The La Plata Mountains as seen from above the author’s

Durango Bill’s

Debunking the Deniers of Global Warming

Roger Cohen’s proposed $5,000 bet denying “Global Warming”
Roger Cohen is out of touch with reality when he claims
No “global warming for well over 10 years now”

An example of
1) A (retired) Exxon Mobil executive’s attempt to use money to promote his personal agenda. (Which is to denying “Global Warming”.) Roger Cohen’s former position at Exxon Mobil was “Manager, Strategic Planning & Programs”
2) What appears to be biased reporting by a small town newspaper to further promote this denial agenda

Summary of the Bet

   On Jan. 26, 2008 the Durango Herald published a large front-page story (Front page portion was 3 columns wide and over a foot long) describing a “Global Warming” denial bet challenge by Roger Cohen. (A retired Exxon Mobil executive)

   Apparently “Opinion articles” had been exchanged between Roger Cohen and other parties on the Durango Herald’s Opinion Page (which is where these arguments should have stayed), but on Jan. 26, 2008 the Durango Herald published a large front page article that promoted Roger Cohen’s agenda of denying “Global Warming”. The article included the following statement by Mr. Cohen in regard to other posts that had appeared on the Opinion Page.
“If they’re willing to write letters but not bet, they shouldn’t be taken seriously.”
The top heading for the front-page newspaper article was “No one warms to his challenge” followed by a large picture of Mr. Cohen prominently holding a $5,000 check. A subtitle to the article stated “Durangoan willing to bet $5,000 Earth won’t be hotter in 10 years”

   Articles that promote an individual’s agenda do not belong on the front page of a newspaper. When a newspaper does this, it is biased reporting.

   As for Roger Cohen (the retired Exxon Mobil executive), his behavior is typical of past Exxon Mobil behavior. “Don’t bother us with the facts, just use money to see if you can force a particular agenda.”

   If an issue has merit, it should be supported by evidence; and particularly, documentation of this evidence should be backed up by references. For example, references should include Internet links and/or research articles published in credible journals.

   Instead of using evidence, Mr. Cohen’s modus operandi (similar to Exxon Mobil) is to try to use money to force an issue. Mr. Cohen’s motivation appears to be “I’m right because I can bet $5,000”. Public policy regarding the causes and consequences of “Global Warming” / “Climate Change” should not be decided by bets by someone who has an ego problem.

The Author’s Response to Roger Cohen’s Bet

   I have sent E-mails to Roger Cohen and the Durango Herald indicating that I would take the other side of the bet, but with conditions attached. These conditions require that 1) the Durango Herald must give equal newspaper space to evidence that “Climate Change” / “Global Warming” is occurring, 2) the Durango Herald must allow me to copy material that appears in the newspaper including posting the information on Internet web pages, and 3) that 10-year averages are used as a measure that “Global Warming” is taking place. The text of Roger Cohen’s bet (as sent to me via an E-mail), and my response follow.

Text of Roger Cohen’s Proposed Bet

A public wager on climate change
  Herald readers have had the opportunity to discern the flim­siness of the climate catastrophe case and to witness catastrophe advocates’ anger against those who disagree and their reluc­tance to debate technical issues. If advocates remain confident of impending climate catastrophe and firm in their belief that worldwide government interven­tions are urgently needed, they will seize the opportunity I offer here.
  I offer a public wager of $5,000 that the Earth will be cooler in 10 years.
  ❂ The wager is open to one individual or group of individu­als. If more than one individual or group is interested, I will choose one and notify the others.
  ❂ The determining metric will be simple: whether the glob­al average temperature for the year 2017 is higher or lower than 2007, as determined by the au­thoritative “HadCRUT3” data set (Climatic Research Unit, U.K.), or its successor.
  ❂ Funds will be deposited in an escrow account. Interest earned will be paid to the escrow agent.
  ❂ There will be a simple writ­ten agreement between the par­ties (I will pay legal counsel to prepare), and the parties will sign an escrow agreement relat­ing to the deposited funds.
  ❂ My winnings will be do­nated to a local charitable orga­nization promoting science edu­cation.
  The wager is aimed at focus­ing attention on the critical issue: future climate and our ability to predict it. The United Nation’s climate panel relies on computer models for its projections and predicts that the Earth will likely be warmer in 10 years. The wa­ger involves actual global climate data – no computer predictions, cherry-picked anecdotes, appeals to “majority opinion,” distor­tions of fact, or unfounded proclamations.
  No excuses. If the amount is too high, advocates can run a fundraiser. If it seems low, pro­pose a different amount. Want a different data set? Propose one. Trying to divert attention to those “nasty energy companies” and similar smokescreens will only emphasize the weakness of your position.
  Parties should respond by mail – P.O. Box 3162, Durango 81302 – within 20 days of this publication. If no one responds by that time, there will be no wager.
 Roger W. Cohen, Durango

My E-mail Response
(Sent to both Roger Cohen and Dale Rodebaugh of the Durango Herald)

On Jan. 26, 2008, the Durango Herald ran a front page story about a bet offer by Roger Cohen under the story title “A chilly response”. I would like to take the other side of Roger’s bet, but there would be some conditions involved.

