It Was George W. Bush Who Slowed the Rise of the Oceans

One of Barack Obama’s most notorious flights of hubris was his proclamation that his nomination was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” I have always understood how silly this was: the oceans have been rising for around 12,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age. The rise was rapid during the first few millennia, then tapered off to where it has continued at a modest rate, with the usual fluctuations, for many centuries:


There has been no increase in the rate at which the oceans are rising coincident with increased levels of CO2, as this chart illustrates. The top line shows sea level; the second shows the rate at which sea level has risen or fallen:


What I didn’t realize until today is that the most recent research show that the rise of the oceans has indeed begun to slow. Could it be that Obama has finally made good on one of his campaign promises? No. The slowing in the rise of the oceans began around 2004, during the George W. Bush administration:


It is typical of President Bush’s modesty that he never took credit for slowing the rise of the oceans.