, Volume 104, Issue 3-4, pp 457-472
Date: 16 Dec 2010

Psychohistory revisited: fundamental issues in forecasting climate futures

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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.