Know Your Opponent – Climate Bet Warmist Believes In The Hockey Stick

The price of bad science.

First off, I want to thank the readers who have joined in on the CLIMATE BET whereby the winnings will be donated to a charity for children in dire need, yet to be decided.

So far us 11 coolists have bet $300 in total that 2011 – 2020 will be cooler than the last decade.

It seems that our warmist opponent “Robhon” has mustered the courage and revealed his name: Rob Honeycutt. I ask myself where could all that cockiness and confidence come from?

Turns out he’s a regular at the warmist blogs, like Skeptical Science. Anyone that spends time with such sources of “information” undoubtedly will develop the beliefs that he now holds. In fact I found a post Honeycutt wrote himself at Skeptical Science called:

Kung fu climate.

He really believes in that hockey stick. I wonder if he really knows what he is getting himself into with this bet – he has committed $5000! I have no reason to doubt that he is serious about it and that he will pay if he loses. But that’s a lotta money. Either you have to be very rich, or cock-sure you’re gonna win.

The next decade is likely going to teach him a lot about climate science. We’ll see how cocky he’ll be in 10 years. It could be that it will get warmer. But if it does, it will not be because of a few molecules more of a trace gas. No, the odds are that it’s going to cool. As we have seen, more and more scientists are expecting cooling. The ocean cycles have reversed, and so the climate has begun to do the same in tow. The sun is sleepy too.

My bet with a similar warmist five years ago

Exactly five years ago I also made a bet with a warmist who also was cock-sure it was going to get warmer. Like Rob, this person was convinced that man was heating up the planet. But I told him it was mostly due to natural causes, and that we’d see cooling in the years ahead. So we bet as follows:

If the average temperature for the next five years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) is warmer than the average of 2005, then I lose the bet. But if the average of 2005 is warmer then the next five years, then I win the bet.

The amount: If it cooled, then he would pay me 6 bottles of red, dry wine. If it warmed, then I would have to give him 6 bottles of Scottish whiskey (I like a fair bet).

Back then we did not stipulate which dataset to use to decide the winner. But I think using the average of all four, i.e. UAH MSU, RSS, GISS, and HadCrut, would be the way to go.

I haven’t run through the calculations in detail, but I see a slight downward trend. The 2010 El Nino made it really close, but was not enough in the end. As you can see the 2007/2008 El Nino ruined the warming trend (damn models didn’t see that).

Some people have to learn the hard way. Glass of red wine anyone?


UPDATE: I don’t want to give the impression that Rob Honeycutt is impolite or anything. He has a view and he rightfully asserts it. So far he has been very polite and cordial here. As I mentioned, I’m just impressed by his confidence.

UPDATE  2: The warmist has conceded defeat (2005 was warmer than the 2006-2010 average) and I have  gotten my bottles of wine. I expect a similar outcome in 2021.

38 responses to “Know Your Opponent – Climate Bet Warmist Believes In The Hockey Stick”

  1. Dana

    Nice post by Rob on Skeptical Science.

    Instead of ‘know your opponent’, you might want to suggest that those who are wagering on cooling should ‘know your physics and climate science’. Like Rob, I’m a guest author at Skeptical Science. I actually wrote an article very recently regarding why (i) it’s foolish to be predicting global cooling and (ii) virtually no climate scientists are so foolish. An increasing number of scientists predicting cooling? Of you polled all climate scientists on the planet, you would probably get ten to twenty thousand (depending on how you define ‘climate scientist’) predicting global warming vs. a handfull predicting cooling. Not much justification for wagering money on cooling.

    Rather than repeat the main points from that article, I’ll just link to it, if you don’t mind.

  2. Rob Honeycutt

    Pierre… I think that last $100 bet was on the warm side. So I think we’re currently standing at:

    Warmer – $5200
    Cooler – $300

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. Rob Honeycutt

    Pierre… I just checked the data on your previous bet. You definitely won that one. Kind of a silly bet to make on several fronts. Betting one year (a peak year at that) against an average would be a very bad move. Just looking at the UAH data if that person had bet you the average of 2006-2010 would be higher than 2000-2005 here’s what you get:

    2000-’05: 0.228
    2006-’10: 0.272

    You would have lost that bet. But it’s even dicy to bet a 5 year average given the variability of the climate system. Our bet is the average of 2011-2020 will be warmer than 2001-2010 (or cooler depending on your side).

    I still feel very confident about this bet.

    1. Dana

      Agreed, for example I would not bet that the average temperature for 2011-2015 will be hotter than 2010, because even with a steady warming trend, it’s hard to break records. Records are records for a reason. That’s why although the planet has continued to warm since 1998, there have been few individual years hotter than ’98, and the average has not been hotter than that single year.

      On the other hand, in keeping with Rob’s example, I would probably bet that the average for 2011-2015 will beat the average for 2006-2010. The longer the timeframe, the more confidence we can place in these wagers. 2011-2020 being hotter than 2001-2010 is a safe bet.

  4. Rob Honeycutt

    To add note to your main article, Pierre… I actually spend time on a lot of blogs. SkS is definitely one of the best, IMHO, because I can easily find links to actual scientific papers very easily. The other part I like about SkS is John Cook is a stickler for politeness on his site, so the flame throwing is kept to a bare min.

    I also spend a lot of time on Peter Sinclair’s Youtube account, mostly for just debating people. I also frequent Real Climate, Climate Progress, WUWT, Open Mind, Science of Doom, Climate Etc… NTZ is new for me. I’m also a big fan of Potholer54 on Youtube, journalist Peter Hadfield.

