Terrorism vs. Sea Level: For Our President, It’s No Contest

This morning, our anti-science president explained to CBS why global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism:

What I mean by that is that we’re going to get ISIL. They will be defeated. There will be ongoing efforts to disrupt the world order from terrorists, from rogue states, from, you know, cyber attacks. There’s always some bad people out there trying to do bad things and we have to be vigilant in going after them.

But if you start seeing the oceans rise by five, six, seven feet, if you see major shifts in weather patterns so that what had been previously bread baskets to the world suddenly can no longer grow food, then you’re seeing the kind of crisis that we can’t deal with through the deployment of the Marines, we can’t deal with it through throwing money at it.

It is refreshing to hear a Democrat admit that there is a problem that can’t be solved by “throwing money at it.” Let’s hope that means Obama won’t try to give away billions or trillions of dollars as part of a Paris climate deal.

But first: what on Earth is he talking about? Oceans rising five to seven feet? Since the beginning of the 20th century, sea level has risen around eight inches, an average of around 7/100 of an inch per year. At that rate, it would take around a century to rise another seven inches, and 1,200 years to rise by Obama’s predicted seven feet.

There is nothing new or surprising about a rising sea level. Sea level has been rising for around 15,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age. It will continue rising, at something like the present pace, until the next Ice Age. There was a time when sea level was rising by six or seven feet in a relatively short period of time, like approximately 200 years. But that was at the end of the last Ice Age, when more than a quarter of the Earth’s surface was covered with glaciers:


During the last Ice Age, the place where I am typing was buried in ice close to a mile deep. Today, it is not. There is nowhere near as much ice to melt these days, and therefore nowhere near the potential rise in sea level. In fact, after rising very rapidly 8,000-12,000 years ago, when the world was full of ice, the rise in sea level has tapered off to an inconsequential amount:


If it gets warmer–as it could, we are living in a relatively cool era, cooler than it has been 90% of the time during the current inter-glacial period–the rate of sea level rise could increase a little bit. But the idea that it could resemble what the Earth experienced when ice covering a quarter of its surface melted, is ridiculous.

There are many subjects on which Barack Obama is ignorant. Science is one of them. The man is an embarrassment, and January 2017 cannot come too soon.