In last couple of months, two studies have been released showing climate change is expected to have a devastating impact on the East Coast and West Coast of the United States. As reported by Just Facts President Jim Agresti:
One study…was published in the journal Nature Climate Change and shows a “recent acceleration” of sea-level rise on the East Coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts. According to the Associated Press, “By 2100, scientists and computer models estimate that sea levels globally could rise as much as 3.3 feet,” and this study predicts that the East Coast could see “8 to 11 inches more” than this, hence “putting one of the world’s most costly coasts in danger of flooding….”
In reading Agresti’s take on the studies, as well as the reporting done on them, however, it is clear that the studies aren’t as devastating as the left would have us believe. For example, Agresti notes that Reuters went quite far in its reporting:
Reuters took the hyperbole a leap further by claiming that the East Coast study shows “sea levels from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod are rising at a faster pace than anywhere on Earth.” This assertion appears to be completely fabricated. The study compares global average sea-level accelerations to those on the coastlines of the continental U.S. and southernmost portion of Canada. It says nothing about any other specific locations, and an email to one of the study’s authors confirms that the study “does not make comparisons ‘to anywhere on earth’.”
Agresti also finds some pretty significant potential for conflicts of interest – conflicts that could have a substantial impact on the economy of the United States:
Finally, a lesson in double standards. The East Coast study concludes with a statement that the “authors declare no competing financial interests.” The journal that published this study defines such interests as “those of a financial nature that” could potentially influence “the objectivity, integrity or perceived value of a publication.” Yet, the authors of East Coast study are employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, which is a federal agency funded by tax dollars. This could certainly be described as a competing financial interest given that federal government stands to reap trillions of dollars through global warming legislation.
Tellingly, Obama administration Treasury Department documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act describe “emissions allowances under a cap and trade system” as “valuable assets” that are “analogous to revenue under an equivalent tax policy.” These documents specify that such legislation “could generate federal receipts” ranging from $100 to $300 billion every year.
Agresti does not go so far as to say the studies are completely invalid, however. He merely ascertains the truth in the studies. This includes closely examining the studies to show how even one of the study’s government-funded press releases is misleading:
The official press release for the East Coast study states that “rates of sea level rise are increasing three-to-four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally.” This language is easily misconstrued, and this is exactly what has occurred in many news reports. In the context of this study, the word “faster” refers to sea-level acceleration, not to sea-level rise. Yet, Reuters, for example, reported that “sea levels in this corridor were rising between three and four times faster than the global average.” This is simply not true…In fact, global sea-level accelerations are so close to zero that they can be positive, zero, or negative depending upon the timeframe that scientists analyze.
Climate change may indeed be happening, but these studies and the corresponding reporting really don’t make the case for it or how much humans impact it. Instead, they show that Earth is constantly changing in dynamic and uncertain ways. As Agresti points out:
So, will global warming flood the coasts of the United States? Despite what many media outlets and some scientists would lead us to believe, no one really knows. What we do know, however, is that a number of previous claims that global warming will cause flooding, starvation, and extreme weather have thus far proven unfounded.
Indeed. And they want us to pay how many more billions in taxes for “unfounded” claims about global warming and its relation to flooding and extreme weather?