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Metres of Sea-Level Rise: Climate Commissioner

WILL Steffen is the executive director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute and also a member of the Australian Climate Commission. This is the Climate Commission established to provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change. This is the same Professor Steffan who, you may remember, sort of fudged hot day data for western Sydney [1].

My name is Mr Koala and I’ve been reading the latest contribution from this professor who is paid to provide me with an independent and reliable source of information on climate change.

He has a piece in today’s national newspaper, The Australian. It’s really scary! Professor Steffan tell us:

“Scientists have painted a clear picture of the risks from failing to act on climate change. The natural world would experience the sixth great extinction event in Earth’s history, coral reefs would almost completely disappear, and we would be facing metres of sea-level rise as oceans continue to warm and polar ice sheets melt and disintegrate.”

Ouch. Nemo!

“Over the past decade Victorians have seen a window into that possible future in their own backyard.

The 2009 heat wave in Melbourne caused 374 excess deaths as well as triggering disruptions to electricity supplies and transport systems. The Black Saturday bushfires caused more deaths and significant amounts of physical and psychological suffering.”

Then the professor went on about drought.

I have been under the bed all day: hiding from climate change.

Jen has just pushed this new letter under for me to read:

Dear Prof. Steffen

You write in The Australian…

“The Big Dry of 1997-2009 put severe pressure on Melbourne’s water supply and damaged the state’s agricultural production, leading to an 80 per cent drop in grain production and a 40 per cent reduction in livestock production in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region.

There is strong evidence that climate change influenced the extreme events Victorians experienced over the past decade. Without effective action on climate change, we can expect more such damaging weather and climate events in the future, and they will likely become more severe.”

Can I ask what evidence you are citing here? As an active climate researcher I am unaware of any evidence for ‘climate change’ influencing the recent drought. Even without ‘action’ on climate change we can expect more damaging weather and climate events, occasionally more severe than before.

Are you able to cite any science or is this afterall, just your opinion?

Best wishes, Stewart

A/Prof Stewart W. Franks
University of Newcastle



1. Basil Beamish for Climate Commissioner, May 18th, 2012.


174 Responses to “Metres of Sea-Level Rise: Climate Commissioner”

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  1. Comment from: Robert

    We’re not in history. We’re the New Men at Year Zero. Things are bad, too many humans have been allowed to survive since the good old dyin’ days of bio-dung and organic smoke – so just do as you’re told. No, we have not been at war with Global Cooling, Winston Smith. We have always been at war with Global Warming.

    Today I saw an internet ad with a hipster in a Fedora pointing like Uncle Sam in an old recruitment poster. He was saying something like: “The others have their solar panels, what about you?” Why worry about smelly old history when you’ve got vapid pop-culture to entertain and those plummy-voiced hipsters to explain about the state of the world?

  2. Comment from: Debbie

    What’s the Duck?
    because once again…I object to the way you have USED those linked reports.
    While a couple are ABOUT the same topic….they neither prove or disprove Robert’s point.
    Yes…we do have an increasing population… DUH!
    Is the major problem/risk developing from increased population that the weather/climate is changing?
    What’s the actual duck?

  3. Comment from: Debbie

    Is this a duck?

  4. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    “Of course history is the great eliminator. “

    Yes Luke but are you prepared to face the future?
    I know I am, with a clear conscience too.

  5. Comment from: gavin

    Further back Deb asks about my solutions re AGW but I was rather busy and getting overwhelmingly tired. However by returning to the Guardian Blog and following that skeptic/conspiracy theme “New research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked”- it seems I still need to post much simpler evidence than all that from msm.

    Note again “All of this suggests that the battle to overcome climate scepticism – if that is even a useful way of thinking about it – will not be won by simply restating the scientific facts. The problem is that “the facts” are not “the facts” for a small proportion of people – and the noise made by this minority group dilutes the otherwise clear signal about climate change received by the wider population”.

    And it refers to “Tackling belief is the key to overcoming climate change scepticism” Adam Corner – March 30

    “But in studies that have asked who is sceptical about climate change and why, we find not a story about scientific ignorance, but a link between social attitudes, cultural beliefs and climate change scepticism. The evidence is starkest in the US , but similar patterns are found elsewhere too: older, white, conservative men tend to be more sceptical about climate change”

    Does the boot fit?

  6. Comment from: Robert

    Gav, stop talking about “findings” and “studies” and “evidence” when you – and those preening turkeys at the Guardian – are just trying to insult. Insults are fine, but the mock-concern and pseudo-academic jargon are just too ridiculous.

