James Hansen Chimes In

by Molly Bentley on May 28, 2013

Our shows on climate change always prompt comment from listeners. The opinion was mixed on our latest, “Skeptic Check: Hostile Climate.” Detractors said we were irresponsible in not presenting a skeptical view of climate change science. We point out the focus of this episode was how climate change denialism is expressed, not whether climate change is happening. Please visit our archives for other episodes on the basic science. However, among the long list of questions that some wished we’d asked was about James Hansen’s famous paper in the early 1980s that made early predictions about CO2 and temperature. How accurate was he? Turns out, James Hansen was in town the day we received that suggestion, so we tracked him down and asked him.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ed August 21, 2013 at 6:32 am

You are /not/ irresponsible for not presenting the climate change skeptics’ viewpoint for the same reason you’re not irresponsible for not presenting the viewpoint of Holocaust deniers.

Both are driven from ideological, vs evidence-driven, viewpoints, and it would be irresponsible to give them equal time.

avatar Zain September 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

I agree with Ed you are not irresponsible for not presenting climate change skeptics viewpoint. It’s interesting that there are so many deniers out there. Even still the problem with climate change is an issue and no one has come up with any good solutions.

avatar Richard October 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Scepticism turned on its head! Please stick to science and not name calling which essentially what James Hansen, Michael Mann and their motley crew do.

Climatology is a pseudo science, just like Astrology. It is a claim and belief which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence and cannot be reliably tested.

James Hansen has lost all credibility as a man of science when he became an activist, which was very early in his career and is now involved in “smoothing” – read tampering with – the evidence.

One of the most important publications on the “dangerous anthropogenic climate change” was that of James Hansen and colleagues from the year 1988, in the Journal of Geophysical Research published. The title of the work is (in German translation) “Global climate change, according to the prediction of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

In this publication, Hansen and colleagues present the GISS Model II, with which they simulate climate change as a result of concentration changes of atmospheric trace gases and particulate matter (aerosols).

The three scenarios:

A: increase in CO 2 emissions by 1.5% per year
B: constant increase in CO 2 emissions after 2000
C: No increase in CO 2 emissions after 2000

The CO 2 emissions since 2000 to about 2.5 percent per year has increased, so that we would expect according to the Hansen paper a temperature rise, which should be stronger than in model A. The beyond Scenario A arrow represents the temperature value that the Hansen team would have predicted on the basis of a CO 2 increase of 2.5%. Be increased according to the Hansen’s forecast, the temperature would have compared to the same level in the 1970s by 1.5 ° C. In truth, however, the temperature has increased by only 0.6 ° C.

It is apparent that the next to it by the Hansen group in 1988 modeled temperature prediction by about 150%.

Science is built on evidence not “consensus”. There was once widespread consensus about phlogiston, a nonexistent element said to be a crucial part of combustion, the impossibility of heavier than air flight, continental drift, the idea that genes were made of protein (not DNA) and stomach ulcers were caused by stress, etc etc—all of which proved to be false.

That scientists believe in evolution, the Standard Model etc is not based on democratic agreement, but on evidence.

Sceptics do not doubt that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that would cause heat to be trapped in the atmosphere or that it may have contributed to the recent warming in the past decades, but believe there is far too little evidence that it will cause catastrophic global warming and no evidence that taxing citizens, curbing CO2 emissions by curbing energy production and use will enable us to thermostat global temperatures.

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