Study linking extreme weather to climate change underscores need to shift into action

Intro

new study authored by NASA climate scientist James Hansen links recent extreme weather events with man caused climate change. These extreme weather events continue to cause billions of dollars of damage and change life as we know it across the globe. The Hansen study is just the latest in a long line of vetted information linking climate change to human activity. While the Hansen study is important to showing the existence of climate change, the longer the focus is on whether or not man caused climate change is real, the longer it will take to make changes to avoid the costly impacts of extreme weather events.

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RT @KevinRHaley “We are wasting precious time”-new #Hansen study increases urgency for action on #ClimateChange http://yhoo.it/O2UWEM

Key Points

  • According to this study, scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heatwave last year, the Russian heatwave of 2010 and the European heatwave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. The costs of the Texas drought alone was estimated to be $5.2 billion.
  • While taking actions like shifting to a low carbon economy to curb the impacts of climate change is often spun as being cost prohibited, the increased likelihood of extreme weather events could cause as much as  $1 trillion in a single year by 2040, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project, meaning there is an economic benefit to taking climate action.
  • Hansen’s report comes a week after Dr. Richard Muller said he no longer doubts the existence of man caused climate change, and at a time when a majority of Americans say the same. These reports combined with several extreme weather events should shift the debate from focusing on the existence of climate change to ways to combat it.

Background

James Hansen is often called the Godfather of Climate Science and heads NASA’s Climate Change unit at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen coined the phrase loading the climate dice, when first explaining how climate change increases the likelihood of extreme weather events. This week’s release of Hansen’s lates study, Perceptions of Climate Change in the National Academy of Sciences connects recent extreme weather events with man caused climate change. As expected, Hansen’s study is getting some push back, however, it comes at a time when more extreme weather events are happening and opening American’s minds to the existence of costly man caused climate change. Around the world, extreme weather events are costing billions of dollars. Examples of this are the American drought that is still underway, the Russian heatwave of 2010 and the European heatwave od 2003, all of which are connected to climate change by Hansen in his recent study.

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Quotes

  • ‘There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per person basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.’ -Dr. James Hansen
  • ‘These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.’ -Dr. James Hansen
  • ‘This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it — the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.’ -Dr. James Hansen

More Tweets

  • RT @HaraBara NASA GISS: The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change (with graphs from Hansen et al.) http://t.co/RTX8xeir
  • RT@ BTSchiller James Hansen’s study linking extreme weather & climate change. Peer reviewed. So there. PDF: http://t.co/iesV6YHg