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Wanna bet?

A blog called "Professional Conflict Resolution" is calling for the two sides of the climate debate to resolve their differences by means of a positive spree of gambling. The author says that "What the climate community needs are objectively verifiable predictions", which is, I think, a position that few people on this site would disagree with.

The climate community is losing the battle because it has failed to put out objective measurable changes.  The climate community requires something akin to the Simon-Ehrlich wager. I myself see the argument as whether climate change is happening (it is) or whether the earth’s temperature is rising (it is).

The debate – indeed, the whole debate in Paris was about this – is about whether the effects of climate change will be beyond the ability of humans to adapt.  To quote a presentation by Mark Boslough, is global warming “inconvenient or catastrophic?” The future can only be projected.  We have no empirical observational data about 2025.  Or even about tomorrow.

Whether climate change is inconvenient or catastrophic must be demonstrated with predictions ahead of time

Thus I maintain that in order to obtain credibility, the climate community must provide objective benchmark predictions.  These predictions must not be subject to interpretation.  They must also be indicative of a trend and cannot be individual events like storms or droughts.

One caution: do not place bets on global temperature. This must not be about whether the world is warming. It must instead focus solely on impacts.  In order to demonstrate that there will be catastrophic things, there must be demonstrated that there was predicted these events.

The reaction should be interesting.

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Reader Comments (33)

What climate change is he talking about? I understand the global temperature has not changed since 1998.

Jan 12, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

It seems to me yet another illustration that some people still don't understand the debate. It's not about whether things will change, because they will; pretty much a dead cert. It's about what is causing the changes and will they be catastrophic, plus, can we do anything about it.
My sense is that the best we can do is to identify cycles and take a reasonable stab as to where they will lead. To suggest that is just the province of ‘the climate community’ is a nonsense. Given that they come over as the supporters of ‘the science is settled and CO2 and man generally, is the cause of virtually all changes’ I would have thought they are the last group to ask.

Jan 12, 2016 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeA

The climate community requires something akin to the Simon-Ehrlich wager.

Simon's victory, and the total failure of Ehrlich's predictions have not stopped neomalthusianism, nor even Ehrlich, who is now celebrated by the Royal Society.

Jan 12, 2016 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

"predictions ahead of time"

But predictions are difficult, especially about the future...

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

There's already an opportunity for gambling. Warmists could bet that renewables were going to be big in the future and pay to get in on the ground floor. If AGW is real and renewables work then they'd make a killing. However, they expect to gamble using our money.

I'd certainly like to see some predictions that can be compared to reality. I even accept that those predictions would be complex, involving scales for different forcings. But knowing climate science the error bars would be big enough to drive a truck through and there's always a new model that is guaranteed to be better.

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

And who, pray, is "the climate community"?

Or is that Green/Left shorthand for "people who agree with me"?

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Straight away, the author has shown that he is not impartial:

'.....whether climate change is happening (it is) or whether the earth's temperature is rising (it is).....'

WHY, precisely, if he is calling for 'objectively measureable changes' - does he need to insert those statements..?

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

One caution: do not place bets on global temperature. This must not be about whether the world is warming. It must instead focus solely on impacts.

If the earth's atmosphere doesn't warm as predicted then the whole model is flawed.

And if it boils down to whether climate change (which in the absence of warming is ipso facto not AGW) has materially harmful effects then the whole question of AGW itself is moot.

And if the question of AGW is moot, this leaves off the table any question of emissions-based policies.

The whole thing sounds muddle-headed. Can you imagine Alarmists getting on board a bet where, as a basic premise, any question of emissions policies are off the table?

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

As soon as someone starts talking about a "community" of any kind, I turn off. Its as if we all have to be pigeon holed.

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

MikeA beat me to it.

The failure of the 'Sceptical Community' is it lets the 'Climate Community' (how fatuous that self-awarded title) get away with attacking its challengers with 'denying' global warming and climate change.

The 'Sceptical Community' lets them define the argument. We fall in line even referring to 'the pause', we meekly followed suit when they changed the terminology from Anthropogenic Global Warming to just 'global warming' when there was no evidence for the former, then went along with the nomenclature change from 'global warming' to the sure winner 'climate change' (there always is) when global warming stopped... not 'paused' stopped. 'Paused' implies it will resume and therefore is explicitly prescient.

We (I self-confessed sceptic) need to stop arguing (just) about temperature records, climate sensitivity, Polar bear numbers and sea ice and start making a lot of noise to ensure the wider public understand the debate is about Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming and the lack of any evidence of that.

