Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rising Sea Levels or Just Sinking Islands

Our national broadcaster, the ABC, has struck again with a new low in responsible journalism.
In 'PNG - That Sinking Feeling', broadcast last night as part of the 'Foreign Correspondent' program, reporter Steve Marshall has trashed any credibility the ABC had left on environmental reporting. The unambiguous message in the documentary and all the introductory material was that here was firm "evidence" of rising sea levels producing climate refugees.

The most powerful scene was of one islander and the reporter standing waist deep in water where the islanders father had once had his veggie patch. The implication being that sea levels had risen by close to two metres over recent decades. The only problem with this is that the Carteret Islands are only a short distance from Bougainville where no such sea level rise has been reported. Moreover, the area is only 500km from some very serious recent volcanic activity at Rabaul and form part of an active volcanic chain through the Solomon Islands. The Islanders appear to have been convinced that they are the victims of rising sea levels and global warming, no doubt from a procession of publicly funded planet ponces.

But if Marshall and the program managers at 'Foreign Correspondent' had been able to deal with more than one variable at a time they would have drawn the inescapable conclusion that the islands are sinking. Instead they appear to have manufactured a piece of green propaganda that neatly dovetails with Al Gore's thoroughly discredited claim that Pacific Islanders are already being displaced by rising sea levels?

What I find most offensive is the way a group of islanders who are confronted by a serious problem appear to have been exploited.

If the ABC can get something this simple completely wrong, then what does that tell us about the veracity of their reporting on much more complex issues elsewhere?

This is what Wikipedia has to say .

"It has also been suggested that the movement of tectonic plates could be responsible. The islands lie in one of the most complex tectonic areas of the earth. They sit next to a plate convergence zone at the boundary of the Pacific Plate, Indo-Australian Plate, and South Bismark Plate on a subduction zone next to the New Hebrides Trench (Bougainville Trench), where the earth's crust is disappearing. There is an active volcano on Bougainville Island, 86km away.

It should be noted, that the Carteret islands are built entirely on a base of coral that sits atop of an extinct volcanic mount. In the usual course of events, such islands eventually subside simply due to the underlying volcanic rock being worn away and not replenished. The Carteret islands are a classic example of such coral islands in their final stage of existence. Interestingly, Charles Darwin was the first to propose such a system of creation and submergence". See

It is also quite informative to simply google "Carteret Islands" where the range of reporting angles and biases are plain to see.

The ABC had been there before reporting that the same story was taking place on Takuu (or Mortlock) Islands, the home of "a Samoan-American woman, known locally as 'Queen' Emma Coe, bought the island for four axes and 4.5 kg of tobacco. Under Imperial German protection, she had all the trees chopped down and replaced with coconuts, and she imported Papua New Guineans from New Ireland to work the plantations".

The fact that this is occuring in two places would tend to suggest that the dynamiting of coral explanation at Wikipedia is less credible. But the really interesting issue to arise out of this is the question of how many other pacific atolls are actually subsiding for the same reasons put forward by Charles Darwin but collectively being misreported as rising sea levels?

It also appears that the program was also screened on ITV, with the first report in the Sydney Morning Herald on March 30 2002. Other conspicuous turkeys feeding on this bit of journalistic offal include newswire, the Ebono Institute (with two articles), Science & Nature, some sort of Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert with his own photos, while The Independent Online was in there boots and all with a similar story in the indian ocean.

But it seems the ABC just can't get enough of it with Lateline on 5/02/2007

Transcript TONY JONES: "The reality of global warming now appears to be accepted by the vast majority of international scientists. This weekend’s report from an international governmental panel on climate change painted a grim picture for thousands of Pacific islanders, a warning that the sea levels could rise dramatically over the next century. And on Papua New Guinea's Carteret Islands it's already happening. The entire population is preparing to leave their homeland, forced out by the rising sea. Lateline's John Stewart has this exclusive report".

The same "exclusive" story was run on Life Matters on 1 November 2006 and the list goes on and on. Clearly, Climate Central has called for "evidence" of rising sea levels and the Climate Cadres have gone right out there and manufactured it.

Ian Mott

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At March 31, 2007 2:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no doubt that Ian has done his homework on the volcanic origin of these atolls and the tectontic complexity in the area, but I would think the odds are very long that atolls and low-lying islands around the globe are sinking simultaneously. Warwick

At April 01, 2007 10:19 am, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Surprisingly, Warwick, the odds are actually quite short on low lying islands sinking. In fact, they do it all the time.

Most coral atolls are on volcanic peaks and these are usually made up of comparatively spongy rock, usually not as spongy as pumice but far from solid basalt. And the weight of the coral and the soaking of water actually makes them all prone to sinking. If you check the links to wikipedia you will see that this was first recognised by none other than Charles Darwin a century ago.

The real test is whether any claimed island sinking is also observed in neighbouring mainland locations. If it is not present elsewhere then those making the claim are essentially arguing that a large amount of ice breaking off an ice sheet is capable of producing a localised rise in the one body of water some 5000km away.

And that would be in blatant defiance of the laws of physics.

At September 05, 2007 1:37 pm, Blogger Robert Curtis said...

