I wasn't planning on writing anything about the Grundmann letter in Nature (paywalled of course, but you aren't missing much) as it seemed to be a pretty trivial “what about meeeeee” whine. ATTP put it best:
Both there and at the Onion, I haven't seen anything much to revise my previous jaundiced opinion as to the value of social science. I hope to be proved wrong but won't be holding my breath in the meantime.
One thing that I did find useful in the letter was a clear definition of what he thought it meant for a problem to be wicked: “Most importantly, wicked problems do not have a stopping rule. [...] Climate change does not have a stopping rule.”
I think that's pretty much flat out wrong. I know that people like to add on their favourite hobby horses of climate variability and social vulnerability etc, and some of the wording is vague, but the basic problem that has motivated and dominated the research agenda for many years is due to us pumping out millions of tonnes of fossil-fuel-derived CO2 into the atmosphere. Cut net emissions to about zero and the problem is solved. Sure, if you choose to define “climate change” sufficiently broadly, then you can always find something else to worry about, but stopping the global-scale experiment that we are currently performing would suffice for practical purposes. As they say, “good enough for govt work”.
For my next trick, I'll consider the problem of model independence.