With 97 percent of climate scientists in consensus that climate change is due to human activity, it seems strange that there is so much debate on the topic; yet there is still a vocal contingent that refuses to accept that the phenomenon is exacerbated or created by humans -- if they believe it exists at all.
One scientist hopes to put the discussion to bed once and for all. Much like the James Randi One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, physicist Christopher Keating is offering a cash reward to anyone who can provide him with proof that man-made climate change isn't real.
"I have heard global warming skeptics make all sorts of statements about how the science doesn't support claims of man-made climate change," he wrote on his blog. "I have found all of those statements to be empty and without any kind of supporting evidence. I have, in turn, stated that it is not possible for the skeptics to prove their claims. And, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
Keating -- a professor of physics for over 20 years and author of Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming -- is offering a grand prize of $30,000 of his own money to anyone who, using the scientific method, can disprove the existence of man-made climate change. In addition, he is offering a smaller prize of $1000 to anyone who can provide any valid scientific evidence against man-made climate change.
"It's always the consumers that have to pay the costs and this is no exception. As the costs go up, those added expenses will be passed down as higher prices," Keating said in a statement. "We are already seeing increases in the cost of utilities, insurance, food and many more things due to climate change. The businesses don't pay those expenses. We do. So, every time you say climate change isn't real, you need to take your checkbook out and write a check to the people running the fossil fuel industry."
Of course, this means that Keating will need to be convinced by the evidence -- the competition will be won when someone presents evidence that he cannot refute -- and he is confident that the prize will remain untouched.
"I'm a scientist and I have to go where the science leads me. I have been studying climate change for a long time and I am certain my money is safe," he said. "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."
This article originally appeared on CNET.