Thursday, February 14, 2008


Andrew Bolt points out (September 2006) an inconvenient Al Gore untruth:
Gore claims the seas have already risen so high that New Zealand has had to take in refugees from drowning Pacific islands.

In fact, the Australian National Tidal Facility at Tuvalu in 2002 reported: “The historical record from 1978 through 1999 indicated a sea level rise of 0.07 mm per year.” Or the width of a hair.

Says Auckland University climate scientist Chris de Frietas: “I can assure Mr Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas.”
Computer programmer Tim Lambert says Gore got it right:
[Bolt] is wrong. The South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project 2005 report on Tuvalu says [dead link omitted - ed]:
The sea level trend to date is +5.0 mm/year but the magnitude of the trend continues to vary widely from month to month as the data set grows. Accounting for the precise levelling results and inverted barometric pressure effect, the trend is +4.3 mm/year. A nearby gauge, with a longer record but less precision and datum control, shows a trend of +0.9 mm/year.
And despite de Freitas' denial, people have fled to New Zealand from Tuvalu:
Seeing themselves as climate refuges some Tuvalans are already leaving their islands, moving their communities to higher ground in a new land. ... Fala and Suamalie, along with international environmental activists, argue that Tuvaluans and others in a similar predicament should be treated like refugees and given immigration rights and other refugee benefits.

This tiny nation was among the first on the globe to sound the alarm, trekking from forum to forum to try to get the world to listen. New Zealand did agree to take 75 Tuvaluans a year as part of its Pacific Access Category, an agreement made in 2001.
Here we have Lambert, a stickler for peer reviewed scientific evidence, accepting anecdotal evidence as fact. But the article linked by Lambert admits Tuvaluans are heading to New Zealand in search of a better life:
Over the last decade, the islanders have come here for many reasons – better jobs, college, overcrowding on the islands – and to escape what many see as a threat of sea level rise, caused by global warming.
When it's pointed out that Tuvaluans have not been forced to flee, Lambert sticks to standard operating procedure in refusing to admit his error:
Bolt claimed that the sea level rise was 0.07 mm/year, which is effectively zero, when it is in fact rising by 4.3 mm/year. He was wrong and you won't admit it. So sea levels are most definitely rising. Have Tuvaluans left the island as a result? I found you examples of Tuvaluans who said that was why they left and all you did was call them liars. Obviously there isn't any way to convince you of anything you don't want to believe since you dismiss all contrary evidence as lies.
An An Inconvenient Truth admirer now admits big Al got it wrong:
Whereas global sea levels are rising as a general trend, the sea surface is not absolutely stable and horizontal, and there are areas where sea level rise has not yet occurred. The sea at Tuvalu is one of the places where sea level has not risen recently. Therefore, there is no new emergency situation up to now.

All in all, Al Gore´s presentation is not 100 % wrong, but it is dramatized to such an extent that it is counted here as a full error.
Lambert responds with subtly adjusted wording:
While some people from Tuvalu have emigrated to New Zealand because of the threat of rising sea levels, the wording implies that entire populations have left.
So, those who "fled" actually emigrated with their leaving prompted not by rising seas but by "the threat of rising sea levels". Bolt got it right and Lambert got it wrong but there's no way he's going to admit it.


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