NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE TROUBLE WITH TUVALU

December 16, 2009

The tiny Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu is a perfect microcosm of what is wrong with both global warming policy and the U.N. Copenhagen climate conference.  Although it has a population of only 12,000, Tuvalu has garnered a great deal of attention at the Copenhagen global warming summit, thanks to the claim that it is perhaps the nation most vulnerable to climate change, says the Heritage Foundation.

The Island sits barely above sea level, thus Tuvaluan officials (along with their many activist friends) are claiming that they risk being obliterated by rising seas caused by global warming.  "Being one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, our future rests on the outcome of this meeting," says Ian Fry, an official with Tuvalu's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

As is so often the case, the global warming threat is overstated, says Heritage:

  • Even the United Nation's 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (putting aside for a moment the Climategate-fueled concerns that this study is overly alarmist) projects 7 to 23 inches of sea level rise by century's end.
  • The lower end of this range is little different from historic rates -- sea levels tend to rise between ice ages -- and is a far cry from Al Gore's scary claim of 18 to 20 feet in his book and documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
  • Even more amazing, measurements show no sea level rise at all (actually a slight decline) around Tuvalu for the last half of the 20th century, even during decades where temperatures increased (Cabanes et el., Science, "Sea Level Rise During Past 40 years Determined from Satellite and In Situ Observations, vol. 294, pp 840-842).

Unwilling to let the facts get in the way of a good handout, Tuvalu is demanding foreign aid from the United States and other developed nations in order to cope with global warming.  Tuvalu has also joined with other small island nations in demanding that developed nations ratchet down greenhouse gas emissions.

The misuse of global warming fears as an excuse for a self interested agenda -- what is true of Tuvalu is true of much of what is on display in Copenhagen, says Heritage.

Source: Ben Lieberman, "The Trouble With Tuvalu," Heritage Foundation, December 15, 2009.

For text:

http://blog.heritage.org/2009/12/15/live-at-copenhagen-the-trouble-with-tuvalu/

 

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