Aussie councils reject sea level hysteria

Fort Denison (© Andy Mitchell, Wikimedia)

Fort Denison (© Andy Mitchell, Wikimedia)

Fort Denison, an old penal colony in the middle of Sydney Harbour, has one of the oldest tide gauges around, having been located there for 128 years. During this period, the sea level has risen just 6.5 cm, or about two and a half inches.

Despite these trivial sea level rise over the past century and a bit, moonbat councils on the east coast of Australia are still tying up waterfront properties in miles of green tape, justified by predictions of massive sea level rises by climate alarmists, and property values have plummeted as a result:

In mid-2010, the Eurobodalla council, south of Shoalhaven, introduced a unique interim sea level rise policy that shackled more than a quarter of all properties in the shire to restrictive development controls. Predictably, there was an immediate shire-wide decline in property values.

In three years, individual Eurobodalla properties lost about $40,000 in value. With 22,000 properties in the shire, this represents a capital loss of $880m at a rate of $293m a year. This steady loss of rateable value means householders will face higher rate increases.

If similar policies were implemented along the entire east coast there would be annual property capital losses of billions of dollars.

So it is not surprising that NSW and Queensland governments are reconsidering their coastal management policies.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney recently notified Moreton Bay Regional Council of his intention to direct it to amend its draft planning scheme “to remove any assumption about a theoretical projected sea level rise due to climate change from all and any provisions of the scheme”. Seeney said his intention was to use a statewide coastal mapping scheme “that will remove the ‘one size fits all’ approach that incorporates a mandatory 0.8m addition to historical data”.

At last, a responsible government has recognised that global average sea-level change is no more relevant to coastal management than average global temperatures are to the design of residential heating and cooling systems — local weather and local sea-level change is what matters. (source)

A bit of Aussie climate sanity for once.

ABC bias (yet again) and sea level alarmism

Climatically compromised

Climatically compromised

UPDATE 2 [17 Jan]: The Australian has removed the sea level story below and issued a correction. Whilst I have yet to read the paper in full (kindly provided by Dr John Church), the correction states: “[The paper] found that in the past two decades, the rate of sea level rise had been larger than in the 20th century.” More to come.

UPDATE: There is a bunch of static in the headbanger camps about the sea level paper referred to below, and how the sceptics have ‘misinterpreted’ it. If anyone has the full PDF of the Gregory et al 2012 paper, I would be grateful for a copy. TIA.

Two great stories from Graham Lloyd in The Australian today. Firstly, we have – shock horror – the ABC spinning its climate reporting by failing to mention stories, inconvenient to its alarmist editorial agenda, which have been around for weeks, and then choosing an unusual source for sea level information:

THE ABC’s flagship news programs have favoured advice from a non climate scientist based on speculation from a Byron Bay real estate agent over less alarming research from one of the world’s leading scientific organisations.

In the first of a week-long climate change special to coincide with a meeting of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists in Hobart, the ABC did not mention the fact that Britain’s Met Office had reduced its forecasts for average global temperatures up to 2017. The ABC has not reported the issue despite widespread debate internationally.

Instead, the ABC, which is running the series on its main radio and television news programs, yesterday focused on the threat to coastal living from possible sea level rises without discussing the great uncertainties that exist in future sea level projections. Australia’s pre-eminent sea level expert, John Church, highlighted concerns about the melting Greenland ice sheet. And the report did mention a Climate Commission report that a 1m sea-level rise could potentially expose 250,000 homes to inundation.

But the ABC did not mention recent scientific findings that there was no firm link to sea-level rises and climate change in the 20th century(source)

Is it any wonder there is such confusion in the mind of the public when our own national broadcaster is so hopelessly compromised?

And Lloyd has the sea level story as well:

THE latest science on sea level rises has found no link to global warming and no increase in the rate of glacier melt over the past 100 years.

A paper published last month in Journal of Climate highlights one of the great uncertainties in climate change research – will ocean levels rise by more than the current 3mm a year?

The peer-reviewed article, “20th-century global-mean sea-level rise: is the whole greater than the sum of the parts?” by JM Gregory, sought to explain the factors involved in sea-level rises during the last century. It found that sea-level rises had not accelerated “despite the increasing anthropogenic forcing” or human influence. (source)

If you’re waiting for the ABC to report this, you’ll be waiting a long, long time.

Photograph high tides 'to prepare for climate change'

(Image © Ray Laine – Flickr)

Just the latest in a long line of initiatives to prepare us all for the impending armageddon. This time it’s the “Witness King Tides” project, which describes itself thus:

We need coastal communities around Australia to take a photo or two as part of the Witness King Tides project. Your photos of the king tide will build a picture of the threat posed by sea level rise for our communities and help track the future impact of climate change. 

Sea level rise will impact our coastal communities in the coming years and it is important that Australians are informed and engaged on this issue. Witness King Tides is a fun community photography project that helps us visualise the potential future impacts of sea level rise and current risks today.

