Of all the apocalyptic imagery summoned by global warming's proponents, the most compelling has been the threat of coastal devastation from rising sea levels. In his best-selling work "Earth in the Balance," Al Gore argued that the selfishness of Western industrialization would obliterate small, impoverished countries.
"Although the sea level has risen and fallen through different geological periods, never has the change been anywhere near as rapid as that now expected as a consequence of global warming," he wrote. "... [I]sland nations like the Maldives and Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), will be devastated if the projections made by scientists turn out to be accurate." Mr. Gore solemnly predicted that millions of poor inhabitants would be forced to flee their homelands in a desperate bid for survival - unless we adopt his political agenda. It just isn't so.
In a forthcoming issue of the journal Global and Planetary Change, researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji documented changes in 27 vulnerable, low-lying reef islands in the Central Pacific. Using aerial photographs taken as early as 1944, the areas were carefully mapped and compared with modern satellite images.
It turns out that the islands did, in fact, change over time, but they are hardly sinking. Overall, 20 grew or remained stable. The island of Funamanu, for example, expanded from 7.4 acres to 9.5 acres in size - a 28 percent growth. Only seven islands shrunk, with the biggest percentage change occurring on Tengasu, which dropped from a tiny 1.7 acres to 1.5 acres - a diminishment of 9,670 square feet, the size of Mr. Gore's Tennessee mansion.
According to various studies, sea levels appear to have risen about 8 inches since the year 1860, but these Pacific islands continue to prosper nonetheless. This new study attributed size differences over time to the effect of ocean swells pounding and eroding windward shorelines. On leeward sides protected from the swells, coastlines grew. In other words, nature struck a near-perfect balance, wholly unaffected by the purported evils of America's internal-combustion engines.
This research was not conducted by scientists who disputed climate change, but even they noted the suspicious absence of verification for a key alarmist claim. "The lack of monitoring seems a gross oversight given the international concern over small island stability and pressing concerns of island communities to manage island landscapes," the report stated.
So the islands aren't sinking, the Hockey Stick has been thoroughly debunked, the Himalayas still have snow and the polar bears are alive and well. As just about every tenet in the Church of Global Warming has been debunked, it's time for the movement's high priest, Mr. Gore, to offer a refund to those from his flock who bought his work of fiction.
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