Sea level rise has been ongoing . . . for a long time. And steadily. Why?

The standard story, in recent times, has been anthropogenic global warming (AGW): increasing levels of greenhouse gases produced by human civilization warms the planet and melts the polar glaciers, thus raising the sea level. A very common answer. But it hardly seems like the right answer.

Though I have never denied that this standard story seemed a plausible explanation for climate change, on the face of it, in this particular case there is an obvious and grave reason for doubt.

We are coming out of the Little Ice Age, which has been the most significant glaciation period in the Holocene epoch so far. Humanity almost certainly had little to do with either the onset or the ebb of that cooling event. The warming since then has constituted a long trend.

But remember something: continents tend to sink and those that are not offset by countervailing geological forces are indeed sinking. Some apparent sea level rise is not the result of “global warming.”

And, if you have been listening to Jim Hansen and Al Gore and the politicians of a few tropical island nations, the summer Arctic ice sheet was supposed to be gone already, and our lowest-lying beach property under water.*

Why do the prophets of doom keep having to postpone and re-date their doomsday scenarios? Well, could it be because their science is bad? Maybe, even, that their data have not been honestly presented?

To those who have been paying attention, it has become clear that AGW shills have perpetrated a number of data frauds in recent hears. Their reporting on sea level increases sure looks to me like one of them. The trend line was on its way up before the dramatic increase in greenhouse gases by the introduction of widespread internal combustion engines, and so attributing later oceanic trends to a new and separate cause hardly seems honest.

And we witness this in other intellectual areas — especially regarding a great number of issues where partisans for the dirigiste state proclaim great success for their programs. What these advocates do is cite trends after the introduction of their favored nostrums, to “prove” how well they work, ignoring that the favorable trend lines they identify had been running in their direction before their programs were put in place. The classic case is workplace fatalities, which decreased after the introduction of OSHA. But of course workplace fatalities had been trending downwards for some time.

An even more startling case is poverty reduction, which leveled off after the introduction of LBJ’s War on Poverty. America would probably have seen greater alleviations of the conditions of America’s poor if the federal government had done nothing. And if you wonder why that would be the case, contemplate, at length, the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

Those of us who doubt the nature, extent and popularly identified causes of climate change get called “climate deniers,” of course. It is a typically idiotic charge. I have my usual response:

From my pages.

But, when it comes to climate trends, today’s “climate science consensus” seems to be suffering, itself, from denial. Today’s “hockey stick” pushers play down not only the Little Ice Age but also, more infamously yet, the Medieval Warming Period.

But it is worse than that. They ignore the even bigger picture, the events at the beginning of our own Holocene epoch: the end of the last Ice Age.

It was catastrophic. Sea levels rose hundreds of feet in very short periods of time. The piddling secular incline in sea levels in the last century or so is nothing compared to that deluge.

So I demand of AGW-obsessed climate scientists a great many explanations. Until they can explain how Ice Ages start and end, I cannot trust them about our recent climate trends.

They are, embarrassingly and monomaniacally focused on greenhouse gas emissions and the feedback effects of warming on oceans and their consequent, heat-induced emission of carbon dioxide. And, by the way, they never seem to explain how Ice Ages have not spiralled to total global freeze and warming periods have not spiralled to hothouse infernos. Their fondness for simple models that show positive feedback loops after a “tipping point” — that they almost invariably say would be “irreversible” — is bizarre. They seem immune to recognizing factors leading to homeostasis. Climate is determined by multipe causes, and the limited models of the AGW pseudo-consensus strike me as not merely notoriously bad predictors, but absurd on the face of it.

So, I have a lot of questions. Many, many questions. And these questions — only one set of which I ask here — seem rather obvious to me, but which I never encounter from the over-ballyhooed “climate consensus.” I guess I should ask Tony Heller of (whose recent videos inspired some of my ruminations here), since he recognizes the complexity of climate processes and the importance of a geological perspective on climate — recognition of the Big Picture. (In full disclosure, I have been following popular climatology since The Coming Ice Age was a thing, and helped edit a magazine that published one of the first scholarly critiques of the then-new AGW craze, back in the 1980s.)

Sticking to recent trends allows many AGW advocates — usually and suspiciously pushing for ever-more intrusive government — to engage in cultic behavior. Anyone trying to win an argument about science who resorts to the “overwhelming consensus” canard loses his Science Card. Science is about public testing — conjectures and refutations — and, as Richard Feynman astutely suggested, distrusting “the experts.”

I would add one heuristic we non-scientists must keep in mind: the reasoned distrust of those whose public “checks and balances” — vanishingly small in an age when the peer review process has been shown to be in crisis — can be so easily swamped by grant checks and their own bank balances. And let us apply some caution here. Government funding can be as corrupting as corporate funding, and is likely more so, since much greater, and is far more prone to political capture and the prejudice elicited by the public-interest halo. Alas, that halo is ever-present, with most folks giving governments the presumption of efficacy, authority and good will. This prejudice is rank bigotry, of course, almost certainly the result of an evolutionary programming to favor in-group hierarchies.

In fine, I remain confident in saying that mainstream of climatology is now addicted not only to cultism but, specifically, to Ice Age Denialism.


Trying to make sense of the world, one book at a time.

* Of course, there is a major caveat here: melting Arctic sea ice cannot cause a sea level rise. Melting glacial ice on the land masses of Greenland and Antarctica would be the almost sole sources of any future sea rise by melting.