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Category — Sea level rise

Presidential Advice: Sea-Level Rise a Yawner

“My best advice to both candidates is to just leave the issue alone. Sea-level rise does not represent a national threat, and trying to do something about it through our energy policy would cause hardship without a discernible impact along our coasts.”

With the final presidential debate set for October 22 in Boca Raton, a group of Florida “city and county officials and scientists,” with help from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), have sent each candidate an open letter asking them to “address this issue” of sea level rise while they are in campaigning and debating in Florida.

This publicity play for climate crusaders will probably not work because …. facts are facts. There just isn’t much there to get away from real, here-and-now issues that have otherwise dominated most of the debates.

Prior to the first presidential debate, I offered some specific advice to the candidates on a broad range of climate change issues on the off chance that the topic may come up in some form during their first debate (it didn’t). This time around, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look a bit more deeply into the specific topic of sea level rise and anthropogenic climate change. So, in case either candidate wants to “address” the issue, they’ll have the proper background to do so intelligently.

Background

In fact, the issue of sea level rise has already made a cameo appearance in the campaingn. [Read more →]

October 19, 2012   No Comments

Fighting AGW Religion in North Carolina (sea-level-rise debate gets political)

What’s been happening recently in North Carolina (NC) is a microcosm of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) story: politics versus science, ad-hominems versus journalism, evangelists versus pragmatists, etc.

The contentiousness is over one of the main AGW battlefields: sea-level rise (SLR). North Carolina happens to have a large amount of coastline and has become the U.S. epicenter for this issue.

Background

The brief version is that this began several years ago when a state agency, the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), selected a 20± member “science panel” to do a scientific assessment of the NC SLR situation through 2100. This could have been a very useful project if there had been balance in the personnel selections, and the panel’s assessment adhered to scientific standards. Regrettably, neither happened and the project soon jumped the rails, landing in the political agenda ditch.

In their 2010 report, the panel concluded that NC should expect a 39-inch SLR by 2100. Their case was built around a 2007 paper by Stefan Rahmstorf, and was not encumbered by a single reference to a perspective different from Rahmstorf’s. Shortly after the report was released, state agencies started making the rounds of North Carolina coastal communities, putting them on notice that they would need to make BIG changes (elevating roads and bridges, re-zoning property, changing flood maps for insurance purposes, etc.).

My Involvement

As an independent scientist, I was solicited by my coastal county to provide a scientific perspective on this report. Even though I wasn’t a SLR expert, I could clearly see that this document was a classic case of Confirmation Bias, as it violated several scientific standards. But to get into the technical specifics I solicited the inputs of about 40 international SLR experts (oceanographers, etc.). [Read more →]

June 12, 2012   12 Comments

Rapid Sea Level Rise? To the Contrary, Nature Says

“The short-term rate of global sea level rise has decreased by about 25% since the release of the AR4—and a new paper shows that some 15% of the observed rise comes not from global warming, but instead from global dewatering…. [R]ather than raising its projections of sea level rise, perhaps the IPCC ought to consider lowering them once again.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is under pressure to revisit its projections of the expected amount of sea level rise by the year 2100. Many rather influential types are pushing for the IPCC to dramatically increase its central estimate by some 2-3 times above the value given in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Not so fast!

Nature speaks with a contrary voice, political agendas aside. The short-term rate of global sea level rise has decreased by about 25% since the release of the AR4—and a new paper shows that some 15% of the observed rise comes not from global warming, but instead from global dewatering.

In light of all this, rather than raising its projections of sea level rise, perhaps the IPCC ought to consider lowering them once again (as it did from its from its First Assessment Report to its Second, and from its Second to its Third). [Read more →]

September 7, 2011   10 Comments