27.1.07

OOPS. Influencing policy isn't as easy as it looks.

We tried for years - decades - to get them to listen to us about climate change ... But now they are listening. Now they do believe us. Now they say they're ready to take action. And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster. We're wondering if they realize how uncertain our projections of future climate are. We wonder if we've oversold the science.

... I think some people feel that we've created a monster by limiting the ability of people in our community to question results that say "climate change is right here!" ... Many of us are downplaying uncertainties for fear of not being listened to.

... Dealing with uncertainty is exactly what Congresspeople do, and they do it a lot better than we do ... For politicians and unelected decision-makers, uncertainty is life-or-death, yet decisions must still be made. [must they?] Politicians constantly make decisions amid levels of uncertainty that would stifle the publication of any academic climate change paper. We need to realize that, give the politicians their due, and get the hell out of their way.

Voluntary Xchange, who provided the link, adds,

Oh gosh ... now there's more reason than ever to make sure that economics is a GenEd requirement.

Here we have a well-informed, reasonable and influential climatologist who has an engineer's view of the public policy process. He lives by garbage-in-garbage-out and thinks the inverse has to hold: so the key to outputting good public policy is to input good (climate) science. And yet the whole point of why public choice is so influential is that it provides a reasonable explanation of why you don't have to put garbage in (to democratic decision-making processes) to get garbage out.

Y'all know I'm moderately convinced of global warming, and completely unconvinced of its anthropogenic causes ... but that isn't the point here.

Read the rest.

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