    I tried to post for a while on JoNova’s site but was attacked so fiercely that it literally frightened me. (I’m a pretty polite commenter, overall.) One commenter there said I should have my children taken from me, and that was the end of me and her site.

  5. Rob Honeycutt

    Here’s a starting point for us. I just calculated the average for both RSS and UAH for 2001 (Jan 2001) to 2010.93 (Dec 2010) using the Woods for Trees site.

    RSS is still missing December 2010 but as it currently stands their combined anomaly is 0.2853 for the past decade.

    We might have a little challenge in that Dr Spencer just announced that he’s changing their baseline to a 30 year baseline and RSS, at least currently, is still on a 20 year baseline. Previously they’d both used the same baseline. We’ll watch that one to make sure we get a fair reading for both sides.
    Reply: Sounds good Rob. We agreed to use RSS and UAH. Hopefully in 2021 there won’t be anyone challenging fairness and accuracy. -PG

  6. This Person

    Hello Pierre,

    a bit unprecise as so often.
    The bet is six bottles of old Irish Whisky not Scottish Whiskey.
    By the way in Scotland only Whisky is produced not Whiskey.


  7. slimething

    There isn’t a steady warming trend quite obviously; it see saws back and forth. ENSO unduly influences the average when only including El Nino (especially satellite which is amplified by oceans). Currently UAH 2001-2010 is neutral to slightly cooling even with El Nino. That is 10 years. End 2011 will be completion of the ENSO cycle, effectively neutralizing any gain/loss in the 30 year trend.

    There is only one index left that is not setting in motion several decades of cooling. That is the AMO. It is now at or near peak. Within 5 years, should it follow past cyclical patterns, it will be on the decline.

    I’ve made a few bets myself and unless one is willing to scrap all natural variation, which includes all the ocean/atmospheric processes and solar influence that affect weather (weather is the summation of climate), calling it a “safe bet” that 2011-2020 will be warmer than 2001-2010 is not all that safe. Comparing a few PPM of CO2 to the enormous workings of the ocean is like pitting a ballerina dancer against a sumo wrestler in a cage match.

    FWIW, the TLT is right where it was in 12/98 and 12/07. It is going to drop further as NOAA has been drastically revising their NINO 3.4 forecast the past 12 months.

    It may be close, but a safe bet it is not.
    Reply: I agree with everything. No one understands the climate to an extent where “safe” bets can be made. I say that it’s 60-40 for cooling. But 60 is 50% more than 40! -PG

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      What you guys keep doing is fooling yourself with the “few ppms of CO2” red herring. When you convert everything into forcing, W/m-2, then you start to look at the quantitative effects that are being applied to the climate.

  8. Mindert Eiting

    What someone believes or not, is for me quite uninteresting. I think, Pierre, we should take care of the criterion of the bet. See also Lubos Motl’s comment before. For example, the history of ground temperature measurements shows a continuously inclusion and drop out of stations, being far from random. This causes enormous spurious differences and trends. Even if we use satelite measurements, we should be sure that the comparison is done on exactly the same spots on the earth in exactly the same months. No computations, extrapolations or whatever should be allowed. I want a difference between means computed from raw data. A statistical test is perhaps not needed if we agree that a difference of 0.000001 already suffices. Perhaps we should look for a neutral statistician or a small committee as arbiter. I also want decisions in advance about which spots on earth are used. The comparison cannot be done on urban areas only. Just some thoughts. What do you think?
    Reply: Yes, it is not an exact science. But I’d prefer not to get the UN, the NAS and World Court involved in this. We’ll just have to accept that RSS and UAH will be good enough. -PG

    1. Mindert Eiting

      OK. Let’s hope then that all the money goes to the children and not to wind mills.

  9. Slimething

    In my previous post the dates should have been 12/98 and 12/07.
    Reply: Fixed!

  10. Michael Snow

    Now, if I were going to place a bet it would be on cooling. As a farmer, though, I’d sure rather have some warming.

    But whoever wins the bet at the end of the day, er decade, we all need to remember that what we have seen so far is nothing outside the bounds of natural variation. A warmer climate proves nothing about AGW.

    1. Dana

      “The bounds of natural variation” are irrelevant. Every warming or cooling has to have a physical cause. If you’re going to argue the current warming is natural, you have to be able to explain it with a specific physical natural cause. Just waiving your hands and saying “it could hypothetically be natural” doesn’t quite cut it in the science world.

      1. kalsel3294

        “The bounds of natural variation” are real and therefore totally relevant. The changes that have become evident in recent times have become an inconvenient truth for the alarmists who having once denied that such cycles even existed, now cannot avoid any longer having to accommodate them in their explanations.

        It is true that every warming and cooling has to have identifiable physical causes, and the alarmists can no longer pass the buck on identifying such causes by ignoring the existence of natural variations. Instead they have to demonstrate that they both understand and are able to quantify such forces before they can assign any value to any human influences.
        At present all the alarmists have is a theory and a rising temperature that they say correlates with a rising CO2 level, though only somewhat if they were really truthful about it.. Partial correlation is not enough, cause and effect must be demonstrated, not assumed.
        Even the one measurement that could help substantiate their theories, the heat content of the oceans, relies on the assumption of the “missing heat” being there, but unable to be measured, and having gotten there by some physical means that still cannot be adequately explained by the current understanding of ocean circulation.

        Just waving their hands, or are the waiving their responsibility, and saying hypothetically that the “missing heat” is in the oceans might cut it in their narrow science world, but it doesn’t cut it in the broader real world at all.

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    […] over a year later the alarmists still feel the urge to “debunk” it.  Most recently, Rob Honeycutt at the “SkepticalScience” alarmist fanboi blog weighed in with this: Crux of a Core, […]

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