First, the temperatures of record must be the 10 year averages from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies for their “Global Temperature Land-Ocean Index”. (The front 10 years would the 10-year average from 1997 to 2006 (up-to-date displayed data) while the end 10 years would cover 2007 to 2016).  Charts showing the 5 year average temperatures for this index can be seen as the red line at:

2) The Durango Herald must give me a written guarantee that it will give me (or anyone that I chose as a delegate) equal coverage to Climate Change evidence. In particular, this must include a front page story in the Durango Herald that has the same size coverage as the “A chilly response” article that the Durango Herald published on Jan. 26, 2008. This coverage will be independent of any subsequent coverage of the bet and must include a picture of the above graph. (And be of comparable size.)

3) I regard Roger Cohen as an Exxon spokesman who is part of the “Denial Machine”. I also think that the Durango Herald has been very one-sided in its coverage of Roger Cohen’s assertions. If this goes forward, I will also need written permission from both Roger Cohen and the Durango Herald that I may use copies (without restriction) of any material on this subject that may be printed in the Durango Herald. This permission must also include allowing me to use the material as part of Internet web pages. Internet web pages will be similar to a page that I have already posted on the Internet.
“The Great Global Warming Swindle” is itself a Fraud and a Swindle

If these conditions are acceptable to both Roger Cohen and the Durango Herald, it should be relatively simple to work out the rest of the details. Note: I am perfectly willing to have my “winnings” (if I win) also go to charities. (What would be funny is that there’s also a remote chance that both Roger Cohen and I support the same charity.)

Update as of 4 PM MST Jan. 28, 2008: Subsequent correspondence with representatives from the Durango Herald indicates that they have a long-standing policy that does not allow me or anyone else an unrestricted right to copy their copyright material. Thus the conditions for the bet from my side can not be fulfilled, and for my part, the bet is no longer relevant.

        Cohen is prominently displaying his tentative $5,000 check.   The photograph to the right shows Roger Cohen prominently displaying his tentative $5,000 check. It clearly illustrates what is most important to Mr. Cohen. As per usual for Exxon Mobil executives (even retired ones), it is an example of their attempts to use money to promote an agenda - and bypass scientific accuracy in the process.

The original article in the Durango Herald appeared under the following headline: (Headline and photograph were 3 columns wide.)

A chilly response

Durangoan willing to bet $5,000
Earth won’t be hotter in 10 years

By Dale Rodebaugh
Herald Staff Writer

Note: The photograph is a copy of the photograph displayed at . It was not copied from the Durango Herald’s website or from the original article that appeared in the Durango Herald. Click here to see the web version of the original Durango Herald article. (The original link is not active. An archive can be seen at: )

The final version of the bet will compare the average temperature anomaly for the years 2005 to 2007 vs. what happens from 2015 to 2017.

The NOAA temperature record

Added Sept. 29, 2014:
The graph above is updated monthly and shows temperature anomalies as tabulated by NOAA/National Climate Data Center ( )

Roger Cohen continues to claim that the earth is cooling. (For example, see Roger Cohen’s letter to the editor at ) Realty shows that the earth is continuing to get warmer. It would appear that Roger Cohen is out of touch with reality. Mr. Cohen should pay attention to the scientists.
End of Sept. 29, 2014 addition.

   The “Deniers” usually use “Cherry Picked” local data that has been selective edited (or even outright falsified) for their arguments, but it is important to remember that “Global Warming” evidence is based on “Global Data”. If at any time that a “Denier” shows a temperature chart as part of his assertions, it is highly probable that it has been edited, culled, or otherwise distorted such that it does not represent the true historical record.

   If you restrict a temperature comparison to a single year vs. another single year 10 years later as per Roger Cohen’s bet proposal, the short term random variations (“noise” and “static”) will obscure the trend. If you are going to use single years for comparison (not the world’s best metric), then a much longer time period should be used. For example, if Roger Cohen’s proposed bet used a 100-year time spread of 1909 vs. 2009; then the difference in the two temperatures would be more representative. But then again, the “Deniers” aren’t interested in the real trend. They are only interested in promoting their own agenda.

