HOW THE IPCC’S LANGUAGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE CONFUSES
Study: It Is "Very Likely" That Scientists Are Confusing Us About Global Warming; The United Nations' blockbuster climate reports are full of language that makes people doubt climate change.
Chris Mooney, April 29, 2014 (Mother Jones)
“…[T]he IPCC may be dramatically undermining its own work through…[a] system of language that the group uses to describe how certain (or uncertain) researchers are about its scientific findings…[The IPCC describes] conclusions as "likely," "very likely," and so on)…Unintentionally, then, the IPCC seems to be doing just what climate skeptics and deniers are so often accused of: Sowing doubt…The Budescu study shows] that while the IPCC intends for "very likely" to mean a greater than 90 percent likelihood…the mean estimate people gave was just 62 percent…[The misunderstanding decreases if] instead of merely saying "very likely," the IPCC could just prominently add "(> 90% likelihood)," or something similar…It is critical to underscore just how problematic the IPCC's ill-calibrated uncertainty language is…[Generally, the sentence from each report that is almost universally quoted] describes how certain the IPCC is about the conclusion that humans are causing global warming; and that sentence always contains the IPCC's confusing uncertainty-speak…[In 2013, the IPCC found] the conclusion"extremely likely." To the IPCC, that meant ["greater than 95 percent"]…Based on the latest research, the public took away a very different message indeed…” click here for more