Wednesday, 2 April 2014

John Campbell versus Charles Darwin

John Campbell is shilling for warmists again – in the process setting himself against observations made by none other than Charles Darwin.

Setting off a Twitter mini-feud with Matthew Hooton on Monday, Campbell informed his followers, presumably to raise the profile of the latest IPCC report – a report summarised (approvingly) by Palmerston  North blogger Idiot/Savant as predicting “war, famine and death,” and by resigning IPCC scientist Richard Tol as an unjustified “apocalyptic” survey heavy on exaggeration.

Campbell, of course, swallowed whole the four horsemen rhetoric and was already to air an exposé filmed months ago for the report’s release this week, tweeting:


The country that appeared on Campbell’s Socialism at Seven was the Marshall Islands. Drowning already, said Campbell’s reporter, under the effects of climate change.


As I responded to Campbell,


More that that below.

For background, like most of the coral atolls Tristram Clayton will no doubt be reporting on, their actual problem is not and never has been global warming. In fact sea level rise  has not been accelerating at all around the Pacific. Their problem is not global warming but rising populations interacting wit the geology of low-lying coral atolls, which use seawater for support. Indeed,

the most important fact was discovered by none other than Charles Darwin. He realized that coral atolls essentially “float” on the surface of the sea. When the sea rises, the atoll rises with it. They are not solid, like a rock island. They are a pile of sand and rubble. There is always material added and material being lost. Atolls exist in a delicate balance between new sand and coral rubble being added from the reef, and atoll sand and rubble being eroded by wind and wave back into the sea or into the lagoon. As sea level rises, the balance tips in favor of sand and rubble being added to the atoll. The result is that the atoll rises with the sea level.
    Darwin’s discovery also explained why coral atolls occur in rings as in Fig. 2 above. They started as a circular inshore coral reef around a volcanic rock island. As the sea level rose, flooding more and more of the island, the coral grew upwards. Eventually the island was drowned by the rising sea levels, and all that is left is the ring of reef and coral atolls.
    Why don’t we see atolls getting fifty feet high? Wind erosion keeps atolls from getting too tall. Wind increases rapidly with distance above the ocean. The atolls simply cannot get taller. The sand at that elevation is blown away as fast as it is added. That’s why all atolls are so low-lying.
    When the sea level rises, wind erosion decreases. The coral itself continues to grow upwards to match the sea level rise. Because the coral continues to flourish, the flow of sand and rubble onto the atoll continues, and with reduced wind erosion the atoll height increases by the amount of the sea level rise.
    Since (as Darwin showed) atolls float up with the sea level, the idea that they will be buried by sea level rises is totally unfounded. Despite never being more than a few metres tall, hey have survived a sea level rise of up to three hundred plus feet (call it a hundred metres) within the last twenty thousand years. Historically they have floated up higher than the peaks of drowned mountains.
    So the …. claim is not true ... Atolls are created by sea level rise, not destroyed by sea level rise.

You may take that as general background for all of John Campbell’s exposes about drowning atolls.

To which you might also add the general fact that while sea level itself has not been rising catastrophically around these “floating islands,” the atoll-based stations at which sea level is measured  have been sinking – sinking due to construction activity on the “coral sponge” associated with rising populations.

Regarding the specifics of the Marshall Islands, if I may quote myself from last year when NZ politicians and reporters headed to the Marshall’s

for a week’s grandstanding with each other over things they know nothing about.

The know-nothingism has started early this time:

The Marshall Islands, a series of 29 coral atolls and islands halfway between Australia and Hawaii, sit just 2m above sea level on average and are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms and droughts.
    "Climate change is already here," said Marshall Islands Vice-President Tony de Brum before the 44th Pacific Islands Forum..
He said the Marshalls and their sinking neighbours Kiribati and Tuvalu should not be seen as disposable but as the canary in the mine…

Specifically, Vice-President  de Brum is saying the Marshall Islands is supposed to be drowning under the waves of rising sea levels that are rising at an increasing rate, that the acceleration is caused by increasing global warming, that it is our industrial production is causing the increase—and the industrial world should do something to help them.

And yet,  sea levels in the Pacific have been rising all century quite independently of the scare about global warming (which is only supposed to have started in earnest in the nineties) at a steady rate of 3.0 +/- 0.4 mm/yr.


And just as in the rest of the Pacific, around the Marshalls sea level rise  has not been accelerating at all:


Yes, there are sea level measurements you can point to showing an accelerating sea-level rise, but they’re taken at a place in the Marshalls called Kwajalein, which is affected by a local subsidence in the sensitive coral atoll induced by building construction.  Similar to the problems at Tuvalu.

It is not that the sea around coral-based Kwajalein is rising fast; it’s that the land at the stations measuring sea level is sinking fast. As it is at all the "floating islands" like the Marshalls so frequently cited as canaries.

But you wouldn’t tout those sorts of distorted figures from those sinking stations would you, just to make some headlines? “Sea levels on the Marshall Islands have risen 7mm a year since 1993. The global average is 0.4mm.” Oh, you would.

And already, the world’s media are lapping it up unquestioningly.

As too they are lapping up the claim that “extreme weather events” such as floods and droughts and decreasing fresh water threaten the population. But this is a population surviving on small, very low-lying coral atolls with little ability to store fresh water. A rapidly increasing population (more than five times bigger than five decades ago) is entirely dependent for its drinking water on what comes from the sky. And neither rainfall nor storage capacity is increasing.  As with its near-neighbour Kiribati, the real problem is really so many people, so little rain.

Not that either [John Campbell or] our intellectually-challenged Foreign Minister is likely to think that through.

Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak will be happy to hear he has the ear of The Stunted One, since he argues “that western countries like ours need to do more, as they are the ones most to blame for climate change.”

Sounds to me like man coming to the world’s conclaves with a begging bowl in one hand and a gun at the world’s producers with the other.

If he wants help for his country’s very real problems, why doesn’t he just ask nicely instead of helping to perpetuate a fraud.

He is not drowning, but waving for foreign aid.


  1. Silly old John Campbell, he just cannot help being a loser can he?

    The competition - 7 Sharp - last night saw Hosking dismiss the report out of hand.

    The ratings for each programme are interesting to note as well - Campbell has tanked, Hosking riding high - the average person is no longer going to be conned by 'Socialism at Seven' and their drivel.

    The funniest thing is that he chose the Marshall Islands as an example; crikey! America couldn't wait to GIVE the bloody place away! (with none of the fuss like over the Panama Canal haha!) a couple of rocks that nobody can even find on a map and Campbel expects anyone to care? (was this an All Fools Day joke of some sort?)

  2. In about 1860 Darwin figured out that coral grows on the basis of its available nutrition. The nutrition comes from the sea. Easy really, but I suspect it doesn't fit the Campbell world view.

  3. I would like to have seen a sea level graph going back at least a century.The graph shown does support sea level rise


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