The WSJ opinion piece falsely claims, "James Hansen issued dire warnings in the summer of 1988. Today earth is only modestly warmer."
As shown in the chart below, the increase in global surface temperature has not only been much more than "modest", it has also accelerated since James Hansen issued his 1988 warning.
The authors also cherry pick data by focusing on the UAH Global Average Tropospheric Temperatures report to make their case. The problem with using this data source is that there are six major sources of global temperature data which are most often referred to, and of the six, only the UAH satellite data suggests that the increase in global temperature has been only "modest".
Four of the global temperature data reports are estimates of surface temperature, from NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies), HadCRU (Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K.), NCDC (National Climate Data Center), and Japan Meteorological Agency. The other two are estimates of lower-troposphere temperature, from RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and UAH (Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville).
“Satellites are not a thermometer in space, they’re not making direct measurements of atmospheric temperature, they’re measuring the microwave emissions from oxygen molecules,” according to Benjamin Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He cites numerous types of uncertainty associated with satellite temperature data and numerous corrections to it required — such as due to satellites’ orbital drifts
“There’s over a dozen satellites that you need to string together and each of them have calibration and drift issues that need to be dealt with,” added Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA. “If there’s an issue with any particular satellite or any particular calibration it affects all the temperatures, so it’s much easier to have systematic issues that affect the whole record.”
The WSJ's global warming denialist propaganda has been exposed in previously written articles. Two of the best examples of take downs of this "fake news" camoflauged as "opinions" are:
The Wall Street Journal Still Treats Climate Change as "Opinion", And This Practice Needs to Stop
Reviews of articles from: The Wall Street Journal
It's long past time for the WSJ to stop allowing their "Opinion" section to be filled with misleading editorials featuring manipulated data and cherry picked data sources. As the Associated Press points out 30 years after warning, global warming "is in our living room"