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Science Technology

Climatologists Wager on Global Warming 591

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dollars-for-degrees dept.
coflow writes "The Guardian is carrying a story about a $10,000 bet that a pair of Russian scientists have entered with British climate expert James Annan. According to the article, the Russians believe the world will be cooler in 10 years. "If the temperature drops Dr Annan will stump up the $10,000 (now equivalent to about £5,800) in 2018. If the Earth continues to warm, the money will go the other way.""
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Climatologists Wager on Global Warming

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  • by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:32PM (#13363984) Homepage
    According to the article, the Russians believe the world will be cooler in 10 years.

    Unfortunately, $9,999 will have gone towards building a giant air conditioner in the middle of Moscow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:35PM (#13364008)
    The russians investigated weather control far more deeply than the USA (though the british did some experiments too, ended up flooding a small town). Maybe they're going to plunge the world into a new ice age, so they can swan about in their fur hats while the rest of us freeze.
  • Global warming, eh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 42Penguins (861511)
    I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but I think we could use some global warming in northern Ohio. After a while, the bipolar weather patterns aren't so bad, but the winters can get pretty nasty. I realize it probably won't change too much in my lifetime, but it's a thought.

    As for the climatologists, is a bet really news?
    • we could use some global warming in northern Ohio...winters can get pretty nasty

      You know, you do live in America and you ARE free to move south where it's warmer
    • Actually, Ohio is much warmer.

      Back when I was a kid, we had to walk in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. Now, you kids get to rid your bikes downhill and on dry pavement.

      But seriously, USA winters are not like they were in the 50's,60's and 70's.
  • Oh Goody! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ImaLamer (260199)
    Global warming means nothing more than a bet!

    Cooler or warmer, if we are the ones doing it then we are all fsck'd.
    • RTFA. The Russian scientists believe the increasei n global temperature is due to sun spot activities, not human activities... unless we're causing the sun spots!! OMGWTFLOLBBQ
  • by drewcaster (517860) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:40PM (#13364028)
    I thought I'd never say that. It's interesting how mainstream media has declared that a majority of scientists say global warming is real and directly tied into carbon emissions. When the only consensus is that things are getting warmer (opposite of when the planet was getting cooler in the 50's through 60's and causing the global cooling panic).

    I have no trouble accepting that carbon emissions could cause warming, however the evidence isn't there yet. I have several friends in climatology, geology and astronomy who shake their heads everytime a new panic prediction is released. They're not right-wing anti-environmentalist idealogues. They're scientists who see multiple cause for global warming, man being only one of them.

    The "better something than nothing" crowd loses traction with me when it comes to Kyoto. It's just a bad plan.
    • ....scientists who see multiple cause for global warming,....

      Climate goes in cycles, like so many things in nature. Human written records attest to warmer as well as cooler times. I too think that natural causes, such as the variation in solar output have much more effect than mankind putting back some carbon atoms into the atmosphere that were there ages ago when the fossils and fossil fuels were buried in the ground. The carbon in the fossil fuels must have at some point been available to the living creat
      • Whoever modded you insightful should be shot. The first thing you say is true (that we've seen both warmer and colder temperatures over relatively short terms), but the rest is pretty much bunk.

        Did it ever occur to you that not all the carbon was in the atmosphere *at the same time*? And you seem to think there was some big 'magic' event that buried all those fossils and coal *all at once*? Clue: it wasn't a 'sudden burial'. It's not like ravening hordes of topsoil threw themselves screaming on the dino
    • by donscarletti (569232) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:14PM (#13364393)
      You're darn well right. Imagine if we got it all wrong. What if we thought that the world was getting warmer from greenhouse gasses so we reduced carbon emissions when that wasn't even needed. God help us then. Our descendants would all look up at our clear, pristine skies, free from pollution and shake their fists, cursing those maniacs in the early 21st century responsible for cleaning it up and weep for the days where we couldn't see the stars around large cities. Imagine if the hysteria that global warming caused spilled over and caused people to clean up waterways, or reduce other emissions like sulfur dioxide. Imagine a world with clear rivers and no acid rain as well. That's what those crazy eco-nuts would have us reduced to.

