The $1000 Student Climate Challenge Award

Guest post by Jim Steele

Currently children are being asked to lead a political charge for “climate change action”. Climate is very complex, and most adults have a very poor understanding of all the factors affecting climate change. Thus, many people believe our children must have a far inferior understanding of climate change and are just being used as pawns in the politics of climate change. Many adults see student strikes as silly political theater, not validation of any climate theory or proof of an impending climate crisis.

But perhaps I underestimate the knowledge and intelligence of our student “climate strikers”. So, I am offering a $1000 award to the student who unequivocally outlines why 1) rising concentrations of CO2 are the cause of recent climate change, and 2) why that change is catastrophic.

I warn participants, I devoted my whole professional career towards scientific research and education that promotes wise environmental stewardship. Nonetheless I became a climate skeptic. I observed too many people eager to blame climate change for environmental problems that were caused by other factors and had real remedies. So, I suspect no adult, never mind a child, can meaningfully determine that recent weather or recent changes in a species abundance have been driven by rising greenhouse gases.

But you may prove me wrong.

Furthermore, to encourage good scientific thinking, if there is no winner in this climate challenge, I will still guarantee a $500 “runner-up” prize to the student who demonstrates the best scientific thinking, even if their conclusions are wrong.

Here are the requirements:

1. The student must be 21 years or younger. Nonetheless I encourage each student to discuss climate change with your parents, teachers and friends as well as contacting scientists.

2. The student must email their arguments in a document that is no larger than 5000 words. They must state their name and age and type “The $1000 Student Climate Challenge Award” in the subject line. Email the document by December 1, 2019 to naturalclimatechange@earthlink.net.

3. The student must use the foundation of scientific inquiry, the “null hypothesis. In other words, the student must show that current weather/climate reflects a change that exceeds natural climate change. That requires choosing the appropriate time frames for discussion.

4. Students must go beyond simple correlations. Correlation is not causation. Although CO2 concentrations are higher today than they were 200 years ago, higher concentrations are not evidence of causation.

5. Students must address relevant alternative hypotheses. For example, why is Arctic warming the result of CO2 warming and not the result of natural oscillations that drive warmer waters into the Arctic?

6. Students must address why warming is catastrophic. If warming is caused by rising CO2, why would a longer growing season be catastrophic? Or if there is less sea ice why would the resulting increase in photosynthesis be catastrophic? Or what is the evidence of a trend in larger or more tornados?

7. Consensus is not evidence. Consensus is merely political theater. Arguments must be based on evidence. Politically motivated scientists tried to refute Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity using a “consensus” argument and writing “100 Authors Against Einstein”. The consensus was still wrong.

8. Avoid arguments from authority. As Carl Sagan wisely advised “arguments from authority carry little weight – authorities have made mistakes in the past.” For example, John Muir’s ideas were published in popular papers and magazines regards the formation of Yosemite Valley by glaciers. The geological authority from Harvard, Josiah Whitney, suggested otherwise and tried to smear Muir as just an “ignorant shepherd”. But Muir was mostly correct! Likewise, I warn that using the word “denier” will not make your arguments more correct.

9. Students can enter as many times as they want. You may want to change your arguments when new information comes to light. Simply note that your new entry replaces your last.

As student essays roll in, I will periodically report in my What’s Natural newspaper column, and on my landscapesandcycles.net blog, regards failed common arguments and why it will disqualify your essay from the award. That will allow every student to improve their argument and re-submit.

I wish every student the best and hope their sincere essays will promote better scientific discourse and understanding.

Sincerely Jim Steele

Director emeritus, Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

119 thoughts on “The $1000 Student Climate Challenge Award

  1. Jim, perhaps you could set up some sort of cloud funding mechanism whereby others could add to your $1,000. That might gin up alot of interest in the ultimate prize.

    You might also ask selected others to help you review any submissions.

      • You could set up a GoFundMe account similar to what Peter Ridd did to foot his legal bills. Or you could ask Anthony to set up something special on the WUWT web site, he already has a donation link for the site itself.

      • The award is a very good idea, and while I appreciate you may not be able to throw more than 1k of you personal wealth at it, my initial thought was that this sum is a bit light. 10k seems more credible.
        On the other hand too much will invite corrupt claims and lawsuits.

        Like you, I think this is technically impossible to win but will be a very good exercise for all involved. 10k would get way more heroic alarmists tempted to try and in the process self-educate themselves.

        BTW, I would suggest getting someone legally competent to draw up some rules about who will adjudicate and “the judge’s decision will be final”, if there is more serious cash on offer. You don’t want some like Mickey Mann legal defense fund suing about whether you made an accurate scientific judgement. 😉

        • Greg,

          Indeed I am not a wealthy man, and $1000 is all I can spare. I agree that 10,000 might draw more students but as you note it likely will encourage more scams. If others want to contribute and up the ante that is admirable, but that creates problematic bookkeeping such as how to return the funds if no student can offer a cogent response. Or if all students are afraid to put their beliefs on the line and open to public scrutiny.

          Its my money, my challenge and I am the judge. I see no legal grounds to dispute efforts.

          I warned students I am a skeptic and they can read my essays on my website landscapesandcycle.net to understand how my views might affect judging their essay. I also wrote:

          “I will periodically report in my What’s Natural newspaper column, and on my landscapesandcycles.net blog, regards failed common arguments and why it will disqualify your essay from the award. That will allow every student to improve their argument and re-submit.”

