Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Put your money where your myth is

Finally, Al Gore has been called to account for his self-serving advocacy of global warming. In an update of the Simon vs. Ehrlich wager of the 1980s, a marketing forecaster from the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Armstrong, has challenged Al Gore to a $20,000 wager as to the predicted rise of temperatures 10 years from now: Armstrong taking the position that temperatures will be at or near steady, while Gore would be placing his money on the oft-cited and heavily promoted contention that temperatures will significantly rise in the next decade as per IPCC forecasts.

Armstrong states that the purpose of the wager is:
  • ...really to promote the proper use of science, rather than the opinion-led science we have seen lately
  • ...Gore says there are scientific forecasts that the Earth will become warmer very rapidly. But I have not found a scientific forecast that supports that view. There are forecasts made by scientists, of course, but they are very different from a scientific forecast'....
  • What we have is climate forecasters effectively translating their own opinions into maths...Their claims are not built on clear and thorough scientific forecasts but on their own outlooks.
Of course Julian Simon won his bet with Paul Ehrlich. Over a ten year period, scarcity and resource depletion did not occur as "forecast" by Ehrlich and his ilk. In fact, because of technological advancement, resource prices declined significantly, as predicted by Simon.

Flash forward 20 years. Bjorn Lomborg validates all of Simon's claims about resources, the lack of limits and the positive role of technology in minimizing human impact on the environment. And what do we teach in schools? in college curricula? in the media? yet still more alarmism, doom and gloom and potential disaster, this time based on the "scientific" evidence of forecasts that temperatures will rise drastically in the upcoming years. Well that should be a pretty easy wager to settle. Just like for Simon and Ehrlich.

So the only real question is: when the green ideologues lose this bet, what will they replace global warming with as the next great environmental doomsday narrative?