Monday, April 14, 2008

I accept Bill Gray's climate bet offer - will he seal the deal?

Bill Gray went a step beyond his usual denialist statements last month at the Heartland Institute "conference" on climate change:

“We should begin to see cooling coming on,” Gray said. “I’m willing to make a big financial bet on it. In 10 years, I expect the globe to be somewhat cooler than it is now, because this ocean effect will dominate over the human-induced CO2 effect and I believe the solar effect and the land-use effect. I think this is likely bigger.”

(audio clip at the link above.)

In late 2005, Gray had refused to bet me among other people, so this was an interesting development. (Also interesting that in 2005, Gray was saying cooling would happen between 2010 in 2013, and now he moves the goalposts further down the field.)

I decided to make it more interesting, and placed the following ad last Friday on page 6 of The Collegian, the student newspaper at Colorado State University where Gray is apparently still active:

An Open Letter to Dr. Bill Gray,
Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University

Dear Dr. Bill Gray:

You deny that Earth will continue warming. Two years ago, you told me that you weren’t interested in betting over whether you’re right. Now you’ve said

“We should begin to see cooling coming on……. I’m willing to make a big financial bet on it. In 10 years, I expect the globe to be somewhat cooler than it is now .

That’s wonderful – Dr. Gray, I gladly accept your offer to bet over global warming.

I suggest we each donate $5,000 to the charity to bet over whether temperatures will rise or fall in ten years. When the time’s up, Longbets will give all of our money to the winner’s designated charity, even if neither of us is around to see who’s won.

You could designate our $10,000 plus interest to go to CSU. If I win, our combined money will go to an appropriate “climate crisis” charity.

I will contact you within the next two weeks to finalize our agreement, and you can also reach me at :, or

When so many climate skeptics have refused to bet over their beliefs (among them James Inhofe, Marc Morano, Bob Carter, Tim Ball, Chris Monckton, and the list goes on), it’s refreshing that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is.

Thank you again for making this offer.

Brian Schmidt
Unfortunately, The Collegian doesn't put the print ads on its website, but anyone who can get the paper copy will find the ad on page 6 from April 11, 2008 (or I can email whoever wants the pdf of that page of the paper).

So we'll see if Gray is really willing to make his "large financial bet," and I'll certainly consider different ways to bet if that interests him.

Betting, by the way, is my response to the great "should we respond to denialists or ignore them" debate. The most strongly consensus-contradicting denialist claim becomes all the more reason the denialist should take my money away from me. The fact that all the loudest denialists aren't interested in doing so is an effective tool to contradict them (I hope).

Placing this print ad also has one other potential benefit - denialist editors on wikipedia are censoring biographical articles about Gray and others that mention their refusal to bet, because the documentation of the bets are on blogs, which Wikipedia frowns on. This stuff is now in print, both against Gray and the whole string of others that I mentioned. Maybe it'll finally get reported in wiki.

(Hat tip to Winnebago for letting me know about Gray's offer.)

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