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New UN climate-change report didn't merit overheated headlines

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29.08.2021

By Katie Tubb

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently published the first major installment of its Sixth Assessment Report. It's a big deal, but it's not the last word in climate science.

Two more sections of the report will be published in the coming year. Taken together, they attempt to define the consensus, scientific view of where we are now in terms of climate change and global warming, and what future changes are likely to come.

But even when all three sections are out, there will be more to be said about climate science. Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo would be among the first to tell us that science is not primarily about consensus but discovery. It can take just one person with sound evidence and an argument to flip the scientific paradigm. So it's important to read the IPCC's report with humility and critical thinking.

Climate analysis employs a good deal of statistical modeling and data science. It involves far more than looking out the window, no matter how alarming the weather is or whatever you think you remember about how it was "back when."

Climate is a wickedly complex system. It involves long-term patterns, the dynamic interactions between clouds and........

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