Year 3, Month 8, Day 15: One If By Land, How Many By Sea?

James Hansen, in the Washington Post: It’s worse than we thought.

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

Time to break out the Paul Revere analogy again. Sent August 4:

If today’s news media had been broadcasting back in 1775, our forebears would have known that there are always two exactly equal sides to every story. Patrick Henry’s inflammatory words would have been “balanced” by an apologist for King George III, and since the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord would have realized that the issue of whether the British were coming wasn’t entirely settled, they’d have ignored the sound of hoofbeats in the dark.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen that way, and we owe our nation’s existence to the early patriots who rolled out of bed and shouldered their muskets in response to the midnight calls of a known “alarmist.”

On the other hand, it’s happening that way now, with many Americans convinced by a complaisant media that there is still a “debate” on the science of climate change. In his stubborn struggle against complacency and denialism, Dr. James Hansen is the Paul Revere of our time. We ignore his warnings at our peril.

Warren Senders

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