The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Armstrong responds to Andrew C. Revkin's "Gore Group Plans Ad Blitz on Global Warming"

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Professor J. Scott Armstrong responds to Andrew C. Revkin’s April 1st New York Times article, “Gore Group Plans Ad Blitz on Global Warming” through Google News Comments:

Gore’s Global Warming Campaign Raises Ethical and Legal Questions

As a professor who has taught advertising at the Wharton School since the 1970s, I wonder whether Mr. Gore’s advertising campaign raises ethical and legal concerns.

Advertisers should be able to support their claims. Yet, as I have pointed out to Mr. Gore on numerous occasions since June 2007, there are no scientific forecasts to support claims of global warming. Details on this conclusion can be found in a paper that I and Dr. Kesten Green published titled, “Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasts,” (available in full text at http://publicpolicyforecasting.com). Advertisers should be expected to support their claims. In this regard, on June 19, 2007, I asked Mr. Gore to participate in a Global Warming Challenge to test his theories (see http://theclimatebet.com ). He has not agreed to the challenge.

On page 10 of his book, The Assault on Reason, Mr. Gore stated:

“We must . . . stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of
science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudostudies
known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the
public’s ability to discern the truth. . . . The climate crisis, in
particular, could cause us to reject and transcend ideologically
based distortions of the best available scientific evidence.”

Consistent with this, in March of this year I asked him: “When and under what conditions would you be willing to engage in a scientific test of your forecasts?”

I am still waiting for an answer.

I expect that Mr. Gore’s campaign will avoid two-sided messages such as might might be found in educational programs or in messages related to health (e.g., pharmaceutical advertising). Instead they will be based heavily on innuendos, anecdotes, emotion, and repetition of claims. These are approaches that are commonly used for propaganda campaigns that lack scientific evidence.

J. Scott Armstrong

Written by climatebet

April 8th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

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