Wagering on Warming

By Anthony | July 4th, 2006 | 12:00 am

Bubba over at Noteworthy approvingly quotes an article by Richard Lindzen disputing that there’s any consensus on global warming. Lindzen takes issue with Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and sounds pretty sure that there’s not much we can be sure about with regards to global warming.

How sure is he? Not very, according to James Annan. Annan, a “scientist involved in climate prediction”, has challenged global warming skeptics to put their money where their mouth is – he’s offered to wager on whether average temperatures will be warmer or cooler 20 years from now. Lindzen is one of those skeptics that Annan offered to make a wager with:

Recently, my attention was drawn to some comments attributed to Lindzen: “Richard Lindzen says he’s willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now.” (thanks to William Connolley for the tip). Given his widely-promulgated views, I took this quote at face value and contacted him to arrange a wager. A payoff at retirement age would be a nice top-up to my pension.

Now here’s the kicker. Richard Lindzen will indeed accept a bet – but only if offered odds of 50:1 in his favour! He actually started out quoting 100:1 – but came down to 50:1 in what he described as a “special favor” to me. If the temperatures went down, I was to hand over $10,000, but in the event of a rise, I’d get a whopping $200. That’s worth around $8 per year on my pension. Whoop-de-doo. That’s not really quite what I had in mind.

What “50:1 odds” translates to is Lindzen is saying he thinks there’s a 98 percent chance that the average temperature of the Earth will be warmer in 20 years. He sounds pretty sure to me – but not of the skeptical side of the global warming debate.

4 Responses to “Wagering on Warming”

  1. Gedeon Says:

    Seeing the movie this past weekend really hits the point home that we really *can* effect our environment. Critics commonly use the argument that people are too insignifcant to do any serious damage to the Earth and therefore we should not worry. Oh really?

    Nuclear weapons and nuclear waste are just *one* example of how man can and has had a dangerous and VERY long effect on the planet. Something that our world would not have even had to worry about until we little puny humans came along. The hole in the ozone layer (that is now healing due to the ban on CFCs) is yet another. Now we deforest the globe, polute the air and water, have billions of billions of babies (who polute and consume even more) and you critics think none of this will have any negative effects on our ability to live? Fools one and all.

    The Earth will indeed survive long after we have all turned to dust, but *we* will not. By not heeding the warnings of Gore and the scientific community, we are rushing headlong, and prematurely, to our race’s early retirement.

  2. David Boyd Says:

    Yeah, humans suck. Especially human babies. Consuming all the time. Consume, consume, consume.

    What we ought to do is cap the population at something like ten. That way the ten of us can move to Hawaii or somewhere like that and eat fruit and frolic without polluting anything.

  3. Gedeon Says:

    You miss the point David. My point is that people reproduce, like everything in nature and it has consequences. I’m not suggesting that will stop or should be stopped, but for the critics not to realize that this has an effect on the world in which we live is utterly foolish.

  4. David Boyd Says:

    Nah, I’m with you Gedeon. Humans bad/Earth good. I got it. All that reproducing going on. All that being happy and stuff. All that making life easier for one’s family. Bah. I say the cavepeople had it right. Live for about 20 years and get eaten by a tiger. That’s where we need to get back to. All this zipping around in their big cars. Where are they going?