I’m going to just repost in full a post by guest author Hugh Pickens on Slashdot:
Dr. James Hansen, director of the NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, says that public skepticism about the threat of man-made climate change has increased despite the growing scientific consensus. He says that without public support, it will be impossible to make the changes he and his colleagues believe need to occur to protect future generations from the effects of climate change. ‘The science has become stronger and stronger over the past five years while the public perception is has gone in completely the other direction. That is not an accident,’ says Hansen. ‘There is a very concerted effort by people who would prefer to see business to continue as usual. They have been winning the public debate with the help of tremendous resources.’ Hansen’s comments come as recent surveys have revealed that public support for tackling climate change has declined dramatically in recent years. A recent BBC poll found that 25% of British adults did not think global warming is happening and over a third said many claims about environmental threats are ‘exaggerated,’ compared to 24 per cent in 2000. Dr. Benny Peiser, director of skeptical think tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation, says it’s time to stop exaggerating the impact of global warming and accept the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change. ‘James Hensen has been making predictions about climate change since the 1980s. When people are comparing what is happening now to those predictions, they can see they fail to match up.’
A very depressing read.
Just on that last point, however, the voice of the deniers as wrong as usual. Hansen’s predictions from 1981 were spot on:
30-year-old global temperature predictions close to spot-on
A bit optimistic, actually
In the ongoing debate over climate change, it’s at times a good idea to check in with historial predictions made by climate modelers and see how well they have been able to predict global warming – which is exactly what a pair of researchers at the Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI) have done.
Geert Jan van Oldenborgh and Rein Haarsma ”stumbled across” – their words – a paper in the August 28, 1981 issue of Science, written by a septet of climate modelers, which modeled a number of scenarios that projected global mean temperatures up to the year 2100.
The lead author of that paper, “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, was the now-famed and/or now-reviled James Hansen, currently working at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
Oldenborgh and Haarsma took the 1981 paper’s projections, and overlayed upon them known temperature increases since 1981 as determined by the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index, and using the KNMI Climate Explorer research tool.
“Given the many uncertainties at the time, notably the role of aerosols, the agreement is very good indeed,” write Oldenborgh and Haarsma, comparing the results favorably with the far more sophisticated coupled-model CMIP5 simulations.
The 1981 paper, the KNMI researchers conclude, is “a nice example of a statement based on theory that could be falsified and up to now has withstood the test. The ‘global warming hypothesis’ has been developed according to the principles of sound science.”
Right in 1981 and still right today. But it looks like being right doesn’t matter.