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Climate Change Is Here -- and Worse Than We Thought

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, globalwarming, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, humans, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, science, Sustainabililty, trees, water, weather, wildlife, world )

- 2140 days ago -
When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind's-->

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Jason S (50)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 11:40 am
There children future going very different for what we have to go, going to have to do less and get back to the earth.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 12:25 pm
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NASA's James Hansen, the 'Godfather of Global Warming,' says earlier predictions "too optimistic"

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, 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.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now.

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.

Twenty-four years ago, I introduced the concept of “climate dice” to help distinguish the long-term trend of climate change from the natural variability of day-to-day weather. Some summers are hot, some cool. Some winters brutal, some mild. That’s natural variability.

But as the climate warms, natural variability is altered, too. In a normal climate without global warming, two sides of the die would represent cooler-than-normal weather, two sides would be normal weather, and two sides would be warmer-than-normal weather. Rolling the die again and again, or season after season, you would get an equal variation of weather over time.

But loading the die with a warming climate changes the odds. You end up with only one side cooler than normal, one side average, and four sides warmer than normal. Even with climate change, you will occasionally see cooler-than-normal summers or a typically cold winter. Don’t let that fool you.

Our new peer-reviewed study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, makes clear that while average global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate (up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century), the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.

When we plotted the world’s changing temperatures on a bell curve, the extremes of unusually cool and, even more, the extremes of unusually hot are being altered so they are becoming both more common and more severe.

The change is so dramatic that one face of the die must now represent extreme weather to illustrate the greater frequency of extremely hot weather events.

Such events used to be exceedingly rare. Extremely hot temperatures covered about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the globe in the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. In the last three decades, while the average temperature has slowly risen, the extremes have soared and now cover about 10 percent of the globe.

This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it — the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.

There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.

The future is now. And it is hot.

Dr. James Hansen is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. He was the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change and writes here as a private citizen. Hansen is the author of "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity."

wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 1:07 pm
> Climate Change Is Here -- and Worse Than We Thought
Worse than some [idiots (admitted to have)] Thought - yes.
Worse than many [idiots (admitted to have)] Thought - yes.
Worse Than We Thought - No. Not if "we" is to include me, and i'm raesonably sure i'm not the only one.

Some, many, saw it coming; Some, many, tried and did their best to warn, and to change course.


wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 1:13 pm
Some, many, saw it coming, and not only the Club of Rome and other scientists, but it also did "trickle down" e.g. to some writers ...
e.g. I.Asimov -- ... where [ the Foundation series] the polar region of the Galactic Empire's Capital planet, called Trantor [if I recall correctly], lives from dissipating heat into space ...

e.g. "The Swarm: A Novel of the Deep " (2004) by Frank Schätzing


Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 1:23 pm

I have followed this and population growth or lack of population control since the late 60's and for many of us this is not as much NEWS as "saw it coming..."
However, as many have only been aware since the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and decided that it couldn't be true. This just might be news.

pam w (139)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 1:35 pm
Can it be stopped? Probably not. Slowed? Possibly but it will take more cooperation and dedication than humanity has ever displayed in the past!

I think it will be good for the planet when we are gone. There have been massive extinctions in the past and life evolved anew. It's shameful what we've done, especially considering we're destroying so many other innocent species with our arrogance, our religiously-fueled indifference and our selfish determination to overpopulate the planet.

David C (129)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 2:13 pm
what kind of world (i.e. home) are we leaving for the future????

Yumana Yunes (197)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 2:24 pm
I totally agree with Pam. Sometimes, as a humanity we show that we've been too "smart" for our own good.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 2:29 pm

@Dave C- "What kind of world are leaving for the future?" Not much!

MmAway M (506)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 2:29 pm
Comment Poof! So will just type in Climate Change...TRUE FACT! Anyone that thinks this is a folly, take your head out of the Sand and get a GRIP!

Umm Pam would love for it to be stopped or slowed down, sadly with Mankind's need for GREED he continues with distroying anything that is special. "Slow down" would mean to TOTALLY STOP MANKIND FROM THINKING they can do what they want without issues...Don't think it is going to happen...Idiot Man keeps doing what they want for $$$$$

Dave...Sadly, we have left NADA to the future children! My only happiness is that I did NOT have children just Step Kids and a Ton of Creatures...All lost soon! So many Animals Lost due to Mankind's Distruction of the their space!

William K (308)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 2:49 pm
Sadly, our solution to global warming seems to be to run the air conditioners more.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 3:21 pm

We can do both. We can have electricity and A/C though it we should consider some form of rationing until we have converted to a sustainable form of energy. Right now, we are all living in the worse heat wave in history not just for Texas, but for the world. Yes, I do advocate for rationing if that needs to happen, and we must stop pretending this is not a man-caused problem.

