Friday, September 23, 2005

Will the real Piers Corbyn please stand up?

Some time ago, maverick weather forecaster Piers Corbyn presented some, shall we say...unconventional...reseach concerning the supposed solar influence on climate, which, if valid, would indicate a substantial global cooling by 2040. At that time, I was still looking for an opponent to bet against. So, I tried to contact him and arrange a bet, but didn't get a response. Jim Giles, however, phoned him up while researching his Nature article, and did get him to produce the apparently unequivocal quote "I'm happy to bet loads of money".

Piers did eventually comment on my blog article (in the comments section here). I emailed him the reply which I posted below his comment, but have not heard from him again. Since he doesn't seem willing to communicate with me, I alerted William Connolley (WMC) to his offer to bet. WMC emailed him and did initially get a vague reply, which appeared to show interest, but did not address the specifics of a bet. WMC has emailed him several times over the past month, offering either to duplicate my existing bet with Bashkirtsev and Mashnich, or alternatively to negotiate something else along similar lines, but Piers has studiously avoided a direct response. He did refer to my blog article as "deceitful" and "libellous", but as far as I can see, all I have done is accuse him of ducking the challenge, and this seems to be a fair summary of the current state of play. Of course I'll be happy to help publicise any bet if only he would agree to one.

I remind all sceptics that there are offers on the table of up to 3:1 odds, depending on details such as the duration of the bet. That bookends the "market consensus" at between 2% and 25% (the lower figure referring to Lindzen's 50:1 offer). That's still quite a range (and I hope it will narrow further), but the important point, which underlies the whole "betting market" concept, is that this estimate explicitly accounts for the opinions of the sceptics. If anyone wants to take up any of these offers, or make a better one, please let me and/or the bet originators know.

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