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Publication Bias in Measuring Anthropogenic Climate Change

Reckova, Dominika and Irsova, Zuzana (2015): Publication Bias in Measuring Anthropogenic Climate Change.

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Abstract

We present a meta-regression analysis of the relation between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in global temperature. The relation is captured by “climate sensitivity”, which measures the response to a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations compared to pre-industrial levels. Estimates of climate sensitivity play a crucial role in evaluating the impacts of climate change and constitute one of the most important inputs into the computation of the social cost of carbon, which reflects the socially optimal value of a carbon tax. Climate sensitivity has been estimated by many researchers, but their results vary significantly. We collect 48 estimates from 16 studies and analyze the literature quantitatively. We find evidence for publication selection bias: researchers tend to report preferentially large estimates of climate sensitivity. Corrected for publication bias, the bulk of the literature is consistent with climate sensitivity lying between 1.4 and 2.3°C.

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