someone believes something to be true, their research is more likely to support their belief. Feynman’s principle of not fooling oneself is often ignored.

      • “I think by the Mann effect you mean motivated reasoning which can affect anyone.”

        True, but when desired results are returned to the state, an increasingly unrivaled power, there is no fear of pushback negative career consequences. It’s all up side.

  9. Thanks for your tireless and thankless work.
    Those of us on the social security await the Kindle version.

  10. I must say I’m pessimistic about how much media coverage this book will get based on Michael Shellenberger’s experiences with his bestselling, Apocalypse Never. It was completely ignored by the New York Times where he’s actually had editorials published before.

  11. What is WUWT?

  12. Dr. Curry,
    Read and appreciated your blog for years. Your views, your guest’s views, and the input from your visitors has been instrumental in educating me on an important and divisive topic.
    Got a son who lives in Reno and would pleased if he could pick up an autographed copy of your book (hard backed). I’m assuming that you will let us know how that might be done after it becomes available.

    Geoff Weatherford

  13. Hi Judith
    I just ordered a copy. Given my past geochemical academic act (volcanology and isotope geochemistry, not climate science) and my present retired status, I might be a good person to test that line between academic and general reader. My only surprise is not that you wrote this book, but that you kept it to 250 pages given all the topics covered. I look forward to June!

  14. Looking forward to the book, which I just ordered. My only surprise is you could keep it to 250 pgs.

  15. One thing that you can say about your approach to climate science is that “people matter”. I think that it will resonate with the “muddled middle”.
    One of the huge ethical problems with the climate crisis approach is people are already being hurt. For example, in the UK, many cannot afford to heat their homes. The attack on the use of synthetic fertilizer will almost certainly lead to increased starvation. Your position that people worldwide are entitled to affordable, secure energy should strike a responsive chord.

  16. UK-Weather Lass

    There are two very distinct camps. One says the future is dangerous and the other says it is not. Our political advocates are not taking chances and have committed to voicing the grave dangers the future could represent but cannot offer hard evidence to those who want proof of these dangers. Meanwhile there is a third camp of largely unknown size which contains those whose views are neither of danger nor complacency. They feel forgotten, unrepresented and/or ignored.

    In this camp are the many who have been turned off by the known lies told by the NetZero speakers and yet still cannot trust the old fossil fuel guard since opportunities to clean up acts ( via nuclear energy for example) have been spurned for no good reasons for many decades. Many of the people in this camp feel democratically unrepresented by any true leader, group, or political party and could be decisive in forcing choices for the future at some point in the current decade if some representation of their views is forthcoming. From this could come new future policy choices which will be sensible and attainable and not futile but costly. I will call this group the ignored since that is what they truly have been and are.

    Perhaps your book will shake up the feelings of some of those who have been ignored for so long at least since the middle ground of politics felt able to condemn polemic and independent freedom of thought and urged its supporters to ignore truth, knowledge and reality.

    May your book be successful and help to awaken the ignored and give them hope for their futures, Dr Curry, and encourages them to get their lost democracy back so that sensible decision making can be restored. Small steps by people who really do care is all it takes to force a change in direction of the mistaken mass in the middle and we know it takes just one flap of the proverbial butterfly’s wings to start the process.

    Who knows what the eventually successful catalyst will be?

    • I’d agree there is a less considered ‘middle ground’, described by Leo Barasi in his book ‘The Climate Majority’. Although Yale’s Six Americas finds over half are either ‘alarmed’ or ‘concerned’, there are many in the cautious, doubtful or disengaged categories. However, in my opinion we should be aware that many are doubtful because that was precisely the aim of lobbyists as described in ‘Merchants of Doubt’ or the BBC series ‘How They Made Us Doubt Nearly Everything’.

      The second thing I would add is that of course the future is dangerous, and would be even without climate change and biodiversity loss, from other threats like weapons of mass destruction. We can already move to discussing the costs of benefits of policy options to mitigate the dangers. In fact, I’d expect next week’s IPCC synthesis report to cover economic costs and benefits, in the hope of the details from other reports (economic or not) informing that conversation.

  17. The contents pages look interesting. Mike Hume aside, there may be a gap in the market for books that take a scientific position within the mainstream but also discuss science’s relationships with human values, and describe political positions that might be prepared to take some risks with human civilisation and ecology. This also makes it possible to discuss how those big-picture objectives are justified.

    Are you focussing on extreme weather as the worst consequence of human perturbation to the carbon cycle? What if other effects are more significant in the long run, such as ocean acidification and stratification or nutrient collapse, and there is little or no precedent to have certainty in the consequences? What if the IPCC is also being ‘very tame’ about areas in which you don’t specialise? (Many think it is in relation to eg probability of AMOC shutdown, MISI/MICI and forest dieback.) Or if risks of extreme weather on agriculture are managed appropriately, but it still raises unresolved issues of international equity?

    i read Roger Pielke’s ‘The Honest Broker’, but felt it was a limited description of models of the science-policy interface. At some point, we need to be public and explicit about moral values and objectives in order to take knowledge and uncertainty and make collective decisions. Do you cover the Pragmatic-Enlightened model?