    As for the Guardian, please stop cutting-and-pasting from the petty authoritarian’s rag-of-choice. Get your conceit and smugness at the Canberra Times and ABC. Buy local.

  7. Comment from: gavin

    We finally got round to cleaning up rivers, ports and coastlines in the late 1960′s and that was only after we could do continuous monitoring of effluents from various sources. Emissions to atmosphere were even more tricky and the petro/chemical industries had a lot going on mostly below the “radar”.

    All the while though, domestic and transport emissions were hardly ever checked on a routine basis. Sure, cars and heavy vehicles had to preform to ever improving standards from the 1970′s on but whole urban areas continued to be quite seriously damaged as they grew rapidly in size. Fifty years ago some realized polluted parts of the atmosphere could kill people and waste an environment. Global monitoring of atmosphere and oceans has only just began in earnest. Two hundred years ago it was awfully crude by today’s standards.

    Because I have been part of the upgrade in expectations over a range of industries and utilities I can confidently say how to look beyond the range of instrument records available from our more recent science and engineering using a series of natural events as another guide to global changes.

    Also our recorded history as written must be filtered relative to other turning points from the natural history as the new climate science verifies them. Experience at any time can be colored by individual circumstances like my yardstick is longer than yours when it comes to walks.

  8. Comment from: el gordo

    “…older, white, conservative men tend to be more sceptical about climate change”

    Wisdom comes with age (its quantifiable) but all this nonsense about white conservative men is racist and sexist ….and I suggest you reread your PC handbook on the subject.

    ‘The problem is that “the facts” are not “the facts” for a small proportion of people’

    Games up Gavin, the Gorebull Worming facts are history….its only a matter of time before the warminista and climatariat are totally humiliated.

  9. Comment from: Robert

    Gav, thanks for your last comment. Guardian-free and well worth reading. (I can really do without that miserable Pommie re-education camp called the Guardian.)

  10. Comment from: Ian Thomson

    Hi Gavin,

    “Without belief in climate change, repeating the scientific case for manmade global warming simply bounces off” ( Adam Corner , Guardian )
    What does he mean by this? Is it that only the converted can be preached to ?
    You do realise that this is just an opinion piece dressed up as information ? Or do you ?

    ” but similar patterns are found elsewhere too: older, white, conservative men tend to be more sceptical about climate change.”
    Hey Debbie, are you enjoying being a white , conservative old man ? That’s what this loonie infers.
    Jo Nova and Jennifer may need to change to fit as well, not to mention Donna LaFramboise .

  11. Comment from: Neville

    Gav your ramblings are just plain silly. So called mitigation of AGW is an impossibility without the support of the non OECD. Of course you first must believe in a positive feedback to increased co2 emissions.

    You seem to feel you can make assertions yet never ever offer a solution. Why do you bother repeating your silly mantra when simple maths tells you that any solution is politically out of reach?

    You know that Gillard and labor only care about Oz’s emissions and not emissions from our exported coal, gas and iron ore.
    In fact they are trying to increase exports from the latrobe valley in Vic by processing our huge brown coal deposits.

    Can’t you understand the hypocrisy and stupidity of these arguments? The non OECD are increasing emissions by 1 billion tonnes every year and yet you can’t seem to understand this simple fact.
    You seem to lack any logic and reason.

  12. Comment from: Debbie

    Got that inference Ian.
    You surely must be kidding Gavin?
    Ian’s correct you know….rather a lot of questions are being asked by females….and I don’t think they would appreciate being called old either.
    I don’t think their ideas are set in racist parameters either.
    I also think an attempt to brand them in a particular political camp will not work.
    I asked you a question that allowed you to assume that I’m not ‘sceptical’ and THAT was your answer? ????? :-) :-) :-)
    “Tackling belief is the key to overcoming climate change scepticism”
    That is incredibly ironic.
    So you think eveything can be solved and the ice caps saved by ‘tackling belief’?
    The question was very simple Gavin.
    Is your answer to get rid of…or maybe re educate…. white conservative old men?
    Your problem there is that I will still be here asking the same question and you will likely not be around to answer it!
    You score at least 3 out of 4 on that one.
    I think I’m probably a zero….but not sure what age is considered ‘old’ in this article.
    The other problem is that I don’t believe changing the opinions of conservative white old men will influence the polar caps, the SLR or the atmosphere!

