In Sir David Spiegelhalter's conversation with Prof. Goodman, the pair discuss climate change simulation and the need for consolidation of efforts from different groups to make a more accurate prediction. At the beginning of their conversation, they have a focus on how every model is imperfect in their own way due to a difference in assumptions, resources, and expertise. It follows that having multiple groups working on simulations and models could provide a range of models, and the discrepancies between them could be amalgamated by a super judge to provide a better understanding of the problem.
More specifically, Alyssa suggests that there should be a CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research: an intergovernmental organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world) for climate change, where all the groups that are doing big simulations and models of climate change can consolidate their efforts. The reason for this is that if you look at the IPCC report, there are multiple groups that contribute their best estimate of what's going to happen, and statistically, people essentially just average those models and make a big band of uncertainty. However, since every model has its imperfections, there are unforeseeable or unavoidable factors that can affect the outcomes. Therefore, David argues that a multiplicity of approaches, independent approaches in conjunction with collaboration is more valuable. He suggests that there should be multiple independent groups doing the same thing and producing different estimates with non-overlapping intervals. This way, if one of them had been doing it right, they would have had a narrow interval, and the others would have had wider intervals. This can help us better understand the limitations of our models and avoid giving the public the false impression that we know everything.
I found myself super engaged in their conversation, as I enjoyed the focus on the nuance between between collaboration in solutions vs. a variety of solutions, which are inherently similar but not the same. Overall, my takeaway was that though collaboration can be good, we may see a larger benefit when collaboration adds a variety of methods/testing (in this case, of climate change) to approach a solution; i.e. make sure many actors are employed toward answering the sample question, but take advantage of collaboration by using contrasting methods with contrasting assumptions to see if results agree.
On the note of assumptions and collaborations, I noticed that this talk centered around what collaboration looks like on a higher level, more talking about collaborations of institutions rather than how that information is disseminated. This made me think about an article I read a while ago in Economic Impact, which concluded that "Governments cannot do it alone. Neither can the private sector, nor philanthropists, nor civil society. We need an economic transformation to end nature loss by 2030, reach net-zero emissions around 2050, and build resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. All this must be done while developing sustainably and eradicating poverty." The article further specifies what collaboration should look like in saying that campaigns but be led by those most effected and be back by researched institutions and private stakeholders. In lieu of the conversation between Alyssa and David, I would ask both of them how collaboration would look like between those most effected by climate change and institutions, given their ideas about communications between research institutions. More specifically, I would ask the two who they think the burden of communication/accessibility is on: the institutions for producing research meant to be leveraged by the public or to the organizers to do the same? Following this, do you think private corporations benefitting from climate change have a responsibility to collaborate with these two groups and in what capacity?
Hi Hunter, these questions are so interesting.
I want to attempt to answer the question asking "do you think private corporations benefitting from climate change have a responsibility to collaborate with these two groups and in what capacity?"
I definitely do think that corporation with large carbon footprints have a responsibility to contribute in research. Mostly, I think that this will help reduce their carbon footprints and impact on the environment.
Thank you Hunter, this is such a well posed comment that I may ask us to talk about it more publicly in class