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  20. This comment might not be as off topic as it first appears.

    For the last 72 hours I’ve been trying to learn the cause(s) for the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank. I have long been frustrated with not being able to trust any one source for an unbiased analysis…..on any issue. It’s unfortunate that if someone wants objectivity in a story you have to seek out a dozen sources….for any topic.

    That was true for this event. I got the expected reflexive, oversimplified conclusion from the usual suspects with Trump Derangement Syndrome….it’s all Trump’s fault. On the other side, the villain was Woke management obsessed with ESG.

    But there were other views that were more objective and complex and nuanced. Discussions were about the meteoric rise in interest rates, high % of deposits uninsured, poor risk management, unusual nature of deposit base, duration risk, liquidity coverage ratio, assets available for sale versus holding to maturity issues…on and on and on.

    Someone said today that how this plays out in the next few weeks is unknown and unknowable. The uncertainties are simply too great. The next few weeks was unknowable in his view. And yet some believe we know with such confidence what the climate will be for the next century.

    And now to Judith’s book. While I have been frustrated for decades now with the absence of any one source to give me the straight scoop on countless topics, having followed this blog for over a decade, I am confident that she is going to give me a straightforward, objective analysis of this topic. If anyone has the credentials and integrity to write about this highly complex problem, she is more than qualified. I can think of no one else who can live up to those lofty expectations. This will be a source you can trust.

    Looking forward to the book.

    • CKid. SVB put all their money not used for loans into Treasury bonds. If you buy a bond in the open market after it’s issued, you will pay market rates for the bonds. The interest rate on the bond will determine if you want to buy it or not. If you can get a better interest rate with some other instrument, you won’t buy the bond.

      Because of that, when interest rates rise, bond prices go down. The interest rate paid by the bond may have been 2 percent when it was issued. But if interest rates on your savings account go to 3%, you will want at least that if you buy that bond. So the guy holding the bond has to sell it for less than he bought it for, so the interest rate will be > or = 3%.

      Long story short, their bond holdings have been decreasing in value. Those bonds were paid for by depositors money. The depositors saw the value of the bank going down and wanted their money out. There was a run on the bank and the bank collapses in short order.

    • This is too rich

      “ Donald Trump in 2018 signed a law watering down the landmark Wall Street reform act known as Dodd-Frank. One person pushing for the change was Barney Frank, the architect of the original legislation and a director of the now collapsed Signature Bank.”

      The author of the very legislation that some, including Elizabeth Warren, have said would have prevented this collapse, voted for legislation to amend his work. The more compelling case is that made by Jim and others. I wonder if any scenario in a stress test would have included the explosive increase in interest rates or the $42 billion overnight withdrawal at SVB. Technology has made bank runs easier. Pre internet how many days would have been necessary to withdraw $42 billion? That is a very, very long line of depositors standing out in the cold. Maybe even longer than that for a Trump rally.

    • Yep, Dodd-Frank in part limited banks’ investment in risky instruments. Treasury bonds are considered one of the lowest risk investments because 1. interest payments 2. Principle is returned when the bond matures. 3. It’s backed by the US government. Although #3 doesn’t mean what it once did.

      Nevertheless, SVB mismanaged its cash. I have to wonder what Looney Tunes set that up.

      • I’m going to diverge a little bit but eventually tie it back to climate. What were those involved in risk management at SVB thinking? That is more than a comical question. I would love to know specifically what was on their minds. Basic prudent banking actions called for hedging against higher interest rates.

        Apparently they did not. Due to a variety of reasons, we will probably never know. I don’t mean what will they tell a Congressional Committee or a jury in the trials ahead. But what will they take to their graves, never having been divulged to anyone else. Sometimes when a person screws up, they will not admit even to themselves why they did or didn’t do the proper thing. That means before we can get into the principles heads, decades might need to elapse before we will know what they were actually thinking. So, maybe a psychological case study in 2060 would give us some clues. Or talk to those involved on their deathbeds.

        Likewise I would love to get inside the minds of some climate scientists by asking the question “What were you thinking?”
        Specifically, when they were writing papers that were ostensibly going along with the consensus, what level of doubt did they have about the establishment narrative? If asked now, I’m not convinced everyone could be honest about their answers….even….to….themselves.

        A favorite whipping boy of mine is the silence of the IPCC about geothermal activity in Antarctica, despite dozens of peer reviewed studies identifying a possible cause for instability of the Thwaites/Pine Island Glacier complex. I would love to know what those dozens of scientists have been thinking about being ignored. Would those scientists be honest, even to themselves, in this case, because of institutional pressures, real and perceived. It must be a bummer to have ones Research be ignored by colleagues.

