The Confidence Trap and Dysfunctional Dialogues about Climate Change: ETH Zurich


Dec. 11, 2018

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The current uncertainty narrative surrounding climate change allows deniers to frame the issues—all proof burden is shifted to the side of climate action, and deniers are not confronted with the risks of continuing with business as usual. The current uncertainty narrative implicitly accepts this framing, believing that reams of “high confidence” statements from the science community can shoulder this lopsided proof burden. In contrast, the risk perspective impels us to consider the full range of possible climate outcomes, not just central regions in which scientists profess high confidence. It impels us to weigh the risks of inaction against the risks of over-reaction. It drives us to embrace science-based uncertainty quantification.

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