Who is winning the bet?

   The final terms of bet state that if the average temperature for 2015 to 2017 is warmer than the average temperature for 2005 to 2007, then Roger Cohen loses the bet. Guess who is going to “eat crow?

Jan. 1, 2016 Addendum

As of Dec. 24, 2015 Roger Cohen has conceded the bet.

‘We’ve all lost’ in bet about climate change, says Durango man
Data forces skeptic to concede bet on warming temperatures

There is one positive aspect that separates Rodger Cohen from most other Deniers. He has demonstrated an ability to recognize evidence.

Glacial Evidence of Global Warming

The most obvious evidence that Global Warming exists is provided by the glaciers.

A 1941
        view of the Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park.A 2004 view of the former
        location of Muir Glacier.
The originals of the above photographs can be seen at:

   The (historic) Muir Glacier is an extreme example, but there are many other examples. (If you have Google Earth on your computer, go to 59.012N, 136.163W and look slightly west of due north to generate a view similar to the views above.)

   Wikipedia has an extensive article documenting glacial retreat around the world including several “then and now” photographs. As documented in the article, glacial retreat has accelerated since 1990.

   A Google image search using << glacier “global warming” >> returns hundreds of thousands of photographs/images showing glacial shrinkage due to Global Warming.

Juneau. Alaska's most famous tourist attraction -
          the Mendenhall Glacier.

   The twin photographs above can be seen at  They show what is happening to Juneau, Alaska’s most famous tourist attraction – the Mendenhall Glacier.

Other publicity bets by the “Deniers”

   Finally, it seems that betting that the earth will not undergo “Global Warming” seems to be somewhat of a fad among the “Global Warming Deniers”. If you run a Google search using  <   “Global Warming” bet   >, you will get hundreds of thousands of hits. Apparently, the deniers believe that making lots of noise and generating lots of controversy is a substitute for evidence.

Some examples of other publicity bets by the “Deniers”:

“Climate change sceptics bet $10,000 on cooler world”
“Betting on Climate Change - It's time to put up or shut up - Ronald Bailey | June 8, 2005”
“A professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of business has challenged Al Gore to a bet over global temperatures. The bet is for $10,000”
“If you think it's a no-brainer that humans are causing catastrophic global warming, here's your opportunity to earn an easy US $150,000.00!” (alternately )
“Richard Lindzen's "Climate Bet"”

   Typically these bets are rigged by the “Deniers” to give themselves a huge advantage. For example, Richard Lindzen (above) wants 50 to 1 odds on the amount for his bet. As for the “” bet,

“, in its sole discretion, will determine the winner, if any, from UGWC entries. All determinations made by are final.”

   They of course will keep the $15 you as the “sucker” forked over in order to enter the rigged bet. Then the “Deniers” claim that they must be right as no one accepted their rigged bets.

   OK “Deniers”. How about a bet on a 100 year time interval? Let’s use the 100 year span from 1909 vs. 2009 as measured by the NASA GISS Land - Ocean Index. And to make the stakes interesting, how about an even odds bet for let’s say $1,000,000?

(Note: The above “proposed bet” is presented as a parody. However, if Mr. Cohen would really like to go out on a limb, and if a reliable third party would like to run the operation, then the possibilities for a real bet exist.)

Update Jan. 30, 2012

The no global warming for "for well over 10
          years" statement from the Wall Street Journal.

Roger Cohen's signature to no global warming for
          "well over 10 years".

   The two pictures above show “Print Screen” excerpts from a Jan. 27, 2012 “Global Warming Denier” article in the online copy of the Wall Street Journal.

   The highlighted portions include the statement “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.” and Roger Cohen’s signatory agreement to the article.

   Also note that Kevin Trenberth’s statement doesn’t say that there has been a lack of warming for over 10 years. The “over 10 years” phrase was manufactured by Global Warming Deniers, and then falsely attributed to Mr. Trenberth. A real scientist would check his data source before quoting it, but checking data sources is conveniently bypassed if your job was “Manager, Strategic Planning & Programs” at Exxon Mobil and your primary interest is political tribalism.

Let’s take a look at what has really happened during the last “well over 10 years”.

The NOAA temperature record

   The picture above shows the global temperature record as measured by NOAA. The NOAA temperature database shows a rising temperature trend.

The combined temperature record from BEST.

   Finally, The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study analyzed 1.6 billion temperature records  to draw their own independent conclusion of what has been happening to the earth’s temperature. The graph above (from ) shows their results along with those from GISS, NOAA, and the Hadley Climate Research Unit. All 4 organizations show similar results.

