Science and Policy After “Climate-Gate”

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PPR panel discussion centers on climate change data and the uncertainties that countries face in addressing the issue.

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On Tuesday, March 23, the Penn Program on Regulation hosted Professor Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to discuss quality control in the IPCC process in the wake of the “climate-gate” story that reverberated through the media late last year.

Professor Yohe argued that, despite emails from scientists that have come to light and revelations of some errors in the IPCC’s AR4 report, scientists still understand much about the climate system and the effects of human activity on that system. While plenty of uncertainty still exists in how individual regions will be affected, and how much warming there will be, Yohe argued that none of the errors in IPCC documents altered the report’s fundamental conclusions.  Indeed, Yohe expressed the view that some errors in the IPCC report may have underestimated the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Profesor Yohe discussed the policy implications that follow from what we do know about climate change, arguing that additional emphasis be given both to adaptation and mitigation strategies. He urged the international community to adopt a risk management approach to addressing this global environmental problem.