Friday, October 19, 2018

Scientists bet $10K on the climate. Guess who lost

Climate science decided by gambling!  A rather desperate recourse!  There are others better qualified than I to comment on all the matters raised in this but I want to point out a couple of basics.

1). OF COURSE climate skeptics declined to predict a specific climate outcome.  The whole position of climate agnosticism is that the climate is a multivariate product which CANNOT be reliably predicted.  You can only get a prediction right by chance.

2). And the quite glaring fault in Annan's reasoning was that he got his big prediction right because the more recent time period he chose encompassed the biggest El Nino we have seen recently.  So the temperature rise was entirely natural, unrelated to anthropogenic global warming.

Had Annan been a real scientist, he would have corrected his data for the influence of El Nino, which would have shown an essentially flat temperature record -- i.e. no global warming.  Even the simple step of subtracting the leap caused by the previous El Nino would have shown that.

In my research career, I regularly corrected statistically for lots of extraneous factors before I accepted an observed effect as informative.  To make not even an obvious correction is beyond sloppy.  It is non-science
UPDATE: Forecaster Kesten Green writes as follows, putting my point 1 more precisely:

In scientific forecasting terms, what you are saying is don’t expect to beat the no naive no-change forecast of global mean temperatures over longer periods, which Scott, Willie, and I proposed in our 2009 paper in IJF “Validity of climate change forecasting for public policy decision making”.

The logical (and policy-relevant) bet on the predictive validity of “dangerous warming” is not “will it be warmer vs will it be colder” or “will the OLS fitted trend go up or down over the period”, but will the monthly or annual errors from a dangerous warming forecast (the 3C/century that the IPCC have been forecasting for the longest time) be smaller than the errors from a no-change forecast. That was the basis of the Climate Bet that Scott challenged Al Gore to take and that we monitor (as if he had taken the bet) at The initial bet was 10 years to end-2017, which we calculated would be easy for no-change to lose given natural variations over the relatively short period. No-change nevertheless won.

It was a bet any climate scientist would take. It was 2005, and James Annan, a climate scientist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, had heard enough. Some researchers and conservative thinkers who reject mainstream climate science were arguing that climate models were wrong or that Earth would enter a cooler period after solar flares faded.

So he offered them a bet. The wager was $10,000 that the Earth would continue warming through 2017.

The winner would be decided by comparing global surface temperatures from 1998 to 2003 with those between 2012 to 2017. Annan was confident in the climate models, which showed that it would be warmer. Seven prominent climate contrarians refused to bet. Among them was Richard Lindzen, a physicist associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has rejected mainstream climate science.

Annan was essentially fighting with one hand behind his back. The comparison started in 1998, an anomalously warm year in the temperature records, partially driven by an El Niño. Still, Annan was confident that his science would outmatch political ideology.

"They didn't believe what they were saying; this was the whole point to the betting," he said. "It has a serious scientific point to it. ... It's one way of making the point that they're playing debating games."

Eventually, Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, solar physicists at the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics in Russia, agreed to the wager. This week, Annan declared that the contest was over and that Mashnich and Bashkirtsev had lost. It comes as NASA said this week that 2018 could be the fourth-warmest year on record and the fourth year in a row that is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit above the 19th-century average.

The researchers won't pay, Annan said. Neither Mashnich nor Bashkirtsev responded to questions from a reporter. Annan said Bashkirtsev wants a new bet. It would raise the stakes to $100,000 and cover another eight-year period.

Annan has declined that offer because he doesn't think the money will ever arrive. Besides, he said, his point has already been proved.

"It was obvious of course that this settlement risk was the biggest uncertainty right from the start," Annan wrote on his blog, announcing the contest's end Monday. "I had hoped they would value their professional reputations as worth rather more to themselves than the sums of money involved. On the other hand a certain amount of intellectual dishonesty seems necessary in order to maintain the denialist mindset."

Annan has won money on previous climate bets. In 2016, he and climate economist Chris Hope won a £2,000 wager against members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a U.K.-based group that rejects climate science. The winners said 2015 would be warmer than 2008.

He has also lost.

Once, Annan bet that 2010 would break high temperature records. He was off by a year. The five warmest years since records began in the 19th century have all come after 2011, and the 10 warmest years have all come since 1998. Annan said that year, 1998, broke records, and now "we won't see a year that cold again."


Cockroach Krugman: Donald and the Deadly Deniers

America's leading Leftist economist is at it again. He is an economist and there is no evidence that he knows anything about climate science but that does not restrain him. It is just another area for him to pontificate in.  His idea of wise comments about climate skepticism is, in the usual Leftist way, mere abuse.  He calls our thinking "cockroach ideas".  Charming. Let me do a Trump and shoot back -- by saying he is the biggest cockroach of all:  Worth squashing only.

And his hand-waving arguments, such as they are, are all attacks on a straw man.  Skeptics have always agreed that there does seem to have been a slight warming (no more than one degree Celsius) in the last 150 years or so but regard a warming of no greater than one degree Celsis over that period as trivial and not significant in any important sense. Nothing recent has disturbed that judgement

Climate change is a hoax.

Climate change is happening, but it’s not man-made.

Climate change is man-made, but doing anything about it would destroy jobs and kill economic growth.

These are the stages of climate denial. Or maybe it’s wrong to call them stages, since the deniers never really give up an argument, no matter how thoroughly it has been refuted by evidence. They’re better described as cockroach ideas — false claims you may think you’ve gotten rid of, but keep coming back.

Anyway, the Trump administration and its allies — put on the defensive by yet another deadly climate change-enhanced hurricane and an ominous United Nations report — have been making all of these bad arguments over the past few days. I’d say it was a shocking spectacle, except that it’s hard to get shocked these days. But it was a reminder that we’re now ruled by people who are willing to endanger civilization for the sake of political expediency, not to mention increased profits for their fossil-fuel friends.