   Does Roger Cohen use these datasets, or does Roger Cohen resort to misrepresentation for his assertion of “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”?

  Thermometers (whether manufactured or natural) record changes in temperature by the expansion (or contraction) of a liquid. In a manufactured thermometer, if the temperature of the liquid becomes warmer, the volume of the liquid expands and forces a portion of the liquid to go up the stem of the thermometer. The height of this expansion is measured via a printed scale on the thermometer which gives us a temperature reading.

   The world’s oceans are a natural liquid thermometer. If the water in the world’s oceans becomes warmer, it will expand upward - the same phenomenon that we observe in manufactured thermometers. Also, if warming takes place on land, glaciers will melt and this contributes additional water. Thus a rising sea level is a natural measurement that the earth is warming.

A graph showing global mean sea level.

   The graph above shows changes in the world’s sea level as measured by satellite radar altimetry. Up to date versions can be seen at

   As seen in the graph, sea level has continued to rise in recent years. The volume of water in this “ultimate thermometer” has continued to expand due to thermal expansion and glacial melting. The “ultimate thermometer” is showing us that the world continues to warm.

   As stated on the page:

“Global Warming Deniers claim that Global Warming is a hoax/fraud/scam.
They lie, they are willfully ignorant, and they are wrong.”

Roger Cohen signed a statement stating:

“Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”

Status of the world’s glaciers as measured by
          Switzerland’s World Glacier monitoring Service

Switzerland’s World Glacier Monitoring Service

The graph above shows the cumulative change in mass balance (volume) of 40 reference glaciers and the change in worldwide glaciers since 1980. The rate of decline in ice volume has become worse since 2000. If there has been a “lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”, what is causing the world’s glaciers to melt?

“NASA mission takes stock of Earth's melting land ice”

“Using satellite measurements from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the researchers measured ice loss in all of Earth's land ice between 2003 and 2010, with particular emphasis on glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica.

The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth's glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons”

If there has been a “lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”, what is causing the world’s glaciers to melt?

   Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway wrote a book – “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”.  The review from “Publishers Weekly” states: “Oreskes and Conway tell an important story about the misuse of science to mislead the public on matters ranging from the risks of smoking to the reality of global warming.”

Roger Cohen's review of "Merchants of

   The picture above is a Print Screen copy of Roger Cohen’s review of the book as posted at The review was posted August 18, 2010. Roger Cohen’s “carefully composed” statement is:

“Never mind that the world hasn't warmed for more about 15 years.”

   This pushes back the “claimed date” for “the world hasn’t warmed for more about 15 years” to 1995. Please compare the documented evidence of glacial melting and sea level rise with Rodger Cohen’s statement.

  Roger Cohen has changed his Amazon ID to Rwc, but the above “review” can still be seen at:

Roger Cohen (and others): “the Earth has been cooling for ten years”
July 1, 2009 Open Letter to Congress

Another denial statement by Roger Cohen demonstrating his ignorance of reality

   Roger Cohen and William Happer coauthored the paper “Understand Climate Science Before Making Climate Policy” which was published by the George C Marshall Institute.
The following quote is from page 3 of this paper:

“Existing climate models have failed to predict the course of global temperature or identify an observed greenhouse gas fingerprint. Counter to model predictions and in spite of increases in atmospheric CO2, Dr. Cohen argued there has been no statistically significant global warming since around 1995 and in fact, the oceans have cooled slightly since 2004.”

   The statement “Existing climate models have failed to predict the course of global temperature or identify an observed greenhouse gas fingerprint.” is a willful misrepresentation of what has been observed. The “fingerprint” for Global Warming” (due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide) is stratospheric cooling. This has been observed.

Climate models predict Global Warming.
Temperature measurements show that the earth is warming. GISS, NOAA, and CRU (latest revision – see ) all agree that 2005 and 2010 are the warmest years (so far) in recorded history.

For years, climate models have predicted that the southwestern U. S. will become drier.
(Please see “Transition to a more arid Southwest” (and related technical paper links) at ) In 2010 the water level in Lake Mead dropped to its lowest level since it was being filled in the 1930s. The 2012 snowpack in the Rockies is again way below normal.

The oceans continue to warm.
As shown by NOAA ( and CSIRO ( ), global sea level is at record levels and continues to rise due to thermal expansion and glacial melting. Why does Roger Cohen (who claims to be a scientist but in reality is a retired executive from Exxon Mobil) continue to deny real observations?

   Real science is based on verifiable observations and data. What and where are the observations/data for Roger Cohen’s claim?

 “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”

As I noted earlier:

“Global Warming Deniers claim that Global Warming is a hoax/fraud/scam.
They lie, they are willfully ignorant, and they are wrong.”

