The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

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 http://theclimatebet.com. 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.

Sincerely,

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 http://theclimatebet.com):

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.

Sincerely,

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.

Sincerely,
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

Armstrong Remains Hopeful

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Armstrong Remains Hopeful that Al Gore will Spend Five Minutes to Aid the Scientific Approach to Climate Change Forecasting

It was falsely reported through the media that Al Gore replied “no” to the Global Warming Challenge. What his Communications Director and Scheduler said was, “Please understand that Mr. Gore is not taking on any new projects at this time.” This does not preclude taking action at a future time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by climatebet

July 7th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

How would you respond?

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The Gore camp responds. Click Continue Reading for Scott Armstrong’s response and additional correspondence.

Received Thursday, June 28, 2007:

Thank you for inviting Mr. Gore to Speak at the International Symposium on Forecasting yesterday. We are sorry that Mr. Gore was unable to attend. I hope that the event went well.

Sincerely,
Rachel VanCleave
info@CARTHAGEGROUP.COM

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by climatebet

July 6th, 2007 at 10:00 pm

Counting the Days

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Updated: Gore’s office responded on Thursday, June 28th, 2007.

See this post for more details.

Written by climatebet

June 26th, 2007 at 11:54 am

Letter to Al Gore

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Tuesday afternoon, June 19th, 2007, a letter with the terms of the challenge attached was both faxed and mailed to Al Gore. The full contents of the letter are published below:

June 19, 2007

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

Fax: 615-327-2227

Dear Mr. Gore,

A “Global Warming Challenge” is attached. I think the challenge serves our mutual interest in developing better public policy. The terms of the challenge can be easily changed upon mutual agreement.

The primary objective is to improve the application of scientific methods in forecasting climate change and, thus, to use better forecasting methods. In addition, it may provide funding for one of our charities.

The objectives are attainable no matter which of us would “win” the challenge. The fact that we would be joining together in this challenge should draw the attention of scientists to the need for using the best forecasting methods and conducting proper validation tests.

Might you be able to respond by the time of my International Symposium on Forecasting talk on the morning of Wednesday June 27? This could be something as simple as “accept,” “decline,” or “contemplating.” Or it could be a longer response. You, or one of your representatives would be welcome, of course, to be a guest at this conference.

I believe that you already know the chairperson, Kajal Lahiri, from his days in Arlington when your sons played on the same soccer team. If you can attend, Kajal will make provisions for you to respond to this challenge. The conference runs from Monday through mid-day Wednesday.

Would you be interested in receiving a copy of my Principles of Forecasting book? I will be happy to send you a copy if you tell me what address to use.

Sincerely,

J. Scott Armstrong

Professor of Marketing
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
armstrong at wharton dot upenn dot edu

Written by climatebet

June 22nd, 2007 at 4:23 pm