      The worst thing about the Kyoto protocol is the harm it could cause if it all went wrong. We have so much to loose because of it.

      • Sky rocketing markets, wars over energy rights, mass unemployment and rioting as a result of that unemployment. Yes we have a tremendous amount to lose if we're wrong. Not to mention how freaking stupid we would look to future generations for believing something so remarkable without any real proof.
        • by cahiha (873942) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:45AM (#13365375)
          Sky rocketing markets, wars over energy rights, mass unemployment and rioting as a result of that unemployment

          Except that those prognostications are utterly wrong: a reduction in energy usage doesn't produce unemployment or result in wars or rioting. If anything at all, in increases employment, both in the development of more energy efficient technologies, and ultimately in the service sector (where automation is replaced with manual labor).

          Yes we have a tremendous amount to lose if we're wrong.

          No, we (as in "the people") only have to gain from lowered carbon emissions: we get a cleaner environment, less risk from global warming, reduced chance of conflict over energy, and more employment. Who stands to lose are the existing energy companies and manufacturers, who have a huge investment in old energy technologies and production methods; any change to the status quo threatens their business big time.
        • by misleb (129952) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:58AM (#13365523)
          The problem with waiting for "real proof" is that by then it is too late. I hardly think that anyone would look back on us as stupid if we played it safe with the environment. Also, I think you are highly exagerating the consequences of environmentalism. There was a time when businesses thought that they could not get by without cheap slave/child labor. But eventually it was outlawed to no ill effect. It was the right thing to do and the economy adapted. Then again, maybe we just moved the slave/child labor overseas...

          -matthew
        • Entering into Kyoto and carbon trading agreements would not result in the collapse of corporate america and mass unemployment.

          This whole "I won't sign up to anything that results in the loss of a single american job" is just nonsense, the real reason Bush doesn't want to sign up is because of where he gets campaign funding from.

          Kyoto is very weak and is only a starting point but atleast it shows Europe is willing to admit there is a problem and start tackling it.

          Oil is a finite resource, prices will continu
      • You're darn well right. Imagine if we got it all wrong. What if we thought that the world was getting warmer from greenhouse gasses so we reduced carbon emissions when that wasn't even needed. God help us then.

        If you want to read a great book based on exactly that premise, read Fallen Angles. [barnesandnoble.com] It's an easy read and funny. SF Fandom saves the world!

    • by RayBender (525745) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:46PM (#13364666) Homepage
      I thought I'd never say that. It's interesting how mainstream media has declared that a majority of scientists say global warming is real and directly tied into carbon emissions.

      That might be because that is in fact the consesnus of a majority of published peer reviewed papers [realclimate.org] in the ltterature.

      It's pretty clear that the evidence is there - if you have an open mind.

      I have no trouble accepting that carbon emissions could cause warming, however the evidence isn't there yet.

      Just what would you require as evidence - a personal note from God? I can list some of the studies indicating a link, but I honestly doubt I could ever convince you...

      I have several friends in climatology, geology and astronomy who shake their heads everytime a new panic prediction is released.

      And I have many friends in geology and climatology, and I am an astronomer, and I have to say that while the "panic announcements" may not be very likely, I think some of them are more likely than the scenarios presented by the contrarians. Case in point - the West Antarctic ice sheet may not melt this decade, but some time in the next century (given no limits on CO2) it will melt. When it does, that's 10 meters of sea level rise right there. I'll probably be dead, but my children might not be.

      They're scientists who see multiple cause for global warming, man being only one of them.

      Man being the one we can control, and the largest one, at the present time.

      The "better something than nothing" crowd loses traction with me when it comes to Kyoto. It's just a bad plan.

      No, be honest. You just spent most of your post arguing against human responsibility for GW; you can't seriously claim that you just have a problem with how Kyoto implements greenhouse reductions, and that you'd support some other mechanism. I didn't hear you say "GW is real, but we should go with voluntary reductions" or something to that effect. You claim that GW is either due to natural causes, or just not real.

