Why should we believe anything James Hansen says?

Climate activist (source: PA)

UPDATE [1.35pm AEST]: Pat Michaels writes “[Hansen’s] hypothesis is a complete and abject failure.” and quotes from the paper itself, which states:

“we were motivated in this research by an objective to expose effects of human-made global warming as soon as possible…”

So there you have it. From the horse’s mouth.

The lamestream media has pounced upon James Hansen’s latest announcement, blaming “global warming” for recent heat waves. This article, from the UK Telegraph is as good an example as any, illustrated as it is with a flattering portrait of the great man:

Recent heat waves can only be attributed to climate change, a top US scientist has warned.

James Hansen, who cautioned of the dangers of climate change as long ago as 1988, said the deadly European heat wave of 2003, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year could all be linked to climate change.

He predicted the same would also be true of the hot summer the US is currently experiencing.

Dr Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, reached his conclusions after he and his colleagues analysed the past 60 years of global temperatures.

Writing in The Washington Post, he said: “Our analysis shows that for the extreme hot weather of the recent past there is virtually no explanation other than climate change. (source)

The Telegraph doesn’t bother to look for any alternative viewpoint, merely parroting what Hansen says with no critical questioning or thought. It’s left to the blogosphere to provide that.

The ABC does much the same, including rehashing the Richard Muller “conversion” non-story, just in case you missed it the first time (unlikely if you rely on ABC for your news).

But in any case, why should we believe anything Hansen says in the first place? This is a person whose activism has completely swamped any vestige of impartial scientific enquiry, even going so far as to get himself arrested four times at environmental demonstrations. How can Hansen be relied upon to provide unbiased scientific conclusions in such circumstances?

What would happen if Hansen were to be confronted with evidence that challenges his entrenched position? Would he come out publicly and say it or simply post it down the memory hole because it doesn’t fit the agenda? You decide.

Even some of Hansen’s colleagues are sick of his surrender to activism (and kudos to the New York Times for actually bothering to seek an alternative perspective):

Martin P. Hoerling, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studies the causes of weather extremes, said he shared Dr. Hansen’s general concern about global warming. But he has in the past criticized Dr. Hansen for, in his view, exaggerating the connection between global warming and specific weather extremes. In an interview, he said he felt that Dr. Hansen had done so again.

Dr. Hoerling has published research suggesting that the 2010 Russian heat wave was largely a consequence of natural climate variability, and a forthcoming study he carried out on the Texas drought of 2011 also says natural factors were the main cause.

Dr. Hoerling contended that Dr. Hansen’s new paper confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves.

“This isn’t a serious science paper,” Dr. Hoerling said. “It’s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper’s title. Perception is not a science.” (source)

In reality, I suppose we should be glad that Hansen is out there making this kind of noise. Every exaggerated claim gradually chips away at the credibility of The Cause. And the eagerness with which the mainstream media regurgitated the story with barely a second thought (with notable exceptions) shows how out of touch they are with reality.

Quote of the Day – Kevin Trenberth

Quote of the Day

As the papers are full of James Hansen shrieking that 2010 will be the “hottest year on record” (in other words since about 1880*, and based on his own, highly suspect, GISS temperature data set), it takes a fellow warmist to get it right for a change:

“We have seen rapid warming recently, but it is an example of natural variation that is associated with changes in the Pacific [El Niño] rather than climate change.” (source)

(H/t WUWT)

*By the way, if the age of the earth were represented by one day, the period since 1880 equates to approximately 2/1000 ths of a second.

2010 could be "hottest year on record"

Throw some more snags on the barbie, mate

So screams the headline in The Times, conveniently forgetting to mention that “on record” means since about 1880, but “hottest year since 1880” doesn’t sound anywhere near as scary. But anyway, it’s a great opportunity to wheel out über-alarmist James Hansen:

CLIMATE scientists have warned that 2010 could turn out to be the warmest year in recorded history [since 1880].

They have collated global surface temperature measurements showing that the world has experienced near-record highs between January and April.

