The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Gore proposes new condition on climate forecasting challenge . . . Armstrong accepts and awaits a reply

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On June 19, 2007, Professor Armstrong proposed the Global Warming Challenge to Mr. Gore in an effort to stimulate a scientific approach to forecasting climate change. The Challenge asked that Armstrong and Gore each put $10,000 into a Charitable Trust Fund on December 1, 2007. Armstrong bet that over the next ten years he could forecast temperature change more accurately than any climate model that Mr. Gore might nominate. (Armstrong’s forecast would be that global mean temperature would not change over the ten years.)

On July 6, Mr. Gore sent a cordial reply stating that he was too busy. In response, on November 28, 2007, Dr. Armstrong extended the deadline to March 26, 2008, and made the task easier: Mr. Gore was asked merely to provide a checkmark beside a leading climate model and to sign his name.

Mr. Gore’s spokesperson replied on Armstrong’s answering phone on around February 5. The caller apologized for being so late for responding to the November 28 letter. She said, “Senator Gore declines.” No reason was given. She said to call if there were any questions. Attempts to reach her by phone failed despite leaving callback messages. Armstrong then contacted her by email with questions for Mr. Gore:

“You have made dramatic forecasts of a dire future and have asked people to make big sacrifices on the basis of those forecasts. I would be grateful if you would explain:

1. Why are you unwilling to back your forecasts in a challenge intended to promote scientific forecasting of climate change?

2. Under what conditions would you be willing to back your forecasts in a challenge against my forecasts from a simple scientific method that is appropriate in situations of high uncertainty: the naïve “no change” method?”

The spokesperson said that with respect to question #1, “Mr. Gore simply does not wish to participate in a financial wager.” Armstrong responded that it was fine by him and that we could “merely do it for its scientific value.” The spokesperson said that she would ask Mr. Gore. Armstrong asked if Mr. Gore would also respond to question #2.

The second question is of particular importance given that we have not been able to find any scientific forecasts to support global warming –or any that would support negative effects from global warming –or any to support the notion that efforts to reduce man-made CO2 would have a favorable impact on the climate. See Green & Armstrong’s paper “Global Warming: Forecasts By Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts,” Energy & Environment 18 (2007), 995-1019.

Armstrong said that this is a scientific issue, not a political issue. Opinion polls do not provide a scientific approach in this situation, even when some of the respondents are climate experts. However, procedures do exist that would allow us to make scientific forecasts.

Meanwhile, Professor Armstrong awaits Mr. Gore’s response to the revised challenge.

Written by climatebet

February 14th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

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