The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

Can’t fault the science? Attack the scientist

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March 2015 saw a new low in public discourse about what changes, if any, to expect in climate over the 21st Century with The New York Times running a high-profile article attacking a scientist who is skeptical about the dangerous manmade global warming alarm. The article suggested that the scientist, Dr Willie Soon, should have provided information about his employing institution’s funding arrangements. Say what?

Was the article part of a larger investigation by NYTimes reporters that found that all scientists routinely report the details of their institutions’ funding, and any other arrangements or relationships that readers of their papers might find interesting… except Willie Soon? If they did, they must have forgotten to mention that in their article.

Is there any reason that Dr Soon was singled out for this “special” treatment, other than the unpopularity of his conclusions about the global warming alarm with the NYTimes reporters and their friends in alarm? We can’t think of any.

It appears that the alarmists are alarmed that the wider public are no longer alarmed. They have no response in science, and so resort to personal attacks.

In his recent article in The Washington Times, Professor Scott Armstrong challenges those who still fear global warming to test whether their fears are justified by following good scientific practice, and replicate the research that they find so unsettling. Perhaps their findings would be different. Now that would be a story!

Scott Armstrong’s Washington Times article, titled “Missing the mark on climate change skepticism: It’s not about the money, it’s about the science”, is available here.

Written by admin

March 28th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

The New York Times warns civilization likely to end due to manmade warming – Professor Armstrong tries to avert panic.

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On November 24, 2012, The New York Times published an article titled “Is this the End?,” which warned that manmade global warming is likely to destroy our civilization. The article was published nine days after the NYT published Cass Sunstein’s article advocating that policies on dangerous manmade global warming should be based on cost-benefit analyses, that the government had calculated a net benefit for costly policies, and that Ronald Reagan once agreed with a cost-benefit analysis. I was unable to contact Professor Sunstein to find the sources of the “cost-benefit analyses.” In an effort to calm panic-stricken readers, I wrote a Letter to the Editor at The New York Times revealing that while cost-benefit analysis is indeed the proper method, none has shown likely net harm arising from global warming. Evidence-based forecasts of dangerous warming and of the effects of alternative policies are missing. Strangely, my evidence-based forecasts that our civilization is not threatened by dangerous warming did not meet the NYT criteria of “All the news that’s fit to print.” If you know any NYT readers, please inform them that they are safe.

Wall Street Journal readers were spared panic. They had read No Need to Panic About Global Warming in January 2012.

Written by admin

November 27th, 2012 at 5:43 am

Letter to Congress asks members not to be alarmed, but to be reassured by the evidence

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On the 8th of February 2011, 36 scientists wrote to Congress to challenge the alarming predictions of dangerous manmade global warming made in an earlier (28 January) letter from 18 scientists. Here is the text of their letter:

February 8, 2011

To the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate:

In reply to “The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change”

On 28 January 2011, eighteen scientists sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to “take a fresh look at climate change.” Their intent, apparently, was to disparage the views of scientists who disagree with their contention that continued business-as-usual increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the burning of coal, gas, and oil will lead to a host of cataclysmic climate-related problems.

We, the undersigned, totally disagree with them and would like to take this opportunity to briefly state our side of the story.

The eighteen climate alarmists (as we refer to them, not derogatorily, but simply because they view themselves as “sounding the alarm” about so many things climatic) state that the people of the world “need to prepare for massive flooding from the extreme storms of the sort being experienced with increasing frequency,” as well as the “direct health impacts from heat waves” and “climate-sensitive infectious diseases,” among a number of other devastating phenomena. And they say that “no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet’s climate,” which is understood to mean their view of what is happening to Earth’s climate.

To these statements, however, we take great exception. It is the eighteen climate alarmists who appear to be unaware of “what is happening to our planet’s climate,” as well as the vast amount of research that has produced that knowledge.

For example, a lengthy review of their claims and others that climate alarmists frequently make can be found on the Web site of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (see That report offers a point-by-point rebuttal of all of the claims of the “group of eighteen,” citing in every case peer-reviewed scientific research on the actual effects of climate change during the past several decades.

If the “group of eighteen” pleads ignorance of this information due to its very recent posting, then we call their attention to an even larger and more comprehensive report published in 2009, Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). That document has been posted for more than a year in its entirety at

These are just two recent compilations of scientific research among many we could cite. Do the 678 scientific studies referenced in the CO2 Science document, or the thousands of studies cited in the NIPCC report, provide real-world evidence (as opposed to theoretical climate model predictions) for global warming-induced increases in the worldwide number and severity of floods? No. In the global number and severity of droughts? No. In the number and severity of hurricanes and other storms? No.

