This will be a brief diary.
James Hansen and his colleagues have published a study of heat waves that have occurred around the world since 2003. He claims that it will prove that man-made climate change is no longer a "theory" it is a "scientific fact." Read the following quote for his view regarding the extreme heat waves Europe, the Middle East and North America has experienced over the last ten years:
“These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.”
James Hansen was right in the 1980s about the dangers he saw from climate change if we as a species refused to act, and act quickly, to limit our use of carbon based fuels, to stop the destruction of the rainforest through clear-cutting and burning, and to otherwise take measures to limit the production of greenhouse gases. Now he has lived long enough to see his warnings become our reality. He was ignored, ridiculed, mocked and called an alarmist.
The people who did their best to portray him as a "mad scientist," a conspiracy theorist and a hack government employee trying to justify his job have been proven wrong over and over again. Indeed, if anything, his warnings of the dangers in his testimony to Congress and in his published papers were not strong enough. That's because he has a quality his critics lack -- integrity. He never argued a position regarding climate change that was more extreme than the current scientific evidence at the time would justify. He may have feared worse, but he did not claim the worst would occur, only that we were taking absurd risks with the future of our world.
Well now he has lived long enough to see his worst fears realized, and sooner than he imagined. Now he is willing to assert that there is a exceedingly slim chance that the changes to our climate and the extreme weather effects we are experiencing are the result of natural variation, and slim just left town. Once again he will be ignored, ridiculed mocked, and painted in the worst possible light by those in the media and the fossil fuel industries.
Too bad he's right, isn't it. Because these extreme (and by extreme I mean of biblical proportions) storms, floods, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, crop loss, extinction of species and increased disease are certainly created by all of us, the human species that has wrecked this planet in its desperate attempts to sustain a civilization based on 19th century technology that is unsustainable. But then again, maybe you believe you hold the next winning lottery ticket and all your dream will come true, just like millions of other people. Maybe you believe the climate change denialists who claim everything we are witnessing is normal and natural and therefore there is noting we can do about it, so why try. Maybe you believe the second coming of Jesus Christ or the Twelfth Imam (or some other end of the world fantasy) is only a matter of months or a few years away, an apocalypse that will end time, one where all all the good people to Paradise or heaven.
Well an apocalypse is coming all right, one caused by human hubris, greed, ignorance, folly and the willingness to deny the "facts on the ground" even when they are staring all of us in the face, year after blighted year. James Hansen can say he told you so. My bet is that he is both sad and angry about that fact.