Researchers working independently at the Met Office and Nasa are soon to publish data that reveal the trend is likely to continue for the rest of the year. [Hmm, that’s odd, given that El Niño is fading fast, we’re heading towards La Niña conditions, and sea surface temperatures are heading south rapidly, but if the models say that then it must be true, surely?]

James Hansen [round of applause please], director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss), a world centre for climate monitoring, said: “Global temperatures, averaged over the past 12 months, were the warmest for 130 years. [Big freaking deal]

“December to February was also the second-warmest of any such period [since 1880].”

Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said: “It was a cold winter in Europe but, globally, January to March was one of the seven warmest starts to the year on record [since 1880].

“This year has more than a 50% chance of being the warmest on record [since 1880].

None of this proves anything about a link to man-made emissions. The planet is recovering from the Little Ice Age, so is it any wonder that this decade is warmer than last? And there’s been a strong El Niño, so is it any wonder that the start of this year is warmer than the end of last? Not really. At least there’s a bit of sanity at the end:

John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, was cautious about predicting record temperatures for 2010, pointing out that the global datasets for temperature had flaws that could lead to rises being overstated [that’s a polite way of saying “they’re fudged” – Ed]. He said: “Be wary of climate forecasts — Mother Nature always seems to have a trick up her sleeve.”

Yeah, remember her, James Hansen? Mother Nature?

Read it here.

Idiotic Comment of the Day: James Hansen

Hansen (L), Homer (R)

James Hansen, Homer Simpson lookalike, is in Melbourne – lucky old Melbourne – spouting his usual mix of hysteria and lunacy. The Age fawns and grovels at his feet – not surprising since acres of Age copy is thanks to Hansen and his ilk. A few quotes deserve mention. On the plus side, he acknowledges that nuclear power has to play a part in Australia’s energy mix:

Renewable sources cannot be relied on solely, he believes, and ”it becomes a choice between coal and nuclear for baseload power”.

He would welcome Australia making a commitment to move to 100 per cent renewable energy – but said it would be a mistake. ”I think the chances of that working and being at a price that the public would be willing to pay is not very good,” he said.

But then it goes downhill:

”I don’t intend to be telling Australia what they should do for their energy source except that they can’t continue to burn coal without screwing everybody – including my grandchildren.

Charming. And my favourite:

”And exporting coal, and increasing exports of coal, is almost equivalent to being a drug dealer to the world.”

No hyperbole there, clearly.

Read it here.

NASA: Global warming continues unabated

Hansen (L), Homer (R)

So screams the headline on News.com.au, which then breathlessly reports:

THE past decade was the warmest ever on Earth, according to a new analysis of global surface temperatures released by NASA. The US space agency also found that 2009 was the second-warmest year on record since modern temperature measurements began in 1880. Last year was only a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest yet, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with the other hottest years, which have all occurred since 1998. According to James Hansen, who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, global temperatures change due to variations in ocean heating and cooling. “When we average temperature over five or 10 years to minimise that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated,” Mr Hansen said. (source)

Warmest ever? On earth??! Was someone around 8000 years ago with a thermometer at the peak of the Holocene climate optimum? Hysterical nonsense. The Medieval Warm Period (just 1000 years ago) and the Roman Warm Period were almost certainly warmer, and it says nothing of previous warming events. Only later do they concede that modern records began just 130 years ago (a blink of an eye in geological terms). Let’s remember who we’re dealing with here. NASA’s GISS is headed up by James Hansen, an über-alarmist who would do anything to keep the global warming bandwagon rolling. GISS is based on surface temperature records which are “homogenised” (i.e. adjusted) to take account of various factors, but guess what, the adjustments are almost always upwards! Gee, that’s a surprise! And recently it has been revealed that many surface stations are simply left out of the surface temperature record – especially the cooler ones… For example, Bolivia has no stations whatsoever contributing to the GISS temperature record. So the temperature for Bolivia, which includes snow capped peaks and high cold deserts, is just “made up” from readings 1200 km away i.e the beaches of Chile, Peru and of course the Amazon jungle (see here)! The only reliable temperature indication today is the satellite record, which shows no significant warming since 2001:

