Sorry, deniers – 30 years later, Hansen’s climate change predictions hold up

  • Published on June 25th, 2018

Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the day Dr. James Hansen famously testified to Congress on the dangers of climate change. A variety of great pieces that ran this week, from the APGuardian and others have shown how Dr. Hansen’s predictions back in 1988 have largely – and unfortunately – come true. Deniers, of course, trumpeted otherwise.

James Hansen Climate Change prediction vs realityBy Climate Denier Roundup

They’re wrong, but that didn’t stop the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed on Friday from Cato’s Pat Michaels and Ryan Maue that claims because the Earth is “only modestly warmer,”  the “rapid warming [Hansen] predicted isn’t happening.”

Maue and Michaels point, obliquely, to the pause as an excuse, claiming that aside from the 2015-16 El Nino, temperature hasn’t increased since 2000. Not sure what data they’re looking at, because it definitely has. There’s also the fact that 2015 would have been record hot even without that year’s El Nino, and 2016 would not have been record hot without climate change.

Pat Michaels, who once said he figures about 40% of his funding comes from fossil fuels, and Ryan Maue, who pretends not to be a denier but writes crap like this, make all sorts of other claims in the piece, with not much hard evidence.

Here, then, we’ll provide some. If you only click one link today, make it this post by blogger Tamino, who provides a very simple set of graphs showing Hansen’s forecast and observations. No big surprise, Hansen was right. (If you’d like something more technical about Hansen’s predictions, Real Climate has what you’re looking for.)

The AP’s Seth Borenstein talked with Hansen for a piece last week (part of a great AP series of stories) about how Hansen wishes he wasn’t so right. Borenstein offers some details Michaels and Maue conveniently ignore, along with some real-world implications of warming.

If you’d like a more qualitative judgement on Hansen’s prediction, or a video to watch, Yale’s Climate Connections talked to a number of climate experts who aren’t biased by fossil fuel funding like Michaels. (Spoiler alert: hey were all impressed with how “remarkably prescient” Hansen was.)

And finally, because Michaels and Maue also mention the IPCC models, it’s worth looking at Zeke Hausfather’s analysis last year for Carbon Brief of how well various models projected warming.

Take a look at all these thoughtful analyses, and then wonder why the Journal chose to include two different pictures of Hansen along with the op-ed, and not a single graph, chart, or visual comparison comparing and contrasting his forecast with what’s happened.

It’s almost like the Journal’s opinion editor knew such a graph would totally debunk the entire thrust of the op-ed. No doubt that was just an accidental oversight and not a sign that they’re being deliberately deceptive. It’s not like the Journal would allow denial on its opinion page, right?

(Originally appeared at DailyKos.)

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