  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:41PM (#13364038)
    Obviously inspired by the 10-year Julian Simon/Paul Ehrlich wager of 1980.M [wikipedia.org] Simon had Ehrlich choose five of several commodity metals. Ehrlich chose 5 metals: copper, chrome, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Simon bet that their prices would go down. Ehrlich bet they would go up. Simon won.
    • I considered it might have been in the style of the Hawking/Preskill [wikipedia.org] bet. But then I'm sure science is full of friendly (and not so) bets going back to antiquity. 'Twill be interesting to see the outcome, though my money is on it warming.
    • by Ingolfke (515826) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:02PM (#13364129) Journal
      What an obscure and insightful reference. Great post.

      An interesting quote from the wikipedia article you cited:

      "[Simon] always found it somewhat peculiar that neither the Science piece nor his public wager with Ehrlich nor anything else that he did, said, or wrote seemed to make much of a dent on the world at large. For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they'd been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days "experts" spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker." [4] [wired.com]
      • by learn fast (824724) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:32PM (#13364629)
        Did you notice how this part:

        "For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they'd been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days "experts" spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker."

        is not scientific? Rather, it's just subjective and made up? Really, what's the difference between this impression of his and reading tea leaves?
  • by Travoltus (110240) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:43PM (#13364046) Journal
    Scientists who stand firm on the belief that humans are causing global warming, have been involved in several bet-challenges with skeptics. Here's how two of them panned out:

    "Dr Annan first challenged Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is dubious about the extent of human activity influencing the climate. Professor Lindzen had been willing to bet that global temperatures would drop over the next 20 years.

    No bet was agreed on that; Dr Annan said Prof Lindzen wanted odds of 50-1 against falling temperatures, so would win $10,000 if the Earth cooled but pay out only £200 if it warmed. Seven other prominent climate change sceptics also failed to agree betting terms."
    - In other words, Lindzen made it so it wasn't a fair bet. He poisoned the wager.

    "In May, during BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot challenged Myron Ebell, a climate sceptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, to a £5,000 bet. Mr Ebell declined, saying he had four children to put through university and did not want to take risks."- In other words, Monbiot flat out chickened out.

    The thing is, what happens if (by a miracle) enough nations enact policies that cause lower greenhouse gas emissions and global warming stops? Then who wins?
    • Even if that happens, warming in the short term should still occur; and maybe even in the long term. I can't say I'm an expert in global warming, but I would imagine that even if everyone stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, what's already out there is already out there.
      • Even if that happens, warming in the short term should still occur; and maybe even in the long term. I can't say I'm an expert in global warming, but I would imagine that even if everyone stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, what's already out there is already out there.

        Well, that really says it all, doesn't it?

      • ...but I would imagine that even if everyone stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, what's already out there is already out there.

        Incorrect! Or partially anyway. In addition to things that produce carbon dioxide (cars, volcanos, mammals, power stations, etc) there are also things that consume it (plants, plankton, ????).

        Additionally, these CO2 consuming things are capable (under the right conditions) of absorbing large amounts of CO2 very quickly, especially if they are assisted in their CO2-consuming-end
    • "In May, during BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot challenged Myron Ebell, a climate sceptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, to a £5,000 bet. Mr Ebell declined, saying he had four children to put through university and did not want to take risks."- In other words, Monbiot flat out chickened out.

      Those are indeed other words. In fact they're words with a completely different meaning to the previous ones.