        There will be great fertile ground for social psychological case studies for future generations. At some point the truth will set us free.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        Ckid’s comment – “A favorite whipping boy of mine is the silence of the IPCC about geothermal activity in Antarctica, despite dozens of peer reviewed studies identifying a possible cause for instability of the Thwaites/Pine Island Glacier complex. I would love to know what those dozens of scientists have been thinking about being ignored.”

        Very valid point by Ckid, especially the refusal to reconcile consensus conclusions against other known data. A basic mathematical concept. A prime example of this deficiency is Appell, SLR is a favorite topic of Appleman, yet as noted in a post by appleman several months ago, he wasnt even aware of the geothermal activity in W Antarctica. Similar response over at our favorite Science website “skeptical Science dot com” where the response was that the geothermal activity was trivial compared to the effect of GW.

  21. Anon Scientist

    Speaking of books, surface temperatures cannot be quantified by adding to solar radiation (168w/m^2) about twice as much back radiation (324w/m^2) then subtracting non-radiative surface cooling (102w/m^2) and using the net total (390w/m^2) in Stefan-Boltzmann calculations to (supposedly) calculate the global mean surface temperature. But that law only ever works for a single source of radiation from an effectively hotter source after attenuation due to distance and/or absorption.

    So all we have is the solar radiation which cannot support a surface temperature above -40°C. Where the extra energy comes from to raise the surface temperature is not back radiation but the newly-discovered non-radiative process explained from the laws of physics in the 2014 book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” on Amazon.

  22. Michael Cunningham aka Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

    Judith, when I worked for Australia’s Economic Planning Advisory Council, chaired by PM Bob Hawke, I was asked to check a book pre-print. I made so many changes that I was made a co-author, and was asked to do the final edit on all EPAC papers thereafter. I’d be happy to check any material at any time. I have an eye for errors.

  23. Evan Friedman

    Your comment on developing a better description of the book struck me. Here’s a 45 to 90 second (depending on your word per minute rate) answer to “What’s your book about?”. It’s not perfect and you would need to make it more accurate, but it does a few things that I think are important when you’re interviewed about the book.

    “Many people think climate change is a simple problem. It’s not. It’s a wicked(ly) complex problem. Part of it is the science. In 50 years we’ve moved from some folks believing we’re heading into a life-threatening ice age to other folks believing we’re heading into a life-threatening baking of the earth. Another part of the problem is politics. There is a significant benefit to many politicians to address the narrow concerns of vocal lobbyists without regard to the science. The last part of the problem is solutions. What might help in one location may fail or even make things worse in another. Until people understand how complex the problem is, we’ll never get meaningful agreement on how to address it.
    That’s what this book is about. I’m providing the background of our current climate knowledge, describing the broader issues, and giving examples of how we can implement feasible solutions. And I’ve done this so a general audience can have an informed opinion on what we should do.”

    First, it introduces the entire book, i.e. it sets up complexity, the summary of the science, the idea that solutions are also complex and introduces the importance of more people understanding the problem.

    Second, it sets up follow-up questions for an interviewer on any of the major sections of the book. If you’re asked about a “life-threatening ice age” you can talk about climate modeling and the difficulties of in creating accurate predictions of the future. Similarly, you can talk about “without regard to the science” with a focus on multiple aspects of the problem including ignoring risk, ignoring inconvenient data (both sides), hyperbole in politics, etc.

    Third, it uses moderately attention getting language (though nowhere near as over the top as you could go) to give folks who hear the one sound bite a reason to look at the book.

    You can pack even more into the initial sound bite and should plan similar answers to the obvious follow-up questions, so your presentation is smooth for a first-time audience (improves credibility more than credentials) and allows for more of your answers to be used as sound bites.

    I hope this helps.

  24. Given that the prime concern with human driven global heating is extreme weather events, especially heatwaves, surely it makes sense to not focus solely on the solar influence on climate variability, but also on the discrete solar forcing of the heatwaves? For example the UK Met Office reckons that major heatwaves like in 2003 and 2018 will happen every other year by 2050! The claim that global heating made them more likely is essentially a ruse.

  25. There has been an onslaught of tweets today from those I don’t follow pronouncing a climate crisis, much, much more than the usual number. Must be an IPCC public relations initiative in advance of their next publication release….or in recognition of pi day.

  26. Pingback: Climate Uncertainty and Risk: Table of Contents - Climate-

  27. environMENTAL

    We watched as Dr. Curry and others admirably pointed out how climate models are useful but imprecise b/c earth’s coupled ocean/atmosphere/terrestrial systems are so complex.

    Sulfate aerosols, clouds, water vapor, parameterization, etc., etc., etc.

    We agreed with all these technical criticisms (atmospheric physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, residence times, etc.).

    But under all that we were watching birth rates at a high resolution level. We saw mistakes that were far more fundamental.

    And looking back and tearing apart the population assumptions in the original IS92, SRES, RCP, SSP and all emissions scenarios from then until now, it appears our original assumptions were at least partly correct.

    As we stated in our new Substack “environMENTAL”, this a.m. See >