Science Policy

FAS and Metaculus are Using Forecasting to Support Better Climate Policy

01.27.23 | 2 min read | Text by

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is teaming up with Metaculus to kick off the Climate Tipping Points Tournament, a virtual forecasting tournament aimed at helping policymakers make better informed decisions about climate change policies. The concept of forecasting is familiar to anyone who has checked their phone’s weather app before heading out for the day. But the broader science of forecasting is increasingly being applied to policy-relevant topics from epidemiology, energy, technology progress, and even climate change.

Tournament participants will make forecasts on policy-relevant outcomes, including “conditional forecasts” that predict the tangible impacts of implementing or not implementing policies that focus on zero-emission vehicle adoption. Metaculus’s unique system will then aggregate and weight these forecasts by forecasters’ past accuracy, providing policymakers with a more informed picture of the potential success or failure of policies designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

“Partnering with FAS on the Climate Tipping Points Tournament represents a new way for forecasters to contribute to the climate policy conversation. We’re very excited about the opportunity this represents for policy entrepreneurs who need empirically grounded analysis,” said Metaculus CEO, Gaia Dempsey.

Climate tipping points–originally introduced decades ago by the IPCC as thresholds for long-term and irreversible damage to the environment—can also be positive indicators of a more sustainable, cleaner and livable future. “This is not a utopian pipedream – a growing body of research suggests that positive tipping points, such as thresholds in electric vehicle adoption, or changes in food markets and consumption habits, could just as rapidly accelerate transitions to a more sustainable way of life,” said FAS’s Science Policy Director, Erica Goldman.

Participants don’t have to be data science experts; the tournament is open to the public and anyone is welcome to join. A team of Metaculus Pro Forecasters will also make predictions, separate from the public tournament. Those interested can go to Metaculus’s website and begin making predictions immediately for a shot at winning the $5,000 prize pool. 

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About the Federation of American Scientists (FAS)

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is a nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization founded in 1945 to meet national security challenges with evidence-based, scientifically-driven, and nonpartisan policy, analysis, and research. 

About Metaculus 

Metaculus is an online forecasting platform and aggregation engine working to improve human reasoning and coordination on topics of global importance. By bringing together an international community and keeping score for thousands of forecasters, Metaculus is able to deliver machine learning-optimized aggregate predictions that help partners set priorities and make decisions.