Next up in our Fact Check of Al Gore’s rant in Davos we get to his claim that carbon dioxide is “melting the ice and raising the sea level”. Well, it’s true that melting ice is raising the sea level. The question is whether CO2 emissions are to blame at all, let alone human ones. If you have seen our new video on the retreating glacier panic you will know that the really dramatic retreat of many prominent glaciers happened in the 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th centuries and has slowed since then, so it can’t be blamed on your gas stove. (If you haven’t, you will also get a tutorial in that video on how the IPCC manufactures hype and then rewards the creators after the scam gets busted.) But the bigger problem with Gore’s claim, and one which we might label as “Missing Context” if we were in the business of doing fact checks of the kind the legacy media tries to do, is that ice has been melting and seas have been rising since the end of the last glaciation, popularly called an “ice age”, and the process will continue until the next one, regardless of how much CO2 is in the air.
There’s a famous graph summarizing the progress of sea level change over the past 24,000 years. And despite the fact that it shows, inconveniently, that most sea level rise happened a long time ago and has slowed to a crawl in recent centuries, you can still find it on Wikipedia, viz:
At the coldest part of the last glaciation 22,000 years ago, the sea level was 140 meters below where it is today. Then it rose rapidly as things warmed naturally, especially around 15,000 years ago and again from 11,000 to 7,000 years ago. And then it began slowing down until it reached the present very slow rate of sea level rise perhaps 6,000 years ago. On average the sea level now seems to be going up by about 3 mm per year. And NOAA claims it is accelerating because that rate is double what it was in the 20th century as a whole. But as Steven Koonin explained in his book Unsettled, such a comparison is statistically invalid since you can’t compare a 120-year trend with a 20-year trend. Indeed there were also 20 year intervals in the 20th century when the sea level rose by more than 3 mm per year then subsequently slowed down, so the current figure seen in proper perspective looks like just one more natural fluctuation.
The bottom line is that the seas are rising as ice retreats on land, this process has been going on for twenty thousand years and will continue until the next ice age, and Al Gore is all wet for suggesting otherwise.