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The professionals who predict the future for a living

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The professionals who predict the future for a living

Photo of Inez Fung by Leah Fasten. Article by Bobbie Johnson. 

Everywhere from business to medicine to the climate, forecasting the future is a complex and absolutely critical job. So how do you do it—and what comes next?

Inez Fung – Professor of atmospheric science, University of California, Berkeley

I’ve spoken to people who want climate model information, but they’re not really sure what they’re asking me for. So I say to them, “Suppose I tell you that some event will happen with a probability of 60% in 2030. Will that be good enough for you, or will you need 70%? Or would you need 90%? What level of information do you want out of climate model projections in order to be useful?” […] I don’t see us reducing fossil fuels by 2030. I don’t see us reducing COor atmospheric methane. Some 1.2 billion people in the world right now have no access to electricity, so I’m looking forward to the growth in alternative energy going to parts of the world that have no electricity. That’s important because it’s education, health, everything associated with a Western standard of living. That’s where I’m putting my hopes. […]

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