Not putting their money where their mouths are

Inspired by Robin Hanson’s work on betting markets, James Annan, a climate scientist, has been trying to get skeptics of global warming to put up or shut up, mostly with no success on either front.  A number of prominent skeptics refused to bet (perhaps having learnt from Paul Ehrlich’s embarassment) or offered to bet only at very high odds in their favor (i.e. implicitly admitting that they thought the probability of global warming was high).  The failure to bet is telling and a nice reminder that even markets with no trades can tell you things of importance!

Finally, however, Annan has found some takers.  From Nature (subs. required):

James Annan, who is based at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in Yokohama, has agreed a US$10,000 bet with Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, two solar physicists who argue that global temperatures are driven by changes in the Sun’s activity and will fall over the next decade. The bet, which both sides say they are willing to formalize in a legal document, came after other climate sceptics refused to wager money… 

Both sides have agreed to compare the average global surface temperature between 1998 and 2003 with that between 2012 and 2017, as defined by the records of the US National Climatic Data Center. If the temperature drops, Annan will pay Mashnich and Bashkirtsev $10,000 in 2018, with the same sum going the other way if the temperature rises.

I hope that a TradeScience market like TradeSports can be established to make such bets more routine and even more informative.