We’re pretty sure this counts as Nice Time, or something close to it: The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), the pro-science group that challenges pseudoscience and paranormal claims, has challenged the climate-change deniers at the Heartland Institute, which loves telling the world that climate change is all just a big hoax and that there’s been no global warming since 1998, to put up or shut up. The terms of the challenge are pretty simple. If the Heartland Institute is so certain that there’s no global warming, then surely it would be willing to stake $25,000 on an easily provable question:
If the 30-year average global land surface temperature goes up in 2015, setting a new record, the Heartland Institute must donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit.
Heartland clings to several favorite climate denial myths, like the notion that there’s been no increase in the global average temperature since 1998 (Wrong!), and that, as it said in a 2013 report, “natural variability is responsible for late twentieth century warming and the cessation of warming since 1998.” As CSI notes, Heartland constantly questions the predictions and models of climate scientists, but “have avoided making any testable predictions of their own.” In a press release, CSI predicted that the planet would keep getting warmer, regardless of the shade they were throwing at Heartland:
“If anyone really thinks that human-caused global warming is a hoax, and that the climate has stopped heating up, they must also believe that temperatures will now stabilize or drop,” said Mark Boslough, a physicist and CSI Fellow who devised the challenge. “Well, that’s a testable claim, so let’s test it.”
“It’s time for the Heartland Institute to put its money where its exhaust pipe is,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, home of CSI. “If Earth’s climate gets hotter, and keeps getting hotter, the naysayers at Heartland should publicly own up and pay up.”
CSI agrees to pay $25,000 to an educational nonprofit of Heartland’s choice if the planet’s 30-year average temperature doesn’t increase, too.
Here are the exact terms of the deal:
The (CSI) hereby presents to the Heartland Institute a challenge as to whether the Earth’s climate will set a new record high temperature this year. The challenge will be settled using the NASA GISS mean global land surface temperatures for the conventional climate averaging period (defined by the World Meteorological Organization as 30 years) ending on December 31, 2015. If the global average temperature does not exceed the mean temperature for an equal period ending on the same date in any previous year for which complete data exist, CSI will donate $25,000 to a nonprofit to be designated by Heartland. Otherwise, Heartland will be asked to donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit designated by CSI. It is CSI’s intent to repeat this challenge every year for the next 30 years.
We predict Heartland will reject the bet, because after all, CSI relies on biased organizations like NASA, and measurements by climate scientists, who just make everything up to get rich. Still, points to CSI for focusing on facts and data, and for promising to keep at this for the next 30 years. Maybe they should also challenge Heartland to hold its 2045 annual meeting at some spot in Florida that’s precisely at sea level right now. MAKE SOME RESERVATIONS, GUYS.