New York Times Magazine will be completely taken over by one article on Wednesday called “Losing Earth” that alleges humanity could have stopped global warming in the decade from 1979 to 1989.
“Thirty years ago we had a chance to save the planet. We could have fixed climate change. We failed to act,” NYT Magazine tweeted out Monday morning to promote its upcoming global warming article by Nathaniel Rich.
On August 1, our entire magazine will contain one single story: Thirty years ago we had a chance to save the planet. We could have fixed climate change. We failed to act.
— NYT Magazine (@NYTmag) July 30, 2018
The magazine’s tweet included a video promotion of the article, featuring former NASA climate scientist and environmental activist James Hansen, on how climate science was “settled” in the decade from 1979 to 1989 and the world was “ready to act.”
“Almost nothing stood in our way — except ourselves,” the video ominously claims. It’s only the latest attempt to explain why the world didn’t sign onto an international climate agreement to stop man-made warming in the 1980s.
But here’s the question one should ask: Is this really what happened or is it historical revisionism?
Was the world really ready to stop global warming (assuming it could), or is that simply projecting backward based on what people think today? Hansen’s inclusion in the promo video suggests it’s the latter.
Hansen was one of the first high-profile global warming alarmists, so it’s easy to understand why he would say climate science was “settled” decades ago.
“We knew already the Earth really is getting warmer,” Hansen says in the promo, adding it’s a tragedy nothing was done to avert it as the camera pans over burnt out towns, cities covered in sand and chunks of ice sheets collapsing into the sea.
The first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment in 1990 did warn of enhanced greenhouse warming “broadly” consistent with climate models, but “it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.”
Hansen’s famous climate predictions made at a famous 1988 hearing put together with the help of then-Tennessee Rep. Al Gore have also turned out to be wrong.
Recently, Cato Institute climate scientists Patrick Michaels and Ryan Maue analyzed Hansen’s predictions and found “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,” Michaels and Maue wrote in June.
A subsequent analysis prepared by economist Ross McKitrick and climate scientist John Christy yielded similar results.
“The bottom line is, climate science as encoded in the models is far from settled,” McKitrick and Christy wrote on July 3.
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