Modeling Climate Change Policy Decisions Using a Probability Tree

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Michael Cochrane

Of the many important issues clamoring for the attention of world policy-makers and government officials, global climate change is among the most controversial. Its existence, likely effects on the environment, probable causes, and possible solutions have all been highly politicized. Many on the political left consider it the defining issue of our time, while many on the political right are highly critical of what they perceive as “junk” science undergirding the assertion of dangerous anthropogenic (human caused) global warming (AGW).

Policy solutions undertaken to deal with AGW, on the premise that it is dangerous (DAGW), will have massive monetary and non-monetary costs to society. Such high costs demand a correspondingly high degree of certainty regarding the likelihood of possible future scenarios. In particular, the scientific community must be able to show, with a very high level of confidence, that reducing or ceasing human activity associated…

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