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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:52:53 AM PDT

  •  Yes, and one day soon it will also (0+ / 0-)

    be a theory.

    Not that that will stop they denial.

  •  Hansen is pooping on the only retirement plan for (6+ / 0-)

    millions of Americans.

    To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:04:37 AM PDT

  •  Well, when the apocalypse comes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, maryabein, FutureNow, Smoh, techno

    the Republicans can just say they were wrong about climate change.  The Democrats are going to have to explain why they said it was real but they still did nothing.

    •  Doesn't Matter Whether You Deny the Phenomenon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, Smoh

      or deny that we can and must act appropriately on it.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:20:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please explain what Democrats could do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      given the total opposition of Republicans and the dysfunctional Congress, especially the Senate?

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well we know why they did nothing (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat bunny, TJ, Calamity Jean, aliasalias, DawnN

      Money.  Money from people who have more than they need and want more than they should and spend millions of political campaigns to ensure billions in profits.  And the Democrats decided they needed that money more than they needed the unions, the votes of the poor, good social policy, etc.  And they lied to themselves.  They told themselves they could still pull the strings even after they were corrupted.   And so now we have two parties.  The Republican party on steroids and it's little brother, Mini Me Dems.

      Is this true of all Democrats?  No, but it only has to be true for enough of them to make it so.

      Frankly the longer I watch the Democratic Party, or what passes for it, I'm surprised they passed any kind of health care law or financial reform during the two years they controlled Congress and the Presidency.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  one tiny silver lining; money will be worthless (0+ / 0-)

        Money is nothing more than a promise. A promise of goods or services to be determined and delivered at a later date.
        That's all it is. (sorry, republicans, it doesn't make you sexy or get you into heaven. You're not going there anyway.)
        When those promises can no longer be kept, due to a collapse of the services required, or the food supply reserved, or simply people realizing that money actually tastes terrible and has no nutritional value, money will be completely worthless.
        I actually hope I last long enough to see that.

        Mitt Romney is not running a campaign; he's making a hostile takeover bid.

        by kamarvt on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:05:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's what I never understand about the (5+ / 0-)

    Xtian fundamentalist argument that there's nothing we can do about GW, so let's just wait for the return of Christ.  Why would God want to reward a people who deliberately wrecked this planet in a desperate attempt to sustain a civilization based on 19th century technology that is unsustainable?
    I think God will take a pass on saving those who are committing suicide on such an destructive & massive scale.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:22:22 AM PDT

  •  Arctic Cyclone: Day 1 (10+ / 0-)

    There is a massive storm occurring over the Arctic Ocean currently.

    Great blog covering it here in realtime:

    This event is expected to continue through Friday, with significant implications for ice melt, final ice volume and extent reads for this year and lastly Arctic coastal erosion for the year.

    Not seeing much coverage elsewhere of this at the moment.  Maybe someone like Weatherdude of FOoW can run with for a diary.  Would love some further insights into this sort of phenomenon, the rarity, the significance of how low the pressure is or isn't that is fueling this event, etc.  And of course curious as to if these events are increasing in frequency as more and more of the Arctic becomes open water during the summer months.

    •  holy crap! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooklyn Jim, Smoh

      that's some scary shit ...

      "Electronic media creates reality" - Meatball Fulton

      by zeke7237 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 08:40:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remain Calm And Carry On. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pat bunny

        British-isms aside, that's why I'd love for someone much more versed in Arctic weather patterns or weather patterns in general to help elucidate how significant an event this is for the Arctic.

        It's easy to take things out of context as well as misrepresent them through sensationalistic hyperbole.  For example, a recent front page diary on warming asserted that the entire Greenland ice sheet had turned to slush in a short few days rather than what had really happened: the entire surface of area of the ice sheet exhibited evidence of melt.  In some locations this was likely only a few feet if not inches deep, rather than the entire ice volume, a km thick in places turning to slush.

        It's important we keep clear heads and convey information accurately in these times.  And when we don't fully understand, ask trusted sources that do understand more to help explain further.

    •  Thanks for bring this to our attention (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooklyn Jim

      Just one more extreme weather event to record.

    •  Answering my own question in part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Steven D

      After hunting around for some readily understandable information on Arctic cyclones, came across this explanation on a NOAA page:

      Sea ice retreat contributes to Arctic cyclone generation

      The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe, due to the decrease in Arctic sea ice. With less sea ice cover, the ocean absorbes more heat from the sun during summer, increasing the temperature contrast between the warm ice-free ocean and cold ice surfaces in autumn. The large temperature contrast contributes to the generation of Arctic cyclones. In the late September 2010, Japanese Research Vessel Mirai observed the explosive generation of an Arctic cyclone, shown in Figure 6.4

      Scientists analyzing observations from the Mirai concluded that this is an invaluable example of the fact that sea ice retreat contributees to polar amplification of surface air temperature increase and that cyclone generation is important in the transfer of the excess heat from the ocean into the atmosphere.4

    •  we better hurry up with that arctic drilling! (/s) (0+ / 0-)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 01:15:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does anyone have a link to the paper? I just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooklyn Jim

    checked PNAS again and don't see anything yet.  Reading the press info, it appears the first question from the skeptics will involve the choice of 1951-1980 as a base period vs say, 1911-1940.  When the full text is available it will be possible to see what specific temperature data series were used for the analysis.

    I also conclude from the press info that this study looks at extreme temperature events, and does not discuss  storms, floods, droughts, wildfires, crop loss, extinction of species and increased disease.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 09:22:36 AM PDT

  •  Full text, finally: (0+ / 0-)

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 10:30:29 PM PDT

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