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How impactful is climate change scientific research on climate change policy? Are there any statistics which help to visualise the effectiveness of new scientific findings or new technology innovation inducing a change in government policy to help kerb climate change? Even any papers regarding this will be appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, this is a policy question, not earth science. It is also too broad for StackExchange sites. $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Aug 19 '19 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Move to the politics forum perhaps? It seems to be a sincere question though it's also the kind of question that invites partisan as opposed to scientific answers like the one below. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Aug 19 '19 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah. It's a good - if hard to answer - question. It's even arguably about earth science (it's on the policy uptake of earth science). But... $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Aug 19 '19 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ I think @JanDoggen is right though about it not being science. Policy questions on asteroid response can be discussed in space stack exchange, but space exploration is government spending related. Earthquake response and policy, climate change response & policy, hurricane response & policy, etc. Not sure there's an area for those and they're not bad questions. Might make for a bleak forum if there was a forum for that, though world-building enjoys many apocalypse questions. LOL. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Aug 19 '19 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not convinced that questions of research impact on policy is so obviously off topic. In Europe, it's normal for research scientists to have to report up to their funders the impact of their research on policy, so they should know about that area to some extent. I'd say that this particular question is too broad, rather than off topic, because the answer will vary greatly between countries. Specifying the jurisdiction of interest (e.g., US, UK, China) would help greatly. $\endgroup$ – Deditos Aug 20 '19 at 15:03
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Climate change is a complicated subject which is difficult to predict with accuracy. The IPCC's predictions at least since their 3rd report (TAR) appear to be quite good, but good over the first few years or decade and a half vs good for predictions up to 2100 remains inexact and perhaps unclear.

Governments (many not all) do rely in the scientific research of the IPCC both to anticipate coming changes and determine action, but these are difficult questions, as a global effort is required to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint, and individual nations can only control their own policies. Even if we know, 100%, the future effects of climate change, it would still be a difficult transition away from fossil fuels towards a more climate neutral approach because (If I may borrow the word from Al Gore), fossil fuels are convenient. They're relatively easy, especially for nations that don't need to import them and they're economically viable.

That's a general outline. The scientific predictions are important because without them, government leaders would be making policy decisions blind (as opposed to making them based on imperfect projections), and imperfect is better than blind.

There are similar predictions/estimates made across the gamut in political policy decisions. Estimates are made on future costs of government programs and on tax policies and national debt, or trade. We're always trying to make mathematical or scientific estimates which, in theory, help leaders make predictions for the future.

Ofcourse, sometimes, you get leaders who don't care, who don't listen to the forecasts, climate change or economic indicators. Politics is a messy game.

Are there any statistics which help to visualise the effectiveness of new scientific findings or new technology innovation inducing a change in government policy to help kerb climate change?

I don't know where you'd find such statistics and I've never seen any. Statistics can be a tricky business with a long game approach like this one. There's a lot of factors.

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    $\begingroup$ Minor nit-pick. This IPCC itself doesn't do research, their reports are reviews of existing research, written by scientists and approved by national governments. In that respect, the reports themselves are evidence of the impact of research on policy, in a broad sense. $\endgroup$ – Deditos Aug 20 '19 at 15:15
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Climate change research has a big impact on government policy with some governments, but not all. Governments are in a tricky position, on the one hand they would like to appease climate change hysteria and play it safe, on the other hand they don't want to handicap their industries, lower national prosperity and raise unemployment by fulfilling the demands of the greens and taking drastic steps to reduce CO2 emissions. There is no doubt at all that climate change is happening, because it has always been happening. At present we are on a warming trend which began about 12,000 years ago. At present, atmospheric CO2 levels are about 400 parts per million and rising, but they have been a lot higher within historical times, and far higher within the last half-a- billion years. An added complication is that it is impossible to distinguish between anthropogenic CO2 and CO2 from natural sources, and there are many other factors which complicate the issue.

Take glacial retreat for example. There is scientific consensus that most glaciers are melting and on the retreat, but a surprising number, hundreds rather than dozens, are advancing. This is not to say there is no global warming, scientific opinion is that global warming is a reality and that rising CO2 levels will exacerbate it, but by how much is uncertain. A further complication is that increased CO2 levels promote increased plant growth (by plant growth I mean everything from rainforest, peat bogs and agricultural crops to marine cyanobacteria, algae and phytoplankton),so to some extent rising CO2 levels are self-correcting. There is a danger, however, that this self-correction mechanism could be swamped if CO2 levels rise too quickly.

One thing you can be sure of is that the reductions in CO2 emissions which environmentalists tell us are necessary will not be met or even almost met by the major emitters. Regardless of whether countries like UK meet their targets or not, major industrial countries like USA, China, Russia and India won't. That is a fact that people will just have to get used to, and if the consequences are catastrophic (lets hope they won't be) we will just have to live with them. Perhaps the start of the next ice age will rescue us; despite Milankovitch cycles they are not entirely predictable. There was a 450-year Little Ice Age, beginning about AD 1350 and ending about AD 1800, which no one can explain. Scientific advances like electric vehicles will help, but it will take a major breakthrough like the perfection of fusion reactor power stations to make a really important difference.

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    $\begingroup$ "climate change hysteria? Really?" $\endgroup$ – userLTK Aug 19 '19 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ the only hysteria is climate denial,they are so afraid of the future that they are in denial of the present. $\endgroup$ – trond hansen Aug 19 '19 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't an answer to the question posed. It is a dense series of questionable assertions and assumptions. $\endgroup$ – jeffB Aug 19 '19 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ The truth? Just about everything you've written, Michael, is an outright lie, a misrepresentation, or a non sequitur. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Aug 21 '19 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ @user253751 True, on that sentence. I may not have called out the worst parts, like this one. "There is no doubt at all that climate change is happening, because it has always been happening." I went to the doctor last week and he told me "the body is always changing" Seems to miss the point a bit. And this one: At present we are on a warming trend which began about 12,000 years ago. - which is false. It ignores the Holocene thermal maximum and 5,000 years of a cooling trend prior to man made global warming. The answer is mostly misdirection, some of it outright false. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Mar 3 at 23:07

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