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  • Global Warming Science Update: Addressing Drastic Sea Level Rises

    Maybe Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore was right. In An Inconvenient Truth, he spoke of twenty-foot sea level rises “in the near future” while showing animations of Florida, Shanghai, Calcutta and Manhattan being swallowed by sea level increases. A new study released today in Nature that analyzes fossil coral reefs in Mexico “suggests that a sudden rise of 6.5 feet to 10 feet occurred within a span of 50 to 100 years about 121,000 years ago, at the end of the last warm interval between ice ages.” Their conclusion: Sustained rapid ice loss and sea-level rise in the near future are possible.

    A rise of 6.5-10 feet over 50-100 years is pretty remarkable. But 121,000 years ago? How much of that sea level rise was human-induced?

    So what’s the takeaway?

    1.) Al Gore was not right. Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman writes, “Yet the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Gore considers to be the gold standard of consensus science, projects an increase of 7 to 23 inches over the next century. The lower end of that range is about what has occurred — without serious consequences — over the last two centuries.”

    2.) Adaptation to climate change is prudent; but changing the weather is impossible. Take hurricanes, for example. Changing the weather to prevent hurricanes is currently impossible, but adapting to hurricanes is not. States and cities have shown this by better preparing for hurricanes—building better levees, rebuilding sand dunes and upgrading building codes to withstand damage. In response to Katrina, the US Army Corps of Engineers installed sheet pilings as emergency closures in order to prevent water from entering the canals and re-flooding the city. Furthermore, the engineers took measures to raise and armor portions of area’s levees for better protection and worked with Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force to better understand hurricane movements.

    When it comes to adaptation versus mitigation to address hurricanes, adaptation has winning advantages. Adaptation delivers the benefits sooner, with more certainty and without depending on the climate policies of hundreds of other countries.

    This begets the question: Can humans really change greenhouse gas concentrations enough to prevent global warming and damaging storms? Often policymakers ignore the costs and overestimate the benefits when evaluating global-warming policies. The policy most often suggested is a cap-and-trade bill to reduce carbon dioxide. Although the benefits in terms of global temperature decreases would be negligible, the costs would be astronomical.

    The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of last year’s Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill found losses to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, of $4.8 trillion. By 2029 the job losses in the manufacturing sector will be nearly 3 million. To put this in perspective, adjusting for likely increases in development along the coastline, this cost exceeds the damage of 650 hurricanes hitting the United States. This is in just the first 19 years when we would expect two actual hurricanes to make landfall.

    On the other hand, despite the futility of CO2 cuts, there are many cost-effective, adaptive solutions that efficiently target specific problems and do not require globally adopted treaties.

    As it should be, many of these adaptations are driven by markets. Seed companies develop drought and heat resistant strains that have increased agricultural productivity in the face of global warming. Low tech, but efficient, dams create reservoirs in the Himalayas to provide water supplies and irrigation during dry months. These simple, cost-effective technologies will help developing countries adapt as well rather than forcing them into costly international carbon reduction treaties. Capping CO2 only hinders the overall economic development of poorer countries and thus puts them in a worse position to adapt to climate change, if necessary.

    Furthermore, more efficient and affordable climate-control technology makes commonplace the air conditioning that used to be reserved for only the wealthy.

    Quite simply, adaptation addresses the problem directly while global warming policy schemes ignore alternative approaches, extract trillions of dollars from the economy and do very little to reduce warming.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Global Warming Science Update: Addressing Drastic Sea Level Rises

    1. Fred, California says:

      Well said! As Charles Darwin so eloquently stated, "It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that survives."

    2. enerwise, sc says:

      Those bad old greenhouse gasses come from everything we do, we must all stop doing everything including breathing.

      I,am so glad so many people have nothing better to do than to make our quality of life better.

      vote for your lives!!!

    3. Barb -mn says:

      As nature has always stated "Global warming is not man-made."

    4. anoni says:

      Scientists have abandoned science. They taught us in grade school that the following was what made climate:

      1. Distance of earth from the sun

      2. Tilt of the earth on its axis which affects the angle and intensity of the suns rays – this creates our seasons (Latitude determines what climatic zone one lives in)

      3. Orbit of the earth around the sun

      4. Rotation of the earth which makes for warming by day and cooling by night – this is what creates our winds and jet streams.

