Australia’s tabloid e-news site Crikey has been suggesting that there are only a few misguided global warming skeptics. On Line Opinion’s editor, Graham Young, has written to Crikey suggesting they, rather than the skeptics, are misguided. Anyway, they haven’t published this note which he sent them a few days ago:
If you’re going to put Christopher Pearson on your global warming skeptics list because he pointed out that claims that Tuvalu and Kiribati are sinking due to global warming are fraudulent, then you’d better put me on your list too. Check out http://ambit-gambit.nationalforum.com.au/archives/000593.html and http://ambit-gambit.nationalforum.com.au/archives/000185.html.
I know Al Gore claims that the islands have already sunk and the inhabitants immigrated to New Zealand, but all that proves is that his documentary is faction, not fact. Maybe you should put your skeptics list in your religion section, if you had one, because it seems to be operating on the same scientific basis as intelligent design. Oh, and for the record, while I believe that carbon dioxide contributes to warming of the globe, I have little faith in the accuracy of climate models. Funnily enough, according to John Quiggin at the BrisScience Forum last night, neither does he, so perhaps you should put him on the list as well.
What’s Crikey trying to do – muscle in on Green Left Weekly’s patch?
By the way, as a declaration of pecuniary interest and potential bias I’ve never knowingly received funding from petroleum companies, but if Shell, Exxon or Mobil want to put a banner, tower or island advertisement on the site, and pay for it, then they’re welcome.
The commonsense view on global warming is that there are a range of scenarios, and one should take precautions for the more likely ones, whilst maintaining an economy robust enough to deal with as many as possible. One should never take at face values the assertion of lobbyists or scientists in the pay of big oil, or global warming driven research grants, or any other scientists or lobbyists for that matter. And limiting carbon dioxide output in the 25% of the world that is industrialised while excluding the other 75% which is racing as quickly as possible to increase its carbon dioxide emissions, was always an absurd way to tackle the problem.
I feel much better now that I have come out of the closet and am looking forward to being on your list of people robust enough to ask the hard questions – the sort of thing that I thought Crikey was all about.
Chief Editor, On Line Opinion“
I can’t work out why Gore would make the claims that he does in the movie about the Pacific Islands. He actually says that the citizens of Pacific Islands have had to be evacuated to New Zealand because of rising sea-levels.
I’m happy to be corrected, but this is what I understand the situation to be with respect to Pacific Islands and sea-level:
1. Since the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, global-averaged sea level has risen by more than 100 metres as large ice sheets have melted.
2. There is still a general trend of rising global sea level at the rate of 1.8mm per year over the period 1950-2000 with no evidence of an increase in the rate of sea level rise over this period.*
3. The great majority of oceanic islands, including in the Pacific, were formed by volcanic activity. While the volcanoes are active, the islands rise relative to the global averaged sea-level. When volcanic activity stops, the islands will cool and eventually start to sink. So there are islands rising and sinking all the time.
4. According to Marlo Lewis in ‘A Skeptic’s Guide to the Inconvenient Truth’ ** tide gauge records show that sea levels at Tuvalu actually fell during the latter half of the 20th Century. This is an island often quoted as being lost to rising sea levels including in Al Gore’s book also called ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ where there is a two-page photograph and reference to the islands of Funafuti and Tuvalu and residents having to evacuate their homes because of rising seas.
In summary some Pacific islands are sinking, while some Pacific Islands are rising and it was incorrect of Al Gore to suggest that the issue is “rising seas”.
It is also wrong for Crikey’s journalist Sophie Black to suggest there is something wrong with Christopher Pearson for publicly exposing this inconvenient truth.
* Church et al. 2004, Estimates of the Regional Distribution of Sea Level Rise over the 1950-2000 Period. American Meteorological Society, pgs 2609-2625.
** I understand this assessment was published by the CEI and that they are funded by Big Oil, and as Graham Young states at a recent blog post: Isn’t it a pity that we have to rely on oil companies to finance the devil’s advocate position on global warming? And if you’re inclined to that style of rebuttal, just bear in mind that Al Gore’s political career was financed in part by the tobacco industry.