Betting The Climate

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I wrote about climate modeler James Annan's proposed bet on global warming earlier this summer. Now he's found some takers.

Annan, who works with the Japanese Earth Simulator supercomputer, has been trying to call out climate "skeptics" for a while and two Russian solar physicists, Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, have now ante'd up.

According to the Guardian:

To decide who wins the bet, the scientists have agreed to compare the average global surface temperature recorded by a US climate centre between 1998 and 2003, with temperatures they will record between 2012 and 2017.

If the temperature drops Dr Annan will stump up the $10,000…in 2018. If the Earth continues to warm, the money will go the other way.

Stay tuned: I'll be sure to report the winner in 2018.

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  1. Ronald didn’t choose to excerpt this paragraph:

    “No bet was agreed on that; Dr Annan said Prof Lindzen wanted odds of 50-1 against falling temperatures, so would win $10,000 if the Earth cooled but pay out only ?200 if it warmed. Seven other prominent climate change sceptics also failed to agree betting terms.”

    Or this one:

    “In May, during BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot challenged Myron Ebell, a climate sceptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, to a ?5,000 bet. Mr Ebell declined, saying he had four children to put through university and did not want to take risks.”

    So none of the US skeptics were willing to do a 1-1 bet. I suppose this is because of the MASSIVE POWER of the INCREDIBLY RICH SIERRA CLUB or somesuch.

  2. An older, balder version of myself just appeared in a puff of smoke, wearing a silver jumpsuit, and handed me what can only assume is a copy of Mr. Bailey’s 2018 column.

    I say “assume,” because the jump seems to have burned the paper. The only text I can make out clearly reads “…atural varia…”

  3. Professor Lindzen’s bet did not offer 1-1 odds based on the position that most skeptics take. Many skeptics will readily agree that there is an apparent warming trend, but won’t agree that:

    A) It is likely to be any more than 1-1.5 C in the next century

    and/or (depending on the skeptic)

    B) There are any significant anthropomorphic effects influencing climate change.

    I find the Russian physicists skepticism to be somewhat unique.

  4. Crap…that last post was me. Sorry ’bout the bad alias.

  5. Awfully quiet on this thread.

    Well, it’s early.
    People must still be at lunch.

    I just got back, myself. I had a tasty veal chop which I washed down with four pints of Stella Artois. Somebody else paid. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

  6. M1EK:

    You amazing sleuth! You’ve uncovered my nefarious doings once again! Of course, I made it absurdly easy for you by linking to the very article you cite. I’ll have to be more careful in the future.

    You might also want to take a look at my earlier column to which I also provide a link where I did let Lindzen explain himself.

    But that said, you’re right that leading skeptics so far have not put their money where their mouths are and since they’re no doubt being paid zillions by evil corporations to mislead the public, you’d think that they’d have a few pennies to spare for such a bet.

    Joe: If the average global temperature is in fact 0.4 degrees warmer than now in 2018, I will buy you a drink.

  7. I adjourned to my place afterward to enjoy a couple of glasses of Maker’s Mark and a few smokes, and here I am! I’m being very productive today.

    What was the topic?

  8. Oh yes, I remember now. The topic is nefarious plots. Right, well, the way I see it, it’s none of our business what plots were hatched by some long-dead queen of Egypt.

    ‘Scuse me while I go open the window. It’s nice outside–73 degrees. In August.

  9. Ron,

    If the average temperature is 0.4 degrees cooler, I will buy you a drink. But no way am I buying you 50.

    Ah, shit, come check out my town, I’ll buy you a drink anyway.

  10. I am willing to bet anybody that over any arbitrary span of time the temperature will either rise or fall. Any takers?

    Its to bad the insurance industry, commodity traders and other professional economic betters cannot somehow get in on the action of global warming. ( I imagine the time window is to long). Getting the pros involved would settle the debate in hurry.

  11. There should be no talk of odds. The question should concern the over/under number. Mr. Baily has proposed 0.4 degrees (Celsius?). This seems a good mark as the skeptics and scaremongers clearly fall on either side.

    It?s an even-money bet joe, so you owe Ron a cocktail if the rise is 0.3C or less.

  12. “Russian Solar Physicists”? who are these guys? It can’t be true, because no scientist is a skeptic of global warming. Only flacks paid by the oil companies and vicious, baby eating, neocon Jews are skeptical of global warming!!

  13. “But that said, you’re right that leading skeptics so far have not put their money where their mouths are and since they’re no doubt being paid zillions by evil corporations to mislead the public, you’d think that they’d have a few pennies to spare for such a bet.”

    Like the scientists on the payroll of the tobacco companies, I doubt very much whether many of these guys believe what they’re saying enough to risk their own money; and the oil companies are smart enough not to throw away money on a sure loser.

    Hell, oil companies are among the smartest big companies around – they’re a hell of a lot smarter than the big US car companies, for instance. BP and Chevron are heding into new technologies; Exxon is paying to throw up a smokescreen; either course of action is smarter than what GM does when the landscape shifts.

  14. John, do you have a couple of sisters that troll here?

  15. should have been “hedging”

  16. If we don’t do something drastic about global warming NOW, there won’t even BE a 2012.

  17. haha, i’m sorry, but this is just great.

    “”Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the ‘electromagnetic force,’ the ‘weak nuclear force,’ the ‘strong nuclear force,’ and so-called ‘force of gravity,'” Burdett said. “And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus.”

  18. Since the only way to predict something accurately is to let people bet on it, I suggest Stardust or MGM put up a global climate over/under, and see what number is up after a few hundred million is wagered. This would save a lot of money that would have been wasted on research, and it can go to something more useful like buffet dinners or lap dances.

  19. Rich Ard,

    I don’t have any sisters on here. I just think it?s funny that there is any talk of scientists who are skeptical of global warming. After all we are lectured to daily by the likes of M1EK how there is a “scientific consensus” about global warming and only an ignorant flack could deny this “consensus”, as if science were about voting and polls and “consensus” rather than data and experimentation. Whoever these Russians are, I have it on good authority from the M1EK and Joe that they either do not exist or are not scientists because every scientist in the world knows that global warming is true as surely as they know that force equals mass times acceleration.

  20. “because every scientist in the world knows that global warming is true as surely as they know that force equals mass times acceleration.”

    It’s not quite to that level, but it’s close. It’s definitely on the level of the “smoking increases risk of lung cancer” science a couple of decades ago.

    And back then, there were a few scientists who honestly believed the link wasn’t there, and a much larger number who were paid to say so by tobacco companies.

  21. Even if the are averages two sets of five-year reading fourteen years apart are unlikely to conclusively prove anything about longterm trends.

    The only thing certain is that they will be different. If they are higher, the skeptic will say “natural variation”, the believer will say “told you so”. And vice versa if the temperature drops.

    It is still possible for GW to be occuring even if the temperature drops. I believe we had another period of dropping temps before during the industrial age of rising CO2 and if I recall correctly it was over a term of a lot more than 14 years. So I’m not sure exactly what this bet would prove.

  22. zach, youre a few days late we already had our fun with that.

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/08/a_theory_in_cri_1.shtml

  23. “Its to bad the insurance industry, commodity traders and other professional economic betters cannot somehow get in on the action of global warming. ( I imagine the time window is to long).”

    Yeah, too bad. Time window isn’t as long as it used to be. And for the skeptics, climbing up on a cross about how belittled you are doesn’t strengthen your argument.

  24. “Dr Annan said Prof Lindzen wanted odds of 50-1 against falling temperatures, so would win $10,000 if the Earth cooled but pay out only ?200 if it warmed.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if $10,000 is only worth ?200 by 2018.

  25. Isaac Bartram,

    You are exactly right. Of course, the entire global warming scare is based on a warming that has occured largely in last century and mostly between 1900 and 1940. We live in an age where everything from a hurricane in Florida to a blizard in NYC is blamed on global warming. Common sense and sense of perspective are not things in which global warming advocates are particularly interested.

  26. “Of course, the entire global warming scare is based on a warming that has occured largely in last century and mostly between 1900 and 1940.”

    This is a lie.

    HTH.

  27. M1EK:

    “Like the scientists on the payroll of the tobacco companies, I doubt very much whether many of these guys believe what they’re saying enough to risk their own money; and the oil companies are smart enough not to throw away money on a sure loser.”

    Alright, now you have the burden of proving that this insinuated financial link between skeptical scientists and evil corporations actually exists.

    Time to put up or shut up.

  28. M1EK,

    The tempatures in the last couple of hundred years can be described as follows

    1880 to 1940: A period of warming. The mountain glaciers recede and the ice in the Arctic Ocean begins to melt again. The causes of this period of warming are unknown.

    1940 to 1977: Cooling period. The temperatures are cooler than currently. Mountain glaciers recede, and some begin to advance. The tabloids inform us of widespread catastrophes due to the “New Glaciation”. The causes of this period of cooling are unknown.

