Winton Capital Sets Up Climate Change Prediction Market

From The GWPF

Date: 12/09/17

|Lindsay Fortado, Financial Times

One of Europe’s largest hedge funds is looking to move into the gambling industry in the UK, as it sets up a new venue where players can bet on the effects of climate change. The project is hoping to tempt climate scientists to put their money where their models are.


The new “climate prediction market” is the brainchild of Winton Capital, founded by David Harding, and is aimed at finding a market consensus on the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperature rises in the future.

The not-for-profit project, which is being funded out of Winton’s philanthropic budget, is hoping to tempt climate scientists to put their money where their models are, and to provide a clear benchmark of the academic consensus at a time of intense interest in man-made climate change.

News of the project comes as the UN General Assembly meeting in New York focuses on the theme of a sustainable planet. Climate change also continues to dominate the political agenda around the world, after President Donald Trump declared he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord and roll back regulations on the production of coal.

“With a prediction market, getting the information is the primary objective,” said Mark Roulston, a scientist at Winton who is overseeing the project. “There’s not necessarily a consensus on all the implications of climate change. The idea is to have a benchmark which could track any emerging consensus.”

Under the plan, scientists and experts from around the world will be able to trade contracts based on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and how far temperatures increase, going decades into the future. Winton will act as a market maker and subsidise trading, rather than taking a cut or skewing the odds in its favour.

Winton’s market, which will be based in the UK, will be one of only a few prediction markets and is believed to be the first dedicated to climate issues. Such markets are mostly barred in the US because of more restrictive gambling laws; one exception is at the University of Iowa, which has developed a political futures market run for research and teaching.

If the Winton market is successful, Mr Roulston envisions it being a source to show how experts believe world events — such as the US withdrawing from the climate accord — could impact climate change.

Robin Hanson, a professor of economics at George Mason University who helped pioneer the use of prediction markets, said there is little incentive for anyone to try to manipulate the market, because that will only make the potential profits bigger for those who predict CO2 concentration and temperature correctly.


Read Full Post at  The GWPF

HT | Roger Knights.

144 thoughts on “Winton Capital Sets Up Climate Change Prediction Market

    • Even so, it will be interesting to see where the predicted temperatures settle. If you’re right and they don’t want to bet, then the skeptics who are willing to bet on these things will push the predictions closer to something resembling a random walk.
      The question of which dataset they use will be interesting.

      • My question exactly: “What data set will be the definitive rule?”
        Who gets to concoct it? How will any “gamblers” ever agree on what the real answer is if they cannot agree before this?
        Whose money will they actually be gambling with? How about just reputation? List their names and let the credit fall where it may.

      • I’m hoping that potential predictions are eventually graded A – F WRT how they eventually pan out.
        Perhaps Mann shal be awarded straight F’s.
        Would also like to see those who consistently earn “F” grades be forced out of climate science.
        I wonder how many science teacher openings there will be??
        Those who can, Do, those who can’t …..

      • Bryan A,
        …those who can’t, teach.
        Those who can’t teach, …administrate.
        And, those who can neither do, nor teach, nor administrate, …legislate.

    • Ah, temps are UK’s Hadley Centre. I wonder how they match up against the others.
      I doubt the Mauna Loa data is interesting enough to bet on, unless a lot of people want to bet they are unrelated to emissions or that BRIC is going green..

    • BTW another article quotes Mark Boslough (remember him?) saying his “mainstream consensus” side would have won most of those bets against “contrarians” over the last few decades.
      Not sure if he considers people like Firor (Excecutive Director of NCAR) or Hubert Lamb (Director of CRU) to be contrarians, or if (more likely) he doesn’t realize they still predicted falling temps as late as the early 1970s.

  1. No some of the non science idiots who are true believers will feel obligated to force it to be successful. Otherwise the only thing that it will do is demonstrate to the world just how little the so called scientists actually believe in their own BS.

    • You do understand though it makes no difference in the outcome? If a sufficient number of people believe something, it will happen, come hell or high water.
      In this dimension, consensus plays a role that can’t be denied. If you tell people to believe in something, and enough people do it, it will happen.
      Traditionally we’ve called this a “self fulfilling prophecy”. It exists simply because people believe it exists.