          My reasons for disqualifications can be debated during the posting of my reasoning (about every 3 weeks). My logic will be very clear, and I then give students a chance to resubmit and correct their weaknesses.

          If these “striking students” truly understand the causes and severity of climate change, if they are not simply pawns following the herd, they should already have their arguments arranged in a honest meaningful way.

          • “Indeed I am not a wealthy man, and $1000 is all I can spare.”

            What?

            You aren’t paid millions by “Big Oil”?

        • I also promised, “to encourage good scientific thinking, if there is no winner in this climate challenge, I will still guarantee a $500 “runner-up” prize to the student who demonstrates the best scientific thinking, even if their conclusions are wrong.”

          I think any intelligent student striker would value $500 over a good letter grade given by a politicized teacher who lacks a solid scientific background regards climate change.

      • Jim Steele – Director emeritus, Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

        So, I suspect no adult, never mind a child, can meaningfully determine that recent weather or recent changes in a species abundance have been driven by rising greenhouse gases.

        Jim S, me thinks you best “re-think” the 2nd part of your above statement.

        Even small increases in “greenhouse gases”, namely H2O vapor and/or CO2, will instigate an increase in “species abundance” in/of specific/selected plant species.

        And an increase in the animal/insect species that feed upon the aforesaid “increased plant species” will follow suite.

        And, ta boot,…… the current rise of atmospheric CO2, ….. to above 400 ppm, ….. is being accredited for a 15% increase in global “greening”.

        • Samuel,

          Perhaps “species abundance” was a poor choice of words. I believe Jim meant the quantity of species on the planet, not the quantity of individual members of that species.

          More GHG will not cause more species to suddenly appear (nor to disappear). While some species may do better, I doubt that there is evidence that the sum total of species on Earth is declining or increasing as a result of human greenhouse gases (though I could be wrong).

          • Kurt in Switz,

            “Yup”, t’was the reason for my post, …….“species abundance” was a poor choice of words.

            But then, iffen Jim meant the quantity of species on the planet increasing, then he is probably safe because it is unlikely that “horizontal gene transfers” will become rampant again, …….. aka: the Cambrian Explosion.

        • Samuel,

          You are quite right the the CO2 fertilization effect could increase species and thus take out of context you point out a valid concern. However the overall challenge is “why 1) rising concentrations of CO2 are the cause of recent climate change, and 2) why that change is catastrophic.”

          Thus evidence of increased abundance does not show a catastrophic change. But such astute knowledge would put them in the hunt for the “runner-up” prize.

          • Jim (and everyone else), just what “recent climate change” are you referencing? All of the relevant scientific literature shows that, coming out of the Little Ice Age, other than some minor warming and associated humidity and extended growing seasons there has been no measurable climate change. Notably, there has been no worsening of any climate metric in the past 100+ year period.

            It is telling that no establishment scientist has come forward to refute wild claims surrounding the Climate Emergency meme. Shameful.

          • Dave Fair May 26, 2019 at 1:30 pm

            Jim (and everyone else), just what “recent climate change” are you referencing?

            All of the relevant scientific literature shows that, coming out of the Little Ice Age, other than some minor warming and associated humidity and extended growing seasons there has been no measurable climate change.

            Dave Fair, …… apparently it is obvious to most everyone but you, …… that part of the “recent climate change” that Jim Steele is referring to ……… is the same one that you referred to in your above comment. That is, unless you are disclaiming the fact that the MWP and LIA were climate change eras.

            The fact is, the earth’s climate is still recovering from the depth (circa 1600) of the LIA ….. and the minor warming (of a changing climate) is still occurring relative to the much warmer temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period (circa 900 to 1200).

            So, Jim’s challenge is still applicable, to wit:

            So, I am offering a $1000 award to the student who unequivocally outlines why 1) rising concentrations of CO2 are the cause of recent climate change, and 2) why that change is catastrophic.

    • Dave I see no point. Given Jim’s requirements he won’t be getting very many submissions and any that do come in will be riddled with errors based upon the precondition for submission.

      Nowhere, has the best science government can buy proven the CAGW hypothesis. Had this been accomplished already the government monetary reward would be far greater than any bounty we could accumulate using crowd funding. But this really is a BRILLIANT post. Way to box em in Jim!

    • Great idea but the prize should be at least a $1m and the competition open to all comers.

  2. Jim…Maybe we should up the ante with some crowd sourcing here at WUWT and make a prize very enticing to our youth from all over the world so that it gets the publicity that it deserves and makes the kidz really think. Maybe an equal prize for the other side of the argument about what we argue about here, namely, why CO2 and GHG’s aren’t the main driver of climate. The students could then decide what side of the fence they’re really on. All the entries could be published here for review by readers. Same rules…I would kick in $100 towards two prizes for each side of the fence.

    • Yes, to upping the prize.

      Absolutely No to a second prize. Why? It is up to them to prove their hypothesis is true while we believe everything is natural.

      • On the contrary Gerry…by having students study and compete on both sides of this debate and allowing them to choose a side, skeptics at least win the right to have a legitimate debate. As it stands now, scientific scepticism isn’t even allowed to be discussed in schools, academia, media and society at large without being labeled a crazy denier.

        This is a step towards encouraging students to embrace the true scientific method by analyzing both sides of this debate and legitimizing honest enquiry to the skeptical side of this debate. Giving students a choice in not only thinking about the ‘skeptic’ position but advocating for it, changes the dynamics of all further debate about climate change by everybody because then at least all the skeptic arguments have to be listened to by the alarmists. As it stands, we are not only dismissed as deniers, but our arguments and data are not even published or listened to by anyone in main stream society which is what we need to win over if there is to be any real balanced discussion on the entire CAGW climate debate.