    The question was about solutions Gavin….not beliefs.
    You also said that adaption was not the answer….so I assumed you had a better one?
    And to your question:
    Does the boot fit?

  13. Comment from: gavin

    Deb; I grew up in an era where we built a few big dams while planning the next power scheme. Progress was measured in terms of the cheapest and largest amount of power available to expanding post war industries. There had to be lots of Euclids dashing about. Assessing other impacts was hardly ever contemplated then. Changing that philosophy took a while but it all happened as the science got behind us.

    As it turns out, water is one of our major regulators and it’s the flow that counts, not the storage as we don’t like variations in availability. Precipitation is the key, hence vital studies are increasing round our oceans. Detecting climate change will get easier region by region.

    Observation by the lay is important too. I had to go to NZ to see glaciers retreating by kilometers from historic marks to know by my boots that the world is not cooling. I had to go back to Tasmania to find high water marks that were not impacted by big ripples.

    There is no way our SL is falling. From the air a whole island has no beach at king tide on a bright sunny day.Trying to measure this with a school ruler is not so easy though. Think about a HP weather cell v a big low for a mo. We need to see both the sun and the moon at their best.

  14. Comment from: Neville

    Debbie the trouble is Luke Gav etc are not into solutions of any kind because they know it can’t be done.

    In the Christy video I linked to, he actually does the maths for the possibility of building 1000 nuclear power stations.

    The answer for AGW mitigation is still sweet fanny adams, zip, zero, nothing. Trouble is we’re arguing with fools or people who know their arguments are stupid nonsense but can’t admit it.

    These people are so sure that there is a positive feedback to co2 but then cringe and crawl away without offering a solution for the mitigation of this most important moral challenge of our lives. What a sick joke.

  15. Comment from: Robert

    Met recently with an Aussie consultant-type working in the Maldives. He confirmed what I’d heard elsewhere, but what is not widely touted, for some reason.

    Most of us are encouraged to think of the place as as a marginalised poster child for global warming and sea level rise. Well, the globe may have warmed a bit between 1980 and the late 1990s. Sea levels are so complex they make one dizzy, but the Maldives, when it comes to all that, are like John Travolta, lecturing about ” the environment” while he had a couple of private Boeings and other jets parked right outside his house. In short, the Maldives and their many investors are pretty relaxed about their looming catastrophe.

    Here’s an idea of the price of property, waterfront of course:

    As well as having the money to hold underwater cabinet meetings to get world attention to their “plight”, the Maldivians are busy with maintaining (and building many more) luxury hotels, high-en resorts, golf courses…and numerous airstrips!

    We may be feeling terribly worried for the sub-aquatic future of this little nation, but big investors like the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces group don’t seem at all concerned.

    Interested in a stay before the Maldives sink beneath the waves? You’ll be enchanted by their natural beauties, but you may find yourself confronted with an unexpected poverty problem. Your own!

  16. Comment from: cohenite

    “We need to see both the sun and the moon at their best.”

    Gav is tripping again; too many magic mushrooms.

  17. Comment from: gavin

    It took only minutes to find the right photo after Google using a key word “surf” not “bad weather”. Pictures tell all.

    There is no island beach there under the blazing sun.

    Male Surf Photo: ‘Male Atol, Maldives – from the air’ by Nick Russill – 2007

  18. Comment from: Luke

    Gee Robert – well that’s proof then. Sort of like a pre-GFC investment prospectus.

  19. Comment from: Robert

    Gav, don’t tell me Male is a very low-lying atoll! Seems like only a couple of millennia ago it was a very low lying atoll. And that Google thingy you’ve got there! It’s so fast!

    By the way, there’s a saying up the coast here. Maybe you’ve heard it. An environmentalist is somebody who has already bought his waterfront.

  20. Comment from: gavin

    Get a perspective!

    Anyone considering the Maldives for investment or as evidence of AGW adaption should have a good look at this.


  21. Comment from: sp

    PRESS RELEASE – U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.

    Perhaps its not as bad as we have been told?

  22. Comment from: kuhnkat


    “So Robert unprecedented Greenland surface melt – sounds like wind – err nope

    Er yeah, unprecedented, about every 150 years!! Jeez Luke, you Heaters are SOOOOO GUUUULLLIBLE!!!


  23. Comment from: kuhnkat


    Luke quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, craps like a duck, in fact Luke IS the duck. You need ask no further.

  24. Comment from: Luke

    No it doesn’t kuknkat. as if you’d know anything mate.

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