That headline is Dr. Judth Curry’s testimony before The House Testimony on global warming yesterday. It had a number of excellent presentations, and you can watch the entire video here.
Some excerpts below, the entire presentation is available for download after the break.
Climate change can be categorized as a “wicked problem.”1 Wicked problems are difficult or impossible to solve, there is no opportunity to devise an overall solution by trial and error, and there is no real test of the efficacy of a solution to the wicked problem. Efforts to solve the wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have framed the climate change problem (i.e. dangers) and its solution (i.e. international treaty) to be irreducibly global. Based upon the precautionary principle, the UNFCCC ’s Kyoto Protocol has established an international goal of stabilization of the concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. This framing of the problem and its solution has led to the
dilemma of climate response policy that is aptly described by Obersteiner et al.2:
The key issue is whether “betting big today” with a comprehensive global climate policy
targeted at stabilization “will fundamentally reshape our common future on a global scale to our advantage or quickly produce losses that can throw mankind into economic, social, and environmental bankruptcy.”
1 Rittel, Horst, and Melvin Webber; “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” pp. 155–169, Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Inc., Amsterdam, 1973. http://www.uctc.net/mwebber/Rittel+Webber+Dilemmas+General_Theory_of_Planning.pdf
Engagement of climate researchers with regional planners, economists, military/intelligence organizations, development banks, energy companies, and governments in the developing world to develop a mutual understanding about what kind of information is needed can promote more fruitful decision outcomes, and define new scientific challenges to be addressed by research. The need for climate researchers to engage with social scientists and engineers has never been more important.
Further, there is an increasing need for social scientists and philosophers of science to scrutinize and analyze our field to prevent dysfunction at the science-policy interface.
And finally, climate scientists and the institutions that support them need to acknowledge and engage with ever-growing groups of citizen scientists, auditors, and extended peer communities that have become increasingly well organized by the blogosphere. The more sophisticated of these groups are challenging our conventional notions of expertise and are bringing much needed scrutiny particularly into issues surrounding historical and paleoclimate data records.
These groups reflect a growing public interest in climate science and a growing concern about possible impacts of climate change and climate change policies. The acrimony that has developed between some climate scientists and blogospheric skeptics was amply evident in the sorry mess that is known as Climategate. Climategate illuminated the fundamental need for improved and transparent historical and paleoclimate data sets and improved information systems so that these data are easily accessed and interpreted.
Blogospheric communities can potentially be important in identifying and securing the common interest at these disparate scales in the solution space of the energy, climate and ocean acidification problems. A diversity of views on interpreting the scientific evidence and a broad range of ideas on how to address these challenges doesn’t hinder the implementation of diverse megaton and kiloton solutions at local and regional scales.
Securing the common interest on local and regional scales provides a basis for the successful implementation of climate adaptation strategies. Successes on the
local and regional scale and then national scales make it much more likely that global issues can be confronted in an effective way.
Her testimony is available here: Curry_Testimony_11-17-2010