Friday, June 10, 2005

Facilitating betting over global warming

I'm happy to bet famous or semi-famous global warming denialists solely based on their word that they will pay up if they lose, but I think the "put up or shut up" argument can apply to a lot more people, especially since no one famous is accepting my bets or others'. The problem here is getting some guarantee that people who make wild claims against global warming will actually pay up.

So, a potential solution: a third party holds the money for the bet and pays out to the winner. Someone trusted by the denialist and someone whom I'm willing to hold my side of the bet, even if I don't necessarily know if I can trust the person: prominent global warming denialists or skeptics, like Rush Limbaugh, Richard Lindzen, and Senator James Inhofe, or institutions like Reason magazine or the Science & Environmental Policy Project. Or someone else by mutual agreement. I don't know if these people or institutions would be willing to hold the bets, but it's an attempt to make this work. (And if anyone has a better idea for facilitating bets, I'd love to hear about it.)

To recap the bets I'm willing to make:

That temperatures will not drop significantly 10 years after the anomalously-hot 1998 El Nino year (Limited time only! Buy now before it's too late!)

That temperatures will increase ten years from now, that a three-year running average temperature in the future will be warmer than the 1992-1994 period, and that temperatures will be higher 20 years from now (imitating this bet, this bet, and this bet). I'll offer 2:1 odds in favor of whoever's betting me for the first two bets, and 3:1 odds for the third bet. Anyone who thinks the odds of warming are only 50-50 should accept these bets.

My own, higher-risk bet offer: that over the next three years, the averaged temperature increase will be at least half the amount predicted by the mainstream consensus. The mainstream consensus predicts in the next few decades that temperatures will rise by .1 to .2 degrees Celsius per decade (with potential acceleration in later decades). Picking .15 Celsius as the middle position, cutting it in half to represent the bet, and dividing by 3/10 to represent the three year bet period, gives the bet position as 0.0225 Celsius as the averaged increase. This offer is higher-risk because short-term temperatures will vary greatly, but if I make multiple bets over the years, it should work out fine for me. And again, if you think temperatures aren't likely to increase, this should be an attractive offer.

Okay, anyone who's interested, please get in touch! Or if you're believe global warming is likely and know of people who don't, please send them my way.

keywords: science, global warming, bet

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