Sinking Islands or Stinking Islands?

The headline on Monday read, "Climate refugees in Pacific flee rising seas". Boy did the editors get this one wrong.  A more accurate caption would have been, "Jesse Jackson-like shake-down gets tribe taken off tropical trash heap".

A focus of the story was the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.  Apparently New Zealand responded to the phony cries of a few goo-goo activists, and is now convinced that unless the Tuvaluans are allowed to immigrate, they'll soon be blubbing with the fish.  Of course, the calculable cause of this sinkage is a steadily rising sea fed by anthropogenic global warming.  

Rubbish. Literally.

For decades there have been ridiculous rumors of islands sinking due to rising waters.  The Tuvaluan fantasy has been especially propagated by Al Gore's brilliant work of fiction, An Inconvenient Truth.  In the flick he actually refers to several islands, including Tuvalu, claiming that because of melting polar ice, "the citizens of these Pacific nations all had to evacuate to New Zealand".
Gore's statement was a patent fabrication -- one that first started floating the boats of eco-freaks back in the Eighties.
The sinking island syndrome first made waves in October 1987, when the Muslim dictator of the south Asia island chain the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, presented an impassioned address to the United Nations General Assembly, alleging his Indian Ocean nation of 311,000 citizens was threatened by a rising sea.  He claimed, "a mean sea level rise of two meters would suffice to virtually submerge the entire country of 1,190 small islands, most of which barely rise over two meters above mean sea level.  That would be the death of a nation. With a mere one meter rise also, a storm surge would be catastrophic, and possibly fatal to the nation."  Mr. Gayoom stated his nation's dire situation was related to climate changes that had been "provoked and aggravated by man."

Environmentalists lapped it up.
Furthering the climate chimera, in 2001 the leaders of Tuvalu announced they needed to evacuate because of the global warming induced rising ocean.  After being rebuffed by Australia, the Tuvaluans asked New Zealand to accept its 11,000 citizens, but New Zealand declined.
Apparently, come editing time, big Al never got the news.

Truth is, Tuvalu and Maldives are not being swamped by an unstoppable rising sea.  If anything, scientific research indicates oceans levels in that part of the world have been falling in recent years.

In 2004, Stockholm University professor Nils-Axel Mörner, of Sweden, published a paper in Global and Planetary Change (hardly a bastion for global warming deniers) regarding his extensive research of the ocean around the Maldives.  He noted, "In our study of the coastal dynamics and the geomorphology of the shores we were unable to detect any traces of a recent sea level rise.  On the contrary, we found quite clear morphological indications of a recent fall in sea level."
Dr. Mörner's research indicates that sea level about the Maldives has fallen approximately 11 inches in the past 50 years.  In fact,
additional research indicates that about the time the leaders of Tuvalu created headlines in 2001, the sea-level surrounding the nine atoll islands of their country had recently fallen 2.5 inches.
A study by honest experts at Tuvalu's own Meteorological Service also reported similar sea level falls had been recorded in the nearby Nauru and the Solomon Islands.  Professor Patrick Nunn, who researches sea level rise at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, admitted to the London Telegraph, "...A lot of these sea gauges have been slowly falling over the last five years..."

So what's really behind the complaints?  In the case of the Maldives, the problem is idiotic development. 

The Maldivian islands are relatively flat atolls, composed of coral. Tourism was only introduced to Maldives in 1972 with the opening of the plush Kurumba Village Resort on the North Malé Atoll.  Now there are 87 beach resorts scattered primarily on three islands: the North and South Malé Atolls and the Ari Atoll.  Tourism has become the largest industry in the Maldives and the primary construction material used to build the expansive resorts is locally mined coral.  Digging up the local coral to build plush hotels and large conference centers is as stupid sucking the air out of your lifeboat to breathe.  The mining has severely compromised the atolls, creating the impression that the islands are sinking, when in fact they're being dug up.  The problem the Maldives faces is engineering lunacy -- not a rising sea.

Likewise, the Tuvalu problem is not climate change, nor tourism; they only receive about 1000 tourists each year.  Tuvalu's bugaboo is that the island was never meant for modern inhabitation.  The country's primary indigenous vegetable crop, taro, has been seriously over-farmed.  There is no fresh water available -- only what can be cached from rain.  Much of the population uses the island's lagoon for bathing and toilet facilities. The country has to ship its commercial waste to landfills in Fiji and New Zealand.  Tuvalu is a tropical island mess being run by fools whose only remedy is evacuation.

Tuvalu's complaints of global warming are designed to be a shake-down operation, the likes of which would make a Chicago community organizer proud.  In a 2007 press release, the Tuvalu government said:

The Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Hon Tavau Teii, said that major greenhouse polluters should pay Tuvalu for the impacts of climate change. This claim was made during his speech to the United Nations High Level Meeting on Climate Change held at the UN headquarters in New York.

"Tuvalu is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change so we are seeking new funding arrangements to protect us from the impacts of climate change," Mr. Teii said. "Rather than relying on aid money we believe that the major greenhouse polluters should pay for the impacts they are causing."

So, while Mr. Gore conveniently lifted certain facts from the record when creating his film, he will no doubt champion the recent evacuations as prophetic vindication. Tuvalu is being decamped while New Zealand is being played like a cheap ukulele.  

This incident has been diabolically concocted by global warming zealots, who are recruiting convenient poster children, so that when they convene in Copenhagen for the big climate change powwow this December, they'll be able to stick another sharp pin in their global warming voodoo doll.

Brian Sussman is a former award winning television meteorologist and current radio talk show host on KSFO, 560AM, in San Francisco.  His forthcoming book, Global Whining, is to be published by WND Books.
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