Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Climate Change Uncertainty Has Been Eclipsed by Political Uncertainty

| Aug. 12, 2021

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its long awaited update report on the physical science of climate change. The news was not good, and it caused many media outlets to focus on frightening predictions and the potential for catastrophic tipping points to come.

Unfortunately, a week from now much of that alarm will have subsided as the news cycle moves on. But there's a more important message in this report, one that is likely to be more durable than frightening tipping points: Scientific uncertainty has been eclipsed by political uncertainty.

Climate change is here and it's going to get worse, the verdict is in. Any remaining shreds of uncertainty about anthropogenic climate change, however spurious or concocted, have been dispelled, even by the notoriously conservative IPCC. A glance at daily headlines further reinforces the fact that we're in a period of crisis. Everyone but the most venal science denier gets that. How much worse it gets, however, depends entirely upon how quickly the world gets to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. While climate change is a scientific matter, climate action is a political one, and, if done right, can usher in dramatic social, economic and ecological improvements. So, there is some very good news to talk about....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Clement, Joel.“Climate Change Uncertainty Has Been Eclipsed by Political Uncertainty.” The Hill, August 12, 2021.