. (0)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 3:58 pm
I think (okay I fear) that the effects of global warming are only just becoming apparent to the majority of people. These effects are not simply limited to slightly warmer summers and milder winters as was, at least in some circles, first suggested (and, if we are honest, most of us were happy to accept). Most immediately we, that is the global population, will see a rise in food prices across the world as a result of crop failures, principally in the US; it is not only crops in the US that affected of course, I live in the UK where a far colder winter than usual followed by colder and wetter temperatures in June and July has led to a substantial reduction in the wheat crop, we are already seeing food prices rising. At first this will affect the very poorest people in the world, as I understand the situation the US is a major exporter of food to the third-world, I would imagine that such exports will, as a matter of necessity, be restricted and those living in such countries, who are most likely to have had the least input to climate change, will be the first to see the more brutal of its' effects. If, however, this is not a one-off event and crop yields are reduced again next year, then even those of us who 'enjoy' all the benefits of living in a first-world country might start to really start to feel the pain too.

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 4:39 pm
And this report doesn't even include this l-o-n-g HOT & DRY summer of 2012 and it's destructive swath over the Entire Mid-West! "This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it — the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.."


Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 5:01 pm

Batten down the hatches the food price are already rising, and not going to level off. I think this will be the beginning of people finally not being able to pretend nothing is wrong.

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 5:17 pm
I have followed James Hansen's work for years including the letter he has left for his grandaughter.
We've ridden roughtshod over Mother Nature for quite some time. It appears we are about to pay the piper.
More folks are going to begin "getting it" but still won't be prepared to change their lifestyle to a point where it will make a difference now. I agree Kit batten down the hatches - the salad days are over.

Fiona O (565)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 5:41 pm
Attention: Our once friendly planet has been abused much too often.

Anna U (256)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 12:06 am
So damn fu**ed up!!!!!

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 12:18 am

. (0)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 2:44 am
This morning it is being reported on the BBC that the US Dept of Agriculture has slashed its' forecast for corn production, suggesting that it will be the lowest since 1995-96. Apparently the Dept has predicted that corn will rise from an average of US $5.40-$6.40 per bushel to between $7.50 to $8.90, one heck of a rise which will be reflected in food prices of course. I haven't yet seen their forecast for soy bean and wheat but as the US is the largest producer of these three crops it is likely that the effects will be widely felt.

Past Member (0)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 3:06 am
We have spent so many years abusing and destroying our planet. Now all we can do in minimise the damage we do in the future as what is already done cannot be undone.

Pogle S (88)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 3:33 am
The future is looking like a very different place from where we came from.

You've made your bed now go and live in it as my folks were fond of saying.

ewoud k (68)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 5:31 am
Read also:

(very) short summary: IF humanity extracts and burns all the oil we're supposed to have under our feet (the so-called "proven stocks") we'll be producing five times the "safe" production of CO2 the coming years, so temperatures will rise much more than the "safe" 2° scientist are calculating with, and if humanity doesn't do this, thus limiting global warming, there'll be a financial crisis that'll make the actual one look like nothing bad at all.

Thanks Kit, even if these posts spoil a bit our days.

Sunday August 12, 2012, 7:28 am
I've been stating this over and over, but not many listen. This world will undergo a massive transformation in the near future if we don’t change our wicked ways. Man's arrogance and greed is unquenchable, and Women's apathy about not standing up to Men and not exerting their birthright as co-heirs of the Earth has done perhaps irreparable damage to the one and only home humanity knows. Many Men are senseless, that is well known fact, however if you begin to destroy a Woman’s home they usually become furious, stand up, and put a stop to it. But strangely, the majority seems to still be, under the spells of senseless Men.

Most sadly of all, is the fact that many Men are still Hell bent on destroying the Earth, through unregulated industry, senseless wars, and the unbalancing of the Worlds eco-system through genetic manipulation of its plant species. I can only say this, that there is coming a very embarrassing moment for all of Humanity in the future. When, the true architect of our once magnificent bios-sphere returns to find that its inhabitants have utterly destroyed his creation, the coup de grace for humanity would be to be kicked out of our one and only home permanently, for collective vandalism. But even still, we are like bad home owners, even in the face of permanent eviction from our one and only home, for indulging in extreme criminality, and for causing the looming worldwide destruction, even in the face of all of this, “many Men still do not really want to stop the evil that they are doing to, the Worlds inhabitants, and to the Earth itself!”