About those cockroaches: Details aside, the very multiplicity of climate-denial arguments — the deniers’ story keeps changing, but the bottom line that we should do nothing remains the same — is a sign that the opponents of climate action are arguing in bad faith. They aren’t seriously trying to engage with the reality of climate change or the economics of reduced emissions; their goal is to keep polluters free to pollute as long as possible, and they’ll grab onto anything serving that goal.

Still, it’s worth pointing out how thoroughly all their arguments have collapsed in recent years.

These days, climate deniers seem to have temporarily backed down a bit on claims that nothing is happening. The old dodge of comparing temperatures to an unusually warm year in 1998 to deny that the planet is getting warmer — which is like comparing days in early July with a warm day in May, and denying that there’s such a thing as summer — has been undermined by a string of new temperature records. And massive tropical storms fed by a warming ocean have made the consequences of climate change increasingly visible to the public.

So the new strategy is to downplay what has happened. Climate change models “have not been very successful,” declared Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser. Actually, they have: Global warming to date is well in line with past projections. “Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” asserted Donald Trump on “60 Minutes,” based upon, well, nothing.

Having grudgingly conceded that maybe the planet is indeed getting a bit warmer, the climate deniers claim to be unconvinced that greenhouse gases are responsible. “I don’t know that it’s man-made,” said Trump. And while he has sort-of-kind-of backed down on his earlier claims that climate change is a hoax concocted by the Chinese, he’s still seeing vast conspiracies on the part of climate scientists, who he says “have a very big political agenda.”

Think about that. Decades ago experts predicted, based on fundamental science, that emissions would raise global temperatures. People like Trump scoffed. Now the experts’ prediction has come true. And the deniers insist that emissions aren’t the culprit, that something else must be driving the change, and it’s all a conspiracy. Come on.

Why, it’s as if Trump were to suggest that the Saudis had nothing to do with the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished after entering a Saudi embassy — that he was killed by some mysterious third party. Oh, wait.

Finally, about the cost of climate policy: I’ve noted in the past how strange it is that conservatives have total faith in the power and flexibility of market economies, but claim that these economies will be completely destroyed if the government creates incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Apocalyptic claims about the cost of reducing emissions are especially strange given tremendous technological progress in renewable energy: The costs of wind and solar power have plummeted. Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants have become so uncompetitive that the Trump administration wants to subsidize them at the expense of cleaner energy.

In short, while the arguments of climate deniers were always weak, they’ve gotten much weaker. Even if you were genuinely persuaded by the deniers five or 10 years ago, subsequent developments should have made you reconsider.

In reality, of course, climate denial has never had much to do with either logic or evidence; as I said, deniers are clearly arguing in bad faith. They don’t really believe what they’re saying. They’re just looking for excuses that will let people like the Koch brothers keep making money. Besides, liberals want to limit emissions, and modern conservatism is largely about owning the libs.

One way to think about what’s happening here is that it’s the ultimate example of Trumpian corruption. We have good reason to believe that Trump and his associates are selling out America for the sake of personal gain. When it comes to climate, however, they aren’t just selling out America; they’re selling out the whole world.


Where riots will break out because there's no more water. Conflicts would be exacerbated by climate change and rising global populations

The nonsense never stops.  Warming of the oceans would produce MORE rain so warming would ameliorate water shortages, not worsen them.  Junk science in support of junk science below

New research has revealed the areas where real-life 'waterworld' riots are most likely to happen.

Researchers mapped the areas where future global conflict is most likely to break out as a result of climate change-fueled water shortages.

Researchers believe vulnerable areas could face 'hydro-political issues' due to water shortages within the next 50 to 100 years.

Researchers said the areas most likely to be hit by 'hydro-political' issues are those with already stressed water basins.

This includes the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates and Colorado rivers.

They believe water-related conflict or cooperation is likely to develop in the next 50 to 100 years as a result of climate change and population growth.

A team of scientists from the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC) used a novel machine learning method to identify 'pre-conditions and factors' that might lead to depleting water resources in certain areas, particularly those that contain water sources shared by bordering nations.

They also determined that the two dominant factors leading to 'hydro-political issues' are climate change and increasing population density.

While water scarcity isn't the only trigger for warfare, it's a major contributor.

'Competition over limited water resources is one of the main concerns for the coming decades,' the scientists explained.


Astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmitt rejects UN climate report

The New York Times’ Nicholas St. Fleur: " one of the leading climate change deniers, when there was a huge report that just came out last week [talking about] the risk and what is going to happen … as soon as 2040. I’d love to know if you see any irony in your views on people who denied man walking on the moon vs. your views on climate change.”

Schmitt: “I see no irony at all. I’m a geologist. I know the Earth is not nearly as fragile as we tend to think it is. It has gone through climate change, it is going through climate change at the present time. The only question is, is there any evidence that human beings are causing that change? Right now, in my profession, there is no evidence."

"The observations that we make as geologists, and observational climatologists, do not show any evidence that human beings are causing this. Now, there is a whole bunch of unknowns..."

"I, as a scientist, expect to have people question orthodoxy. And we always used to do that. Now, unfortunately, funding by governments, particularly the U.S. government, is biasing science toward what the government wants to hear. That’s a very dangerous thing that’s happening in science today, and it’s not just in climate. I see it in my own lunar research."...

"If NASA’s interested in a particular conclusion, then that’s the way the proposals come in for funding. So it’s a very, very serious issue, and I hope the science writers in this room will start to dig deeply into whether or not science has been corrupted by the source of funds that are now driving what people are doing in research, and what their conclusions are.”


A vision of the future

Note the huge waste disposal problem it creates.  Not very environmentally friendly.  Video from Finland



Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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