Climate Change: A Rebuttal

A reader writes:

There’s some question as to the facts in the TCS piece on Al Gore. Take for instance the quote in which they state that the ICCC report concludes this:

"No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected."

Here’s the full paragraph from the report that they link to:

"Based on the very few long tide-gauge records, the average rate of sea level rise has been larger during the 20th century than during the 19th century. No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected. This is not inconsistent with model results due to the possibility of compensating factors and the limited data."

And the report goes on regarding this subject:

"The most rapid rise in global sea level was between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago, with an average rate of about 10 mm/yr. Based on geological data, eustatic sea level (i.e., corresponding to a change in ocean volume) may have risen at an average rate of 0.5 mm/yr over the past 6,000 years and at an average rate of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/yr over the last 3,000 years. This rate is about one tenth of that occurring during the 20th century."

In other words, what is happening now is highly unusual. They also link to the Intergovernmental UN report on climate change and suggest it supports their case. Read it and see if you agree.

I should say that I find the evidence for global warming overwhelming; and the man-made motor for a large part of it pretty indisputable at this point. I’m with Gregg Easterbrook on this. I’d also favor Gregg’s proposals for tradable greenhouse permits; and I’ve long backed at least a dollar hike on the gas tax. I was promoting green policies for the Tories back in the 1980s. But counter-arguments are always worth listening to. Context matters – and some of the hysteria on climate change merits some empirical skepticism. The critical issue for me is whether China and India make all our efforts in the West pointless. I’ve yet to read a solid argument debunking that concern. Is there one?