I am with Ian Mott. As an Agricultural officer in 1957 to 60 i visited all of the Bougainville associated Atolls, and in particularTakuu.The Islands are subject to partial innundation during King Tides if they are backed up by strong wind, particularly in the monsoons. The people have ample food in emergencies with their Fish and Coconut staple.
The ABC pseudo Science programs use dodgy half facts to reinforce their "Global Warming agendas" and they obvously are unaware of the Darwin Point in the formation of the Atoll topograghy. Tony Jones should carefully watch the Sydney opera House for signs of submersion.

At September 11, 2007 12:11 pm, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Thanks, Robert.
A formal complaint was lodged with the ABC but they continue to claim there was nothing wrong with the program. This is by no means the end of it and will keep you posted.

At December 05, 2007 5:46 am, Blogger Kevin Graham Broker NC/SC said...

Very good article!

At December 06, 2007 10:49 am, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Thanks Kevin
The ABC still insist that there was nothing wrong with the program despite being advised that only weeks after the broadcast, an island in the Solomons about 200km away (measuring about 6km x 12km) actually rose up by about three metres. They have refused to supply the names of the "experts" they claimed to have been advised by.

At January 21, 2008 6:58 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank God for some common sense. The luvvies are all at it in the UK as well.

It may not be long before being a "denier" is an arrestable offence, but, meanwhile keep up the good work.


At January 22, 2008 10:19 am, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Thanks Alan.
Sinking islands are the ideal grist for the climate mill because they are all so far from the majority of readers/viewers and, consequently, that much harder to apply the normal scrutiny.

At January 22, 2008 10:22 am, Blogger Kevin Graham Broker NC/SC said...

Well they are saying the same thing about Venice but of course just down the coast and across the bay the seas are not rising. Whacked

At January 22, 2008 4:49 pm, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Of course, the 600kg gorilla just lurking behind this scene is the total absence of any rise in sea level in most of the stations with the longest data sets.

Sydney's Fort Denison has 80 years of records, with a conspicuous jump in the late 1940s but nothing since 1950. See

The sudden jump in the late 1940s is most likely due to a technology change as it is not replicated anywhere else. But more interesting is the fact that there is no correlation between the claimed past 25 years of warmer weather and sea level rise.

At February 25, 2008 5:43 am, Blogger Mike Canberra said...

I thought the sea level is rising 1.8mm a year. You are saying it is not? I did not see the ABC thing but saw one about Tuvalu some years. I was not as convinced then that AGW is a fake. To me the film was obviously made to pursue a cause. Sure the sea was always lapping on their toes but tides! Also all commentary was by film maker and it became obvious there were population problems. I researched it and found the whole thing was con. It was the spark that set me on the road of AGW doubt. So extreme BS is not always bad.

At February 25, 2008 10:22 am, Blogger Ian Mott said...

True, Mike. I guess we could call it the silver lining on the climate cloud.

At May 09, 2008 1:57 pm, Blogger wes george said...

Thank you Ian.

I literally couldn't watch the show. It just made me ill to watch our national broadcaster become something like a modern day Pravada before my eyes. Pure propaganda and fear mongering for some type of sick political agenda that is damaging to our country. I've never seen anything so low, lying and underhanded funded by taxpayers. The hypocrisy of the ABC posing as an arbitrator of unbiased fact in order to keep us informed so that we can vote rationally is shocking and perhaps even warrants a full on inquiry. Especially if they won't even let the taxpayer know who their expert advisers are.

At October 27, 2008 2:48 pm, Blogger HyperShock said...

It seems to me all the sinking islands are on the pacific plate. I haven't heard anything about the Maldives sinking or anything. just the Torres Strait, Tuvalu and Kiribati (and now PNG). I saw the tide coming over the warf in Torres Strait myself...

The Pacific is alive with geological activity.

I heard a rumor that some of the Islands are sinking due to the French nuclear testing in the 1980s...

At April 11, 2009 9:20 pm, Blogger Steve said...

Can you advise is there has been any further development in this recurring climate change beat-up by our national broadcaster or has it been left in the too hard basket? Thanks for the helps explain why as a coastal resident of Lennox Head for the last 40 years...I have seen no significant evidence of rising sea levels which is borne out by offical data.

At July 15, 2009 8:22 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Just because the ABC stuffed up that does not mean climate change is not a problem.

At July 15, 2009 10:36 pm, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Patrick, if the temperature really is warmer then sea level really must rise. The problem for the ABC and the rest of the climate alarmists is that the only evidence they have of rising sea levels has been exposed as pure fabrication.

At January 12, 2010 1:33 pm, Blogger kimmers said...

The myth continues to be perpetuated, often in blogs where the opportunity for comment is not provided. I researched this since I thought beach errosion needed to be considered but found otherwise. Thanks for the correct volcanic info.
The alarmist 'scientific' article:
Threat From Sea Level Rise Keeps Islanders on Edge

At January 13, 2010 2:53 pm, Blogger Ian Mott said...

Thanks for the link, Kimmers. That old Solomons volcanic stuff again. and don't you just love the use of the ill-informed local who has been completely stooged by the climate mafia. And as usual, no mention of the fact that this sea level rise is not present at all on the main islands just a few km away. These people have no shame.

At January 25, 2012 4:07 am, Blogger Earthling said...

Nice blog, Ian, but please tell me you're not a "Climate Sceptic," I can't imagine anyone who's sceptical of climate?

At November 27, 2012 3:53 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

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