Having this visual collection of images could help us be better prepared for a future where sea levels are higher than they are today. If we can envisage future change, we can plan and prepare for it now.

The project is run by environmental/humanitarian organisation Green Cross Australia, supported by, amongst others, the notoriously moonbat Sydney City Council and the alarmist CSIRO.

Only problem is that sea levels appear to be slowing slightly over the last decade, if anything, and not accelerating. And if they’re not accelerating, they are never going to reach the projected 90 – 100 cm by 2100.

As with projections of temperature increases of 4 – 6 degrees C, the sea levels had better get their skates on if they are to rise by nearly a metre in the next 88 years. This would require sea levels to rise of over 5 times the current rate of 2.3 mm/yr – consistently for the next nine decades.

My advice: enjoy the photography, and forget about climate change.

Sea level sanity returning?

Sanity? (© SMH)

The previous Labor government in New South Wales slavishly followed the IPCC’s alarmist predictions for sea level rise, imposing onerous restrictions on waterfront development and reducing property values significantly in the process.

There have been a number of protests from residents in the Central Coast areas (see here, for example) over these alarmist and unnecessary policies.

Now however, a report from the NSW Chief Scientist abandons the previous policy of “managed retreat” in favour of further research into future sea levels and more individual freedoms to adapt as required, as the press release from Chris Hartcher explains:

The NSW Government today announced significant changes to the way the NSW coast will be managed, giving more freedom to landowners to protect their properties from erosion and dropping Labor’s onerous statewide sea level rise planning benchmarks.

Special Minister of State, Chris Hartcher said the changes mean councils will have the freedom to consider local conditions when determining future hazards.

The first stage of the NSW Government’s comprehensive coastal reforms will: 

  • Make it easier for coastal landholders to install temporary works to reduce the impacts of erosion on their properties;
  • Remove the compulsory application of sea level rise benchmarks;
  • Deliver clarity to councils on the preparation of section 149 notices by focusing on current known hazards; and
  • Support local councils by providing information and expert advice on sea level rise relevant to their local area.

Mr Hartcher said the changes strike the right balance between protecting property and managing the State’s vast coastline. (source – PDF)

The Chief Scientist’s report gives the following recommendations:

  1. Given the expected ongoing release of new and updated sets of global climate models and projections, work should begin on establishing the appropriate framework for deriving updated sea level projections for NSW coastal locations and then refining these projections as yet further model outputs become available.
  2. Considering the rapid pace of advancement in scientific understanding and computational and modelling capacity, and the improvement and lower costs of sensors, the NSW sea level rise projections should be reviewed at frequent intervals including at such time as the release of major new data for future climate projections.
  3. Sea level rise projections for the NSW coast should be reviewed through a process of formal consultations with experts in fields including climate science, geotechnical engineering, oceanography, atmospheric science, mathematical modelling, statistics, computational science and computer engineering. 

Perhaps the first sign of a return to sea level sanity?

The full report is available here (PDF).

(h/t Stewart F via email)

Climate sense in Victoria: climate-driven planning laws relaxed

What the alarmists think will happen…

More climate sense, this time from Victoria, where draconian planning restrictions based on fanciful sea level rise predictions have been “watered down” (ho, ho):

The State Government will relax planning rules designed to address the impact of climate change in town’s along Victoria’s coastline.

The previous Labor government blocked construction in areas that would be affected by a predicted 80 centimetre sea level rise.

A report by the Coastal and Climate Change Advisory Committee recommended reducing those restrictions to a predicted 20 centimetre sea level rise by 2040 for existing towns. (source)

It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction.

Run for the hills: sea levels to rise 70 feet by, er, sometime…

It will happen, but we don't know when…

This kind of pointless, gratuitous alarmism does nothing but damage The Cause. It’s like saying “planet will be swallowed by Sun – entire population to die… in 4.5 billion years”.

But I’m not complaining. If the alarmists want to shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of hysterical climate astrology, I’m very happy to sit back and watch them do it:

Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.

The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand. They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was at its current level, and atmospheric temperatures were 2 degrees C higher than they are now.

“The difference in water volume released is the equivalent of melting the entire Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as some of the marine margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet,” said H. Richard Lane, program director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the work. “Such a rise of the modern oceans would swamp the world’s coasts and affect as much as 70 percent of the world’s population.”

“You don’t need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take from centuries to a few thousand years,” Miller said. “The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet (0.8 to1 meter) due to warming of the oceans, partial melting of mountain glaciers, and partial melting of Greenland and Antarctica.”

Miller said, however, that this research highlights the sensitivity of Earth’s great ice sheets to temperature change, suggesting that even a modest rise in temperature results in a large sea-level rise. “The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present,” he said.

Read it here.

Island states want "climate justice"


Island states that claim they are being threatened by “climate change” are considering taking the matter to the International Court of Justice:

The International Court of Justice should take action against states unwilling to combat the causes of climate change, according to the President of the Pacific island of Palau.

