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How Do Predictions Stack Up 30 Years After The First Global Warming Warning?

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the first public warning that global warming had started, and climate scientists are assessing where the predictions of the NASA scientist who sounded the alarm stand up now, thirty years later.

On June 23, 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in a testimony that he was highly certain that there was “a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming.”

Pat Michaels and Ryan Maue, the director and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, respectively, discussed in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal this week the three scenarios that Hansen developed in 1988 for the future global carbon dioxide emissions. In Scenario A—‘business as usual’—the prediction was that the earth would warm by 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B, which Hansen considered the “most plausible”, predicted lower emissions, rising at the same rate today as they did in 1988 and predicted that the warming would be 0.7 degree Celsius by 2018. In Scenario C—considered “highly unlikely” by Hansen—the projection was that emissions would flat-line after 2000.

According to Michaels and Maue’s piece in the WSJ, the scenario closest to today’s reality is Scenario C.

“On the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s galvanizing testimony, it’s time to acknowledge that the rapid warming he predicted isn’t happening,” Michaels and Maue write.

“Climate researchers and policy makers should adopt the more modest forecasts that are consistent with observed temperatures. That would be a lukewarm policy, consistent with a lukewarming planet.”

Related: Russia Gears Up To Boost Oil Production In July

But other climate scientists concur that Hansen “got it right,” according to Yale Climate Connections.

Hansen himself thinks that the world is “miserably” failing to address climate change.

“All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem,” Hansen told The Guardian in an interview published earlier this week. “We haven’t acknowledged what is required to solve it. Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.”


The world has followed “Scenario B”, according to the scientist who first warned about global warming. We are “smack on it” it, Hansen said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Jhm on June 25 2018 said:
    Even BP's 2018 Statistical Review bears witness that emissions have not flat lined. Atmospheric measurements also bear witness that emissions are still on the rise. Therefore, we are not in scenario C.
  • Lee James on June 25 2018 said:
    Predictions about the future of global weather is about as complex as you can get. Climate change is complicated enough that one's climate beliefs are heavily swayed by who and what we are, as individuals and as members of a group. Politics and what puts money in your pocket are strong persuaders.

    I tend to side with "most" scientists, and what President Reagan said about the hole in the ozone layer.

    "Best to take out an insurance policy."
  • AZ Knight on June 23 2018 said:
    To use a baseball analogy;

    The global warming activists and 'Scientists' are actually ZERO for THIRTY----YEARS.

    Heck, Miami was Supposed to be under a Foot of water in 2010.

    EVERYTHING from the Leftists is Fear-Mongering and Scare Tactics. It works on Weak-minded People.
    It's Frustrating that the American Culture, through the leftist-Controlled Educational System, has created So Many Gullible, Easily Manipulated and Controlled People.

    Oh, and DARE to Try and DEBATE a leftist----They Scream, Call Names, and try to BLOCK your Speech.
  • Jason Maraz on June 23 2018 said:
    Or it could just be that the earth is going through its natural warming cycle which it has done hundreds of cycles before over the last 4.5 BILLION Years. We could blame everything on a car, and and the jet but then again, does anyone EVER give up their transportation? Certainly not the author of this article. If you want to solve global warming perhaps you should get a job as GOD.
  • Kevin on June 23 2018 said:
    The hoax is that co2 is causing some reaction around the world. So one nasa scientist from 30 years ago said the earth is warming- and the nasa head scientist i just read is finally agreeing that the warming is true cuz he "read alot"....like really? Joke. Its all a joke. Get real. Where i live we have been in a cooling trend for a few years now!
  • Lee James on June 22 2018 said:
    Sometimes a changing climate smacks us up side the head. 30 years ago, for several years, I crossed an extensive ice field during the summer season to summit a volcanic mountain in Washington state. We never saw crevasses, or even wondered what lay below this vast approach field for climbers.

    Today, that same ice field is gone and looks like a confused waste land of random boulders and a multitude of lost streams of water looking for a channel. Everything is colored gray and brown above the treeline after all the snow melts. The glacier it was a part of has receded beyond recognition, at it's leading edge and in the field feeding the glacier.

    It's but one sample of nature's course over time, but does kind of hit home when it's so close to one's home and familiar.

    I do feel like mankind is capable of affecting the Earth's climate when a large river of oil is burned continuously and vast areas of countryside are plowed under or burned for industrial farming. It all adds up. Vested interests and the need for certain kinds of paychecks can interfere with seeing what we do to our Earth home.
  • Douglas Houck on June 22 2018 said:
    For a good scientific review of Hansen's models and predictions 30 yrs out, see RealClimate:

    While Hansen's models and Scenario B are considered "skillful" and estimated remarkably well actual CO2 growth, estimates of N2O and CH4 overshot what happened. If those better actuals are inputted into the model, then Scenario B best estimates what has actually happened.

    The summary paragraph is telling as regards the author of the WSJ article.

    "Over the years, many people have misrepresented what was predicted and what could have been expected. Most (in)famously, Pat Michaels testified in Congress about climate changes and claimed that the predictions were wrong by 300% (!) – but his conclusion was drawn from a doctored graph (Cato Institute version) of the predictions where he erased the lower two scenarios: ...Undoubtedly there will be claims this week that Scenario A was the most accurate projection of the forcings [Narrator: It was not]."

    And the world continues to warm.

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