      With such huge forces at work, the miniscule amount of CO2 in the atmosphere can hardly be the villain they claim it to be. Our planet is very well balanced; half is experiencing hemispheric warming (summer) while the other half experiences hemispheric cooling (winter).

      That said, there is no global temperature. All temps are local. An average is not a temp and averages can be very misleading. It is possible for Chicago to be at 100 degrees on the same day it is -100below in Antarctica; you can average the two and get 0. It is also possible to have 0 in Chicago on the same day it is 0 in Antarctica; the average is still 0 – and in neither case does the average tell us anything about what the reality is/was. Furnaces and air conditioners do not function according to the "average" and neither does the planet.

      I thought I was alone in understanding this until I did a search for "there is no global temperature" and found Christopher Essex's article on the Science and Public Policy site. Please check it out (he writes much better than I do)


      "The Earth is not in "thermodynamic equilibrium," so there is no single temperature for the whole thing. No statistical hocus pocus can change that." – Christopher Essex "There is no Global 'Temperature'"

    5. mark elder texarkana says:

      This should make Homeland security madd as ever. If one will read the first part of Genisis where God created the land and told the sea that "its proud waves shall cease." And also in the book of Job where it is that He asks Job to instruct Him about comanding the sunrise and sun set how much hail and or snow has been stored etc etc. The bottom line is that (ANONI save me a lot of time researching that person is brilliant!)God created the heavens and the earth and the marxists stallinist dictators in washington and in our schools not all but a majority are all angry because they are not the creator they are the creature and they worship themselves as graven immages….OOH DHS how about that I am a right winged extremist! Let me tell you what terroristic things I did yesterday. I stood and talked with a 73 year man who by the way is just down home common sense and listened to his wisdom and had a wonderful talk. I held the door open for a few little old ladies and told them hello and exchanged pleasentries I embraced the constitution and free enterprise and enjoyed the arms I possess. I listened to Moon Griffon Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity and Micheal Savage got on world net daily the heritage foundation and eat

      dinner with my wife and Let me see I also obeyed all traffic signs and rules and waved at a few friends all of this in the course of a day while holding down a job and paying my taxes. I am a scoundrel I realize because I oppose big government in fact I oppose them because they reason as junkies out of control…Have a nice day DHS AND Mr President it must be miserable being you guys I am happy in my own skin.

    6. mark elder texarkana says:

      Oh yes the point I was making before I got off on one of my rabbit trails is. "God is in control" of the environment not man. Soory but I do have a tendency to ramble on…Mark

    7. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    8. Robert, Baton Rouge, says:

      Needless to say, a 10 foot sea level rise 121,000 years ago was not caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming. The "anthropos" was still missing in action.

      But even if a sufficiently large number of humans would have lived at that time, they would certainly not have been stupid enough to try to stop Global Warming. Even if they could have done it! So why do we insist on it with all of the cumulative wisdom and knowledge acquired since then?

      It is after all a hell of a lot easier to adapt to living in a warmer climate than to starving in a frozen tundra.

      Even a minor Ice Age with a global population of 7 billion humans living in urban areas today would be a global mega disaster of crop failures, famine and a complete breakdown of all infrastructure.

      And it will happen since it has happened many times before.

      But do not be surprised to read that the AGW crowd will claim to have the solution for that problem as well: they will simply release all the carbon dioxide they plan to "sequester" between now and then and thereby elegantly heat the globe. After all "the science is settled!"

    9. anoni says:

      The link I provided before isn't working now, but I have another for the full length PDF for those who still wish to check it out:


      Also of interest:

    10. David Edenden says:

      Below is an itch I cannot scratch! I thought that you would be ideally suited to tackle this idea.

      It brings together engineers, tree huggers and poverty campaigners .

      Please forward this email to those who may be interested.

      Global Warming vs Climate Variation vs Aquifer Depletion

      My thought is that, it is possible, we are in the midst of human induced "global warming" at the same time as natural "climate variation" is warming up the planet for a double wammy. Conservation, by itself, will not be enough. It is prudent that governments around the world employ an arsenal of programs to meet the potential impact of the melting of the polar ice caps. This would include solar power, wind power, tidal power, nuclear power, limits on fossil fuels and limits on population growth.

      It would also include river diversion!

