Skeptic priors and climate consensus.

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Date: May 2021
From: Climatic Change(Vol. 166, Issue 1-2)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 194 words

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Abstract :

Keywords: Climate skeptics; Social cost of carbon; Bayesian econometrics Abstract How much evidence would it take to convince climate skeptics that they are wrong? I explore this question within an empirical Bayesian framework. I consider a group of stylized skeptics and examine how these individuals rationally update their beliefs in the face of ongoing climate change. I find that available evidence in the form of instrumental climate data tends to overwhelm all but the most extreme priors. Most skeptics form updated beliefs about climate sensitivity that correspond closely to estimates from the scientific literature. However, belief convergence is a nonlinear function of prior strength and it becomes increasingly difficult to convince the remaining pool of dissenters. I discuss the necessary conditions for consensus formation under Bayesian learning and show that apparent deviations from the Bayesian ideal can still be accommodated within the same conceptual framework. I argue that a generalized Bayesian model provides a bridge between competing theories of climate skepticism as a social phenomenon. Author Affiliation: (1) Department of Economics, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA (a) grantmcd@uoregon.edu Article History: Registration Date: 04/06/2021 Received Date: 11/11/2020 Accepted Date: 04/05/2021 Online Date: 05/25/2021 Byline:

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A662845079