- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2011

Eighteen years ago, Al Gore warned that Florida’s coastal regions would one day be wiped off the map. “Because of the rising sea level, due to global warming, in the next few decades … up to 60 percent of the present population of Florida may have to be relocated,” Mr. Gore wrote in his book, “Earth in the Balance.” A peer-reviewed study published last month by the Journal of Coastal Research suggests the Sunshine State might last a while.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), co-recipient with Mr. Gore of the Nobel Peace Prize, quantified the sea-level rise as being between 7 and 23 inches by the year 2100. They argued that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide have been heating up the globe. While man’s CO2 is identical to that emitted by polar bears and other animals favored by environmentalists, the left insists “too much” of it is melting polar ice caps. This, the theory goes, makes the oceans swell.

A former research director with the Army Corps of Engineers and a former civil-engineering professor at the University of Florida decided to put the sea-rise claims to the test. They gathered U.S. tide-gauge readings from 57 stations where water levels had been continuously recorded for as long as 156 years. The result did suggest the sea level was increasing in the western Pacific, but this was offset by a drop in the level near the Alaskan coast. “Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century,” the study’s authors concluded. “Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records.”

Perhaps Mr. Gore knows this. Last year, he reportedly dropped $8.9 million on a new mansion in an exclusive California neighborhood perilously close to the Pacific. With six bedrooms, six fireplaces and nine baths, Mr. Gore’s palatial ocean-view estate hardly reflects the carbon austerity he expects from everyone else. He was even caught a few years ago by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research failing to extinguish all of the lights in his larger home during “Earth Hour” in the Volunteer State.

This time around, fewer people appeared to participate in Saturday’s futile effort to showcase their awareness of global warming by turning off lights and electronic appliances for 60 minutes. According to the Montreal Gazette, power usage in Edmonton, Canada, actually increased by 1.01 percent during Earth Hour. Power usage did drop in Calgary, but as a power company spokesman explained, the drop “was so minuscule that it couldn’t even be attributed to that particular event.”

As more of the cataclysmic predictions of the global-warming charlatans fail to pan out, these feel-good stunts will become more and more irrelevant. That’s good news because Earth Hour is about hating automobiles and electricity, two of mankind’s most important technological developments. Nothing has done a better job of cleaning up cities and extending human life than the availability of power and mobility. Instead of embracing the cold and darkness for an hour, it makes far more sense to turn on an extra incandescent bulb and read a book by its warm glow. Now that would really hasten progress.