President Johnson Toribiong was speaking [link to UN document] at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, after meeting the Prime Minister of Grenada to discuss his proposals.

The Palau President wants the International Court of Justice to force states to take action to cut their carbon emissions – a plan he first announced to the General Assembly in September 2011.

“While we continue to negotiate, we should renew our faith in a system of law that has guided States’ actions in the past and gives them legitimacy today,” he said.

“The rule of law must reflect the interests of the entire international community – for us, it’s about survival.”

The proposal would see the International Court of Justice provide an advisory opinion on damages from climate change, a move the President insists would complement the UNFCCC’s efforts to build a binding treaty through negotiation.

Palau’s Permanent Representative to the UN Stuart Beck says roads are unusable and staple crops have been threatened in Palau and other Pacific nations because of the rising sea waters. (source)

An opportunity to get the climate alarmists’ case before a court to be cross-examined in a judicial environment sounds too good to miss. The claimants will have to prove an extremely long chain of causation, namely that the rising sea levels are a result of rising temperatures, which are themselves a result of increased CO2 emissions, which are a result of man’s burning of fossil fuels.

They will also hope they can explain away all the confounding factors – natural climate change, solar variation, sinking landmasses – that might break that chain.

Some states, like the Maldives, will need to explain why they are building new airports whilst at the same time claiming compensation for sinking islands…

Good luck with that. Although with the UN on their side, justice will no doubt disappear out of the window…

NSW government "censored" inconvenient sea level data


A report on Channel 7’s news at 6pm this evening alleges that sea level data, showing rates of rise far lower than those projected, were censored to avoid conflicting with government policy on climate change.

Sea levels at Fort Denison are rising at only 1mm per year or less, flatly contradicting the apocalyptic projections of the state and federal governments. Doug Lord, a global warming believer and coastal manager at the climate change department until February 2010, said “Both papers were accepted and at the last minute both were withdrawn on instructions from the department.”

Angus Gordon, a coastal engineer, accused the department of a cover-up, and of suppressing the data in order to support the federal government’s position on climate change.

If the allegations are true, none of this should come as any surprise, especially after the release last week of Climategate 2.0. It is the modus operandi of governments and alarmist scientists the world over, namely to censor or suppress dissent, or in this case data, which contradicts their pre-conceived agenda of dangerous global warming, and thereby giving them the freedom they need to mislead the electorate into accepting draconian and extreme climate change policies.

There is little reason to doubt that these kinds of practices are commonplace, given the federal government’s desperation to convince the public of the “reality of climate change” and the need to take urgent action – hence the carbon tax.

Once again, the integrity of climate science and its associated disciplines has been tarnished by political motivations and politically correct environmental agendas.

[Note: as you will see from the YouTube clip, the report on 7 News was rather superficial – but typical for a network news bulletin – and contained significant ambiguities, in particular regarding the roles of the state/federal governments and the timeline of events, especially given the change of government in NSW earlier in the year. Hopefully further details will emerge.]

Global sea level drops by 6mm – Flannery safe


Tim Flannery’s waterside property looks safe (for the moment at least) as a new paper shows global sea level dropped like a stone in much of 2010:

So what’s up with the down seas, and what does it mean? Climate scientist Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., says you can blame it on the cycle of El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific.

Willis said that while 2010 began with a sizable El Niño, by year’s end, it was replaced by one of the strongest La Niñas in recent memory. This sudden shift in the Pacific changed rainfall patterns all across the globe, bringing massive floods to places like Australia and the Amazon basin, and drought to the southern United States.

Data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) spacecraft provide a clear picture of how this extra rain piled onto the continents in the early parts of 2011. “By detecting where water is on the continents, Grace shows us how water moves around the planet,” says Steve Nerem, a sea level scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

But naturally, there is the required caveat at the end:

“We’re heating up the planet, and in the end that means more sea level rise,” says Willis. “But El Niño and La Niña always take us on a rainfall rollercoaster, and in years like this they give us sea-level whiplash.”

Even so, this still puts the lie to alarmist claims that sea level rises are “accelerating”, since they have barely changed in the last 20 years of “warming”.

Read it here.

Flannery fears "Norway-style attack"


Because as we all know, anybody who dares question the ridiculous predictions of the Official Government Climate Prophet is only a whisker away from buying a machine gun and killing dozens of innocent people.

Desperate to regain what little is left of his credibility after it emerged this week that he owns a waterfront property, having previously warned of drastic sea level rises, Flannery makes deeply offensive remarks tarring all “conservatives” with the brush of Norwegian madman Anders Breivik.

As The Australian reports:

While his place was, he admitted, “very close to the water”, the issue was how far it was above the water — something Professor Flannery would not reveal because, he said, it could help identify the location and subject him to a Norway-style attack by conservatives.

There really is no limit to the depths alarmists will go to protect their own interests and smear those who dare question them.

Read it here.

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