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James Hansen: Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change

NASA scientist James Hansen, considered to be the 'godfather of global warming' has co-authored a new report that shows the connection between 'extreme weather events', such as the drought most of the U.S. is now experiencing, and climate change.
August 7, 2012, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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In a report released on August 6 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), James E. Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, makes the connection between what is termed 'extreme weather events', such as heat waves and droughts, and climate change.

In this video interview with the News Hour's Hari Sreenivasan, Hansen is asked, "....Explain how we know that these (extreme) events are ...not part of any natural cycle?"

"They are in fact a product of global warming and we can see that very easily", Hansen decisively answers.

In his August 3, Washington Post opinion, Climate change is here - and worse than we thought, Hansen makes the climate change-extreme weather connection clear.

"When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet...My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true.

Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change."

His view is not universally shared.

In his widely read "total turnaround" by climate skeptic, Richard Muller, states in his July 28, New York Times opinion, "The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic, "...the recent warm spell in the United States happens to be more than offset by cooling elsewhere in the world, so its link to "global" warming is weaker than tenuous."

Hansen's paper may very well change the bar from discussing what the effects of global warming will be to what they are now.

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Published on Saturday, August 4, 2012 in PBS NewsHour
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