  • That says global warming may well stave off the next ice age, and this wiill be no bad thing for our species. Now I suspect that this would be better acheived deliberately and with planning, rather than through polution. Whichever way it happens though, given that I live in england, a country which was covered to a depth of several kilometers in ice during the last ice age, I can't say I mind too much, however it happens.
  • Gentlemen.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by OsirisX11 (598587) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:44PM (#13364056)
    Start your spraycans!
  • So.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hawkeye_82 (845771)
    .....who gets the money if the climate stays the same?
  • by slickwillie (34689) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:49PM (#13364069)
    $10,000 will be worth about $1.98 in today's dollars, due to the coming hyperinflation.
  • by DevanJedi (892762) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:50PM (#13364075) Homepage Journal
    Finally somebody putting their money where their mouths are. This will be interesting- though I can't understand the math that makes 2005+10=2018. I just hope this isn't one of those stories that you hear the first half of but never the second; meaning that in 2015 (or 2018), nobody will remember this story and the winning of the bet won't be news enough. Scientific bets have been happening for many, many years. Some famous wagers include:
    • Feynman bet a $1000 that no one could construct a motor no bigger than 1/64th of an inch on a side
    • Hawking bet against his own theory of black holes (a subscription of Penthouse to the winner, no less)
    And other similar stuff...
  • Weather futures (Score:5, Informative)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:58PM (#13364113)
    This type of "betting" has been going on for a while now at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Weather futures [cme.com] lets companies and traders buy and sell the risk of high or low temperatures For example a utility company might fear that it will incur high costs if the summer weather is too hot and a softdrink maker might fear that the summer weather will be too cold. These parties can agree to trade a weather future contract that profits the utility if the weather is hot (offsetting the extras costs) and pays the drink maker if the weather is cold (offseting the lost sales). Both sides reduce their own risks. Agriculture and energy traders can also use weather futures to hedge or correct for weather-related price changes in commodities to profit from non-weather-related effects.
    • Re:Weather futures (Score:5, Interesting)

      by abulafia (7826) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:17PM (#13364188)
      Sure. This is a longer-term gamble (and a PR stunt, even if a good one, and with a purpose). AFAIK, one can't buy, say, 20 year futures on the weather.

      Robin Hansen [gmu.edu] has been trying [gmu.edu] to set up markets in this sort of thing [wired.com] for a while, but with little success. It seems that, for the most part, people get more than a little conservative*, and not only don't want to bet, but also don't want to see the odds.

      *I'm using that in the general sense, not the current flame-fest sense.

      • Sorry to follow up on my own post, but I meant to add that a similar betting-pool idea for knowledge aggregation was put forth by John Brunner's brilliant (IMO) book Shockwave Rider [amazon.com], in 1975. (If you like SF, read it, if you haven't. There's a lot more than just the betting thing going on that still echos in modern SF fiction, plus, it is a great story, even if the writing sort of sucks. But we're used to that is SF, yes?)
  • by Achra (846023) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:05PM (#13364140) Journal
    Pretty soon Earth is chock full of sunbeams...their rotting corpses heating our atmosphere.

    Fortunately our handsomest politicians came up with a cheap, last minute way to combat global warming.
    Ever since 2063 we drop a giant ice cube into the ocean every now and then.

    Of course, since the greenhouse gases are still building up, it takes more and more ice each time.
    Thus solving the problem once and for all.
  • In Soviet Russia global warming cools you!
  • by line.at.infinity (707997) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:26PM (#13364219) Homepage Journal
    The Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC were designed to prevent global climate change. If the climate gets warm enough, ocean currents can be forced to "switch" in a way that can trigger a mini ice age.
  • by heroine (1220) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:28PM (#13364227) Homepage
    After a 1 month Summer in Calif* and several years of declining temperatures, we feel the climate is cooling down from particulates more than it's heating up from CO2. Everyone knows sulfur from China's factories is reducing the amount of energy reaching Calif*. The sunsets today are a lot redder than they used to be.
    • Everyone knows sulfur from China's factories is reducing the amount of energy reaching Calif*

      People I work with who have recently returned from China described the air as being extremely polluted. I was offered a two year job in China and declined because I didn't want to expose my family to that kind of environment.

      Sooner or later we are going to have to cut down on airborne particles. Just as we are clamping down on smoking. When this happens global temperatures are going to rise, quickly.

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:30PM (#13364231)
    Seems odd but here is why. The ocean currents carry water from the Polar regions to the Tropics. The reason Northern latitudes are able to sustain large populations is because of the moderating affect of the ocean. If the Polar latitudes warm up suffciently all the ice melts and the process that was sending heavy dense water down to the tropics is disrupted and the Polar regions get really cold and and Ice Age comes along. I don't think there is rational person that doesn't believe we are modifying the environment but this process has happened over and over through history. The Sun is in a very active state and has been pumping out a lot of heat at the same time so I think the chance of this happening isn't so remote. In the 1600-1800s there was a pronounced cooling in Northern Europe and it may be on the way again once the Planet heats up enough to start the cycle all over again. The Earth is very dynamic and climate change is inevitable. Evidence of vineyards in England has been found but you won't be growing any grapes there today!
  • by zogger (617870) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:31PM (#13364233) Homepage Journal
    guess I'd wager on a still occurring warming trend in those time frames. Reason is because the arctic in general has started melting, increasing the albedo effect, along with last weeks notice of the huge methane releases that have started in the siberian tundra. Another reason is that the oceans have been seriously degraded in the amount of carbon they can absorb. Warming and cooling are cyclical, but in this cycle it is headed towards warming. Man's contributions are just that, no less and no more.



