Water seeks its own level: here comes that sinking feeling

photo_5132_20090311What’s the difference between the climate jamboree and the Titanic? At least the latter had an orchestra. Numerous groups are eager to grab the headlines in Copenhagen; the smaller you are, the more original the initiatives. But dressing up as a polar bear is a tiresome business. Better try for direct appeal to bleeding hearts in the north for a rescue operation in the south. Dialectics always work: rich or poor, it’s nice to have money.

Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Maldives and the Cook Islands will all disappear soon, say shortly after Christmas according to delegates. (Hence probably today’s pledge by the Danish government to receive some of the 20 million (!) people supposedly left homeless in 2008 by the disastrous effects of climate change; no scientific reference or source was given to back this number up however.)

Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, a Swedish expert on sea level change and in 1999 an expert reviewer to the IPCC, begs to differ. He has extensive experience in field work in most of the areas that are allegedly under threat of becoming the new Atlantis. In a presentation this week, he stated:

“(For the year 2100) our best estimate was + 10 cm (…) significantly lower than the estimates by IPCC (2001). (…) There are physical limits for how fast ice can melt. The maximum rates recorded were those related to the melting glaciers of the last Ice Age. The corresponding sea level rise amounted to (…) 1 meter per century. Consequently, all claims of a sea level rise by 2100 exceeding 1m can directly be discarded as physically impossible.”

Further, no change has been observed in the concerned areas including Bangladesh. Even Venice, once thought to be condemned, is not threatened by chronic “aqua alta” as sometimes thought; a significant deceleration since 1970 has even been recorded.

The conclusion seems obvious: let’s consider the facts and forget about the models, lest we get swamped by science fiction.


About the Author: Jacob Arfwedson

Jacob Arfwedson first worked on environmental issues with the ICREI (Paris) in the early 1990s (www.icrei.org). He has published extensively on various free market issues, working with some 20 think tanks in Europe and the US for the past 20 years. He received his MA from the Catholic University of Paris before studying at the Catholic University of America (Timbro Capitol Fellowship). His articles have been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, le Figaro and AGEFI Switzerland.