Do they provide any real-world evidence of Earth’s seas inundating coastal lowlands around the globe? No. Increased human mortality? No. Plant and animal extinctions? No. Declining vegetative productivity? No. More frequent and deadly coral bleaching? No. Marine life dissolving away in acidified oceans? No.

Quite to the contrary, in fact, these reports provide extensive empirical evidence that these things are not happening. And in many of these areas, the referenced papers report finding just the opposite response to global warming, i.e., biosphere-friendly effects of rising temperatures and rising CO2 levels.

In light of the profusion of actual observations of the workings of the real world showing little or no negative effects of the modest warming of the second half of the twentieth century, and indeed growing evidence of positive effects, we find it incomprehensible that the eighteen climate alarmists could suggest something so far removed from the truth as their claim that no research results have produced any evidence that challenges their view of what is happening to Earth’s climate and weather.

But don’t take our word for it. Read the two reports yourselves. And then make up your own minds about the matter. Don’t be intimidated by false claims of “scientific consensus” or “overwhelming proof.” These are not scientific arguments and they are simply not true.

Like the eighteen climate alarmists, we urge you to take a fresh look at climate change. We believe you will find that it is not the horrendous environmental threat they and others have made it out to be, and that they have consistently exaggerated the negative effects of global warming on the U.S. economy, national security, and public health, when such effects may well be small to negligible.

Signed by:

Syun-Ichi Akasofu, University of Alaska1

Scott Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania

James Barrante, Southern Connecticut State University1

Richard Becherer, University of Rochester

John Boring, University of Virginia

Roger Cohen, American Physical Society Fellow

David Douglass, University of Rochester

Don Easterbrook, Western Washington University1

Robert Essenhigh, The Ohio State University1

Martin Fricke, Senior Fellow, American Physical Society

Lee Gerhard, University of Kansas1

Ulrich Gerlach, The Ohio State University

Laurence Gould, University of Hartford

Bill Gray, Colorado State University1

Will Happer, Princeton University2

Howard Hayden, University of Connecticut1

Craig Idso, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Sherwood Idso, USDA, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory1

Richard Keen, University of Colorado

Doral Kemper, USDA, Agricultural Research Service1

Hugh Kendrick, Office of Nuclear Reactor Programs, DOE1

Richard Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology2

Anthony Lupo, University of Missouri

Patrick Michaels, Cato Institute

Donald Nielsen, University of California, Davis1

Al Pekarek, St. Cloud State University

John Rhoads, Midwestern State University1

Nicola Scafetta, Duke University

Gary Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study

S. Fred Singer, University of Virginia1

Roy Spencer, University of Alabama

George Taylor, Past President, American Association of State Climatologists

Frank Tipler, Tulane University

Leonard Weinstein, National Institute of Aerospace Senior Research Fellow

Samuel Werner, University of Missouri1

Thomas Wolfram, University of Missouri1

1 – Emeritus or Retired

2 – Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Endorsed by:

Rodney Armstrong, Geophysicist

Edwin Berry, Certified Consulting Meteorologist

Joseph Bevelacqua, Bevelacqua Resources

Carmen Catanese, American Physical Society Member

Roy Clark, Ventura Photonics

John Coleman, Meteorologist KUSI TV

Darrell Connelly, Geophysicist

Joseph D’Aleo, Certified Consulting Meteorologist

Terry Donze, Geophysicist1

Mike Dubrasich, Western Institute for Study of the Environment

John Dunn, American Council on Science and Health of NYC

Dick Flygare, QEP Resources

Michael Fox, Nuclear industry/scientist

Gordon Fulks, Gordon Fulks and Associates

Ken Haapala, Science & Environmental Policy Project

Martin Hertzberg, Bureau of Mines1

Art Horn, Meteorologist

Keith Idso, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Jay Lehr, The Heartland Institute

Robert Lerine, Industrial and Defense Research and Engineering1

Peter Link, Geologist

James Macdonald, Chief Meteorologist for the Travelers Weather Service1

Roger Matson, Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists

Tony Pann, Meteorologist WBAL TV

Ned Rasor, Consulting Physicist

James Rogers, Geologist1

Norman Rogers, National Association of Scholars

Thomas Sheahen, Western Technology Incorporated

Andrew Spurlock, Starfire Engineering and Technologies, Inc.

Leighton Steward,

Soames Summerhays, Summerhays Films, Inc.

