As we have seen on the recent thread by Richard Tol, considerable uncertainty remains about this aspect as well. Especially the claim that 'costs of averting climate change are comparatively small' is wrong, for two reasons. One, we cannot avert climate change (assuming the authors mean anthropogenic climate change) because we are committed to it through past emissions. This means adaptation is imperative (and maybe remediation as well, i.e. geoengineering). Second, the costs of mitigation are not likely to be small. But then the article carries on and it arrives at sound conclusion (I think):
Insuring against catastrophePlenty of uncertainty remains; but that argues for, not against, action. If it were known that global warming would be limited to 2°C, the world might decide to live with that. But the range of possible outcomes is huge, with catastrophe one possibility, and the costs of averting climate change are comparatively small. Just as a householder pays a small premium to protect himself against disaster, the world should do the same.
This newspaper sees no reason to alter its views on that. Where there is plainly an urgent need for change is the way in which governments use science to make their case. The IPCC has suffered from the perception that it is a tool of politicians. The greater the distance that can be created between it and them, the better. And rather than feeding voters infantile advertisements peddling childish certainties, politicians should treat voters like grown-ups. With climate change you do not need to invent things; the truth, even with all those uncertainties and caveats, is scary enough.This captures an important insight. In order to re-establish trust in scientific assessments about climate change, these should be freed from inter-governmental interference and diplomacy.