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

There's already an opportunity for gambling. Warmists could bet that renewables were going to be big in the future and pay to get in on the ground floor. If AGW is real and renewables work then they'd make a killing. However, they expect to gamble using our money.

Indeed some have already got in early, lobbied hard for subsidies, exemptions from normal eco-rules and for inflated tariffs, then taken the taxpayers' money and run.

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

The reaction should be interesting.

The reaction will be tumble-weed and crickets. The warmists have nothing to gain from making verifiable predictions, which is why the dire impacts they predict are always 'just around the corner'.

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

I welcome everyone to the Holocene Inter-glacial period, which has yet to achieve the estimated global temperatures of the previous 4 Inter-glacials going back 500,000 years, of between 3 & 5 degrees warmer!

This bloke is still framing the so called "debate" as if man has been found guilty without doubt!

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Perhaps the wager should be about whether there has been any calorimetric proof that 'back radiation' exists? If not, then the IPCC models would be shown to have been based on a fallacy....:o)

Jan 12, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

One caution: do not place bets on global temperature. This must not be about whether the world is warming.

The author needs to explain why not. Is it perhaps that (s)he
a) knows that it is bet that has already been lost, and
b) is unwilling to acknowledge that warming might actually be net beneficial?
I see no indication that the author might actually be considering predictions along the lines of 'How much greener the Sahel region of Africa will become'. The warmist side don't want positive outcomes and largely pretend they don't exist. That really ought to speak volumes to a professional conflict-resolver.

I wonder how many conflicts this person has managed to professionally resolve so far?

Jan 12, 2016 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Sorry you cannot bet with someone who plays 'tails you lose heads I win ' unless you won't to lose money
But good luck to them , they could start be getting alarmist to agree with what would 'disprove ' their theory something they seem to have found impossible to do so far despite their claims to be doing 'science'

Jan 12, 2016 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Tom Fuller made such a bet with Joe Romm, paying homage to Simon/Ehrlich while explaining it.

It looked like an easy win, but now I suspect he will lose due to GISS adjustments. I predicted this at the time on The Blackboard.

Jan 12, 2016 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

"Whether climate change is inconvenient or catastrophic must be demonstrated "

Net beneficial for any temp increase within the range of possibility if caused by fossil fuel burning. Only cold is a real threat.

Jan 12, 2016 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

OK the alarmists live in a fantasy Lalaland, but posts like this show they are thinking.

I saw a good point yesterday on the subject of climate gambling
Doubt is a mirror
- Alarmists often say 'Skeptics sow doubt and so are gambling with the future of the planet'

Yet when Alarmists say "We don't know so it could be XYZ catastrophe, we need to do our green solution"
That is GAMBLING... Sure as the guy who is certain that his chosen horse will win the horse race.
..Gambling with the public's money and freedoms.

@John B and @MikeA are entirely right , We should not fall prey to their psychological tricks like trying to control the language.

The writer says

whether climate change is happening (it is)
Well, that just show he is a child in thinking terms.. You don't go around saying things like that, you define your terms.

I also see the thing I call 'complexity denial',
.......when a true-believer shouts "It's all so simple, why won't you just believe ?"

Jan 12, 2016 at 3:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Thank you, Tom, for posting this and generating discussion. To respond to a couple of things on here:

(1) "Climate community" I typically try to avoid the use of "denier" or "alarmist" in these. I don't like such characterization a. But I can be pretty certain everyone knows who I am talking about. I suspect everyone knows who I am talking about. I believe (and others may disagree) that the message is more important than the name. Do you fit into the definition of "climate community" or "skeptical community?" If yes, then fine. If not, the post wasn't about you, so offense isn't rational.

(2) Regarding temperature not being included: this is an inducement toward both sides. Look at Mark Boslough: temperature has become a loaded bet that people won't take. Too many data sources. Too much uncertainty. Plus, it only hits one thing: is it happening?

Skip the whole deal with temperatures and go with the inferences. Don't believe temperature is rising? Okay. Then you'll have little problem betting that the ACE will not increase some appreciable amount. It's inferred. If you think it is warming but it's not a big deal, then no problem with making the same bet. On the other hand, if you think that global typhoons will actually be more powerful and more numerous as a result of global warming, then you would think an increase in the ACE to very high levels would also have no problem making a bet like that.

