When anyone wishes to support – or defeat – a given position, the sturdiest method is to generate data to predict its consequences. Advocates generate reams of numbers to substantiate their preferred outcome.
I would be an idiot to argue against numbers as part of the toolbox to help us understand difficult challenges. But numbers can be misleading, especially if you don’t know how they were derived. Bear in mind these are numbers that purport to predict the future.
This is especially true when it comes to climate change, where numbers paper over a lot of philosophy and assumptions. We are wading in to an uncertain climate future, yet many experts are happy to offer fascinatingly precise-looking numbers telling us exactly what to expect and how to act.