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The Green Life: Top Statistician Putting His Chips on Climate Change

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August 13, 2009

Top Statistician Putting His Chips on Climate Change

Betting on climate change Still doubting that global warming is real? Stat man Nate Silver would bet against you. Here’s the deal he offered his skeptical readers at FiveThirtyEight: For every day that the high temperature in a reader's hometown is at least one degree above average, she owes him $25. For every day that it’s at least one degree below average, he owes her $25.

The game is a response to arguments against the reality of global warming that are based on daily weather.  You’ve heard 'em: “Well, it’s really quite cold today. I'm chilly. When is this global warming thing going to kick in anyway?” One Drudge Report post gloats about a snowstorm on the day Al Gore testified before a Senate committee on global warming. Arguments like these, Silver points out, aren’t based on statistics that would prove a trending change in climate.

Considering that Silver earned his fame by accurately calculating and predicting baseball outcomes and moved on to successfully predict election results and even this year's Oscar winners, it's almost certain to be a foolhardy play to bet against him.

--Sarah F. Kessler

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