      • Structures in the mind exist because peole believe they exist. No amount of belief has ever had me floating out of the window on a Persian Carpet…

      • “No amount of belief has ever had me floating out of the window on a Persian Carpet…”
        Leo, to achieve that you need to imbibe certain illegal substances to assist your belief.
        You could always try a Wilton Carpet (:-))

      • Perhaps Dr Karl will reduce the past ground level record thereby proving that the carpet is in fact floating in the present

  2. I bet that NOAA, GISS and HadCRU will continue cooking the GASTA books.
    I bet that this year will not be the warmest year Evah!
    I know, I can’t get any action for such sure things.
    Id like to be able to bet that minimum U Arctic sea ice extent will average higher in 2017-26 than in 2007-16. Unless NOAA cooks those books, too. No bureaucrat can ever be trusted to tell the truth.

    • ‘I bet that this year will not be the warmest year”
      But you wouldn’t get much money on that bet, non-Niño years are rarely, actually never record. If I were you, bet that this year is the second highest (EVAH!) and the highest non-Niño year. Of course you would be betting with all the scientists on that, so still not much of a pay off.

      • It’s a fact. The ways are numerous. You haven’t been paying attention.
        Phil Jones even admitted it. As I said, all governments lie.

      • DENIAL seem to be your only way to avoid the fact, isn’t it crackers.
        Sparse, limited, infilled, homogenised, continually changing of stations and past measurements.
        Individual stations that bare no resemblance to what was actually recorded.
        Cooling trends wiped to give warming trends, NH 1930-40 peak squashed flat by “adjustments”.
        You name it, they have done it.

      • how exactly are noaa & giss & hadcru “cooking the books?”

        For me it is still a mystery. But the fact that books keep changing a lot (more than the initial error estimates) means there can’t be much trust on them.
        The basic problem is the anomaly. They say they know the anomaly of a certain year, but it appears there is some drift and the uberaccurate 0.01 degree anomaly keeps changing with respect to the rest of the series.
        But you didn’t even want to know that. You just wanted to claim “they don’t cook the books”. Well, it is a question of trust. Do you trust anomalies that change beyond the original error limits (well, they don’t show them, do they)? Do you trust adjustments which clearly show a tendency to create exactly the hockeystick that was expected?
        I don’t. What is the exact method of cooking the book, I don’t know.

      • Crackers,
        OK, I’ll do some of the research for you which you’re apparently afraid to do. I can however only scratch the surface of the massive ho@x that is “surface data” gatekeeping.
        1) Totally unwarranted adjustments to raw data, which invariably cool the past and warm the present.
        2) As for instance, Karl’s SST “Pause-buster” sc@m and GISS’ UHI adjustment algorithm, which, when finally dragged out of them by FOIA, were shown to warm the “data” rather than cool them.
        3) As Jones admitted, HadCRU artificially warmed its sea “data” because it no longer agreed with land “data”, which of course had previously been unjustifiably cooked.
        4) Infilling, which means making up “data” for vast swathes of the earth’s surface, by picking which stations within 1200 km or the empty regions to use.
        5) Homogenization of “data”.
        7) And so many more shenanigans to make the warming of the 1910s to ’40s and cooling of the ”40s to ’70s disappear, while boosting whatever warming did in fact occur since the PDO flip of 1977.
        I suspect you already knew all this.

      • sixto says:
        “1) Totally unwarranted adjustments to raw data, which invariably cool the past and warm the present.”
        adjustments reduce the long-term warming
        see the paper Karl+, Science 2015, in particular Fig 2.

      • sixto says – “2) As for instance, Karl’s SST “Pause-buster” sc@m and GISS’ UHI adjustment algorithm, which, when finally dragged out of them by FOIA, were shown to warm the “data” rather than cool them.”
        a FOIA by whom? first I’ve heard of it.
        as i showed in my last comment, the
        adjustments lead to a lower trend. Fig 2!

      • sixto wrote, “I suspect you already knew all this.”
        actually what i know are the facts. which are 100%
        against you. you need to read papers more carefully
        and get rid of your pre-conceived biases.
        Fig 2. Fig 2. Fig 2.

  3. The problem with this approach is that “climate change” supporters are terribly allergic to making actual testable predictions.

  4. Great concept. But I see a black cloud on the horizon: what is the global mean temperature at any given time (the benchmark)? How can this be proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law, where I expect many challenges to occur?

