"...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.
...for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change."
- James Hansen
Dr. James E. Hansen -- head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and adjunct professor in Columbia University's Department of Earth -- wrote a August 3 Washington Post op-ed that is a real eye-opener. The title of the piece gives the reader a pretty good idea of what he is trying to say: Climate change is here -- and worse than we thought.
So why should we listen to Hansen as opposed to, say, Sen. James Inhofe or radio personality Rush Limbaugh? For starters, Inhofe and Limbaugh have absolutely no background in climate science. Their (inaccurate) assessments of global warming are based almost entirely on opinion, rather than fact.
Second, while global warming deniers typically base their arguments on misinformation ("Hey! These are the same scientists who warned us there would be an ice age!"), Hansen's work from thirty years ago is now quantifiably proving to be very accurate, as What on Earth has previously discussed.
Third, Hansen has the support of world-class experts, such as fellow climate guru Michael E. Mann, who says of Hansen:
Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient -- and his critics were proven overly cautious. Given the prescience of Hansen's science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning.
With that kind of gravitas, why would one doubt the man's assessment of our warming climate? Is he some kind of left-wing extremist with a "very partisan agenda?" Not entirely likely since Hansen is a registered Independent with a solid Republican background.
To wrap up, let's assess the credibility of Mr. Dr. James E. Hansen:
I'm sold! Who wouldn't give this guy a good listen?