How embarrassing. Global warming worriers have gone from warning Tuvalu will drown to wishing it damn well had.
But look at it now. Not drowning, but waving. And, er … growing too?
You remember Tuvalu, of course, even if you’ve never figured quite where it was.
For years this glittering string of atolls has been shoved in your face as the poster islands of the global warming faith – this Eden we were killing with our Western sin.
How often we were told it could be the first Pacific nation to be swallowed by the rising seas caused by our evil gases.
In fact, warned Al Gore in his An Inconvenient Truth, so dire was this danger that “the citizens of these Pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New Zealand” …
As a British judge later ruled, there was no evidence of climate refugees from the Pacific having to be evacuated to New Zealand or anywhere else to escape rising seas.
But truth has counted for dangerously little in this debate, and warmists told one Tuvaluan tale after another of an endangered Polynesian paradise that grew steadily more mythical.
I don’t just mean that the scare was exploded to preposterous proportions, as in this newspaper report just last year: “More than 75 million people living on Pacific islands will have to relocate by 2050 because of the effects of climate change, Oxfam has warned.”
I mean also that warmists felt entitled to invent complete fantasies for the cause. Take Prof Mohammed Dore, an environmental economist from Canada’s Dore University, who three years ago declared Tuvalu uninhabited already.
“In fact, there is an island called Tuvalu which was completely evacuated and New Zealand accepted all the residents because of sea level rising,” he wrote, much to the surprise of the island’s 12,000 residents, who have actually doubled their number in the past three decades, there being little else to do in the middle of the ocean.
And that’s their real problem. Surrounded by nothing but coconuts and fish, and with no employer other than the Government since the Nauruan phosphate industry died, how were they to get on in this great world?
What luck! Along came the global warming faith, and Tuvaluans must have seen in this greatest cargo cult of all a chance at last to earn a dollar – and maybe even get a visa to a new home in a richer land.
So I wasn’t surprised that Tuvalu’s prime minister in 2003 went to the United Nations to present a bill to the guilty Westerners he insisted were causing the seas to drown his home.
He really laid it on thick: “The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us.”
And the thick really laid it on here. Whole institutions were devoted to preaching – especially to children – that wicked Westerners were drowning the homes of innocent islanders.
Take professional warming alarmist Rob Gell, the TV weatherman, who in 2008 launched an exhibition at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum dedicated to convincing the gullible that we should take in all these soggy Tuvaluans before the waves lapped over their heads.
It was virtually a “foregone conclusion” that Tuvalu would be uninhabitable “within the next 50 years”, he claimed.
Naturally, Labor signed up to the scare, this being when it still believed man-made warming was “the great moral and economic challenge of our time” – a challenge so moral that any lie could be excused.
It even produced a “Pacific climate change plan” which promised help to global warming “refugees” as they fled low-lying island states such as Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu.
Said Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese: “The alternative to that is to say, and I don’t think any Australian would accept this, that were going to sit by while people literally drown.”
All of which culminated in the tearful plea from Tuvalu’s delegate, Ian Fry, at the UN’s great warmist gathering at Copenhagen last year – a performance that in every comic respect showed the sham behind the warming scare.
Cut your gases, or we die, he sobbed.
(Ian Fry begins choking up at 3:12 in this 3:38 video)
“I woke up this morning crying, and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit … The fate of my country rests in your hands.”
Wonderful stuff! The crowd went mad with applause.
Yet all this, too, was as fake as Al Gore. Fry is not from Tuvalu, has never lived there, and is not threatened by any rising seas, since the Queanbeyan home of this part-time Australian National University student is 144km from the nearest beach.
And now we know that Tuvalu, far from drowning, is rising from the seas.
It was already clear from the Australian-funded South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project that sea levels in the region were rising only microscopically, much as they’d done for centuries before the invention of the motor car or the light bulb.
BUT now New Scientist reports that however fast the seas are rising, Tuvalu and many other low-lying Pacific islands are so far rising even faster, thanks to coral debris, coral growth, land reclamation and deposits of sediment. Some have grown by as much as a third.
Auckland University’s Associate Prof Paul Kench, one of the two authors of the study, said he compared historical pictures from the past 60 years to satellite images of 27 Pacific islands.
“Eighty per cent of the islands we’ve looked at have either remained about the same or, in fact, (grown) larger,” he said.
(In fact, the real figure is an even more comforting 86 per cent.)