Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up?

My half theory is the reason so many climate change activists come from California is because they are afraid that they are going to lose their perfect climate. That LA will tun into Baja.That Sonoma will shift up into Oregon or something. 


In a certain segment of Washington James Hansen (a focus of the attached article) is treated as some kind of shaman or something.

Now, let’s make an important point here, we and this article are highlighting the completely incorrect nature of Dr. Hansen’s predictions, which were taken as gospel by many and used to enrich by others. We are not calling climate change a “hoax” or anything like that just because we post this article. Indeed the article makes the point that we may indeed be seeing warming but at a much lesser rate than what Hansen and many in his camp predicted. They basically failed, and that is a legitimate and very important point as it illustrates the tendency for humans to go with science and “science” that they are sure is correct but which is in fact incorrect. “The pretense of knowledge” as FA Hayek called it. And we see it in all sorts of fields.

For instance, for years most economists subscribed to Keynesianism. Then the 1970s happened and Keynesian theory failed. (There are of course neo-Keynesians keeping the faith, but basically everyone knows that Keynes was incorrect in most respects.) Something similar seems to be happening in climate science. A guru predicted something. Everyone ran with it, and then it turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Now, quietly, climate scientists, particularly those funded with grants to study climate change are coming to terms. Some, are recalculating.

Recalculating and recalibrating, at least according to this article, seems to be wise. As we’ve said before we were somewhat involved in carbon tax and climate issues a few years ago in Washington DC. Part of what I really wanted to get at during this time was what the real people, the scientists who didn’t cling to their pedestals, really thought. There were 2 famous scientists (both of whom would probably prefer to remain out of the spotlight) who made the biggest impression on me and who basically, separately, seemed to have come to the same conclusion. They believed that there was some warming going on, however that it wasn’t a catastrophic situation and that the rate was much slower than many of the official talking heads argued. 

This article makes a similar point.

(From The Wall Street Journal)

Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios—enough to determine which was closest to reality. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect. But we didn’t. And it isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago.

What about Mr. Hansen’s other claims? Outside the warming models, his only explicit claim in the testimony was that the late ’80s and ’90s would see “greater than average warming in the southeast U.S. and the Midwest.” No such spike has been measured in these regions.

As observed temperatures diverged over the years from his predictions, Mr. Hansen doubled down. In a 2007 case on auto emissions, he stated in his deposition that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. Subsequent research published in Nature magazine on the history of Greenland’s ice cap demonstrated this to be impossible. Much of Greenland’s surface melts every summer, meaning rapid melting might reasonably be expected to occur in a dramatically warming world. But not in the one we live in. The Nature study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain.

Climate change is a tough one for nearly everyone. (Even the scientists, though they can’t admit it.) Lay people have to take the word of their political camp’s leaders.

I’ll say this. The attached article is pretty close to what I took from my couple of years looking at the issue closely after talking with people all around this issue.