My issue isn't whether the earth will warm .1 degrees C in a decade. My issue is, "who cares? What does that mean? I dont act differently if the temperature is 59.1 F versus 59.3 F. So what will the the earth do with it?"

What WILL the earth do? No more "may" or "might." Those are qualified. Does a "warmest" really think that crop yields will drop? Then bet on it. Does a "skeptic" think crop yields will increase? Then put up. After all, the debate is about impacts and policy. If there are claims of pending Armageddon, then I suggest benchmarks.

That is why no temperature. It's too argumentative. And the debate is about "what does warming mean."

The final thing about my post: the beta will gravitate towards reasonable. Think any person will actually bet that sea level will rise two meters by 2100? I think that even the hardcore alarmists won't be willing to bet any more than 2 inches of sea level rise in a decade. Most would be hesitant to bet an inch.

Meanwhile, the most hardcore alarmist wouldn't bet on decreasing sea level. Most will agree to at least a half an inch.

When they get together to find a bet - when egos are on the line - I'm pretty sure we will find out a better sense of the real consensus and agreement. It opens the door to negotiations.

And wherever the mutually agreed over/under is between the two camps, that number would reflect what is probably the most realistic scenario. And that is my main goal - trying to find the signal (what will probably happen) through the massive amount of rhetorical noise.

Thanks all. And sorry for typos and stuff. Still getting used to my phone.

Jan 12, 2016 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryC

"I myself see the argument as whether climate change is happening (it is) or whether the earth’s temperature is rising (it is)."

Actually it's not either of those, it's predominantly about whether man's actions, and much more specifically our production of co2 through the burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of any changes. (they're not)

Jan 12, 2016 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunderlandsteve

Climate change has no value if it cannot be used to get certain people to shut [snip-manners] up.

I accept no wager on this.

Jan 12, 2016 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAila

"The future can only be projected." What happened to predictions? ... Legally, a projection is just a toy. You can not sue for a wrong projection.

Jan 13, 2016 at 3:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

I'd like to extend my analogy that Climate alarmists are like gambling addicts that are running around spending all our money on lottery tickets cos they "KNOW they have the winning numbers"
- A few $billion on the solar PV lottersubsidy *
- A few $billion on wind lottersubsidy ..*even tho no cost/benefit analyses are shown
- A few $billion on Biomass lottersubsidy ..even tho doubts exist on it being a true CO2 reducer or particulate safe
- A few $billion on Electric Vehicle lottersubsidy
- A few $billion on Electric Battery tech lottersubsidy
- A few $billion on Other green tech/gimmicks like tidal/barrages etc. lottersubsidy
** (billion.. maybe I mean trillion sometimes)

but they KNOW to NOT buy tickets for the fracking lottery, even though (It's a 99.9% winner) that has been proven to reduce the US's CO2 footprint, with only the odd minor accident.
They aren't even that excited about buying tickets for the Insulation Lottery, even though it has proven odds. It's like the bigger the odds are the more excited they are.

- (It's not upto the rest of the family ie skeptics to prove that that lottery number isn't going to win)

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:27 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Alarmists bet all the time
- They bet they can get away with it (Making vast dramatic statements on TV/radio etc)
- They bet, the media won't do its job and call them out on it.
- They bet that skeptics won't get much of a voice on the media.

- Harra and all betting that Morocco will be getting 42% from renewables, within 4 years time !
- Emma Thompson bets "our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030"
- Peter Wadhams and Gore with their annual pantomime bet that the Arctic will be ice-free in X years.

In a hypothecial universe people like Harra & Emma Thompson would be required to deposit a large sum of money in the Green Gambling Bank, before they allowed a media platform to make a dramatic predictive claim.

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:32 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Those are the bets that Skeptics might first take :
- Morocco to get 42% of electricity from renewables by 2020
"Morocco is opening vast solar plant ..aims TO GET 42 per cent of its energy from renewables .. by 2020." said "the BBC's Climate Rajah (on page 2, I listed occasion's where the Moroccan gov said it's a capacity target, not a production target..anyways the big launch bis already 2 weeks late)

Then take the other bets
- "our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030"
- The Arctic will be ice free by next year..or last year ..........or X years previously.
- Or that Solar WILL have achieved price parity by 2013 like Leggett said

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:37 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"The climate community is losing the battle because it has failed to put out objective measurable changes."

The climate community, i.e. the 'climate alarmists and team'; have been making verifiable predictions and bets every year.

