Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's Chief Economist, gave a really thoughtful speech a few days ago on central bank psychology. He highlighted four "cognitive ticks" that affect human decision making and public policy making - preference biases, myopia biases, hubris biases and group-think biases. In his speech, he outlined ways in which the Bank has been organised to take account of these cognitive ticks. His speech is well worth reading.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.