Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.”
Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about sea levels?
A. Sea levels have risen steadily for thousands of years.
B. Models tend to overestimate the rise in sea level.
C. The U.S. should simply switch to renewable sources of energy and stop using coal and oil.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. True. Climate alarmists often say that sea levels are rising faster than ever. That’s false. The earth goes through warming and cooling cycles and sea levels rise and fall accordingly. Sea levels have been slowly rising (and even falling!) for thousands of years. Contrary to predictions of massive coastal flooding and population displacement, the average rate of the sea rise since around 1800 has been roughly 8-inches per century. This remains unchanged.
B. True. Scientists conducting research on sea levels mainly use and rely on computer models. These models can be useful, but they should be used cautiously as they tend to exaggerate the rate of rise. When predictions are made using actual data derived from long-term coastal tide measurements, slower rates of rise are reported. Climate activists often counter this argument by suggesting the higher recovery costs associated with flooding is due to rising sea levels. Yet those costs are due to the irresponsible and continued development of houses and other infrastructure on flood-prone lowlands and along coastlines that have always been vulnerable to flooding.
C. False. Numerous studies have found that when it comes to impacts on the climate, reducing U.S. emissions to zero would have a negligible effect on global emissions, future temperature, or sea level—mainly because future emissions growth from China and India will dwarf any major emissions reductions from the U.S. For example, in 2017 alone, China’s emissions were more than three times greater than the U.S. reductions. In other words, whatever reductions made by the U.S. were nullified by the spike in emissions from China and India.
It’s also important to realize that in order to go to zero emissions, the U.S. would need to replace fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases) with power generated from air, wind and water. Currently, 62 percent of the electricity generated in this country is derived from fossil fuels and another 20 percent comes from nuclear energy. Only 15 percent is from water, wind and solar power sources. At this point, renewable energy simply cannot replace the output of fossil fuels. To demand zero emissions before the technology is developed to replace fossil fuels would lead to massive economic problems and the lowering of all Americans’
standard of living.
Climate activists also fail to mention that renewable energy technologies often come with considerable costs to the environment. For example, wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year. Inputs for these turbines also require mining that produces toxic waste, and their blades are non-recyclable, creating a space issue for local landfills.