- Arctic ice is melting
- The Arctic will be ice free by 2015
- The sea level will flood coastal areas. This one has been made again almost every year just with new flood dates.
- Droughts will be more frequent
- Tornadoes will need a new F6 ranking.
- Hurricanes will need a super storm level category 6.
- Polar bears are starving and drowning, they're endangered!
- Penguins are dying and are becoming endangered.
- Butterflies are endangered and dying from climate change.
- Frogs are dying from climate change.
- Australia desperately needs osmosis water sources!
- Australia dams will be dry forever
- We're all going to fry!
- Snow is a thing of the past.
- The heat is hiding in the oceans!
- All of that hidden oceanic heat is going to come back out in the future and kill us!
- Climate refugees will be flooding the high ground.
- Al Gore and many other pseudo green glamorous ocean front owners will actually believe in sea level rising.

The list is very long. Virtually every alarmist author and alleged journalist has gone way out on limbs making false assumptions and claims.

What needs to be considered is for alarmists to seriously recognize their climate change aka global warming gambling addictions! Too many alarmists want to the glory and admiration due to the alarmist with the best and truest disaster prediction.

Jan 13, 2016 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Remember the old joke about Communism and its tendency to disappear people from past records?
Under Communism the future is certain, only the past is in doubt.

When one looks at how climate scientists continually fiddle with the past temperature data its seems
reasonable to say -- Under Global Warming the future is certain, only the past is in doubt.

Eugene WR Gallun

Jan 13, 2016 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterEugene WR Gallun

Banality or codeword confusion: 'I myself see the argument as whether climate change is happening (it is) or whether the earth’s temperature is rising (it is).'

Ignorance or inconvenience avoidance: 'One caution: do not place bets on global temperature. This must not be about whether the world is warming.'

Well, those of us dismayed by the antics and hyperbole of UNEP, the IPCC, the Met Office, and so on through the shameful list, have never thought that climate change was not happening, nor did we find rising temperatures implausible given the reported observations and reported computations of 'average'. It was not us who held press conferences heavy with foreboding with hockey stick plots of temperature rising dramatically behind us, nor us who talked of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. It was not us who wrote children's stories of sweat-soaked Londoners trying to go about their days in tropical heat, nor pushed pictures at them of lonesome polar bears perched as if trapped on melting ice-floes. Nor was it us who decided to downplay temperatures and warming and catastrophe when these no longer served as good scare-PR for various reasons, not least the failure of temperatures to rise as previously, and dramatically and always, projected. We watched with deepening dismay as more people whose admitted motive was the destruction of industrial civilisation came out as riding the CO2-scare bandwagon because they spotted it was heading in a direction that suited them just fine. And I don't think much of a 'professional conflict resolver' who has spotted a key flaw, and the low credibility of a cause he or she clearly believes in, and wants it sorted with some public declaration of unambiguous verifiable doom. That will inevitably have to be so far in the future that it will not be those alive now who will do the verifying, but it will serve, I suspect he or she hopes, to keep those who are now alive more obedient and docile. Nice try, but no cigar.

Jan 13, 2016 at 9:42 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Gamification works : but NOT with a completely skewed playing field.
(currently it's like playing Subbuteo on a table where for one team half their players and missing and the table is at a 45° angle.)
Talking of bets to show the real situation of Climate & Energy..well you could speed that up further by gamifying it as a SIM city type computer game where the choices/bets you make early on in the game determine the points you make at the end.
You drive a character who can choose to put up lots of wind turbines etc. whilst the computer drives a character say Russia who chooses to turn up the smog and start lots of wars etc. And you quickly scan thru the years upto 2100, 2200 etc and see what happens.
You could have 2 other character families in the game. and see if the Eco-warrior family really do get lots of 'CO2 saving points' by switching to eco-bulbs whiltst still flying to climate conferences.

There are such games but you don't hear much of them
- BBC Game 2014 stagnant
- 'SimCity' game rebuilt for age of climate change 2012
- list of 19, in 2012

Jan 13, 2016 at 10:28 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Al Gore's Wheel of Fortune is a climate betting game you can play ..great graphic on WUWT
- original

Jan 13, 2016 at 10:53 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"What the climate community needs are objectively verifiable predictions". This must be for use in the Casino, as the staff at CAGW do not seem interested in this sort of activity in their science at all.

Jan 18, 2016 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

It might be interesting that in the week since this post was published, I ave not received a single taker. This is a bet that, so far, nobody is willing to make from either side.

And actually, I am not surprised.

Jan 19, 2016 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerry

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