No statistically significant warming since 2001

And in any event, what’s the big deal about this decade being warmer than the last? It’s hardly surprising considering we’re coming out of a mini Ice Age just a few hundred years ago. But that would spoil a good story, wouldn’t it? And in a great twist, James Delingpole reports that Hansen has put his stamp of approval on an enviro-loony tome:

Reader Michael Potts has drawn my attention to yet further evidence of Dr Hansen’s radical, virulently anti-democratic instincts. He has lent his support to an eco-fascist book advising on ways to destroy western industrialisation through propaganda, guile and outright sabotage. In a scary new book called Time’s Up – whose free online version titled A Matter Of Scale you can read here – author Keith Farnish claims:

The only way to prevent global ecological collapse and thus ensure the survival of humanity is to rid the world of Industrial Civilization.

Like so many deep greens, Farnish looks forward to the End Times with pornographic relish (masquerading as mild reasonableness):

I’m rarely afraid of stating the truth, but some truths are far harder to give than others; one of them is that people will die in huge numbers when civilization collapses. Step outside of civilization and you stand a pretty good chance of surviving the inevitable; stay inside and when the crash happens there may be nothing at all you can do to save yourself. The speed and intensity of the crash will depend an awful lot on the number of people who are caught up in it: greater numbers of people have more structural needs – such as food production, power generation and healthcare – which need to be provided by the collapsing civilization; greater numbers of people create more social tension and more opportunity for extremism and violence; greater numbers of people create more sewage, more waste, more bodies – all of which cause further illness and death.

He believes – as the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt does – that mankind is a blot on the landscape and that breeding (or for that matter, existence) should be discouraged:

In short, the greatest immediate risk to the population living in the conditions created by Industrial Civilization is the population itself. Civilization has created the perfect conditions for a terrible tragedy on the kind of scale never seen before in the history of humanity. That is one reason for there to be fewer people, providing you are planning on staying within civilization – I really wouldn’t recommend it, though.

Among his proposed solutions to this problem are wanton destruction:

Unloading essentially means the removal of an existing burden: for instance, removing grazing domesticated animals, razing cities to the ground, blowing up dams and switching off the greenhouse gas emissions machine. The process of ecological unloading is an accumulation of many of the things I have already explained in this chapter, along with an (almost certainly necessary) element of sabotage.

Needless to say, our friend Dr James Hansen thinks this book is the bees knees. Here is his puff on the Amazon website:

Keith Farnish has it right: time has practically run out, and the ’system’ is the problem. Governments are under the thumb of fossil fuel special interests – they will not look after our and the planet’s well-being until we force them to do so, and that is going to require enormous effort.

Nice. Read it all here.

Even James Hansen wants Copenhagen to fail

Hansen (L), Homer (R)

Hansen (L), Homer (R)

And with Al Gore pulling out of a $1,200-a-head presentation, things aren’t looking that hot:

The scientist who convinced the world that global warming was a looming danger says the planet will be better off if next week’s Copenhagen climate change summit ends in collapse.

James Hansen, considered the most distinguished climate scientist [Ha, ha! My aching sides – Ed], says any agreement to emerge from the meeting will be so flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch.

His words came on the same day as the University of East Anglia announced an investigation into the thousands of damaging leaked emails emanating from its Climatic Research Unit.

Professor Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute earth sciences unit in New York. In 1989 he made several appearances before Congress and did more than any other scientist to educate [“brainwash” – Ed] politicians about the causes of global warming and the urgent need to change behaviour.

Earlier this year, he was awarded the Carl Gustaf Rossby Research Medal by the American Meteorological Society. It was awarded for his outstanding contribution to climate modelling and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena. [The ABC is in full hyperbole mode here, as you can see – Ed]

He certainly was not mincing his words when he gave his views to the Guardian newspaper online about the prospects for next week’s climate change conference.

“The approach that’s being talked about is so fundamentally wrong that it’s better to reassess the situation,” he said.

“I think it’s just as well that we not have a substantive treaty.”

Advice to Copenhagen delegates. Save the airfare, save the CO2, stay at home instead.

Read it here.

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