Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another bet on (not so much) climate change

Brian has already blogged the details. and so has William. All three of us are joining forces to oppose Joe Romm's claim that the Arctic will be essentially ice free (down to 10% of the historical mean minimum) by 2020.

Brian originally bravely offered to stake a spare button and an old stick of part-chewed gum. William offered up $500, and I suggested $1000. At this point, Brian decided he could be a bit braver and Joe started to sound a bit lukewarm. In the end we agreed to evenly share $1000. It is interesting to observe, and experience, how the contemplation of putting down hard cash (even if not very much) focusses the mind!

I don't even have a strong view on the short-term fate of Arctic ice. But for that reason, I think it is unreasonable to claim that all the models and research (which suggests ice-free around mid-century and perhaps later) is badly wrong. I wasn't planning this as a deliberate hedge, but I certainly don't think I can lose both this bet and the original warming v cooling one.


Brian said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, James. I'd say this proves I'm always willing to put old half-chewed pieces of chewing gum where my mouth is, but that sounds kind of gross.

From now on I'm using the term "climate catastrophe" every chance I get.

Climate Catastrophically,

crandles said...

Intrade has a new climate change category. This has allowed me to sell (probably foolishly) 5 $10 coupons at 75 on EU.TARGET.DEC09.>10%

The rules say
A contract will settle (expire) at 100 ($10.00) if European Union agrees before the end of 2009 to reduce CO2 emissions by the amount specified in the contract by the year 2025 (relative to the 1990 emissions baseline).

Any reduction target must be part of a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreement reached before the end of 2009. Any agreement to reduce CO2 emissions made outside of the UNFCCC will not be considered for expiry purposes.

A reduction target does not have to be ratified for the contracts to be expired - only agreed to under the UNFCCC.

Expiry will be based on official and public announcements from EU officials or the UNFCCC Secretariat, as reported in three independent and reliable media sources.

This isn't very clear though. I have emailed them to say

Could clarification be added to this contract please.

First are commitments under Kyoto expiring 2012 to be ignored?

Next suppose that countries making up 80% of EU by GDP (and 81% by emissions) agreed to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Would the 10% contract be expired at:
0 because it is countries agreeing not the EU agreeing.
0 because some parts of EU are not required to cut emissions.
0 because countries could keep emissions above a 10% cut by 2025 then cut by 30odd% between 2025 and 2030 (theoretically possible but probably not practical)
100 because 80% is above some required threshold and 40% * 16years/21years = 30.5% > 10%
100 because 80%*16years/21years*40%=24.4% > 10%
some other calculation apportioning the 40% agreed cut
something else

Thirdly, what if agreement is reached for cuts by 2020.

Fourthly I wonder if it would be appropriate to add a note saying

The Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. At the Bali conference at the end of 2007 it was agreed there would be a two year process to reach agreement. There is therefore a gap between the end of 2009 and 2012 into which the negotiation could be delayed if they are proving to be difficult. If it is clear that substantial cuts will be agreed but they are not formally agreed until 1 January 2010, then all these contracts will expire at 0 as the wording indicates.

It seems to me that a big issue for all of these contracts is whether there will be delay. With all the complexities of these contracts this could be missed and having a brief introduction like that might avoid such problems.

All these complications seem rather messy. I would prefer to see climate change contracts on for example

2008 September sea ice extent as reported by NSIDC (currently available at ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Sep/N_09_area.txt ) is lower than the 2007 record low of 4.28 million km^2. There are bloggers about betting on these sorts of things; for example:



Thank you for considering this