A new paper by James Hansen has just been published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it contains a stern warning that humanity must act now to avert climate disaster. Hansen and his two colleagues argue that climate change is now upon us, and that the extreme weather we have experienced increasingly over the past few years is a direct result of a human-amplified greenhouse effect.
Hansen is of course famous for bringing the issue of climate change to the attention of the US senate back in 1988. He now admits that his initial projections about climate change were optimistic and that he understated the proliferation of extreme weather events.
In relation to extreme weather, Hansen argues that the “climate dice” are loaded so that it is increasingly likely for us to experience extreme weather.
To support his arguments, Hansen relies on historical data, and highlights the Russian heat wave of 2010, the European heat wave of 2003, and intense droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year. No longer can we say that extreme events like these are a precursor of what to expect under climate change; these events are indeed a result of climate change that is already occurring. Furthermore, these extreme weather events have been occurring far more frequently over the past 30 years.
Humanity no longer has any time to waste. We need to drastically reduce carbon emissions and embark on a green trajectory of growth – reliant on the green economy and renewable energy.
What are your thoughts on Hansen’s latest warning?