$30,000 Challenge Submission – Hummingbirds

I will award, to Christopher Keating, 30,000 dollars of my own money, if he can prove via the scientific method, that humming bird caused global climate change is not occurring. The deadline for submission of proof is July 31, 2014

To: Tilo Reber

I could do that, but you are just trying to hijack my blog and the post. Your challenge is very childish and doesn’t prove any point. Not only could I prove that, but I am not going around making statements, contrary to science, that hummingbirds are responsible for climate change and that I can prove it. If deniers don’t like the challenge, then either stop saying you can prove man made global warming is not real, or prove that you really can prove it, as you claim. It is just that simple.



  1. Unlike you, skeptics are smart enough to know that anything, including hummingbirds, effect the climate. The effect may be so small that it cannot be easily meausured, but there must be an effect. The wording of your bet is a show of your cowardice because such a negative with no specific magnitude specified is impossible to prove. And since my bet is stated exactly like yours, you are simply blowing hot air, since you could never prove that hummingbirds have no effect on climate.

    The real issue, which you did not include as the limiting factor of your bet is what everyone is talking about when they talk about AGW. In other words, is man producing a dangerous amount of CO2 based warming. Attacking straw man “denialists” based on the straw man argument that there is no change at all is simply you grandstanding for you sycophants.

    If climate sensitivity is 1C per CO2 doubling or less, and given that the effect is logarithmic, then there is no reason for concern about man made climate change. Because that would mean that it takes 280 extra ppm for the first 1C, 560 ppm for the second 1C, 1120 for the third 1C, 2240 for the fourth 1C, etc.

    At this point in time it has not even been proven that feedback is positive. And unless there is significant positive feedback, there is no climate danger.

    Your bet is as childish and meaningless as your ideas about climate alarmism.


    No, hummingbirds have no effect on man made global warming because they are within the energy system of the planet. They do not produce energy, they only transform it from a source that has stored solar energy. So, on that argument alone, we can say hummingbirds are not contributing to climate change. They are already part of the climate. Your claim that they must be changing the climate is a false one.

    But, let’s look another way, how much energy they produce. For this exercise, let’s assume that they are adding energy to the environment, not just moving it around. That, of course, is not a valid assumption because any energy they emit had to come from the environment they are in, but let’s do it for the fun of it.

    There is no data on hummingbird population size, but lets assume its 100 billion hummingbirds worldwide. That is an unrealistically large number, especially considering that hummingbirds are nearly exclusive to the American continents, but it will work for the purpose of our examination. These hummingbirds merely take energy in from their food and turn it into heat via their metabolic rate. This heat is radiated into the natural environment as IR radiation. Hummingbirds cannot store enough energy to survive the night at their daytime metabolic rate, so they go into tupor state and their metabolic rate drops by a factor of 100. So, we will just round it off to zero for the night and round up on the other figures. If each hummingbird radiated 1200 calories per hour, and we assume a day of 12 hours, we get 6 x 10^15 joules (100 billion birds x 1200 calories per bird per hour x 12 hours x 4.186 joules per calorie). Let’s round up to 10^16 joules per day. Now, the amount of sunlight the planet absorbs every day is about 10^25 joules. That means the hummingbird energy emission is .0000001% of the total amount of daily incoming solar energy. In other words, in order to generate even one percent of the total solar energy input, there would have to be 10 million times as many hummingbirds as our unrealistically large number – 10^18 birds, or 1 quintillion birds. That would be about 6700 hummingbirds for every square meter of land area on the entire planet. We would literally be up to our armpits in hummingbirds! I mean, I love the little darlings, but there is such a thing as too much.

    Still, this amount of contribution, even using inflated numbers, is way beyond out ability to detect.

    So, we may safely conclude that hummingbirds do not cause global warming. In the words of the deniers – Where’s my check?

    I know you only made this silly bet to try and divert the challenge, but I proved the point for a reason. I wanted to show how these silly claims to try and undermine the challenge are irrelevant and are false arguments deniers make to try and get out of being held responsible for their statements.

    The challenge is to people that claim global warming is not real and they can prove it. Now, what they want to do is convince people that it is not possible to ‘prove a negative.’ That is just another false argument. What is ‘a negative’? Everything is a negative of something. I can prove the Sun is not in my backyard. That is a negative. I can prove that if a man gets his arm cut off, it will not grow back. That is negative. 

    Ultimately, deniers want to go around making statements they can’t support and don’t want to be held responsible for. That is why they don’t like the challenge.

    They should have thought about that before going around claiming they could prove man made global warming isn’t real.


16 thoughts on “$30,000 Challenge Submission – Hummingbirds

  1. Dr. Keating,

    It appears to be impossible to comment anonymously on your ‘Dialogues on Global Warming’ website these days (more issues with your blogging mechanism?). Would it still be possible to communicate with you anonymously?

    It looks like you have whittled your queue down to only one more issue left to resolve. I look forward to seeing how you approach building a model for the climate.

