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Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part II. Uncertainty and mitigation

Citation

Lewandowsky, S and Risbey, JS and Smithson, M and Newell, BR, Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part II. Uncertainty and mitigation, Climatic Change, 124, (1-2) pp. 39-52. ISSN 0165-0009 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1083-6

Abstract

In public debate surrounding climate change, scientific uncertainty is often cited in connection with arguments against mitigative action. This article examines the role of uncertainty about future climate change in determining the likely success or failure of mitigative action. We show by Monte Carlo simulation that greater uncertainty translates into a greater likelihood that mitigation efforts will fail to limit global warming to a target (e.g., 2 C). The effect of uncertainty can be reduced by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Taken together with the fact that greater uncertainty also increases the potential damages arising from unabated emissions (Lewandowsky et al. 2014), any appeal to uncertainty implies a stronger, rather than weaker, need to cut greenhouse gas emissions than in the absence of uncertainty.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gas emissions, global warming, Monte Carlo methods, future climate, public debate, scientific uncertainty
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Atmospheric Sciences
Research Field:Climate Change Processes
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Climate and Climate Change
Objective Field:Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
Author:Risbey, JS (Dr James Risbey)
ID Code:119558
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Centre for Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-08-02
Last Modified:2017-09-07
Downloads:0

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