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Betting on Global Warming

In the tradition of Long Bets, climate expert James Annan has bet two Russian solar physicists $10,000 that the planet will warm over the next decade. The scientists have agreed to compare the average global surface temperature recorded by a…
August 19, 2005

In the tradition of Long Bets, climate expert James Annan has bet two Russian solar physicists $10,000 that the planet will warm over the next decade. The scientists have agreed to compare the average global surface temperature recorded by a U.S. climate center (I’m assuming it’s these NASA GISS temperatures) between 1998 and 2003, with temperatures they will record between 2012 and 2017.

Annan (who blogs here) originally tried to make a bet with Richard Lindzen of MIT, who’s probably the world’s most prominent climate skeptic. But Lindzen wanted odds of 50-1! Not exactly a show of scientific confidence.

Annan has a good idea on the usefulness of a futures market where people/communities could make bets on warming temperatures or sea level rise.

He also suggests setting up a financial-style futures market to allow those with critical stakes in the outcome of climate change to gamble on predictions and hedge against future risk.

“Betting on sea level rise would have a very real relevance to Pacific islanders,” he said. “By betting on rapid sea-level rise, they would either be able to stay in their homes at the cost of losing the bet if sea level rise was slow, or would win the bet and have money to pay for sea defences or relocation if sea level rise was rapid.”

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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