The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

Archive for the ‘global warming’ Category

Who would win the ‘Climate Bet’, Al Gore or Scott Armstrong?

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In his talk on March 9, 2009 at the International Climate Change Conference in New York City, Wharton Professor J. Scott Armstrong will announce the launch of a prediction market on the outcome of the „Climate Bet‟ he proposed to Mr. Gore in 2007. Prediction markets are a structured scientific approach to eliciting and summarizing peoples‟ opinions. The Climate Bet prediction market is part of a project led by Andreas Graefe, a researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, to examine the use of prediction markets for controversial public policy issues. Are prediction markets useful in aiding the democratic process? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by mzfeldm

February 23, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Test Your Climate Change IQ

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Take this one-question quiz and see how well you can forecast global average temperatures (Available for download here) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by mzfeldm

February 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Global Warming “cancelled”, 2009 International Climate Change Conference is on.

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As they did in 2008, organizers of The International Climate Change Conference are hosting a similar forum entitled “Global Warming Canceled” in New York on March 8-10 of 2009.  The Conference, sponsored The Heartland Institute, is intended to encourage an unbiased scientific evaluation of global warming.

Dan Miller, executive vice president of The Heartland Institute explains, “No corporate dollars earmarked for the event were solicited or accepted.” This creates a unique setting for a discussion of global warming; an issue that often incorporates political and corporate interests. Nearly 1000 scientists and experts from around the world will be attending the conference…more

Written by mzfeldm

October 24, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Audio recordings now available for the International Conference on Climate Change

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On March 2-4 2008, more than 500 scientists, economists, and policy analysts from around the world met in New York City for the inaugural International Conference on Climate Change.  The audio recordings of all 103 presentations from all five tracks (paleoclimatology, climatology, impacts, economics, and politics) are now available on a 35-CD set. It is clear that there is no scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of climate change nor on the direction of the changes.

The complete set is available from The Heartland Institute for $119.
Call (312) 377-4000 to order, or use the online order form at http://www.heartland.org/newyork08/proceedings.html.

Scott Armstrong interviewed on global warming by newspaper in Spain

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In a recent interview conducted by LA VANGUARDIA, Scott Armstrong takes on challenges regarding his stance on climate change.  Armstrong defends his position and explains why the global warming scare is a sham.  The interview appeared in La Contra in Spanish, but has also been translated to English

Armstrong counters interviewer Laura Guerrero with his own “Inconvenient Truth” in explaining the fabrication of global warming.  Armstrong calls global warming:

A falseness with ulterior motives, because thousands of bureaucrats and politicians make a living on convincing us that the world is in danger and that we need them and their salaries to save us.

Written by mzfeldm

September 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Uncertainty, the Precautionary Principle, and Climate Change

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The precautionary principle is a political principle, not a scientific one. The principle is used to urge the cessation or avoidance of a human activity in situations of uncertainty, just in case that activity might cause harm to human health or the natural environment. There is an interesting discussion of the history of the term in Wikipedia.

In practice, the precautionary principle is invoked when an interest group identifies an issue that can help it to achieve its objectives. If the interest group is successful in its efforts to raise fears about the issue, the application of the scientific method is rejected and a new orthodoxy is imposed. Government dictates follow. People who dissent from the orthodox view are vilified, ostracized, and may have their livelihoods taken away from them.

Consider the case of “climate change”. Warnings of dangerous manmade global warming from scientists, politicians, and celebrities have received much publicity. They admonish us to dramatically reduce emissions of CO2 in order to prevent disaster over the course of the 21st Century. Efforts have been made to stifle a scientific approach to the issue. In an article titled “Veteran climate scientist says ‘lock up the oil men’“, James Hanson, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was quoted as suggesting that those who promote the ideas of global warming skeptics should be “put on trial for high crimes against humanity.” The skeptics themselves have been ejected from, for example, State Climatologist positions and prevented from publishing research in mainstream journals, and they and their views are routinely attacked.

Much complexity and uncertainty surround climate change. The cumulative empirical evidence on proper forecasting procedures suggests that the most appropriate method in this case is naïve extrapolation. In simple terms, this means to forecast no change. Of course there will be change, but with current knowledge there is no more reason to expect warming than to expect cooling.

As we describe in our paper, we have been unable to find any forecast derived from evidence-based (scientific) forecasting methods that supports the contention that the world faces dangerous manmade global warming.

Appeals for urgent curtailment of human activity “just in case” are often couched in ways that imply that industrial societies are inherently sinful, rather than that there might be a problem to be dealt with. Indeed, interpretation of the precautionary principle is subjective and it is arguable that it is being misapplied to the issue of climate change.

Firstly, even if forecasts of increasing temperatures turned out to be accurate, predicted temperatures and other conditions are within the range of variations that have been experienced in the past. There is no evidence that the natural environment “prefers” relatively cool to relatively warm average temperatures. In fact, life in general prefers warmth.

Secondly, curtailing human activity would harm people’s health by making them poorer than they would otherwise have been. This is likely to be the case even if curtailing human activity happened to reduce global average temperatures. When the situation is framed in this way, the precautionary principle dictates that it is policies to curtail economically efficient human activity that should themselves be curtailed.

The outlook for the climate over the 21st Century is highly uncertain. There is a word in the English language to express high uncertainty. That word is “ignorance”. And ignorance is not a basis for responsible government action. We should expect our politicians to have the courage to resist interest groups’ calls for action in the face of ignorance.

The precautionary principle brings to mind the slogan on the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell’s 1984: “Ignorance is Strength.” Instead of this political principle, we hope that politicians will turn to scientific principles for making public policy.

Written by mzfeldm

September 1, 2008 at 12:15 am

Mashnich and Bashkirtsev’s 2007 Climate Wager

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Solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, of the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believe the climate is driven by the sun and predict global cooling will soon occur. The two scientists are so convinced that global temperatures will cool within the next decade they have placed a $10,000 wager with a UK scientist to prove their certainty. The criteria for the $10,000 bet will be to “compare global temperatures between 1998 and 2003 with those between 2012 and 2017. The loser will pay up in 2018,” according to an April 16, 2007 article in Live Science.

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June 10, 2008 at 7:32 pm