    I understand that many people may not understand the models that you build, however; it might serve to convince those who have objections to the climate models who really *do* have experience in modeling (in engineering, quantitative finance, economics, etc…). It would be really useful to win these folks over to your perspective… particularly the quantitative finance people –> these are the folks who are likely to be running wall street in the near to mid future.

    If you can win over the folks who control the wall street investment capital to your cause; you are in a very strong position, politically and financially. This is the lion that can compete with the oil money. Understand that the public doesn’t necessarily trust this lion any more than the oil groups. They did, arguably, cause the recession in 2008, after all. But still, my impression is that they emphasize data and knowledge over dogma more than the Heartland-like lobby.

    I just don’t want to see you folks become the high priests of climate science; emphasizing dogma over empirical reason. It was what I perceived to be the dogmatic philosophies surrounding the issue of climate change that I was objecting to; not the dynamics. It was not the theory I was worried about; but rather how it was being ‘manipulated’ to potentially hurt the middle class.

    I still don’t trust the IPCC; I worry that their agenda is related to creating a political monopoly rather than improving our energy generation technology.

    Of course, I don’t trust the Heartland Institute or the Cato Institute; I worry that their agenda is related to creating an economic monopoly rather than improving our cost of living.

    Anonymous #2


    • I was wondering where you went. Glad you’re back. I checked with Disqus and if you have an account (it is free) you can comment anonymously.

      I am getting the last of the submissions out of the way. I actually have two of the ones I have identified left to go. Then, I need to review all of the comments to make sure I didn’t miss any. But, it is almost done. Then, its on to the next thing.

      Ultimately, I would love to make an independent global model. I would use a balance of energy approach to it. There is only so much energy in the climate system, so every time energy is used in one place it has to come from somewhere else. There are already models that use this approach.

      But, that would be down the road. Right now, I would like to devote my research to the issue of ENSO. There is plenty of research going on, but my specialty has always been the ability to look in places other people don’t. It led to a remarkably successful career in military intelligence and has always been beneficial in my research, as well. The method is actually pretty simple – I just learn as much as I can about the subject, look to see what the others are doing, identify what they aren’t, and then investigate it. Usually, there is a reason why no one else is doing it, but I find hidden gems this way frequently enough to make it worthwhile.

      If I can be successful it would not be to get any economic group ‘on my side.’ The purpose would be to just to make a contribution to something I believe may be the defining issue of our time. Few people know of my contributions in intelligence, but I was able to make some changes, although you’ll never see my name in any behind-the-scenes books. Likewise, I am not looking for my name to appear in any behind-the-scenes books on climate change. If I know I made a contribution, that is enough for me.


  2. Dr. Keating,

    I like to read and collect author signed books. How would it be possible to get a signed copy (or two or three) of your book? I not only read and collect signed books, but I give them as gifts from time to time.




  3. Most of my signed books have to do with the Civil War. More than a few have been signed by the author actually on the field. One of my favorites is Generals in Bronze that was signed at Herr Tavern and later I became good friends with the editor. The editor and I have spent dozens of hours on several battlefields and also happen to share a love of baseball. He is a Phils fan and I am a Cardinals fan. We both date ourselves back to the 1964 season.


  4. You know… another really interesting book that I read earlier was, “The Power Makers” by Maury Klein; it talks about how the power industry got started here in the US, and all of the patent battles that ensued. Reading about it helped me to develop a sense of humor regarding the patent thickets that have developed around the smart phone market. 🙂

    It’s kind of funny, I also like a lot of science fiction and fantasy.

    Authors whose books I have really enjoyed reading:
    Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), Piers Anthony (Incarnations of Immortality), Robert Asprin (Myth Series), Raymond E Feist (Riftwar Saga), David Eddings (Belgeriad and Mallorean series), Roger Zelazny (Amber Series), Terry Pratchett (Discworld Series), Robert Heinlein (Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Door Into Summer), Frank Herbert (Dune Series), Orson Scott Card (Enders Saga), Greg Bear (Forge of the God), Isaac Asimov (Foundation Series).

    Strangely, if you actually read any of his science fiction novels, before he went nuts, L. Ron Hubbard actually turned out to be a pretty good storyteller too.

    Well, good luck to folks. The discussion was interesting. Thank you for letting me rant and speculate out loud.

    Anonymous #2


    • There are some nice recommendation there. Anything by Asimov or Heinlein is worth reading. Another great author is Ray Bradbury. All three of these guys have some fiction that can be outdated, but still a good read.

      I hope you continue to visit the site.


  5. I liked Childhood’s End. You have both named a couple of classic SciFi writers.

    Hope that your next challenge is as much fun as this one has been. I for one, appreciate the effort and the exposure that you have brought. Sunlight is truly a great thing for the science denial crowd.


    • Thanks. I am working on some modeling and plan on devoting this blogsite to that effort. I will continue to use Dialogues on Global Warming for the global warming debate and have made it open for guest submissions.


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