When not refuting the 97 percent of scientists who believe in human-caused global warming, climate change deniers often draw upon the conspiracy that it’s is a fabricated theory invented by those in a position to gain financially or otherwise from efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A Texas-based physicist is turning that notion on its head by offering $10,000 of his own money to anyone who can disprove mainstream, accepted climate science.
Dr. Christopher Keating, a physicist who has taught at the University of South Dakota and the U.S. Naval Academy, says in his blog post that the rules are easy: there is no entry fee, participants must be over 18, and the scientific method must be employed.
“Deniers actively claim that science is on their side and there is no proof of man-made climate change,” Keating told the College Fix by email. “You would think that if it was really as easy as the deniers claim that someone, somewhere would do it.”
Keating is planning to post entries on his blog along with comments. He is willing to field a wide array of submissions and is also offering $1,000 to anyone that can provide any scientific evidence at all that climate change isn’t real. “They are even free to find proof on the Internet and cut and paste it,” he said.
Keating is the author of the recent book “Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming,” which employs a Socratic-style discussion between three friends over email in a climate change polemic.
In his announcement of the $10,000 award, which comes just a couple months after the release of his book, Keating says that climate change deniers today are engaged in a campaign very similar to the one waged by tobacco advocates to deny a link between smoking and lung cancer in an attempt to deceive the public.
“I am certain my money is safe,” he says. “They are in the business of denial and deception, not science. But, if someone could give me a scientific proof global warming isn’t real, it would be worth the money.”
In the meantime, Keating says consumers will continue to pay for the costs of climate change. “We are already seeing increases in the cost of utilities, insurance, food and many more things due to climate change.”
The digital realm is full of well-intentioned efforts, mean-spirited accusations, and entertaining distractions surrounding the reality of climate change and what to believe, and it’s unsurprising that Keating’s challenge is not the first of its kind from either side of the debate.
In 2007, Junkscience.com, run by climate denier Steve Milloy — who dubbed himself “The Junkman” — issued a challenge offering $150,000 to anyone who could scientifically prove that humans were causing “catastrophic global warming”. By the time the contest ended in failure in early 2009, the prize had risen to $500,000. As of late last year, Milloy is director of external policy & strategy at Murray Energy Corporation, the largest privately-held coal producer in the U.S.
Milloy and Murray Energy are a good fit. Murray Energy Corp. founder Robert Murray recently said that “the earth has actually cooled over the last 17 years,” and that the EPA is “lying about so-called global warming.”
Murray Energy is now suing the EPA over its proposed new carbon emissions proposal.
Also in 2007, the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank, offered $10,000 for articles undermining the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s major report.
This month, in an oddly-timed coincidence, the global warming-denying Heartland Institute is also using $10,000 to entice content from organizations and scientists who question global warming. In this case, they are charging $10,000 to offer a chance to be featured in a Washington Times special section as part of the 9th International Conference on Climate Change, a Heartland-hosted event in Las Vegas in early July. The Koch Brothers, who deny global warming and are bankrolling a massive campaign against action and politicians supporting action at all levels of government, are key contributors to the Heartland Institute.