Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Emily Yoffe won't bet over global warming

Emily Yoffe had an Op-Ed in the Washington Post about global warming that earned her much derision for writing it and the Post for publishing it. I'm not clear what the point of it was, but as it acknowledged some warming while denying we needed to worry about it, I placed her in the category of "the warming's natural, people!" and asked her to bet over it. No response so far, so I'm guessing the bet won't happen.

My email (with a fixed typo) below:

Dear Ms. Yoffe;

I read your global warming Op-Ed and found it very
similar to Senator Brownback's Op-Ed. He wrote an
Op-Ed criticizing evolution without ever clarifying
whether he believed humans and other organisms have a
common ancestor. You write one on global warming
without ever clarifying whether humans are causing and
will likely cause future warming. Brownback
acknowledged microevolution, and you acknowledged
warming up till now without clarifying if it's natural
or artificial. Very meta, both of you, but not very

I suspect in your case that your real opinion about
human-caused warming, something you didn't have time
to disclose in your Op-Ed, is that it's not happening.
In my opinion, people who suggest inaction is
warranted are betting other people's lives, something
implicit in your suggestion that hurricanes won't
become worse.

Are you also interested in betting your own money? I
don't know if the Washington Post pays for Op-Eds, but
regardless, the stakes you're dealing with are placed
at such a high level with other people's lives, that
betting some of your own money earned through
this or other work shouldn't be that dramatic an

I've negotiated one bet with a global warming skeptic.
Details are here:


I'm also willing to make a similar bet with winnings
going to charity, at longbets.org.

Please let me know if you're interested.

Brian Schmidt

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