    We *are* releasing a ton of gasses, much more than can be reabsorbed, and two giant economies, india and china, are just the past few years really bumping up the volume on what they burn.



    So combine that with the aforementioned geophysical realities, and it looks like more warming coming to me. How long it will last I don't know because of political wildcards. All you can do is guess, but there's only enough oil for some countries to have a robust middle class, not enough for all nations. Anyone can do the math there, it's not that hidden or weird or debateable any longer. There is x-amount projected global demand, with y amount proven reserves/refinery capacity, etc. They aren't the same number and x is a lot larger. That and other strategic minerals, etc. We just *may* have a tremendous global warfare period over natural resources and availability (some contend it has started already),and if this happens, the amount of fires started (call them megafires, as in regional sized) and resultant release of even more gasses plus extra heat that will get trapped WILL be catastrophic. and large wars have started over much less than large nations economic survival.

    I think it pays to remember that "leaders" in these various very large nations by and large tend to be *quite mad*. I am pointing in all directions right now, no favorites. You cannot predict what they might do or how things might spiral out of control.



      I tend to think at best, just for a SWAG, we have to go on past planetary history. We usually wind up with major wars fought by major powers with whatever the major weapons of that time period were. It has eventually always happened. I see nothing that convinces me todays humans are any better than yesterdays humans in that regard. So the combination of lame hoomannz and natural cyclical warming trends should indicate for the next generation or more we will have _more warming_.

  • by zaguar (881743) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:37PM (#13364260)
    Total Russian GDP decreased by %50.
  • I don't make those kinds of bets anymore, not since I lot the Brittney Spears virginity thing...
  • by grqb (410789) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:53PM (#13364317) Homepage Journal
    Here's a study [newscientist.com] that says that oil and gas will run out too fast and prevent any type of doomsday global warming. Actually, it's not the fact that oil will run out, it's the fact that oil and gas will peak and so we won't be able consume them at a fast enough rate.

    That is of course if we don't replace the depleted oil with coal, which may be a possibility. But even still, it seems as if there are enough signs of global warming [thewatt.com] already and the oceans will be releasing so much CO2 that even if we stop using fossil fuels today there will still be net CO2 emissions.
    • by demachina (71715) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:24AM (#13365320)
      Coal fired power plants and steel mills are just as much of the problem as oil and gas and coal isn't going to run out for hundreds of years.

      Also once oil gets expensive enough, like it pretty much already is, it becomes economical to start tapping oil shale and tar sands in the Western U.S. and there is most probably enough oil there to last for hundreds of years too. Its just really dirty, expensive, energy intensive and hard on the land scape cooking it out of the rock and sand. Pilot projects started during the energy crisis in the '70's, then oil prices cratered and it wasn't economical so they all stopped. All indicators are oil is going to stay high now and that is going to green light resuming oil shale and tar sand extraction.

      The world isn't running out of oil, its running out of cheap, easy to extract oil. It doesn't help that Iraq's oil production is now in a shambles thanks to George W. It also should be noted gas and oil prices are high more due to market manipulation than shortages. Supplies are tight but speculators are taking advantage and inflating prices far beyond market realities. In the U.S. refiners have also intentionally reduced refining capacity to insure there is a perpetual tight supply of gas. They make huge profits maintaining an artificial shortage in refining capacity. If they built adequate refining capacity they would make much less money. Oil is not a real free market in this world. Oil companies have consolidated back to a near monopoly status, and they collude to rig prices. If we lived in a world with real free markets someone would step in, build new refineries and create competition and lower gas prices but for some reason no one does.