  5. This is an elaborate joke…… right? A numbers game on climate change theory? No one will take part. The alarmists are all talk and no substance when it come to putting their money where the truth is. The odds will be in favor of the skeptics because odds are based on history.

      • Of course it can. Climate is cyclical. Nothing has happened in the past 30 and 300 years that hasn’t happen in the past 3000 years.
        Same goes for past 30,000 years and past 300,000 years. Ditto for three and 30 million and 300 million and three billion.

      • Crackers,
        You’re wasting everyone’s time here.
        Look at a graph of the Pleistocene glaciations if you want to see a cycles on the order of 100K years. Look at a graph of Holocene climate if you want to see secular cycles on the order of 1000 years and pro-trend and counter-trend cycles on the order of centuries.
        The glacial cycles are predominantly driven by Milankovitch cycles.
        Clearly, you’ve never even touched a climatology text.

      • sixto, just answer the challenges without
        the snark. maybe no one here has ever asked
        you to prove anything, but
        i expect it.
        everyone knows of the 100 kyr cycle in (the late part of) the
        Pleistocene, in the last 1 Myr.
        btw, before about 1 Ma it wasn’t in the Pleistocene.
        but what are these other cycles you are claiming about?
        where do they come from?
        where do they show up in the reconstruction
        of temperatures?
        >> Look at a graph of Holocene climate if you want to see
        secular cycles on the order of 1000 years <<
        which graph,

      • crackers345 September 18, 2017 at 4:52 pm
        Your ignorance knows no bounds.
        The Pleistocene began 2.58 million years ago. What you are trying to discuss, out of total ignorance, is the Mid-Pleistocene Transition from a 41K to a quasi-100K year cycle.
        For the other cycles, please look at the first IPCC report, showing the recent climatic cycles of the Dark Ages Cool Period, Medieval Warm Period and Current Warm Period. The whole Holocene is all over the Internet, showing the Holocene Climatic Optimum, which ended ~5 Ka, the Egyptian WP of ~4 Ka, the Minoan WP of ~3 Ka, the Roman WP of ~2 Ka, the Medieval WP of ~1 Ka and the Current WP. The peak warmth of each of the WPs since the Minoan has been lower, and generally the cool periods have also been getting lower, too.
        As I mentioned, you have everything to learn. So much in fact that I find it hard to believe that you don’t really already know all this.

    • “No one will take part. The alarmists are all talk and no substance when it come to putting their money where the truth is.”
      The warmists bet heavily on the nine climate-related topics on the old Intrade site. And they won sometimes.

  6. “that will only make the potential profits bigger for those who predict CO2 concentration”
    Guess I don’t see the game in predicting CO2 concentration. Or does some one here see it going down dramatically in the near future. I wonder how precise the estimate for next years max CO2 reading needs to be?

      • when i see someone claim scientists are only in
        it for the money, i assume *they* are only in it for the
        money, and so they naturally think everyone else is too. they’re
        willing to sell their opinions to the highest
        bidder. image an employee like that, working for
        your company, like WR, on the take

      • Well, at least we know crackers isn’t in it for the money. The paid Trolls and Climate Bots the warmists send out to preach the Faith on blogs and comment sections are much better at it then they are.
        So far crackers’ only real argument seems to be ignorance.

    • And yet we are supposed to starve humanity of energy based upon model projections for 2100, when they’ve failed miserably already?

      • Then why the battle against the one gas that provides for ALL life on EARTH?
        Coal and other fossil fuels were cheap and plentiful.
        Clean and well controlled for the most part, and providing CO2 for world plant growth.
        …. then along came this totally idiotic ANTI-CO2 madness. !
        Where-ever this madness takes hold, prices exponentiate !!
        Denmark, Germany, Australia… massive price increased because the irregular unreliables get preferential treatment and huge subsidies.. This AGW scam is an anti-science, CO2 HATRED, religion based madness. !!!
        USA looks to have been spared most of the madness so far, thanks to your current President.

      • “crackers345 September 17, 2017 at 9:44 pm”
        Of course not. Just energy suppliers want “users” to pay heavily for it.

      • Crackers,
        Then why have we squandered so much on environmentally disastrous, worse than worthless “renewables”, while shutting down coal plants?
        Why have millions of people died from energy starvation during winter?