    1977 to present: Warming period. The summer of 2003 is said to be the warmest one since the Middle Ages. The tabloids notify us of widespread catastrophes due to “global warming”. The causes of warming are discovered – humanity and its carbon-dioxide-generating fossil-fuel use and deforestation.

    The warming period before 1940 was larger than the one since 1977 despite the fact that then amount of manmade greenhouse gases was much lower.

  29. John,

    Again, you are incorrect in describing the magnitude of warming from 1877 to 1940 as greater than that in the last few decades.

    For instance, (first chart I found):

    http://www.grida.no/climate/vital/17.htm

    shows the temperature change from 1940 to 2000 a bit larger than that from the beginning of the dataset to 1940; and your characterization of the timeframes for the rise are also misleading – global temperature appears in this dataset to be constrained within a fairly small band from 1860 to about 1920; then a rise to 1940; then a small decline on average (very small compared to the two warming periods); then the current (much larger) rise.

  30. John,

    I almost forgot – your attempt to equate “the tabloids” from 1940-1970s talk of ‘global cooling’ with today’s scientific consensus about climate change is misleading at best, and a lie at worst; yet you keep repeating it. Do you need a citation again, or are you just willfully lying?

  31. “So none of the US skeptics were willing to do a 1-1 bet. I suppose this is because of the MASSIVE POWER of the INCREDIBLY RICH SIERRA CLUB or somesuch.”

    I offered James Annan ***50 to 1*** odds against the atmospheric methane concentration in 2030 exceeding 2060 ppb in the year 2030. (The value in 1990 was approximately 1700 ppb.) That 2060 ppb is the IPCC TAR ***midpoint*** value. So he should have been happy with even 50/50 bet. He refused…even at 50-to-1 odds.

    I offered him ***25 to 1*** odds against worldwide industrial emissions of CO2 exceeding 13.2 gigatons as carbon. The emission value in 1990 was approximately 6.0 gigatons as carbon. The 13.2 gigatons as carbon is the IPCC TAR ***midpoint*** value. So he again should have been happy with a 50/50 bet. He refused…even at 25-to-1 odds.

    http://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2005/06/proposed_bets_f.html>Proposed bets for James Annan and William Connolley

    On Long Bets, I have challenged ANY PRIMARY OR SECONDARY AUTHOR OF THE IPCC Third Assessment Report (there are over 700 of them) to bet that their prediction of the warming from 1990 to 2100 (midpoint as calculated by Wigley and Raper in Science) of 3.06 degrees Celsius will be more accurate than Michael Crichton’s prediction of 0.81 degrees Celsius:

    http://www.longbets.org/180

    I later specifically extended that offer to William Connolley and Gavin Schmidt at “Real Climate”. So far, absolutely NO TAKERS on a bet that a ***science fiction*** writer can more accurately predict warming in the 21st century, versus nearly 1000 scientists (or “scientists”) using fancy-schmancy computer models. (Not to mention spending untold millions of dollars attending international meetings talking about those fancy-schmancy models.)

    On Long Bets, I also challenged ANY IPCC PRIMARY OR SECONDARY author to bet that their predictions (sorry, “projections”) in the IPCC Third Assessment Report would be more accurate than my own:

    http://www.longbets.org/181

    Not one taker.

    P.S. I further made the following very generous Free Money Offer to James Annan and William Connolley. I offered to give them $8 for every IPCC Third Assessment Report author who would even be willing to VOTE against me on Long Bets #181. (The voting is free, and open to anyone.)

    http://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2005/06/james_annan_and.html

    So far, they haven’t taken me up on my Free Money offer. I also challenged them–offered to pay them, in fact–to make me a similar offer. They haven’t.

    The predictions (er, “projections”) for methane atmospheric concentrations, human CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases in the IPCC Third Assessment Report constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.

    I challenge anyone who says otherwise to debate me in the matter.

    Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

  32. “Like the scientists on the payroll of the tobacco companies, I doubt very much whether many of these guys believe what they’re saying enough to risk their own money;…”

    Sort of like the “scientists” at the IPCC? Let me know when any one of the 700+ authors at the IPCC has accepted EITHER of my challenges at Long Bets:

    http://www.longbets.org/180

    http://www.longbets.org/181

    I’m quite confident that not a single one of them ever will. They know their projections were nonsense. Anyone who bothers to take the time to honestly study the matter can see it.