        If the contest is only one sided and aimed at making it impossible for a student to win the $1000 prize because we say it is impossible to prove the alarmist position, then the alarmists only have to point that we weren’t really serious about having a real contest of any sort. Similarly, if the schools and media/academia dismiss the right of students to study and compete as a skeptic, then we win the higher ground for this debate because they insisted that students are not allowed to engage in the true scientific method, which is rigorous debate. This is what the world needs right now, (as the courts pointed out in the Dr. Peter Ridd case) which is that a rigorous debate on both sides of the climate divide is not only allowed but legitimate and essential to the scientific method. Starting with the students is a brilliant idea, and perhaps not only changes the tide in the whole discussion, but plants a seed in our youth that there is more to all this than just the doomsday predictions by legions of alarmists for nefarious reasons.

    • The aim of the contest isn’t to reward the best entry. The aim is to see if any entrant can deliver a scientific argument supporting CAGW. The expectation is that all entrants fail, but if one succeeds then Jim loses his $1000.

      It would be really something if crowdsourcing could boost the prize to something really significant, say $10,000 or even much more. But that would need some thought – the money would have to be collected in advance, it couldn’t be returned if there is no winner, so the “Plan B” recipient(s) would have to be decided in advance.

  3. Jim,
    Great Idea!
    Perhaps you could repeat the challenge for those adults who are manipulating the “ climate strikers”.

  4. It is much much simpler to demonstrate that CAGW hysteria is a disaster than it is to demonstrate that CAGW itself is real.

    CAGW hysteria demands that we dismantle our western economies while leaving China, Russia, India, et al. to pick over the carcass of our hard won civilization.

  5. Is this for real? Or is this some sort of parody? Or perhaps this was used as a comedy skit for Saturday night live.

    • I don’t think Greta could understand the conditions. What is this ‘evidence’ thing?

      • She can see CO2 don’t you know, so what else does she need?

        (OK, I know it was her mother that said that which does spoil the comedic use of it)

  6. As one of my many weaknesses and flaws, my ability to suffer fools is wholly lacking. As such, I commend you for such an act of heroic forebearance.

  7. There is no doubt thatyoung students knowfas lessabout climate than traimed scientists do. Whhy is anyone even considering yje composite or (individual)studenjt bopimion as syitable for societal action in view of this fact?

  8. I like the idea. It’s a kind back door approach to stick it to the CC crowd.
    All’s fair in love and war I say.

  9. San Francisco State University!!! OMG!!! Mr, Steele … your life MUST be in GREAT DANGER!! Working in the belly of the CAGW leftist BEAST! How have you survived as a rational scientist in this minefield of lockstep political correctness?

    Ohhhh … the “Sierra Nevada Field Campus”. Far removed from the insane asylum.

    Good luck with your parallel contest. Although I don’t believe the current young generation does very good with rules. Rustles that haven’t already been programmed into their little skulls.

  10. The students should be sent on a scavenger hunt:

    Find one piece of evidence that demonstrates CAGW is real.

    Find the exact amount of net heat that the current 410ppm of CO2 is adding to the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Accomplishing either one of these things would be worth a lot more than $1,000.00. You would be doing something noone else on Earth can currently do.

    • Tom

      Never mind the 410 ppm, what about man’s measly contribution. That’s what all the fuss is about after all.

  11. Jim, great challenge idea.
    But why confine it to 21 and unders?
    IMO, there are many 50+ career climate “scientists” who struggle with your points.
    (Mind you, given the sinecures established climate scientists enjoy these days, I doubt a lazy $gorilla would entice them to break ranks)

  12. haha Jim I’ll give you 10000 if you can prove your assumptions

    “3. The student must use the foundation of scientific inquiry, the “null hypothesis”. In other words, the student must show that current weather/climate reflects a change that exceeds natural climate change. That requires choosing the appropriate time frames for discussion.”

    A) the null hypothesis is not the foundation of inquiry.
    B) exceeeding natural variability is NOT a test that shows you anything

    4. Students must go beyond simple correlations. Correlation is not causation. Although CO2 concentrations are higher today than they were 200 years ago, higher concentrations are not evidence of causation.

    A) we never observe causality. we only observe correlations.

    5. Students must address relevant alternative hypotheses. For example, why is Arctic warming the result of CO2 warming and not the result of natural oscillations that drive warmer waters into the Arctic?

    A) Why not unicorns !!!
    B) the goal in science is to provide the best explanation. Ruling out ALL other possible
    explanations is impossible. This is known as the problem of underdetermination.
    C) psst why do you think the warmer waters are warmer?

    So prove me wrong. send me your essay. I’ll give you 10 grand if I am impressed.

    • So Steven, instead of just p* ssing all over someone else’s good intentions, perhaps you could provide some constructive commentary such as alternative wording that you think might be more appropriate and accurate?

    • MOsher, I used to respect you as a good critical thinker, but you have descended into being a dishonest drive-by sniper.

      Indeed we observe correlations, but then we test them for causality. Other wise correlations are useless.

      You dishonestly create a straw man argument suggesting I am asking to rule “ALL” other possible explanations. Only a fool accepts the first hypothesis without considering alternatives. Good science examines alternative hypotheses.

      If events do not lie outside the range of natural variability then they there is no additional effect.

