We should use “red team exercises” to respond to climate change, not deny it.
Back in June, E&E’s Emily Holden broke the story that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is planning a “red team, blue team” exercise to critique climate change science. He told Breitbart he got the idea from a Wall Street Journal editorial by physicist Steven Koonin. Rick Perry is also a big fan.
Then on Thursday, at his first oversight hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Pruitt told Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) that he has a timeline: the red team/blue process will be underway by “early next year.”
The way Pruitt reportedly plans to do it is, he will assemble a team of climate “skeptics,” who doubt some or all of the results of mainstream climate science, to be one team. Another group of climate scientists would defend the existing body of research, as the blue team. And there will be some kind of public debate or exchange between them, perhaps televised.
This is, for many, many obvious reasons, a terrible idea. But one of its worst consequences is perhaps the least obvious: It will discredit the idea of a red team, blue team exercise focused on climate change. That is too bad, because the concept could be used for a more productive conversation about what to do about this gigantic threat.
I’ll get to why in a second. First, briefly, the main two reasons that Pruitt’s idea is bad and wrong.
The red-team exercise is not suited to basic science
The red-team exercise has its origins in the military, which has done some of the most rigorous thinking of any institution about decision-making in the face of deep uncertainty. Military planners do not typically use cost-benefit analysis in pursuit of Read More Here