NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA Warns about Sea Level, But Rate of Rise Is Falling

October 22, 2014

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the EPA, recently traveled to Miami to "raise awareness" about stopping global warming and preventing sea level rise.

McCarthy expects global warming to melt glaciers, thus expanding oceans and flooding coastal areas. But the problem, write Bob Carter and Tom Harris for the Washington Times, is that sea level rise due to global warming is not a real problem. Carter is the head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia, while Harris directs the International Climate Science Coalition. They explain:

  • There has been no global warming for the last 18 years, and there has been no ocean warming since at least 2003.
  • The rate of sea level rise has actually decelerated over the last few decades, despite a 9 percent rise in carbon dioxide.

Carter and Harris say the idea that greenhouse gases and global warming lead to sea level rise is "fallacious." In fact, sea level is a function of water volume, ocean current movement and uplift or subsidence of the earth below sea level measuring stations. To see the warming of the type McCarthy is concerned about would require major melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, yet those caps have not melted in the past, even in eras much warmer than today.

Even if sea level rise is likely, Carter and Harris say the problem is a local and regional one, not a global one; affected coastal regions can take steps to adapt to any future sea level change. This adaptation strategy is exactly the type of response called for by Tanner Davis, NCPA research associate. Davis explained that the uncertain science surrounding global warming requires that policymakers use techniques of adaptation, rather than mitigation, to combat any possible future effects of warming.

Source: Bob Carter and Tom Harris, "Another EPA alarm about rising seas that aren\'t rising," Washington Times, October 20, 2014. 


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