      • Jim,
        the list of conditions you have set makes it impossible for anyone to succeed. The students aren’t going to be able to submit a working climate model in under 5000 words and you state that an argument from authority is not allowed. So how else are they meant to show that alternative hypotheses are wrong other than saying Dr. studied this and showed that it didn’t work. Unless you expect the students to have a second planet in their labs on which they can do controlled experiments.

        I am curious which bits of science you will allow the students to assume and which bits you are going to disallow as “argument by authority”? Will you accept the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas or will the students have to prove that as well?

        • Izaak. Nobody is being asked to submit a working climate model. A model may be able to represent an idea, but it cannot produce observations.

          Referring to research work (where it is reporting and interpreting observations) is not argument from authority. Students are not being asked to carry out their own primary research – they can support a position using reported, credible observations.

          Here’s my position: the CO2 warming theory requires a pattern of atmospheric warming nicknamed “the tropospheric hotspot” (I can provide references to support this). Observations yield no conformation of the expected pattern of warming (likewise, references can be provided). From this, I conclude the theory is refuted (falsified) by data. It doesn’t matter how attractive the theory is claimed to be, it has failed to justify itself: the data is telling us the atmosphere doesn’t behave the way the theory supposed.

          There you go, I can complete my position in a paragraph (although adding the references would add some more text).

          I would be very interested in any case which seeks to overcome my present conclusion.

          • The CliSci alarmists first told us the Hotspot does exist, despite measurements, and enlisted Santer to prove it; he failed miserably, but they don’t want to talk about that anymore.

            Now the CliSci alarmists claim it doesn’t matter that there is no Hotspot, and that the fact there isn’t one in no way invalidates CAGW. Just trust them on that; they will “prove” their case in the next UN IPCC Assessment Report.

            “Its just physics.” It now appears that physics is malleable, at least to government-funded scientists.

          • Jordan,
            Observations cannot explain why something is happening for that you need a model.
            Hence to prove or disprove whether or not CO2 is causing global warming you need a model of the climate that includes CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The students are asked to make a model of the climate, use this to make predictions and also compare alternative models all in 5000 words and without using any arguments from authority.
            With the best will in the world this is just not possible. Nor for that matter would it be
            possible to prove the opposite using the same criteria.

            Referring to other’s work is an argument from authority. You are saying that rely on their
            results.

          • Izaak.

            If I want to predict the impact of a capacitor in an electric circuit, I don’t need to trace things all the way back to electrostatics. I can make my case from a higher starting point of the macro characteristics of capacitor devices.

            Likewise the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect starts from an assumed atmosphere (usually represented as an unstratified, uniform clear sky) and then makes arguments about the absorption and re-emission of IR, and arguments about increase in net IR arriving at the surface. That’s a good enough model to build the argument being made about the net impact of the enhanced greenhouse effect, without having to revert to a full climate model. (Full climate models are used to try to predict outcomes in greater detail.)

            If I was a researcher who wished to comment on the effectiveness of an antibiotic, it is not an appeal to authority to refer to a published research report on clinical trials. If the report is credible, carried out and reported properly, referring to this is an appeal to data as though I had carried out the research myself.

            It is not necessary to carry out our own fundamental research in order to rely on data. To suggest this is to suggest a hopelessly slow, inefficient and hugely costly version of scientific practice.

          • Jordon,
            You state:
            “If I want to predict the impact of a capacitor in an electric circuit, I don’t need to trace things all the way back to electrostatics. I can make my case from a higher starting point of the macro characteristics of capacitor devices.”

            That is an argument from authority. You are assuming that standard models for electronic devices work and do not need to be tested and repeatedly checked. And that is as you how science is done since to do otherwise is ” hopelessly slow, inefficient and hugely costly”. All of which I agree with.

            But when it comes to climate science Jim Steele is explicitly rejecting such an approach and has stated that an argument from authority is not valid. So I am left wondering which bits of science he accepts as true and correct and which bits aren’t. You appear to accept a simplified model of the climate that includes the greenhouse effect so at least that is a starting point. Which again would suggest that you agree that rising CO2 levels cause an increase in temperature. But Jim Steele doesn’t so how would you convince him?

        • the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas

          You surely mean the fact that farmers use CO2 in their greenhouses to beef up plant growth?

        • Izaak, You are oddly putting words in my mouth.

          I warn students to avoid by arguments of authority and quote Sagan, meaning something isn’t correct just because a climate scientists like Michael Mann says so. Many climate models have failed to replicate many climate dynamics, so you cannot just argue that Mann’s model is right because he says so.

          What is required is to show a climate model robustly simulates climate changes.

          • Jim,
            How far back do you want to go? Are Newton’s laws of motion acceptable or do the students need to demonstrate those as well? Which bits of science are you willing to
            accept and which bits are you going to reject as being an “argument from authority”?
            Also what does “robustly simulate” mean? Climate models can predict the earth’s average temperature to within .1% (.3K out of about 300K) which many people would claim is a robust prediction.

            If there is any chance for a student to win your prize then you have to state clearly which bits of climate science you are prepared to accept and which bits you think are wrong or as yet unproven. Do you think CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Do you think that humans are responsible for the increase in CO2 concentrations over the last 100 years or so? Do you believe that the earth has warmed by over 1 degree in the last century? There are many regular posters on this blog who disagree with all those statements while many others would accept them.

      • Jim

        So let me get this straight. The student will get the award if they can convince “you” that “you” have been wrong all along. Mmmm I see a rather long up hill battle for any student taking this on.
        I know if you are really wanting to be impartial, why don’t you let someone from a respected scientific body be the judge…. I dunno let’s say the “Royal Society.” Or any nationally representative body. Now that would be interesting.

        • Simon,

          They do not need to prove I am wrong. They just need to provide evidence that is scientifically valid. I am simply asking student strikers for climate to show they have a good understanding of climate change. If they cannot do tha,t then they are being blindly led by alarmists and fear mongering.

          And some scientists are not to be trusted to be the judge. For example, Dr. Kevin Trenberth has argued to overturn the null hypothesis.

          I will post my evaluation of various arguments as we progress to the December deadline. You can encourage the Royal Society or any climate scientist to weigh in on the validity of my arguments.

          • “I am simply asking student strikers for climate to show they have a good understanding of climate change. If they cannot do tha,t then they are being blindly led by alarmists and fear mongering.”
            No you are asking them to meet criteria that would be near impossible for anyone, trying to prove anything is real, could meet. I suggest they could provide the most valid evidence available and you could always fall back on “I’m not convinced” argument. Now if you really have faith no student could convince an independent person then that really would be putting your money where your mouth is.

    • Mosh –
      The challenge isn’t about inquiry; it’s a challenge for evidence, for proof. As such, it demands rigor in one’s arguments (founded in reality vs. speculation),

      Any idiot can “observe correlation”! Not everyone is capable of coherent scientific thought, absent the trappings of authority and crowds of admirers.

      One for you, Mosh: why has the GMSL trend failed to show evidence of continued long-term acceleration? Surely this would be plainly evident if human CO2 emissions were a threat to our well-being!

    • Another thing:

      You wrote, “B) exceeeding natural variability is NOT a test that shows you anything.”

      Hmmm. Funny thing, that.

      Hänsen and several IPCC reports used exactly that claim to forward their claim [that current circumstances were ‘unnatural’].

      So are you calling them liars?

      Since the bar of exceeding natural variability is ‘insufficient’, perhaps you could enlighten the rest of us as to what would be ‘sufficient’ and then expound (or offer your neighbor’s daughter the opportunity to expound (and collect some $$$ to invest in her education).

      • “Hänsen and several IPCC reports used exactly that claim to forward their claim [that current circumstances were ‘unnatural’].”

        And?????

        • Sheri,

          …. and both Hansen & the IPCC claimed to have ‘evidence’ of the temperature vs time record exceeding the “natural” variability envelope by two sigma, if I recall correctly.

          However, here Mosher claims: “exceeeding natural variability is NOT a test that shows you anything”, which would appear to refute Hansen and the IPCC’s statements.

          Jes’ sayin’

    • The way I see it is that this challenge is not to find answers but to prove that those who claim to have them are accountable.

      • Those who claim to have the CAGW answers don’t have the answers, all they really have is speculation and guesses. There is no evidence that CO2 does anything of consequence to the Earth’s atmosphere That’s the lesson the children should learn.

        • Tom,

          You wrote, “There is no evidence that CO2 does anything of consequence to the Earth’s atmosphere.”

          Well put.

          But merely saying those words in public will get you ostracized, shunned, blacklisted and censored. The children will never hear nor learn that simple sentence. (Apart from non-approved websites, strangers in dark alleys, dissidents fighting the machine).

    • Steven.

      Forget Jim’s conditions. You can engage by using the same 5000 words to put your case, setting out how you believe CAGW has been demonstrated according to scientific process and standards. It should link CO2 emissions to global warming, and be specific on impacts (where the impacts justify the us of the phrase “climate emergency”).

      Publicise your position to give sceptical minds the opportunity to comment on whether it is a valid scientific assessment and whether it is free from logical fallacies.

      This should be a straightforward task for a person in your position. And if you respond quickly, your essay could serve as a model answer for the under-21’s. You’d be doing them a great favour by improving their chances of winning the $1000.

      So when can we expect your essay?

    • re Steven Mosher’s points:
      3. It’s not difficult to find out what the Null Hypothesis is about. eg. “The null hypothesis .. is an essential part of any research design, and is always tested, even indirectly.”. https://explorable.com/null-hypothesis
      I do think that the wording “exceeds natural climate change” can be improved – maybe “could not be natural climate change”.

      4. “we never observe causality. we only observe correlations” is a red herring. The point is that a correlation is generally only accepted as causation when supported by a mechanism.

      5. A) No-one ruled out unicorns. If a student put forward convincing evidence for unicorns they could win the prize, but let’s face it, that would be a tall order. B) no-one said “rule out all other possible explanations”, the statement was “address relevant alternative hypotheses”. C) “psst why do you think the warmer waters are warmer?” – basically, that’s the question that Jim is asking.

      • Years ago I called Mosher a “fish farmer of red herrings.” Love to hear him described this way by someone else.

        His comments are strange, seems to always point out that someone else has not proved anything. He has not either, all he says is, “There has been warming and CO2 has risen.” For some reason he seems to think this makes him look wise.

        He plays around a lot with temperature records, always says I tried that, it changes nothing. And, he posts about Urban Cool Islands, such ridiculous horse maneuvers…

      • We don’t even know the full range of natural variability. Every single proxy has serious problems, mostly with temporal resolution, not to mention are they actually telling us what we’re told they’re telling us.

    • Steven Mosher, Are you saying that the null hypothesis, that climate change is not significantly affected by GHG emissions, should not be considered?

      If you are linking two things – GHGs and climate change or witches and crop failure – you need to rule out the possibility that they are not linked.
      How have you ruled out the possibility that the climate change is predominately natural today as it has been for millennia.

      I admit that using science to debate climate change is choosing to fight on the sceptic home ground but why should the superstitious choose the battleground?

      • He isn’t a scientist and it has never been clear what Steve believes mostly he just makes things up as according to Steve. Like in this case he just axed null hypothesis and removed any discussion of background noise and features.

        Like Greta Greta Thunberg he is a special needs case who thinks anybody should care what they think about the subject. You get about the same intelligence from either if you tried to actually work out what they believe.

      • “How have you ruled out the possibility that the climate change is predominately natural today as it has been for millennia.”

        The way the Earth’s climate behaves should be considered to be controlled by Mother Nature until proven otherwise. There is no evidence that Mother Nature has been superceded by human-derived CO2.

        The only “evidence” the CAGW promoters have is the bogus, bastardized Hockey Stick charts which make it appear that we are currently experiencing unprecedented warming today, claiming 2016 was the “Hottest Year Evah!”, but the reality is that unmodified temperature charts from around the world show that it was just as warm in the recent past as it is today, which favors the argument that Mother Nature is the cause of our current climate and weather.

        Without the dishonest Hockey Stick charts the CAGW promoters would have nothing to point to as evidence for their CAGW claims, and the Climategate emails make it plain that it was the intention of the Climategate Data Manipulators to take the global temperature record and tamper with it to cool the past and warm the present in order to make it appear that the world is experiencing unprecedented heat that could only be caused by human-derived CO2.

        CAGW is based on a Big Lie: The Hockey Stick charts. No Hockey Sticks, No CAGW.

    • I love the concept of Mosher judging anything to do with science, you would be hard pressed to find anyone less qualified.

    • “B) exceeeding natural variability is NOT a test that shows you anything”

      Well, if natural variability over many decades seems to show an upper limit to home runs in a season of around 60 (Ruth), 56 (Mantle), and 61 (Maris), and then a couple of guys all of a sudden hit 10 more in a season, you could reasonably look for a non-natural explanation. Drugs, perhaps.

      If you are going to blame CO2, why wouldn’t establishing a proper benchmark be important?

      • The CliSci Alarmists have a simple solution: Tune your UN IPCC climate models to reflect late 20th Century surface temperatures (use bogus aerosol assumptions to finesse earlier records). Then run your models without the CO2 assumptions.

        Voila! You have shown scientifically that natural variability cannot explain post-1950 temperatures.

        This is, literally, exactly what was done in the UN IPCC AR5.

        Scientific fraud. And no supposedly responsible scientist called them out on it.

    • Steven, I’d be interested in YOUR essay, or indeed, any global warming crisis proponent’s showing exactly what convinces you that I should be very worried about what lies ahead.

      I have no skin in the game although I studied paleoclimatology in the 1950s that was part of normal geologic history courses. I have degrees in geology and engineering and have done research in both, so I believe myself scientifically literate enough to understand your pitch.

      I tried to get this education on CO2 climate crisis science more than 10yrs ago, but the answer was “What else could it be?” Translated, this essentially casts the answer into a guess from limited imagination. Well, we’ve spent another couple of trillion and graduated another 100,000 climate researchers, all needing a trillion to study it. Has the explanation improved?

    • Steel didn’t do well on the Keating’s $30000 climate challenge. Too bad I can’t find a tag for it.

    • And he totally FAILED,

      … from his first word to his last.

      A massive faceplant into his own BS. !

    • All he did was make assertions that he doesn’t have a clue about and made a fool of himself. Not sure we can deem it an entry that is a bit like putting your name on an exam paper and handing it in.

  13. Adults have memories of the ongoing false alarms and becoming increasingly aware, so this naive group is their last ditch stand for new fear-recruits.

  14. A) the null hypothesis is not the foundation of inquiry.
    No, but its a good start and a plank that allows other hypotheses to be tested.
    The Null Hypotheses could for example be ‘There is no difference between the warming from 1819 to today between what was going to happen due to natural causes and what actually happened.’
    Discuss.
    A]Exceeding natural variability is not a test that shows you anything.
    That’s new to me, I thought that the whole CO2 argument with water vapour feedback was all about exceeding the bounds of natural variability to cause ‘climate weirding’ or ‘climate catastrophe’ and so forth.
    The argument goes that but for our production of fossil fuel derived CO2 we would still be in Camelot.
    4A}We never observe causation,…
    4A True as far as it goes but
    If there is no correlation then causation falls at the first hurdle.
    So therefore if there is correlation then other methods, say from geological evidence, must be also observed to indicate if the correlation leads to the model or ‘expected’ outcomes.
    One looks for new lines of evidence.
    5} alternate hypotheses.
    Best put the question as
    Alternative mechanisms of climate change and their testable impact in the time frame being examined.

    Just another question that could be addressed.
    As CO2 outgassing of the oceans follows warming, what mechanism has preventing the oceans from boiling away, when one driver of warming is incremental CO2?
    Discuss.
    The panel needs to be widened to include Mosher, who can give a written opinion, as all the examiners.
    GoFundMe is a possible mechanism to increase prizemoney.
    It charges over 5% comission however.
    It could take a week to write such an essay, perhaps more could be put in the pot.

  15. Steve
    A) we never observe causality. we only observe correlations.

    So it must be true then that eating more cheese increases the risk of dying from entanglement in bedclothes while sleeping.