Charles Touhill, Consulting Environmental Engineer

David Wojick,

1 – Emeritus or Retired

Written by admin

February 10th, 2011 at 12:23 am

Professor Armstrong's letter to Senator Boxer on the forthcoming publication of Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit

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April 9, 2008

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Boxer,

Since presenting the presentation of my testimony on the validity of the government polar bear forecasts at your U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on January 30 of this year, I along with my co-authors Kesten Green of the University of South Australia and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have continued to work on our research paper on the methods that were used to make the forecasts. Thanks to extensive peer review, we have made many improvements. I enclose a copy of the paper. The current version of the paper is always available at

I am pleased to inform you that it has now been accepted (subject to further revisions) by Interfaces. Thus, it stands as the only peer-reviewed study on polar bear forecasting that has been accepted for journal publication.

We found the forecasts of declining polar bear numbers contained in the government’s administrative reports were not the product of scientific forecasting methods. Given the large current population of bears and the upward trend in the population, our findings lead to the conclusion that there is no scientific basis for listing polar bears. Indeed, a reliance on evidence-based forecasting suggests that it is more likely that the polar bear population will increase rather than decrease.

I would be happy to discuss the details of our paper with you.


Professor J. Scott Armstrong, The Wharton School

Written by climatebet

April 10th, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Al Gore misses the March 26 deadline for the Global Warming Challenge

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The extended due date for the Global Warming Challenge passed with no word from Mr. Gore. Although he and Professor Armstrong have had a number of communications, Mr. Gore offered no response to the key question:

“When and under what conditions would you be willing to engage in a scientific test of your forecasts?”

Validation of forecasting methods is a key issue in climate change because, although we know that climate varies, we have been unable to locate a single scientific forecast that supports global warming. If Mr. Gore or anyone else is aware of such a forecast, they should reveal the source to the scientific community. Claims that science supports global warming forecasts have, to date, failed to provide sources.

A history of the Global Warning Challenge is provided at It includes all correspondence between Scott Armstrong and Al Gore. The site will post all papers that purport to provide scientific forecasts of global warming. The papers must provide full disclosure on how the forecasts were made, as full disclosure is one of the basic principles of science.

Scott Armstrong’s letter to Al Gore follows:

March 28, 2008
Honorable Albert Gore
2100 West End Avenue,
Suite 620
Nashville, TN 37203
Fax: 615-327-2227

Dear Mr. Gore,

The extended deadline for the Global Warming Challenge has passed and, despite the fact that I have responded to all of your concerns to date regarding the challenge, you have not been willing to engage in a scientific test of your forecasts of dangerous global warming.

Despite our literature searches and our appeals both on the Internet and in our published paper on climate change, my colleague and I have been unable to find a single scientific forecast to support global warming. If you are aware of such a study, I appeal to you directly to reveal it to the scientific community so that it can be subject to peer review and so the public can see the scientific basis for your claims.

In addition we need to continue scientific studies. Thus, I pose this question:

“When and under what conditions would you be willing to engage in a scientific test of your global warming forecasts?”

I look forward to your responses. By your own words, the global warming issue remains an important one for the future of the world. Given the enormous expenditures on this issue, I hope that as a concerned and influential citizen, you will take an active role in encouraging the application of science to this issue.


J. Scott Armstrong

Written by climatebet

March 28th, 2008 at 8:25 am

Counting the days

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It’s been over 2 months since Armstrong sent a simplified challenge with extended deadline to Al Gore. We’ll be keeping track until Mr. Gore responds.

Written by climatebet

December 6th, 2007 at 10:49 pm

Armstrong extends the deadline for the Global Warming Challenge to Al Gore – and simplifies the bet

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After a series of cordial exchanges, Al Gore had said that he was too busy when the challenge was first offered. As a result, Scott Armstrong extended the deadline and simplified the process such that the only actions required of Al Gore are to 1) sign the letter and 2) deposit $10,000 in the Challenge Fund. The letter below explains the new simplified process.

November 28, 2007

Honorable Albert Gore
2100 West End Avenue
Suite 620
Nashville, TN 37203

Dear Mr. Gore,

Thank you for your previous emails and your letter concerning the Global Warming Challenge. You had mentioned that you were looking forward to reading my book, Principles of Forecasting; I believe the principles are critical to making accurate forecasts for global warming.

In earlier communications, your staff mentioned that you were too busy at the time to enter in the Global Warming Challenge. As a result, I am happy to extend the deadline beyond December 1st, 2007, to March 26th, 2008. In addition, I have found a way to make your task much easier. I propose that you place $10,000 on the Hadley Centre Forecasts.

