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Professor Bets Bloomberg $1,000 Over Sea Level Predictions

A forestry professor at Auburn University has a wager for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: will he put his money where his mouth is on his sea level predictions?

Dr. David South wants to see if Bloomberg take his $1,000 bet over whether or not New York City sea levels will rise 0.9 feet in 36 years. South is willing to bet that sea level rise in the Big Apple will be less than seven millimeters per year, below the 7.6 millimeters per year needed for sea levels to rise 0.9 feet by 2050.

“I enjoy making bets with folks who think they can predict the future,” South wrote in an open letter to Bloomberg. “It seems relatively easy to bet with those who believe they can accurately predict the future. Although I do not claim to know what the future will bring, I do like to see how confident others are in their beliefs.”

South’s bet came as a group co-chaired by Bloomberg released a report on the economic impacts of global warming. One section from the report outlined huge consequences for coastal properties, saying there was a one-in-twenty chance that rising sea levels could cause more than $701 billion in damages by 2100.

The report called “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States” also makes the case that “sea levels at New York City will likely rise by an additional 0.9 feet to 1.6 feet by mid-century and between 2.1 feet and 4.2 feet by the end of the century.”

Bloomberg has been a major proponent of policies aimed at curbing global warming. While he was still mayor, he proposed a $20 billion plan to protect New York City against rising sea levels and storm surges.

“Damages from storms, flooding, and heat waves are already costing local economies billions of dollars — we saw that firsthand in New York City with Hurricane Sandy,” Bloomberg said on the release of the Risky Business report. “With the oceans rising and the climate changing, the Risky Business report details the costs of inaction in ways that are easy to understand in dollars and cents — and impossible to ignore.”

But South wants to see if Bloomberg will put his money where his mouth is and bet his own money (a relatively small sum as Bloomberg is worth $34.4 billion) on whether or not his predictions of global warming catastrophe are true.

“I certainly agree that it is risky business to build on a floodplain or to build next to the Atlantic shoreline,” South wrote. “For example, the third deadliest hurricane in North America hit South Carolina in 1893 and ‘the creek banks were piled with bodies.’”

“At least 1,400 people died in this storm, and this occurred when the sea level was perhaps 8.5 inches lower than today,” South added. “It always amazes me when public officials ask for government funds to rebuild in risky zones along the coast. Do they think that similar storms will not occur in the future or are they just hoping to get more votes in the next election?”

“I agree with the ‘Risky Business’ report that suggests that hurricanes will cause more economic losses in the future,” South continued. “I agree because local government leaders often promote building (and rebuilding) along the Atlantic coastline and this places more investments at risk.”

Will Bloomberg take the bet? He hasn’t said. Bloomberg’s staff at Bloomberg Philanthropies did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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