IPCC AR4 Likelihoods

June 11, 2007 at 8:53 am | Posted in Climate change, IPCC, My graphics, OmniGraffle, Visual aids | Leave a comment

What’s the chance?


Think about the way you feel when something is a possibility, but its outcome is uncertain. Two scenarios may help. How do you feel you have the chance of:

IPCC AR4 Likelihoods (red hearts)

a) getting a good thing—something you love, like a trip to see your favourite movie.

A tiny chance may give you hope. You may try to increase the likelihood of getting what you like.

Anyway, if you don’t get what you want, you are no worse off than before.

versus

IPCC AR4 Likelihoods (red no entry sign)

b) getting a bad thing—something you hate, like a filling at the dentist that you could have avoided …

A tiny chance of something bad happening might be so bad (deadly~yikes!) that you will do anything to avoid it.

Or it might be that you are willing to take the risk, no matter how big, even knowing you could be worse off than before.

Scientists agree:

  • global warming is unequivocal (it is definitely happening) and
  • it is very likely (defined by the IPCC in this case as >90% chance) that human activities are the cause of most of the current extra warming

Climate change is no joke.
Unfortunately, some people react to this news as though it is rubbish. They gamble with our climate situation because:

  • if climate change does not happen, they are sitting pretty, and may even have saved money or made money by taking this risk
  • if climate change does happen, they do not think it will be too bad for themselves (even if it is bad news for others)

What do you think of that, when it comes to betting on our climate challenge?

Now, think of something you would like to happen.

Imagine how you would react if there were a <10% chance (‘very unlikely’) or a >90% chance (‘very unlikely’) of your wish coming true.

IPCC AR4 Likelihoods (red hearts)

Now, think of something you would NOT like to happen.

Imagine how you would react if there were a <10% chance (‘very unlikely’) or a >90% (‘very likely’) chance of your nightmare scenario being true.

IPCC AR4 Likelihoods (red no entry sign)

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