Thinking clearly about climate change

18 May 2005
Dave Frame, of the Department of Atmospheric Physics at Oxford University, makes a welcome intervention in a lively debate between Benny Peiser and William Connolley.

"Our beliefs about the non-linear, chaotic, multi-scale climate system tend not to fall easily into boxes labelled 'justified' and 'speculative'. Instead, beliefs about climate processes and their effects tend to fall along a spectrum were they may be more or less justified by reference to the available evidence and theory. This is important and argues for a shift in the way climate modellers work. It argues for a 'probabilistic turn' in which we seek to take uncertainty and degrees of beliefs seriously, where we can. This shift is quietly underway among the climate research community, as is evident from the increasing prominence given to probabilistic climate forecasting in conference agendas over the last five or six years. This may sounds a little irrelevant: I appreciate that worrying about the ontological status of claims about the climate system may seem like an academic’s typically pointy-headed, unhelpful response to a serious global threat, but in fact thinking carefully about the uncertainties surrounding our understanding of climate has some powerful real world implications".

Does this seem a little daunting? Don't worry: Dave's whole piece is easier than you may think, and well worth reading.

The same goes for this article from Ray Bradley, William Connolley, Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt.


Why we're suing over the £23m NHS data deal with 'spy tech' firm Palantir

Right as the NHS battles 'vaccine hesitancy', why is the government giving a CIA-backed firm – whose spyware has been accused of creating ‘racist’ feedback loops in US policing – a major, long-term role in handling our personal health information, and in England's cherished NHS?

Get the inside story from the journalists and lawyers battling to force transparency from the government on what they're doing with public money – and our health records.

Join us for this free event on 4 March at 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

Hear from:

Cori Crider Lawyer, investigator and co-founder of Foxglove, a non-profit that seeks to make the use of technology fair for everyone

Caroline Molloy Editor ourNHS and openDemocracyUK

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData