Why I Believe in Moderate Global Warming, But Lose No Sleep Over It
By Bryan Caplan
Evolution and genetics aside, my understanding of natural science is very weak. Fortunately, examining the bets experts are willing to make is a great substitute for understanding what they are talking about. So when Robin Hanson reports that global warming skeptics aren’t betting, at least at reasonable odds, I infer that strong skepticism is cheap talk.
At the same time, I don’t see the climate change bet as very interesting. Why not bet on world per-capita GDP and life expectancy in 2057 (or 2107) conditional on doing nothing new about carbon emissions. Does anyone want to bet $100 at even odds that per-capita GDP in fifty years won’t be at least 50% higher, and life expectancy 3 years longer, even if we take the do-nothing-more path?
Is the do-nothing-more path too improbable, or too hard to define? OK, then why not just make the unconditional bet that in 2057, per-capita world GDP will be at least 100% higher, and life expectancy 5 years longer? $100 at even odds? If that bet isn’t attractive too you, it doesn’t mean that doing something about climate change isn’t worthwhile, but it does mean that, all things considered, the future is pretty bright.
Feel free to refine the bet in the comments.