Moon on KiribatiRichard Treadgold | September 7, 2011
Hear the lies? Anyone?
We’ve covered the coral-islands-in-great-danger-from-rising-seas theme many times. But something isn’t working — could it be the brains of certain people, like most of our reporters, the head of our nascent world government and the official NZ climate scientists at NIWA, who let everyone tell the most outrageous fibs in public without correcting them?
Coral islands began forming at least 250 million years ago and some of them are a million years old, although many are from 5000 to 10,000 years old. In the 20,000 years since the last Ice Age, sea level has gone up about 130 metres (426 ft).
That’s a long way to fall. Yet, amazingly, coral islands are still on the surface. They kept up with the rising water. Well, some drowned, but not (of course) the ones that are left.
Globally, sea level rise for the past 8000 years, as the Ice Age ice melted, has been about 1.8 mm per year. But coral reefs grow from 10 mm to 20 mm per year.
So the reefs and islands are having no trouble keeping up with the rising water.
Junk science from head of UN
But in the Herald today we read some astonishing rubbish science from the head of the UN (paraphrased):
The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said yesterday his visit to the Solomon Islands and Kiribati had strengthened his conviction that climate change was a threat to humanity. “It is even a threat to international peace and security.”
He said the Pacific region was on the “front lines” of climate change and he praised New Zealand as a leader in promoting sustainable energy solutions.
“With waves rising ever higher in this neighbourhood, the oceans are also sending a signal that something is seriously wrong with our current model of economic development.”
Now look what you’ve done
Mr Ban mentions “climate change” in the same sense as “now look what you’ve done!” He’s getting excited about sea level rise overtaking coral islands which he thinks are incapable of helping themselves. Just how new and untried does he think they are? (Hint to news media: see second paragraph.)
At Wikipedia we read that at least three of the islands in the Kiribati group have increased in size in recent years:
Paul Kench at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Arthur Webb at the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji released a study in 2010 on the dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise in the central Pacific. Kiribati was mentioned in the study, and Webb and Kench found that the three major urbanised islands in Kiribati – Betio, Bairiki and Nanikai – increased by 30 per cent (36 hectares), 16.3 per cent (5.8 hectares) and 12.5 per cent (0.8 hectares), respectively.
This would be impossible if sea level had risen.
This local research was only recently announced, so how was the Herald and TVNZ deceived into thinking the 32 coral atolls comprising Kiribati were shrinking?
A challenge for NZ news media
I challenge our intrepid, hard-working reporters to find the web site of the South Pacific Sea Level and Monitoring Project. HINT: the link is somewhere in this paragraph. Try to find Monthly Data Reports. Click the link.
Just for fun, try to determine how the latest report you find there differs from
a) The stupid claim from Mr Ban of imminent inundation.
b) Your organisation’s latest report on Kiribati.
If Mr Ban, who is so close to the IPCC and its reports, cannot understand a couple of basic facts about sea level and about coral islands, he shouldn’t be in the job.
If trained reporters, who let Mr Ban and the Kiribati president, Anote Tong, say what they like without elementary fact-checking, they shouldn’t be in the job.
If NIWA scientists, who hear these public statements and make no correction, because it suits their agenda of alarm, even though the facts being advertised are demonstrably false, they shouldn’t be in the job.
Why is just this one lonely blog refuting stupid statements made in New Zealand by the head of the UN? Where is everyone?