      • Crackers,
        You are hilarious. You’ve never provided even a shred of evidence for your unsupported, knee jerk, antiscientific assertions.
        Are you really not aware that “renewables” are environmentally disastrous and incapable of powering an advanced industrial society?
        Wind turbines and solar farms kill billions of birds and bats every year, to include endangered species, meaning that destructive insect pests go uneaten. Production of solar panels and batteries are among the most dangerously polluting enterprises on the planet.
        You have everything to learn, grasshopper. Including capitalization, formatting, spelling and sentence structure.

      • Crackers,
        No surprise that you uncritically accept utter garbage, made up, pretend “data”, as from your “source”:
        “Coal: Huge numbers of birds, roughly 7.9 million, may be killed by coal, according to analysis by Benjamin K. Sovacool, director of the Danish Center for Energy Technologies. His estimate, however, included everything from mining to production and climate change, which together amounted to about five birds per gigawatt-hour of energy generated by coal.”
        The “climate change” factor is complete, total rubbish.

      • Crackers,
        Seriously, do your own research, dude.
        Anyone even casually familiar with reality knows that windmill components and solar panels are made in China because US environmental regulations won’t permit them to be made here.
        Batteries and other electric car components are also hugely polluting, as well as exploiting poor, Third World workers, as in the tantalum mines of Central Africa and to a perhaps slightly lesser extent the lithium workers in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
        You’re still evidence-free and I’ve given you the straight scoop. But you can’t handle the truth.
        Why do I have to educate you, when the Internet is there for you to school yourself?

      • partrick says – “Just energy suppliers want “users” to pay heavily for it.”
        what is heavily?
        does it include enough to pay for the
        damage that energy’s pollution does?
        or do you think you should be able to pollute for

      • sixto, supporting your claims with data is always
        necessary with
        maybe you’ve been commenting here
        too long among like-minded people who
        do’nt ask for data

      • sixto said – “Millions of birds and bats massacred each year in Spain alone:”
        got any science, peer reviewed and published, not something
        from an advocacy group.
        i guess you are all fine with activist groups as
        long as they confirm your prejudices

      • Crackers,
        Again, hilarious, since you’ve got nothing.
        The data on bird and bat death are facts, not made up by activists.
        Go to any windmill farm early in the morning, before workers or coyotes pick up the carcasses.
        Why do you suppose that wind farms need exemptions from EPA and FWS rules?
        You exist in a dream world.

      • As if “Green Energy” companies are not special interests.
        You are deluded and have drunk to the last drop the Kool Aid of CACA.

  7. Show me the climate model hindcast scores. We have them for hurricane forecasting, where are the climate model scores? Just sayin, perspective should be in the house………

    • The biggest problem is that (as with most pseudoscience) it’s very hard to pin down what temperature was actually predicted, because everything is an anomaly against some baseline or dependent on some variable they don’t control, plus they “forecast” into the past.
      Just try to get anyone at GISS to tell you what temperatures Hansen 1988 actually predicted — they still claim the model was accurate because “hey if you adjust for how methane didn’t do what they expected or pretend we didn’t have CO2 massive emissions rises the model kind of looks like the real trend!”
      The Climate Lab link on CMIP-5 is a great example of this — if you don’t pin predictions against absolute temperatures, anyone can slide around the baselines or start dates and make models fit some recent trend in “real” temperatures. Throw in the past and it looks like you’re doing really well, since CMIP-5 is only a few years old and models can be tuned to fit anything in the past.

      • talld wrote – “if you don’t pin predictions against absolute temperatures, anyone can slide around the baselines or start dates and make models fit some recent trend in “real” temperatures”
        linear least square trends are independent
        of the baseline chosen.

  8. There is a ‘bet’ that Scott Armstrong’s ten year prediction will be better than Al Gore’s. There are only a couple of months to go. link I think Armstrong is winning.

  9. This is of course not a new idea at all, and follows John Brunner’s 1975 model of the “Delphi” project he described as harnessing the common consciousness to predict future events.
    Read “The Shockwave Rider” by that author for a more complete understanding of the hypothesis.

    • Curious, Bartleby, that I participated in a Delphi project in 1971, 4yrs before this publication. It was a project in Canada by the federal department of mines involving estimates by industry of how much ore of various metals were to be found in various areas. IIRC they gridded the country into squares of a certain size. I was in mining exploration. It was definitely called Delphi.

