James Hansen — Climate Boogey Man Extraordinaire

I was quietly minding my own business, reading Bloomberg News, when there it was, an article blaming all the evils climate can muster on carbon dioxide.  Recent Heat Wave Caused by Global Warming was the title of the piece.  Dr. Hansen has just released a new study…with two other authors.   Dr. Hansen released the following statement attached to the study.

We now know that the chances these extreme weather events would have happened naturally — without climate change — is negligible.

I have not read the study and I might not understand it if I did, but here’s the rub …..the statement Dr. Hansen just made is very likely wrong.  The statement is just too specific…too certain.    I am focusing on two words, know and negligible.

Science is a process that assumes knowledge and conventional wisdom will change with time as we learn more. A few posts ago I argued that the word know does not belong in any scientific discussion about climate.   There are too many unknowns.  Every day and every year we learn more.   This is an extraordinarily complex science problem.  Know just doesn’t work, it’s the wrong word.

Prolonged periods of drought have played key roles in destroying societies in our recent past.  The Mayans and the Egyptians are my favorite examples.     Negligible, I don’t think so.

C’mon Dr. Hansen, you should know better.


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