This would merely require that you sign on the “I agree” line at the bottom of this letter. Each of us would then arrange to transfer $10,000 to a trust of your choosing. The money would be invested in mutual funds, and the proceeds would go to the winner’s charity on March 26th, 2018.

As a brief reminder, here is an overview of the original Global Warming Challenge (details can be found at

Al Gore is invited to select any currently available fully disclosed climate model to produce the forecasts (without human adjustments to the model’s forecasts). Scott Armstrong’s forecasts will be based on the naive (no-change) model; that is, for each of the ten years of the challenge, he will use the most recent year’s average temperature at each station as the forecast for each of the years in the future.

Details on the 10-year bet would be handled with discussions between me the Hadley Centre. I would ask an independent board to aid in this process of finding an appropriate design and to monitor the progress of the bet. You would be kept up to date, and you would have the right to ask the board to consider changing aspects of the design.

In The Assault on Reason, you stated your interest in the use of science in addressing global warming:

“We must, for example, 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. Americans in both parties should insist on the reestablishment of respect for the rule of reason. The climate crisis, in particular, could cause us to reject and transcend ideologically based distortions of the best available scientific evidence.” p. 10

I believe we have a common goal. Although I expect to win, the purpose of the challenge is to promote interest in a scientific approach to forecasting. Climate experts have done much useful work to explain the past, but their approach to forecasting does not adhere to scientific principles.


J. Scott Armstrong

For the signature of Mr. Gore:

I agree to the terms of the Global Warming Challenge with the variations specified in this letter

Written by climatebet

November 30th, 2007 at 2:20 am

Another response from Al Gore to the Global Warming Challenge

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Thank you for thinking of Mr.Gore and inviting him to join you on June 27th. I apologize for the late response, but Mr.Gore has an extremely busy schedule and was not able to make it. I also read that you have a book called “Principles of Forecasting”, please feel free to mail that to Mr.Gore’s office at the address listed below. Thank you for understanding and good luck with everything in the future.

Kathryn Ankner

Office of the Honorable Al Gore & Mrs. Tipper Gore
2100 West End Avenue
Suite 620
Nashville, TN 37203

Click through for Scott Armstrong’s reply.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by climatebet

July 29th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Featured in WSJ's Opinion Journal

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Scott Armstrong’s challenge to Al Gore was mentioned in today’s Opinion Journal Political Diary (subscription only), which features commentary and analysis on US Politics by the Wall Street Journal.

Read up on the article by Taylor Buley below (reproduced with permission):

Weather Report

Al Gore thinks the climate crisis is so dire that he’s written a book, produced a movie and organized a world-wide music event to raise awareness. These have helped to make him a rich man, but is he willing to put his money where his mouth is? Don’t bet on it.

J. Scott Armstrong, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and expert on long range forecasting, has offered to bet Al Gore $10,000 that he can do a better job of predicting the future of climate change than the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose forecasts of rising temperatures are cited in virtually every media account. Mr. Armstrong and a colleague, Kesten Green of the University of South Australia, examined the IPCC’s work for last month’s 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting and found it essentially valueless according to established principles of forecasting. “Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder,” concluded the two.

So what’s Prof. Armstrong’s own climate prediction? No change at all. “The methodology was so poor that I thought a bet based on complete ignorance of the climate could do better,” says Mr. Armstrong. “We call it ‘the naïve model.’ Things won’t change.”

Professor Armstrong is the author of Long-Range Forecasting — the most frequently cited book on forecasting methods — and Principles of Forecasting, which was voted a “favorite book” by researchers and practitioners associated with the International Institute of Forecasters. If Mr. Gore accepts his challenge, Prof. Armstrong has proposed that each man put $10,000 into a charitable trust at a reputable brokerage house. The winner would then choose a charity to receive the total amount.

So far, Mr. Gore — usually quite the opportunist — has balked at the opportunity to establish credibility with global warming skeptics. “Please understand that Mr. Gore is not taking on any new projects at this time,” read a note to Mr. Armstrong from Mr. Gore’s communications director.

Written by climatebet

July 11th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Al Gore's Response

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This statement does not preclude Mr. Gore from taking action at a future time. Mr. Gore has not responded directly, and there seems to be a communication problem as his involvement in Global Warming Challenge would take him only five minutes. Professor Armstrong remains hopeful that Mr. Gore will lend his prestige and influence to furthering a scientific approach to climate forecasting.

Written by climatebet

July 7th, 2007 at 7:04 pm