Lastly, please spare me the lectures of self-righteous, selfish, egotistical, and foolish Men, who seem to think that they can rush in like white knights on steeds and save the Earth and us at the last minute. Or the ones who say that science will save us. Don’t these nut-jobs realize that it is science is the one who is signaling out the warnings of impending destruction? Or are these Men not only blind but deaf also? I will leave you with this one simple question to ponder. If the Men of the human race are so smart, then why is it that they have almost destroyed the entire Worlds ecosystem? No, our one hope is that Women, the co-heirs of the World will wake up and exert their authority as co-owners of the Earth and say, no more destruction in my house, ever again!


samantha M (14)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 8:01 am
oh shiiit

Sunday August 12, 2012, 8:01 am
“Soon the earth will shake and will tumble down and people will say,
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” But the Great Spirit will say, “They’re not praying to me, they’re
Saying “All my Gold! All my Gold!” – Wallace Black Elk, Lakota Sioux

From the book prophecies 2000 by Matthew Bunson


Elizabeth Fuller (134)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 8:11 am
Between man and the waking of the is already too late...for man. The planet will heal itself...and there will be no place for man.

. (0)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 8:26 am
Here's two things that the Corporate Elites don't want you to know: the serious effects now being felt with their having altered the inoshperic grid [HAARP] and the constant drilling; removal of water and the infusion of foreign amounts of water to harvest natural gas are upsetting the actual geophysical grid.
Unregulated fossil fuels used for cooking, heating, manufacturing and transportation in third world countries where 2/3s of the global population live create huge atmospheric clouds of pollution. Yes we are the agents of our own destruction. There is still time to change that though. Do our leaders have the will or is it to be business as usual?

TomCat S (128)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 8:44 am
I moved to Portland in 1979, and the climate shift is easily noticeable.

Past Member (0)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 5:23 pm

Azaima A (207)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 5:29 pm
now what do we do?

Kit B (276)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 7:10 pm

There seems to be a couple of schools of thought, we can either begin to make significant changes in the way we do business, seriously try to clean up our environment, learn what the word sacrifice actually means, in other words, get our collective "act" together. The other says we pray and hope someone is listening and will magically clean up this toxic environment.

Monica D (580)
Sunday August 12, 2012, 9:03 pm
We humans must reduce our climate changing emissions significantly and quickly. We must mobilise to force an end to the fossil fuel subsidies.

Past Member (0)
Monday August 13, 2012, 4:58 am
Naravno,kad smo sami unistili okolis

Monday August 13, 2012, 9:28 am
We are of course discussing one of the worst symptoms of a disease and not the disease. The disease is simply over-population. Decades ago we burned carbon fuels in a far dirtier and inefficient fashion than we do today but simply because there were considerably less of us doing that, the impact was less. Henry Ford’s Model T was an extremely inefficient smoke spewing machine by today’s standards but as there were so few, it made relatively little impact. The industry that makes the greatest overall impact on planet earth is agriculture – yes the production of masses of food for the exploding population of billions of human beings. Not only does it use enormous quantities of fossil fuel for agricultural implements, transport and processing it uses vast quantities of oil for fertiliser and more and more fuel to suck water from the depths of the earth as aquifers shrink year upon year. Land for agriculture is the biggest cause of destruction of natural flora and fauna through habitat loss and one of the greatest polluters of surface water and the oceans. We are to put it subtly; in the process of f****g ourselves at the very least back into the stone-age if not into oblivion!

John Farnham (52)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 5:19 am
Whew. This will be as welcome as the skunk at the picnic - especially as it does not rebut the obvious damage we do to our planet. But the worst environmental threat - is war. War can be sneaky. You know misdirection leads to not recognizing real threats when overwhelmed by fear. What this has to do with that is not immediately obvious. It relates to the Great Game and money and power. Economic warfare funded by a scam which will leave nations less able to compensate for change.
And climate change ? The media don't write about the great change in the Mid Atlantic Conveyor. The agenda is pushed instead.
BTW Scientific Method requires a proposal be discussed openly. Saying politics interferes with true. It does not make the proposer correct or honest. It merely shows that what is at stake is a political issue. Such is geopolitical energy politics - cause of war in the Middle East.

wolfNoFwdsPls a (135)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 5:51 am
> the worst environmental threat - is war, the Great Game and money and power...
yep. WAR against humans, against other animals, against nature in general, war-for-profit, WAR-'games' as ERSATZ for those psycho-cripples who are bereft of any more healthy occupation ...

Kit B (276)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 10:17 am

The industrial revolution began in the US about 1820's and even then the naturalists, could see the beginnings of filth in the waters and streets. Industrialists have not shown an interest in cleaning up or doing things to protect even their own environments. We as a global world are now at an untenable population of over 7 billion people. The United States is growing at population rates above the rest of the world. Still we try to justify the growth of people, pretend we can feed them, and too many continue to buy into the "fairy tale" that global warming is not man-made and already at a crisis point. At a temperature increase of 0.01%C our planet is strained to keep pace with C02 absorption levels, we are now at just over 1%C increase in global temperatures.

I suppose when in the coming decades when the oceans are dead and rising into coastal cities, when crops are not able to grow without huge amounts of water, when food and housing shortages finally slam us to such levels of fear and desperation, people and governments may finally respond. By then, very conservative figures estimate global temperatures will be above 2%C and irreversible.
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