Uncertainty no excuse for procrastinating on climate change




Posted on 27 May 2013 by dkaroly

By Roger Bodman, Victoria University and David Karoly, University of Melbourne


“Today we released research which reduces the range of uncertainty in future global warming. It does not alter the fact we will never be certain about how, exactly, the climate will change.


We always have to make decisions when there are uncertainties about the future: whether to take an umbrella when we go outside, how much to spend on insurance. International action on climate change is just one more decision that has to be made in an environment of uncertainty.”


Just look at  human medical science, medical treatment, diagnosis etc.  There is no certainty.  Chemo works for some and not for others. Radiation works for some and not for others.  The major reason is that we are living beings composed of many layers of functionality – all composed of living beings.  Our innards are not small machines and thus unpredictable.  Although not emotionally, logically we accept that often our medical practitioners give us medicine and tell us to come back in  two weeks if the medicine doesn’t work.  We do so if we don’t die in the meantime.  The likelihood of catching a life threatening infection whilst in a hospital is frightening – those who are not frightened are in denial or just don’t read or watch the media.  Sure, most hospitals work hard to keep their environment safe, but they are dealing with living systems and their behaviour contains a large dose of uncertainty.  So what?

Earth is a complex living system.  Slowly, establishment science is awakening to the need to have another serious look at the definition of aliveness.  Aliveness doesn’t spring from deadness.  Some of the substance of what has been labeled Emergence makes sense.  However, I strongly suggest that life doesn’t emerge from non-life – doesn’t and never did.  Gaia, Earth, is alive; is a living system and until we deal with this aspect of being alive IN a living system, just as our cells are alive within our organs, we will never be able to progress in our understanding of how the Earth “works.”  We desperately need to understand more about Earthly behaviour.

 We cannot do so whilst we see her as deaf and dumb and dead.