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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


the Global Cooling Bet

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, May 14, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
In response to a paper in Nature that argues that global warming may be entering a lull, the RealClimate blog is extending a friendly wager offer to the authors of the paper, and inviting them to guest post on the blog. I hope the authors (Keenlyside et al.) take RC up on this, as it's a great idea and very much in the spirit of open scientific debate. As the RC folks put it,

Framing this in the form of a bet also helps to clarify what exactly was forecast and what data would falsify this forecast. This was not entirely clear to us just from the paper and it took us some correspondence with the authors to find out. It also allows the authors to say: wait, this is not how we meant the forecast, but we would bet on a modified forecast as follows… By the way, we are happy to negotiate what to bet about - we're not doing this to make money. We'd be happy to bet about, say, a donation to a project to preserve the rain forest, or retiring a hundred tons of CO2 from the European emissions trading market.

We thus hope that this discussion will help to clarify the issues, and we invite Keenlyside et al. to a guest post here (and at KlimaLounge) to give their view of the matter.

RC presented their own scientific case and critique of the Nature paper to clarify exactly where they disagree. This promises to be genuinely informative and rigorous.

In related news, John McCain is distancing himself from the Bush Administration on global warming and presenting his own plan, which includes mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. His campaign website has an entire section devoted to it. His plan is not as aggressive and ambitious as that of either Clinton or Obama, and he seemed confused about his rivals' commitment to the issue:

Asked at his news conference why voters who are concerned about the environment should support him over Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain said that his proposal was “doable” and that his rivals “have never to my knowledge been involved in legislation nor hearings nor engagement in this issue.”

He did not mention that in 2007, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama were co-sponsors of an emissions-curbing bill that he introduced with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. In addition, Mrs. Clinton went with Mr. McCain and other senators on a 2004 trip to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago, to see the effects of global warming. Mr. McCain mentioned that journey in a speech Monday on climate change, but he did not mention that Mrs. Clinton was one of those who went along.

An honest lapse in memory, I am sure. We must be forgiving of these from him, given his age. Anyway, McCain deserves sincere credit for bucking the conservative, anti-science trend.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.