    Or indeed the intellectual equivalent of such a mishap, coming to the belief that moving the biosphere back from the edge of CO2 starvation and boosting CO2 to a more historically normal level, will cause catastrophe and mass extinctions.

    C) psst why do you think the warmer waters are warmer?

    Can you suggest a reason why bottom water under the Arctic is warmer during glacial than during interglacial periods. Where did that warmth come from? (Or was it already there but at a different place?)

  16. If several accepted essays arrives, will all be rewarded or is the first the winner?
    I assume there is exactly one , but I would like to push this in Sweden, proud homeland of Greta Thunberg.

  17. I flick the switch – the light turns on
    I flick it again – the light goes off

    happens every time.
    I may be observing a correlation but the cause is there.

    If the children can argue or demonstrate a similar effect with climate- they deserve jims money

    • EternalOptimist – except where there’s a power outage, a fuse blown, or the light is defective. Life’s complicated and nothing is for certain.

      But what you describe is a repeatable experiment which can be replicated by multiple independent researchers. This cannot be done for the Earth’s climate. As the pro-AGW lobby keep telling us, we have one test on one planet.

      This means we are more limited in how we test ideas about the climate. One important method could be putting forward specific predictions (specific enough to reduce chance and alternative hypotheses) and then observing whether or not they are observed as predicted.

      The pro-AGW lobby has failed badly in this respect as they continually churn out predictions which then prove to be wrong. Anybody heard the “earlier Springs” this year? Not me, as the UK’s spring was not early this year or last.

      And on the point about making specific predictions, this is an issue with GMST. It is not a very useful prediction because it masks a huge range of regional and short-time-scale variation, an it does little or nothing to eliminate other potential explanations for the prediction.

      A far better prediction is the “scaling factor” as Christy referred to it in his 2010 paper. If the scaling factor falls well short of 1.4, it’s a pretty damning result for any notion of CO2-induced atmospheric warming. And that’s what Christy showed in 2010, and a long period of scientific debate since then has never overturned his conclusion.

      • just flicked it ten more times.
        Same thing, light goes on, light goes off.

        I am pretty sure I am seeing cause and effect

    • However, as we get more penetration of renewables into the electrical grid, your first statement may no longer be valid.

  18. Any honest inquiry into the subject of climate, regardless of the initial motive can result in one thing only; that the person becomes a Skeptic or even Climate Realist. True Believers are primarily driven by emotion, not reason, so can only rely on Appeals to Emotion, Argument from Authority, As Hominems, and Red Herring types of arguments, among others. The ultimate irony would be if someone like Greta Thunberg happened to have one iota of curiosity about “the other side”, delved into it with the motive of debunking it, and wound up becoming a Skeptic. Ya, I know, not likely.

  19. I think it’s too much work. Just distribute free super glue to those who want to stick their tits to the pavement.

  20. Could the challenge be simplified by saying “prove global warming is manmade without using
    GCMs and use the scientific method.”

  21. I think it would be more interesting to offer the prize to so-called climate scientists and activists! I imagine there would be no entries, even if the prize money had 3 more zeros on the end. They are already awarded billions of dollars annually to avoid subjecting climate change to the principles of valid scientific enquiry.

    This reminds me of the Amazing Randi $1,000,000 paranormal challenge. No one ever collected that money because no one could ever scientifically prove paranormal abilities. When someone’s abilities were put to a scientific test, they failed, 100% of the time!

    Am I equating the abilities of climate scientists with the abilities of psychics? Why, yes! Yes I am! (Apologies to all my psychic friends.)

  22. Perhaps you underestimates the skills of Children of lets say 14 jears, and who decides if he/she succeded.

  23. Both Einstein and Feynman made statements to the effect that in order to really understand something you have to be able to explain it to a child. Feynman also said that if the issue could not be explained in that way, then we do not understand it.

    I get the impression, given our current understanding, that it would be impossible to explain climate change to a child.

  24. Most people don’t seem to get Mosher. He hasn’t the patience to respond in anything but short replies that appear as condescending drive-by snipes (and maybe they are). But at least one point he makes is entirely valid for both skeptics and true-believers alike — make your arguments rigorous and complete. Yes, his are curt and incomplete most times (I’ve observed them here for over ten years) and maybe he’s just tired of making them or maybe it’s easier to be a gadfly. Still, his point is correct. Let’s be as self-critical as other-critical. You may not be right, but at least you did your honest best to demonstrate you are.

    • Not everyone that posts to WUWT understands the general science of climate. That, however, is no excuse for rejecting the various valid criticisms of the copious outputs of CliSci. One just needs to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

      To me, there are two clear invalidations of CAGW: One, and most importantly, no Hotspot (Its just physics.). And two, invalid UN IPCC climate models.

      Dicking around with minutia (e.g. Mr. Mosher’s Wandering in the Weeds) are fun (and even educational) distractions, but will get you nowhere in making climate policy: If to fundamentally alter our society, economy and energy systems based on the assumed impacts of a single, very minor gas in our atmosphere.

      • Dave,

        Who, here or elsewhere, really, truly understands the “general science of climate”?

        There are several data points which raise valid questions regarding the ‘mainstream climate science conjecture’ that CO2 and other human GHG emissions are irreversibly changing climate for the worse in a heretofore unprecedented rate or extent.

        Mosher does not see his role as separating wheat from chaff or otherwise offering wise advice. He is a self-appointed “drive-by shooter” who truly believes in his own intellectual superiority.

