Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does Gore's speech mean I'm out $333??????

I've been taught by skeptics that the only thing that matters in the climate change debate is how it affects me. I've bet Joe Romm $333 that the Arctic will NOT be 90% ice-free before 2020, while Gore's saying new data shows it might happen in 2013. Do I need to start socking my pennies away?

It's worth noting that the actual prediction is for 80% loss (as stated at the link, Gore messed it up slightly), but if we do hit 80% by 2013, then 90% isn't that far away. Still, I think I'm on the winning side. Mark Serreze, who's been somewhat aggressive on predicting ice loss, is sticking with 2030. OTOH, Serreze isn't dismissive of the prediction, which is a little scary for my pocketbook, and a lot scarier by showing that 2013 is not crank-level over-alarmism. I'd guess the odds are in my favor still, but not as much as before.

On to climate news almost as important as my finances: Exxon for the first time is hedging against a climate-changed future, and doing it big time with the $41 billion purchase of XTO, a natural gas company. Other oil companies have taken similar actions with renewable power investments, while natural gas is an important bridging fuel over the next few decades.

Hopefully this means less resistance by Exxon to greenhouse gas regulation. Skeptics might say that the company will now game the rents in public legislation and has nothing to do with Exxon's evaluation of climate reaility. I think if they can afford $41 billion to adjust to legislation, they could've afforded $100 thousand or so to come up with an alternative climate model that realistically disputes warming, if one could've been constructed. My guess is they're adjusting to scientific reality, somewhat.

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