Where does Roger Cohen fit in?

Global Warming has not slowed when “Cherry Picking” is eliminated

   Many Global Warming Deniers (including Roger Cohen) assert that warming stopped after 1998. They “cherry pick” 1998 (which had an abnormally strong El Nino) as their starting point.

   The following charts have been copied from the “Global temperature evolution 1979–2010” research paper by Grant Foster and Stefan Rahmstorf. The article can be seen at:

   The authors of the research paper used mathematical techniques to adjust raw temperature observations for El Nino/La Nina, volcanic aerosols, and solar variations. When these shorter term variations are removed from the raw temperature data, the underlying trend is clearer. The illustrations and text below are taken directly from this research paper.

Monthly adjusted temperature data

Yearly adjusted temperature data

Combined temperature data

(From the research paper)

6. Conclusions

This analysis confirms the strong influence of known factors
on short-term variations in global temperature, including
ENSO, volcanic aerosols and to a lesser degree solar variation.
It also emphasizes that LT temperature is affected by these
factors much more strongly than surface temperature.
Perhaps most important, it enables us to remove an
estimate of their influence, thereby isolating the global
warming signal. The resultant adjusted data show clearly,
both visually and when subjected to statistical analysis, that
the rate of global warming due to other factors (most likely
these are exclusively anthropogenic) has been remarkably
steady during the 32 years from 1979 through 2010. There
is no indication of any slowdown or acceleration of global
warming, beyond the variability induced by these known
natural factors. Because the effects of volcanic eruptions and
of ENSO are very short-term and that of solar variability very
small (figure 7), none of these factors can be expected to exert
a significant influence on the continuation of global warming
over the coming decades. The close agreement between all
five adjusted data sets suggests that it is meaningful to average
them in order to produce a composite record of planetary
warming. Annual averages of the result are shown in figure 8.
This is the true global warming signal.

October 24, 2015 Update

As of April 20, 2015, Roger Cohen was still denying that the climate is warming.

Roger Cohen is still claiming
          the earth is not warming.

The Print Screen picture above is from Judith Curry’s webpage at:

The comment is by Roger Cohen with the highlighted text saying:
“there has been no global warming for nearly two decades”

The comment is signed:
“Roger W. Cohen, Fellow, American Physical Society”

We are living in a world where most people acknowledge reality while other people live in an “alternate reality”.

Global Warming Deniers live in an alternate

Also, please see:
The “Global Warming Stopped” Lie

November 29, 2015 Update

   Roger Cohen isn’t the only Global Warming Denier in the household. Roger’s wife, Lorraine Yapps Cohen, writes a right wing-nut column for the San Diego Conservative Examiner. She is also willfully oblivious to the evidence that the earth is warming.

Lorraine Yapps Cohen Examiner column

(Click on the above picture for a large version.)

   In the Nov. 28, 2015 Examiner, Lorraine Cohen said: “The experimental data in the climate change case shows no warming for the last two decades.”

   Now take another good look at what has been actually happening. (Temperature data, photographs and mass balance of glaciers, rising sea level, etc.)

   Lorraine Cohen has persisted in her delusions even with 2016's spike in global temperatures.
“1. No recent warming
Nothing busts a myth better than facts. For the record – and there is one – global temperatures have not risen for more than two decades.”
San Diego Conservative Examiner
May 31, 2016

   For what it’s worth, despite all of Roger and Lorraine’s “patriotism” to “Save America”, neither has bothered to vote since 2008.

Perhaps Roger Cohen’s data source is:

Rules for How to be a Denialist

1) Allege that there's a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.

2) Use fake experts to support your story. “Denial always starts with a cadre of pseudo-experts with some credentials that create a facade of credibility,” says Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut.

3) Cherry-pick the evidence: trumpet whatever appears to support your case and ignore or rubbish the rest.

4) Carry on trotting out manufactured “evidence” even after it has been discredited.

5) Create impossible standards for your opponents. Claim that the existing evidence is not good enough and demand more.

6) If your opponent comes up with evidence you have demanded, move the goalposts.

7) Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi.

8) Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.

9) Manufacture doubt. Falsely portray scientists as so divided that basing policy on their advice would be premature.

10) Insist “both sides” must be heard and cry censorship when "dissenting" arguments or experts are rejected.

And above all, make lots of noise.
“If you tell a lie long enough, loud enough and often enough, the people will believe it.”
-------attributed to both Adolph Hitler and  Joseph Goebbels

For more information on Roger Cohen please see:

Also please see:
“The Great Global Warming Swindle” is itself a Fraud and a Swindle
The “Global Warming Stopped in 1998” Lie

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