Climatic Change

, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 457–472

Psychohistory revisited: fundamental issues in forecasting climate futures

  • Danny Cullenward
  • Lee Schipper
  • Anant Sudarshan
  • Richard B. Howarth

DOI: 10.1007/s10584-010-9995-2

Cite this article as:
Cullenward, D., Schipper, L., Sudarshan, A. et al. Climatic Change (2011) 104: 457. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9995-2


Uncertainty in the trajectories of the global energy and economic systems vexes the climate science community. While it is tempting to reduce uncertainty by searching for deterministic rules governing the link between energy consumption and economic output, this article discusses some of the problems that follow from such an approach. We argue that the theoretical and empirical evidence supports the view that energy and economic systems are dynamic, and unlikely to be predictable via the application of simple rules. Encouraging more research seeking to reduce uncertainty in forecasting would likely be valuable, but any results should reflect the tentative and exploratory nature of the subject matter.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danny Cullenward
    • 1
  • Lee Schipper
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anant Sudarshan
    • 4
  • Richard B. Howarth
    • 5
  1. 1.Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Precourt Energy Efficiency CenterStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Global Metropolitan StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Department of Management Science and EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Environmental Studies ProgramDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA