Agreeing to disagree: uncertainty management in assessing climate change, impacts and responses by the IPCC.
Swart, R., Bernstein, L., Ha-Duong, M., & Petersen, A. (2008). Agreeing to disagree: uncertainty management in assessing climate change, impacts and responses by the IPCC. Climatic Change, 92(1-2), 1-29. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9444-7
AbstractDealing consistently with risk and uncertainty across the IPCC reports
is a difficult challenge. Huge practical difficulties arise from the Panel’s scale and
interdisciplinary context, the complexity of the climate change issue and its political
context. The key question of this paper is if the observed differences in the handling
of uncertainties by the three IPCC Working Groups can be clarified. To address
this question, the paper reviews a few key issues on the foundations of uncertainty
analysis, and summarizes the history of the treatment of uncertainty by the IPCC.
One of the key findings is that there is reason to agree to disagree: the fundamental
differences between the issues covered by the IPCC’s three interdisciplinary
Working Groups, between the type of information available, and between the
dominant paradigms of the practitioners, legitimately lead to different approaches.
We argue that properly using the IPCC’s Guidance Notes for Lead Authors for
addressing uncertainty, adding a pedigree analysis for key findings, and particularly
communicating the diverse nature of uncertainty to the users of the assessment would