On Spurious Causality, CO2, and Global Temperature

03/19/2021
by   Philippe Goulet Coulombe, et al.
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Stips, Macias, Coughlan, Garcia-Gorriz, and Liang (2016, Nature Scientific Reports) use information flows (Liang, 2008, 2014) to establish causality from various forcings to global temperature. We show that the formulas being used hinges on a simplifying assumption that is nearly always rejected by the data. We propose an adequate measure of information flow based on Vector Autoregressions, and find that most results in Stips et al. (2016) cannot be corroborated. Then, it is discussed which modeling choices (e.g., the choice of CO2 series and assumptions about simultaneous relationships) may help in extracting credible estimates of causal flows and the transient climate response simply by looking at the joint dynamics of two climatic time series.

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