Humility Is The Beginning Of Wisdom
There was an excellent interview this morning on CNBC with Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He made several points that can be summarized by the general concept that global warming is a real risk, but quantitative prediction of results is extraordinarily difficult because of the feedback effects. This is something that I have banged on and on about, but I think it is central to the debate.
Wunsch said that:
“You’re talking about an extraordinarily complicated scientific subject in which there are many elements not very well understood. What’s going on with the models is people saying, ‘This could happen. If it does happen, we need to take precautions to deal with it.’ That’s quite different from saying that ‘I know the world will be warmer by X. I know there will be a drought in the mid-west that will last for decades.’ Models are simply telling us this is a real possibility.”
He also made the point that because of feedback complexities, the idea that paleoclimate data showing that CO2 buildup has followed the onset of temperature increases is not some smoking gun that disproves CO2-induced global warming.