The Newport Shore and Demonstrable Environmentalist Untruths


Strange as it may sound, I’m wary of proclamations by climate change alarmists for many of the same reasons I’m wary of Donald Trump.  Although it would be beyond the layperson’s capacity to investigate every claim and prove its falsity, a limited collection of exaggerations and outright untruths gives reason to suspect that a sort of sine function applies — that the ratio of truth to untruth will remain generally the same no matter how large the claim.

On the climate change front, I have in mind this AP article by Seth Borenstein, with local flavor added by Providence Journal reporter Alex Kuffner:

In Rhode Island, according to measurements taken at the tide gauge in Newport, sea levels have risen 10 inches since 1929. And the rate of increase is picking up, said Grover Fugate, executive director of the state Coastal Resources Management Council. Waters are expected to rise another foot in the next 20 years. And by 2100, the levels could be seven feet higher, according to new estimates adopted by the CRMC last month to account for the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

I’ve taken this particular data point up before, and the bottom line is that, whatever one can say about the Newport sea level over the past century, it simply isn’t credible to claim the “rate of increase is picking up.”  If we take Borenstein’s mention of 1993, for example, and apply it just to Newport, with the assumption that its rate of increase will continue for a century, we’d have a large increase, yes.  But if we were to start the measurement in 1998, one could just as easily claim that the sea levels will drop dramatically over one hundred years.  The latest one-fifth of the last century has been relatively stagnant, which is not a synonym for “accelerating.”

The assumption that one could find similar flaws in the global data receives some justification in the degree to which the advocates quoted in the article extend their claims.  The article provides no evidence beyond mere coincidence for the repeated insistence that rising seas are being caused by the use of fossil fuels.  Yet that insistence is not once qualified with doubt, and we’re supposed to trust this subgroup of scientists, filtering information through this medium of information, to tell the “detective story” of sea levels throughout human history?


  • ShannonEntropy

    This Global Warming Hysteria is getting ridiculous. 100 million yrs ago the sea level was 650 FEET higher than it is today. For you public school victims — that was a bit before the evil capitalists got all of us hooked on fossil fuels so your mom had to drive you eight blocks to soccer practice in a 3-ton SUV

    Any climate scientist without a hidden leftist political agenda will tell you that fluctuations in the sea levels have been observed for centuries and they are a natural phenomenon that you can’t alter by driving a Prius®–levels-fluctuate.html

  • Slow Poke

    I don’t have any data or expertise on global warming, sea level rise, or suchlike. I’m not as smart as Al Gore, Sheldon Whitehouse, or any others who are sure of the cause and effect. That said, I do try to live a conservative (small “c”) life and not be wasteful of any type of resources.

    Could be that the “research” entities and other “experts” are so sure of their conclusions due to the major sources of their funding, mostly left-leaning. If they come up with results that displease those sources, perhaps their funding will not come so readily next time.

  • bobwashburn

    Here’s some anecdotal evidence. Since joining the Bristol Yacht Club in 1978, the mean high tide level at our little beach, south of our main dock has risen zero inches.

    • ShannonEntropy

      When I was in the Warwick City Engineer’s Office a few years ago to get a list of the local surveying bench·marks the guy told me make sure I added 3″ to all the elevations cuz the data was originally collected ~ 1900

      I said Wait a minute !! If I have to ADD three inches ,, duzn’t that mean the MSL is *lower* now than in 1900 ??
      I thought the MSL was *rising* !!

      He just smiled and said “That’s what they *say*
      … isn’t it ??”