      At the same time, it is being reported that, around the world, aquifers are being depleted to meet the needs agriculture for the growing human population. I have never read, in any study relating the models used to predict the rise in sea levels due to the melting of the ice caps, the possibility of diverting rivers from flowing into the oceans to flow into the interior so that sea levels will not rise as quickly.

      From the engineering point of view, how much water in the past has been diverted from flowing to the oceans and what is the corresponding impact on sea levels? We should not try to argue whether water diversion is good or bad. Just the facts please! Is it one inch or one foot or ten feet? What is the total capacity of all the aquifers around the world to absorb water and relate that to sea levels? Will it make a difference? From an engineering point of view, even if you find that the impact on sea levels in not that great, it would be important because it answers a question that has not been asked before. From the political point of view, you can still discuss the politics of diversion of rivers that cross borders.

      Replenishing aquifers would be a great boon to agriculture around the world, not only in developed countries, but especially in developing countries to meet the needs of expanding populations.

      From the political point of view, who stands to gain and who stands to lose from diverting rivers from the ocean? From an engineering point of view, what impact will it have on the environment? A few years ago, I read that diverting the largest river which flows into Hudson's Bay would eliminate the annual winter freezing, because fresh water floats on salt water and icebergs form. With no fresh water flowing into Hudson's Bay, it would be ice free all year and huge new fishery would be created to feed the world. Why hasn't this even been considered at the political level? Could Canada claim that fishery is in Canadian waters and limit it to Canadian companies? Would other countries object?

      Forty years ago, an American plan (NAWAPA) was proposed to divert the mighty Canadian Mackenzie River, which flows into the Arctic Ocean, south to the United States to replenish the huge Ogallala aquifer.

      (Arctic wild idea preserved – http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemI… ).

      All Canadians thought that the plan was nuts! Americans can't steal our water. We would rather piss it into the ocean. What would have been the impact on ocean levels if this plan had been approved 40 years ago? Politically, why was there opposition to the plan, and would there be the same opposition today?

      There are also plans to divert Russian rivers that flow into the Arctic so they can irrigate Central Asia and replenish the Aral Sea. Russian nationalists oppose this plan.

      (Arctic to Aral – http://ecoworld.com/Home/Articles2.cfm?TID=378)

      The question that I would like answered is this:

      Do these models of rising sea levels address the possibility of diverting rivers that flow into the oceans so that they can irrigate deserts, steppes, and replenish the aquifers that are currently being depleted? If they don't, then it indicates a bias that climate researchers have against engineering our way out of the impending global warming crisis in favour of a passive conservation approach.

      Below is an example of the mindset of researchers in the field of global warming and water deficits. No mention of large scale river diversions



      "The two keys to stabilising aquifers are raising water prices and stabilising population. The first step is to eliminate the pervasive subsidies that create artificially low prices for water in so many countries. The next is to raise water prices to the point where they will reduce pumping to a sustainable level by raising water productivity and reducing water use in all segments of society. Low-income urban consumers can be protected with "lifeline rates" that provide for basic needs at an affordable price. Prices of underground water can be raised by installing meters on pumps and charging for water as Mexico has done or by auctioning permits to operate wells. Either way, water prices rise. "

    11. Pingback: Why Carafano Has it Right on Climate Change, Part I | Conservative Principles Now

    12. Pingback: White House Balks at ClimateGate, Says Climate Change is Happening | The Foundry: Conservative Policy Blog | The Heritage Foundation

    13. Mathew Sullivan says:

      Date 12/26/09

      Combating Global Sea Rise

      Not sure if anyone has considered this before, but there are a number of areas below sea level that isn’t too far from the ocean where a simple canal could be established to allow water to flow from the ocean to fill some deep areas on dry land and help offset global sea rise. Areas such as the Qattara Depression could be filled by ocean water. A simple cannel that would hardly support a boat could enlarge itself through erosion to allow for a larger flow of water to fill this natural depression.

      Africa is in the process of breaking apart with low-lying areas that will be filled by the sea at some point in the future, and those who depend on water today are struggling because of these geographical changes and the lack of water. By establishing a canal to fill these low-lying areas with sea water, this will result in more rainfall in the region and help to establish better farmland.

      Another example of a low-lying area is Israel, where the Dead Sea is shrinking. A canal from the sea with a dam could regulate the height of the Dead Sea to a desirable level.

      Also, water from Lake Erie could be redirected to the southwest to refill aquifers.


      Mathew Sullivan

      Boynton Beach, Florida

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