Following up on our earlier foray into AI conversations about dynamics, I decided to follow up on ChatGPT’s understanding of bathtub dynamics. First I repeated our earlier question about climate:
This is close, but note that it’s suggesting that a decrease in emissions corresponds with a decrease in concentration. This is not necessarily true in general, due to the importance of emissions relative to removals. ChatGPT seems to recognize the issue, but fails to account for it completely in its answer. My parameter choice turned out to be a little unfortunate, because a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions is fairly close to the boundary between rising and falling CO2 concentrations in the future.
I asked again with a smaller reduction in emissions. This should have an unambiguous effect: emissions would remain above removals, so the CO2 concentration would continue to rise, but at a slower rate.
This time the answer is a little better, but it’s not clear whether “lead to a reduction in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere” means a reduction relative to what would have happened otherwise, or relative to today’s concentration. Interestingly, ChatGPT does get that the emissions reduction doesn’t reduce temperature directly; it just slows the rate of increase.