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Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments

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Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments. / Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Bradshaw, Corey J.A.; Lewandowsky, Stephan; Vieites, David R.

In: Bioscience, Vol. 69, No. 3, 18.03.2019, p. 209-219.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Herrando-Pérez, S, Bradshaw, CJA, Lewandowsky, S & Vieites, DR 2019, 'Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments', Bioscience, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 209-219. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz004

APA

Herrando-Pérez, S., Bradshaw, C. J. A., Lewandowsky, S., & Vieites, D. R. (2019). Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments. Bioscience, 69(3), 209-219. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz004

Vancouver

Herrando-Pérez S, Bradshaw CJA, Lewandowsky S, Vieites DR. Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments. Bioscience. 2019 Mar 18;69(3):209-219. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz004

Author

Herrando-Pérez, Salvador ; Bradshaw, Corey J.A. ; Lewandowsky, Stephan ; Vieites, David R. / Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments. In: Bioscience. 2019 ; Vol. 69, No. 3. pp. 209-219.

Bibtex

@article{295272225732464e91bc545e2ddb5fb6,
title = "Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments",
abstract = "The scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change is empirically settled, but communicating it to nonscientific audiences remains challenging. To be explicit about the state of knowledge on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted a vocabulary that ranks climate findings through certainty-calibrated qualifiers of confidence and likelihood. In this article, we quantified the occurrence of knowns and unknowns about {"}The Physical Science Basis{"} of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report by counting the frequency of calibrated qualifiers. We found that the tone of the IPCC's probabilistic language is remarkably conservative (mean confidence is medium, and mean likelihood is 66{\%}-100{\%} or 0-33{\%}), and emanates from the IPCC recommendations themselves, complexity of climate research, and exposure to politically motivated debates. Leveraging communication of uncertainty with overwhelming scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change should be one element of a wider reform, whereby the creation of an IPCC outreach working group could enhance the transmission of climate science to the panel's audiences.",
keywords = "climate change, communication, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, terminology, uncertainty",
author = "Salvador Herrando-P{\'e}rez and Bradshaw, {Corey J.A.} and Stephan Lewandowsky and Vieites, {David R.}",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
day = "18",
doi = "10.1093/biosci/biz004",
language = "English",
volume = "69",
pages = "209--219",
journal = "Bioscience",
issn = "0006-3568",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "3",

}

RIS - suitable for import to EndNote

TY - JOUR

T1 - Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments

AU - Herrando-Pérez, Salvador

AU - Bradshaw, Corey J.A.

AU - Lewandowsky, Stephan

AU - Vieites, David R.

PY - 2019/3/18

Y1 - 2019/3/18

N2 - The scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change is empirically settled, but communicating it to nonscientific audiences remains challenging. To be explicit about the state of knowledge on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted a vocabulary that ranks climate findings through certainty-calibrated qualifiers of confidence and likelihood. In this article, we quantified the occurrence of knowns and unknowns about "The Physical Science Basis" of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report by counting the frequency of calibrated qualifiers. We found that the tone of the IPCC's probabilistic language is remarkably conservative (mean confidence is medium, and mean likelihood is 66%-100% or 0-33%), and emanates from the IPCC recommendations themselves, complexity of climate research, and exposure to politically motivated debates. Leveraging communication of uncertainty with overwhelming scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change should be one element of a wider reform, whereby the creation of an IPCC outreach working group could enhance the transmission of climate science to the panel's audiences.

AB - The scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change is empirically settled, but communicating it to nonscientific audiences remains challenging. To be explicit about the state of knowledge on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted a vocabulary that ranks climate findings through certainty-calibrated qualifiers of confidence and likelihood. In this article, we quantified the occurrence of knowns and unknowns about "The Physical Science Basis" of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report by counting the frequency of calibrated qualifiers. We found that the tone of the IPCC's probabilistic language is remarkably conservative (mean confidence is medium, and mean likelihood is 66%-100% or 0-33%), and emanates from the IPCC recommendations themselves, complexity of climate research, and exposure to politically motivated debates. Leveraging communication of uncertainty with overwhelming scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change should be one element of a wider reform, whereby the creation of an IPCC outreach working group could enhance the transmission of climate science to the panel's audiences.

KW - climate change

KW - communication

KW - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

KW - terminology

KW - uncertainty

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85064402564&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/biosci/biz004

DO - 10.1093/biosci/biz004

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85064402564

VL - 69

SP - 209

EP - 219

JO - Bioscience

JF - Bioscience

SN - 0006-3568

IS - 3

ER -