Today a friend on Facebook sent me a link to an article about Christopher Keating, a climate activist for 30 years and a former tenure-track assistant professor of physics at the University of South Dakota, who in 2014 offered $10,000 to anyone who can use the scientific method to disprove anthropogenic climate change and $1,000 to the first person to provide scientific evidence of any kind that climate change is not real. “What’s the deal?” my friend asked.
Well, here’s Keating’s offer:
I am announcing the start of the $30,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. The rules are easy:
1. I will award $10,000 of my own money, plus another $20,000 vouched for by The Young Turks, to anyone that can prove, via the scientific method, that man-made global climate change is not occurring;
2. There is no entry fee;
3. You must be 18 years old or older to enter;
4. Entries do not have to be original, they only need to be first;
5. I am the final judge of all entries but will provide my comments on why any entry fails to prove the point.
That’s it! I know you are not going to get rich with $10,000. But, tell me, wouldn’t you like to have a spare $30,000? After all, the skeptics all claim it is a simple matter, and it doesn’t even have to be original. If it is so easy, just cut and paste the proof from somewhere. Provide the scientific evidence and prove your point and the $30,000 is yours!
This is no joke. If someone can provide a proof that I can’t refute, using scientific evidence, then I will write them a check.
But, I am sure I will never have to because it can’t be proven. The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise.
As of July 2, 2014, he wrote, “I am trying to get to every submission as quickly as possible. I have responded (as of 7/2) to 13 specific submissions (plus some general postings addressing frequently made claims) and currently have 26 queued up.” To date, so far as I can discover, and unsurprisingly, he’s proclaimed paid no rewards.
He and other alarmists view that as vindication.
But Keating’s is a ridiculous challenge, not only because of the absurd condition (“I am the final judge of all entries …”!!!), but also because no “climate change denier,” as he wrongly describes those who deny dangerous manmade global warming, denies anthropogenic climate change.
The whole challenge is based on a straw man. All the skeptics of dangerous manmade climate change whom I know (and that’s scores of them, including the dozen or so most prominent in the world) and have read (and that would be scores more) acknowledge that human activity changes climate, whether locally (land-use change affecting temperature, drought, and flood), regionally (deforestation affecting temperature and precipitation), or globally (adding CO2 and other infrared-absorbing gases to the atmosphere raising global average temperature, ceteris paribus [other things being equal]).
Even with regard to the last of those, the debate is not, and never has been, over whether it happens, but is, and always has been, over its magnitude.
Climate alarmists like Keating claim it’s big, dangerous, even catastrophic.
Climate-alarm skeptics claim it’s relatively small, possibly net beneficial rather than net harmful, and quite surely not catastrophic. The scientific evidence they offer is strong. The only ground for the alarmists’ belief is the computer climate models, but
- on average they predict 2 to 3 times the warming actually observed (regardless which widely used datasets one compares them with) over the relevant period;
- 95% predict more, not less, warming than observed, showing that the errors are not random (in which case they’d be as frequently, and by as much, below as above) but driven by some kind of bias (whether honest or dishonest), and
- none predicted the complete (according to the most reliable datasets, those from satellites and weather balloons) or nearly complete (according to other, less reliable datasets) absence of statistically significant warming over the last approximately 18 years and 10 months.
That being the case, CO2’s warming effect must be much smaller than the alarmists claim—very likely not more than half, probably not more than one-third, and quite possibly not more than one-sixth, as increasing numbers of empirical studies conclude. And that means there remains no rational basis for belief in dangerous, let alone catastrophic, manmade global warming.
Keating’s challenge is pure theater, and it impresses only those who are ignorant of the actual debate and the nature of the claims on both sides.
Maybe it’s not surprising that Keating lost his teaching job at USD because he violated the university’s requirement that all faculty must perform “their instructional, scholarly and service duties civilly, constructively and in an informed manner. They must treat their colleagues, staff, students and visitors with respect, and they must comport themselves at all times, even when expressing disagreement or when engaging in pedagogical exercises, in ways that will preserve and strengthen the willingness to cooperate and to give or to accept instruction, guidance or assistance.” He “did not get along with the only other full-time physics professor at the university [and] filed a grievance against her with their department head. [When she] responded with an accusation of sexual harrassment against Keating,” “[a]fter two heated exchanges with Keating, the department head rejected Keating’s claims. Some time later, having been reprimanded for not seeking approval from either his colleague or the department chair for something that required such approval, Keating explained in an e-mail that he would not seek approval from his colleague because ‘she is a lieing [sic], back-stabbing sneak.'” He also reportedly said “he would not trust his department chair or communicate with the university’s only other full-time physics professor.”