Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Climate probabilities have multiple outcomes over time (Roger forgets the Fourth Dimension)

At the risk of repeating Roger Jr.'s mistake of not really knowing what I'm talking about, it seems like the fact's been obscured that we're betting not on one climate outcome at a single point in time but at multiple points in time.

To go back to the betting on a weighted die analogy, we're not just betting on a single outcome, but how often the die face saying "getting even warmer" shows up at each point in time as the die rolls. And we're able to make new bets at each point in time. From a policy perspective, we're able to use past experience with models to decide if we want to continue to rely on those predictions.

A related flaw in the delayist/denier argument is the alleged long-term consequences of policies - based on supposedly incorrect predictions of change - won't actually happen. If the predictions are wrong, we can stop investing in seawalls and solar panels in a decade or two. We'll have multiple outcomes over time to test those predictions.

(Per the comments, the title has been updated.)