The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Put your money where your 'myth' is

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“Meet the Ivy League professor and expert on forecasting who is challenging Al Gore to a $20,000 bet that he is wrong on global warming.

This Monday June 25th, 2007, the article “Put your money where your ‘myth’ is” by Brendan O’Neill was featured on, an online magazine with a global and critically minded readership. Armstrong was interviewed for the article by O’Neill. Read on for two excerpts from the article.

‘The aim of the bet is really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately.’ Scott Armstrong is professor of marketing at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an international expert on forecasting methods. Last week he faxed and posted (to be on the safe side) his ‘Global Warming Challenge’ to Gore. He challenged the former US vice-president to a 10-year bet in which both parties will put forward $10,000. Gore would put his money on his forecasts that temperature will rise dangerously in the coming decade, while Armstrong will put his money on what is referred to as the ‘naïve model’: that is, that temperatures will probably stay the same in the coming years. ‘Gore says there are scientific forecasts that the Earth will become warmer very rapidly. But I have not found a scientific forecast that supports that view. There are forecasts made by scientists, of course, but they are very different from a scientific forecast’, says Armstrong.

Armstrong and his colleague Kesten Green, senior research fellow at Monash University in Australia and also an expert on forecasting, have been conducting research into the global-warming forecasts put out by Gore and organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And they discovered that most climate-change forecasters use bad methodology. They are set to present their findings at an International Symposium on Forecasting in New York on Wednesday. ‘What we have is climate forecasters effectively translating their own opinions into maths’, says Armstrong. ‘Their claims are not built on clear and thorough scientific forecasts but on their own outlooks.’ In Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasts – the paper they are presenting at the symposium, which spiked has seen – Armstrong and Green point out that the IPCC’s Working Group One Report predicted ‘dramatic and harmful increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years’, and they ask: ‘Are these forecasts a good basis for developing public policy?’ The answer provided in their paper is an emphatic ‘no’ (3).

The author of the article, Brendan O’Neill, can be reached at Brendan dot ONeill at spiked-online dot com.

Written by climatebet

June 26th, 2007 at 2:57 am

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