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Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

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Session 4: Future of the planet


Trying to predict the future is a mug’s game. But increasingly it’s a game we all have to play because the world is changing so fast and we need to have some sort of idea of what the future’s actually going to be like because we are going to have to live there, probably next week.

Adams (2002)

This quotation from science fiction author Douglas Adams highlights the point that this session is not only about the specific predicted risks of climate change, which might motivate us to engineer the climate. It is also about the science of prediction: are scientists good enough at predicting the future to understand the consequences of geoengineering?

By the end of this session, you will:

  • appreciate how predicting climate is different from predicting weather
  • be aware that many different climate models exist, and that their predictions differ
  • understand the use of scenarios in predicting climate change
  • be familiar with a range of predictions about climate change and its impacts on humans and other life.