  10. This market should be open to all. Limiting it to the “scientists and experts” (who must be approved by someone) will produce meaning less results.
    And….. any quantities on which we can bet must be independently verifiable by a trusted accounting firm (if there still are any) that does not allow its principals to bet in this market.
    This rules out betting on global average temp and even makes betting on temps at any particular location tricky without excellent security at that site.

    • For these reasons a better alternative to measuring temps is to bet on the “ice out” dates in the spring for rural lakes of a certain minimum size (>1000 sq km) that have a long record (50+ years) of those dates. Or the average date for 10 such lakes in same geographic region. This is something object not easily tampered with. Then everyone can bet (without depending so much on accountants or climate “experts” to guard or interpret the data.
      Other options for what to measure that are objectively obvious are possible. E.g. Position of the front edge of some glaciers perhaps.
      Overall with this approach I think this betting market is an excellent idea.

      • Unfortunately ice out dates and similar will be bets on local weather variability not global climate change. The 2 are not related (apparently).

    • “This market should be open to all. Limiting it to the “scientists and experts” “
      What makes you think it isn’t open? After all, someone has to take the other side of the bets, else no market. And in fact, you won’t know who’s betting, on either side.

  11. “most of their models aren’t even constructed for such purposes”
    What ever. I wonder what data the odds makers are using to figure out what odds to give bettors.

  12. Not a bad idea – but I think yearly “rests” are too short – the scheme needs at least three years betting limit.

  13. The only surprise here is that they have not also announced that you can pay for your long term bets in Bitcoin and that next year they will be setting up 2 more markets covering the belief in a Flat Earth and the existence of God(s).

  14. So the experts get to gamble on what the temperature will be with a certain level of CO2. Aren’t they in a conflict of interest position since they manufacture the temperatures? Can they be arrested for gaming the system?

  15. If you make a bet on NCDC version, and 10 years from now, they are on version (and no one can find the original because it has been scraped off the Internet everywhere), how would that work?
    I would be into it if there was some actual rules involved but in climate, they just make the rules up as they go along.

  16. I believe that all serious weather events will have been made worse, i.e. “intensified”, by climate change. Prove me wrong.

      • I will claim that a Cat 2 would have been a Cat 1, a Cat 3 a Cat 2, and so on. People now readily believe that, whatever the weather event, it has been made “worse” by climate change. Everyone except climate deniers will accept my view as settled science 😉

      • Crackers,
        The evidence is everywhere. Have you really never seen graphs comparing hurricane frequency in recent decades with the past?
        All your objections are nothing but appeals from your complete, total and utter ignorance.
        It’s easy to show that storms were not only more frequent in the past, but more powerful. Getting CACA acolytes and the media to spread that news is of course hard.

  17. Everyone is missing the point. There are only two possible outcomes. Both huge wins for the skeptics.
    1. Climate scientists will prove unwilling to gamble with their own money thus proving their theories are guesswork.
    2. Climate scientists put up their predictions and demonstrate there is no consensus.
    I fully expect some form of herd pronouncement that as persons of science they are above such activities.

    • No need to wait.
      The whole point of scientific models is to make predictions. The heliocentric model of the solar system makes predictions, which were indeed found true, such as the phases of Venus.
      A computer model of future climate, if it is to serve as a basis for public policy affecting billions of people direly, must show skill at forecasting at least one or two decades ahead, if its projections for AD 2100 are to be credited. But the models have failed miserably.

    • I am afraid of another option 3. There won’t be real money put up. Just used as a publicity scam to say “look the experts bet with their own money that the temperature is going up 4 degrees”, but in the fine print, no one will lose money.

  18. Finally!
    Might not be liquid enough to work very well, but still a great step in the right direction. If the models are ever actually right, climate science could eventually be self-funding.

  19. I love this idea, put up or shut up. The problem is they will do neither, they can’t put up because they would loose their butts( bad models) and they won’t shut up or they would loose their grants.

  20. I wonder how it will work? The stock market is a reflection of the value that the traders themselves place on a particular stock. Is this how it will work? I presume the contracts will have a due date. If the contract misses the target, how will the pay-off be measured? Proportionally or all-in? Adjusted by the date of the buy/sell date?
    Sounds complicated.

    • More details on this should be provided; perhaps the GWPF will do some digging. I like the idea of proportionate payments (less of a loss if a bettor just missed being right). But it would complicte things. Without that feature, it’s not too complicated—Intrade’s arrangement was popular & worked for years.

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