      There is irony that it Russian scientists betting against global warming and you have to wonder if there is an ulterior motive. The Russian government has as much incentive as Exxon Mobile to deny global warming and launch a PR blitz against it. People forget but Russia is one of the worlds largest oil and gas exporters. Europe is massively dependent on Russian gas. The one save grace for the Russian economy is its vast oil and gas reserves. The current high oil prices have been a major boost to Russia's economy which was a key motivator in Putin and his cronies seizing control of Yukos, one of Russia's largest, formerly privately held oil, companies.
  • by Tavor (845700) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:26PM (#13364439)
    Pentium 4's will be obsolete and not in mainstream usage.
  • by J. Random Luser (824671) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:56PM (#13364532)
    will the singularity due in 2012 nullify this bet?
  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:50PM (#13364868) Journal
    whether or not the US population as a whole gets the message that burning Arab Juice is Un-American. I predict that they will and that successive US governments will make a considerable effort to reduce the amount of imported liquid hydrocarbon fuels. The main result will, thankfully, be a reduction in the rate of Global Warming. International Treaties == Nothing, [Patriot|National]ism == Everything.
  • by distantbody (852269) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:20AM (#13364961) Journal
    We all know about global warming, but there is also the theory of "global dimming", which been backed up by extensive research. The global dimming theory says that the true extent of global warming is being masked by pollution particles, which block out UV rays and therefore prevents them from warming the planet. The cruel irony is that if we move to a %100 renewable, non-pulluting energy existance, these UV blocking particles will dissipate back to natural levels, thus allowing more UV to bounce around in the greenhouse, and exposing us to the full effect of global warming!

    The greenhouse particles exist for greater than 100 years, meaning the only solution would be to remove both the greenhouse particles and the UV blocking particles, how that may be achieved is unclear.
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:48AM (#13365871) Journal
    A poster to the extropy-chat [extropy.org] mailing list pointed out that James Annan also created a global warming claim on the Foresight Exchange [ideosphere.com] that people can bid on:

    http://www.ideosphere.com/fx-bin/Claim?claim=GW203 0 [ideosphere.com]

    If I'm reading the current bid correctly, global average temperatures are predicted to rise 0.72 degrees celsius by 2032.

    There's also a Nature news item [nature.com] covering this.
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:59AM (#13365891) Journal
    There's plenty of other wagers similar to this one on longbets.org [longbets.org], except the loser pays money to a charity instead of to the winner.

    A few examples [longbets.org]:

    * A $20,000 bet between Mitchell Kapor (founder of Lotus) and Ray Kurzweil on whether or not the Turing Test will be passed by 2029

    * A $10,000 bet between Esther Dyson and Bill Campbell on whether or not Russia will be the world leader in software development by 2012

    * A $2,000 bet on whether or not someone alive in the year 2000 will still be alive in 2150

    * A $2,000 bet between Craig Mundie (Microsoft CTO) and Eric Schmit (Google CEO) on whether or not commercial passengers will routinely fly in pilotless airplanes by 2030
  • by Alomex (148003) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @08:29AM (#13366029) Homepage
    We should keep in mind that there are good economic incentives built into the funding system for scientists to overstate their case. There are plenty of examples of this in action:

    (i) the advantages of a reusable Shuttle.

    (ii) the advantages of a Space station.

    (iii) the exaggerated AIDS risk, where the NIH kept on promising a million infected Americans every year, for nearly two decades, before it came true. This one has the distinction from the two above that fighting AIDS is a worthwhile cause that was not properly funded until alarmist statements were made.

    (iv) the risk of meteorites hitting earth.

    (v) the risks of overpopulation (see Malthus).

    (vi) the risks of shortages (see the Ehlrich-Simon wager).

    (vii) the benefits of the next $20B megasuperduper-cyclotron (still waiting for my muon toaster oven).

    (viii) the benefits of artificial intelligence.

    and on and on.

    The publicity seekers have been talking about global warming of several degrees C as a fact since the mid 1990s. Examining the literature the picture is different: global warning of just half a degree C was conclusively proven only a couple of years back.

    So to sum it up, the risks of global warming are overstated by the scientific press. Something to keep in mind is that tempering the claims of global warming does not mean completely ignoring them (like Dubya does today or Regan did with AIDS in his time).

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