        Yet he fails to address not only the harder, but also the easier! “problems” with the enhanced GH effect scare!

        But hey, he “outed” the infamous Gleick. For that tour de force, we are forever grateful.

        Just grow up, big guy, and accept that your pet theories lack hard data.
        Or are you that afraid of losing your job?

        • I, for one, do understand the general science of climate. Unlike, however, “Mr. Mosher And The Weed Wanders” I don’t engage in arguing about the number and nature of the nits one picks. Speculating about the possible future impacts of minor temperature changes on South American Tree Frogs or the range of the Monarch Butterfly is not useful when trying to determine if one should support the fundamental alteration of our society, economy and energy systems.

          The physics of radiative gasses is known. It is speculation about water vapor, clouds, convection, ocean currents, etc. that gets one in trouble. If speculation about those things leads one to develop UN IPCC climate models that predict a Hotspot, and a Hotspot doesn’t develop, then one should really reconsider the speculations used in such model development. Additionally, those UN IPCC climate models have a bad record for temperature predictions.

          I have developed large computer programs that predicted the operations of highly complex systems. If the assumptions used are not based on empirical observations, then the outputs are incorrect; GIGO. Hell, the UN IPCC climate models cannot even get the past correct, especially for the early 20th Century warming.

          The take-home message is: Computer models only produce output consistent with their design and the parameters chosen for incalculable phenomena. If you start with the assumption that CO2 significantly affects temperatures, then the model output will show higher temperatures associated with assumed higher CO2 levels. UN IPCC climate modelers admit that they adjust models and parameters until they get an ECS that “seems right.”

          As predicted by the outgoing President Eisenhower, CliSci has been corrupted worldwide by government money and political control. That, added to the green NGO hysteria (aided by foreign disinformation), leads to dysfunctional politics. If you don’t believe that, then maybe, you too, can see CO2 in the air.

  25. Hi Anthony. I’ve been following you since a couple of years ago. I have much respect for your work. I second the petition of a previous commenter about allowing us to add to the $1,000 price. I would like to add that the student must demonstrate correct use of quantum mechanics of fluid in the treatment of the atmosphere’s behavior together with thermodynamics of volume, pressure and temperature variables in the explanation of how CO2 can affect significantly the atmosphere. Thanks. Dr. Jimmy Vigo, PhD Environmental Science & Engineering, UTEP 2006.

    • Jimmy, with your obviously open mind, how the hell were you able to get them to grant you a PhD in environmental science?

    • Dr. Jimmy,
      Would you be satisfied if instead of students being able to “demonstrate correct use of quantum mechanics of fluid in the treatment of the atmosphere’s behavior together with thermodynamics of volume, pressure and temperature variables in the explanation of how CO2 can affect significantly the atmosphere”, he/ she was able to see CO2 molecules in the air with their own eyes?

  26. Regarding the correlation dispute: If each run of variable x and variable y is INDEPENDENT, then correlations can be treated as possibly significant. As Munshi pointed out

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743

    CUMULATIVE SUMS, as in temperature, fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere, will likely show spurious correlations.

    When I came across William Briggs’ “arcsine” post, I made the effort to download , play with , and learn about the “R” program.

    https://wmbriggs.com/post/257/

    This program creates a series of “random” +1s, -1s (v1), and the cumulative sum of the random +1s and -1s (v2)

    ##################

    T1<-c(1:50)
    v1<-c( rbinom(50,size=1,p=0.5))
    v1=2*(v1-0.5)
    v2<-cumsum(v1)
    lm(T1 ~ v2)
    m<-lm(T1~v2)
    summary(m)
    #####################

    Running the program, I usually get a bogus "highly significant" result when computing the correlation between time (T1) and cumulative sum of random variables (v2), but when I run the correlation between T1 and v1, I get the expected result, negligible, insignificant correlation.

    If there's a REAL correlation between CO2 and Temperature, the correlation has to be run between
    delta temperature and delta CO2 over a year, or whatever. As Munshi pointed out, such correlations show insignificant relationships, sort of like my v1, T1 correlations.

  27. I seriously doubt whether he will get any real challengers, since they only operate on FEELINGS, not logic or scientific reasoning! I could be wrong, though. I applaud your attempts and I hope for the best!

  28. Great contest. Obviously, no child can meet the qualifications, because no adult has had the scientific sense to meet these qualifications. This points out the fact that climate obsessers do not follow science.
    People don’t think; they rationalize.

  29. So why keep telling us it is beyond question and referring to us as deniers instead of answering our hundreds of what to us in purely grammatical terms we are sure are questions. My main one is if it is science why do you not encourage questions and independent verification if the claims were not fraudulent?

  30. Climate science alarmists are are never going to go away. Too bad there can’t be an annual prize for best student science project, essay or debate. It’s a worthy goal.

    Somehow we have to get students to logically refute the alarm and the alarmists. More straightforward.

  31. That’s a great challenge and I would love to see it transformed into a Climate X price. We need fact, we need data, we need knowledge, we need a lot of discussions and we need stories that convey what is and not what some sick minds imagine. We are living in a world where kids freak out from totally imaginary dangers. When I was a kid, we freaked out over nuclear war – it just hung over us. We freaked out over sour rain and a new Ice Age coming. We freaked out over a great many things but we did so for ourselves. We did not hold everyone hostage. And sure enough, pretty much all of those scares remained that, scares although they were eerily real to our minds. But this Climate Change thing is totally unsupported by data and it freaks people out to a degree never seen before. What will they do when really dangerous things happen?

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