  33. Thank you Mark Bahner for putting yourself out there.
    The bet wasn’t fair to critics in as much as the debate is not over whether climate is cooling or warming but over how much it’s warming and how much is anthropogenic.
    That Annan has made the particular bet that he made reveals how misleading the AGWC propronents tend to be.

  34. http://www.kogagrove.org/sams/agw/agwframes.html My own thoughts on the AGWC (Anthropogenic Global Warming Catastrophe) scenario.

  35. My own thoughts on the AGWC (Anthropogenic Global Warming Catastrophe) scenario: http://www.kogagrove.org/sams/agw/agwframes.html

  36. My apologies for the inadvertant redundant posting, I had meant to click preview the 1st time.

  37. So I’m not sure exactly what this bet would prove.

    If proof cannot be conjured upon command, well, any port in a storm eh?

    Our great grandchildren may have sufficient data — if they’re still interested. But I think they won’t be.

    If our great grand children learn of this, which they’ll do only if they’re historians — they’ll be scratching their heads, trying to figure out how these kinds of ideas ever got beyond the National Enquirer.

    Headlines read: “Bo Derek gets laid 153 times in 24 hours, sets new record. Scientists predict Earth’s temperature to rise 0.466 degrees over next decade”.

    Common sense and sense of perspective are not things in which global warming advocates are particularly interested.

    Witch doctors don’t do common sense. They do the National Enquirer.

    Everybody knows Bo Derek’s sex life is the real cause of GW. We must immediately petition congress for a bill to prohibit Bo Derek’s continued pleasure from doing us all in.

    Only people employed by the Trojan Rubber Company claim that GW is not real.

  38. Mark Bahner (environmental engineer),

    Don’t you know that we engineers are unqualified to contribute anything to this entire debate? We aren’t scientists after all. What could we possibly know?

    M1EK, the European Zip Code Man, once told me so. He told me I must work for an oil company too.

    Anyone with a name like a European zip code must work for the National Enquirer.

    Or perchance a university or gov’t lab, that is clamouring for yet more funds to write more comments into their “computer climate models”.

  39. Problems with Mark’s ‘bets’:

    1. He’s using satellite measurements rather than ground measurements. The IPCC numbers are predicting ground-level warming, correct?

    2. He doesn’t make clear whether he’s using the old (bad) satellite readings or the corrected versions (see recent news on this subject here: http://news.bostonherald.com/opinion/view.bg?articleid=98938 and I picked a skeptical source for you so you couldn’t claim bias.)

    3. The bets about methane and CO2 are STUPID. They’re dependent on FUTURE BEHAVIOR of governments and people. IE, if Kyoto were to be passed, you would be stupid to bet on higher CO2 than exists today, assuming you believe it would be enforced.

    I wouldn’t take those bets with you either. You’ve stacked the deck, man.

  40. M1EK,

    You are such a moron. That anyone could be so stupid as to believe that the pre-1940 global temperature data is worth a shit it hilarious at best, and terrifying at worst. (And some of these people are tenured professors of science. Scary shit indeed.) FFF, most people didn’t even have indoor plumbing and you think that there was some sort of infallible climate-data collection system. I suppose you think we have satellite data from 1890? (M1EK–Oh, but the ice cores! Me–Don’t bet your life on ice-core data. Remember, “science” has been wrong about complex systems quite often. Science is good with simple, easily-modeled phenomena. It’s not so good with complexity.)

    I so wish I could go a century or two (or 10) into the future so that I could have a good laugh making fun of “those primitive losers from the 21st century.” The people of every age think they are modern, but these same people are primitive when compared to their descendants.

  41. Anybody else going to argue that I start the discourtesy with a particular poster after reading what The Real Bill just said?

    This is particularly odious:

    “Remember, “science” has been wrong about complex systems quite often. Science is good with simple, easily-modeled phenomena. It’s not so good with complexity.)”

    Science is imperfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the alternatives. It’s self-correcting, accepts criticism, and despite what you pretend, doesn’t play politics.

  42. M1EK;

    Of Bahner’s bet you write: “He’s using satellite measurements rather than ground measurements. The IPCC numbers are predicting ground-level warming, correct?”

    My understanding is that according to the models, the mid-troposphere is supposed warm even more than the surface, so that would mean that he’s being even more “fair” with the global warming advocates.

  43. Ronald,

    I don’t remember how the troposphere is supposed to warm. Do you have a citation? His entire bet smells to me — if it were this easy, why wouldn’t he just use surface data?

  44. I haven’t studied atmospheric science data since the mid nineties. Does anyone know if limb spectroscopic doppler wind measurements agree with ground radar wind measurements yet?

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