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Sorry about your islands

12 Oct 2022 | OP ED Watch

The UN just said Australia owed compensation to some inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands because it didn’t stop global warming or the process of sea level rise that has been taking place for 12,000 years, or build a wall so they weren’t all washed away which they weren’t anyway. As for Australia stopping global warming, well, if it had thrown its entire economy into the Torres Strait it would have reduced global GHG emissions by about one percent while China, which already emits more than 20 times as much, seems with its rapid expansion of coal power to be adding an Australia a year. In fact, as so often, the alarmist claims prove the opposite of what they seem to. According to Wikipedia, “The Torres Strait Islands are threatened by rising sea levels, especially those islands which do not rise more than one metre (3.3 feet) above sea level. Storm surges and high tides pose the greatest danger.” To which we respond sardonically that if they’re that low, and haven’t yet been washed away, someone is peddling fables.

To be precise, the highest elevation anywhere is 50 metres, but the average is one. So if these low-lying, sandy, soft islands have not been washed away, then this whole thing about “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000” was bunkum. From the same UN that now wants Australia to pay for these low-lying islands being destroyed while remaining in place.

Still, money is money, right? One happy plaintiff explained that “This morning when I woke up on Masig, I saw that the sky was full of frigatebirds. In my culture, we take this as a sign from my ancestors that we would be hearing good news very soon about this case”. And obviously it is important to follow the science in such matters. Although some people might argue that as there are “at least 274” of these islands, but it’s hard to tell because they are such small sandy low-lying specks that only 16 of them even have people on them, they’ve probably always been exposed to surge tides and waves.

Also spoiling the mood, rather uncharacteristically, Wikipedia notes that prior to colonization “There was continuous inter-island warfare. In particular, the Murray (Mer) islanders were known as the fiercest raiders and head-hunters. They waged constant warfare against the Darnley islanders, their nearest neighbours.” Punctuated by fighting off “the Marind-anim (formerly known as Tugeri), the headhunters who raided the islands from their territory on the New Guinea coast”. One wonders what bird the ancestors sent to complain about having been turned into grotesque trophies before culturally insensitive Europeans showed up and gave the intended victims carbines with which to defend themselves.

Probably they owe reparations for that affront to the locals where they didn’t let their heads be whisked away, as well as the one where they didn’t cause their islands to be.

P.S. Australia’s ABC notes sympathetically that four inhabitants of an Indonesia sand-speck are suing the world’s biggest cement producer, which hasn’t operated in their country for years, for having not washed away their home. Pari Island is one of the “Thousand Islands” whose average elevation is one meter and the maximum is 7 (Pari tops out at 1.5) so we are not impressed at the progress of the raging seas in, at least, reducing the number to 900 or something. But someone in Peru is suing a German firm so stand by for more. And while the cement company has groveled before climate change alarmism, we don’t think it will help.

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