Inundated Islands? The Science Says “No”

By Gregory Wrightstone

On September 11, in a hearing before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, a group of island nations argued that greenhouse gas emissions emitted by developing nations should be considered pollution. According to Kausea Natano, the prime minister of Tuvalu, “Sea levels are rising rapidly, threatening to sink our lands below the ocean.”

Is this the case? Are nations like the Bahamas, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Antigua and the Maldives likely to be underwater in the next several decades?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR5), the 20th century average of Global Mean Sea Level Rise was about 0.07 inches (1.7 mm) per year, or 7 inches per century. That means that by 2050 we should expect to see a rise in global sea level of slightly less than 2 inches.

Many of the islands that we are told are threatened to be underwater by 2050 are only tens of feet above sea level today. Bear in mind that 15,000 years ago, those very same islands were also just barely above sea level.

This figure was prepared by Robert A. Rohde from published data and is incorporated into the Global Warming Art project.

Over the last 15,000 years, sea level has risen nearly 400 feet, yet the islands still remain above the waves. This is because the islands grow as sea level rises. It is a geologic process known as “accretion.” Gravels and sediment are transferred from the shore face to the island surface during storm events, gradually raising the island’s surface.

We are being told that 400 feet of sea-level rise did not inundate these islands, but the next two inches will!

This is misleading and, thankfully, these islands are not in danger any time soon.

The above material was drawn from my upcoming new book, A Very Convenient Warming – How Modest Warming and More CO2 are Benefiting Humanity, that will be published in late October 2023.

Listen to Gregory Wrightstone’s discussion on this topic below:


Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist; executive director of the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, VA; and author of Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know.

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