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18 November 2022
Climate scientists have a surprising habit: They often underplay the climate threat. In 2007 a team led by Stefan Rahmstorf compared actual observations with projections made by theoretical models for three key climate variables: atmospheric carbon dioxide, global average temperature and sea-level rise. While the projections got CO2 levels right, they were low for real temperature and sea-level rise. In 2008 Roger Pielke, Jr., found that sea-level rise was greater than forecast in two of three prior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. In 2009 a review of hundreds of papers on climate change identified several areas where scientists had lowballed event predictions but none in which they had overestimated them.