Mainstream media is infamous for its exaggeration of everyday events. When it comes to the issue of climate change, it rarely misses an opportunity to promote fear. True to form, during the ongoing COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, media promoted incorrect information spewed by politicians and famous personalities.
Special attention was drawn to the assertion that rising sea levels are threatening island nations by none other than Barack Obama, who incongruously has purchased a multi-million-dollar ocean front property on the New England coast.
Catching the attention of millions was the image of a Tuvalu minister standing in knee-high sea water. But there is a problem with this: Most islands in the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu have gained surface area and are in no danger of being inundated.
Despite sea-level rise that has been underway since the end of the last ice age, Tuvalu’s land area has increased recently by 2.9 percent. A peer-reviewed research paper which studied four decades of shoreline change in all 101 islands in the Tuvalu atolls categorically proves this.
The paper notes that “…change is analyzed over the past four decades, a period when local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 ± 0.4 mm.yr−1). Results highlight a net increase in land area in Tuvalu of 73.5 hectares (2.9%) despite sea-level rise and land area increase in eight of nine atolls.”
The case of Tuvalu is not unique. Various island nations have gained landmass in recent decades, including Maldives which increased by 37 square kilometers since 2000.
The climate doomsday machine has been using this image-based propaganda for a while now. National Geographic circulated an image of a starving polar bear and claimed that the bear’s condition was a direct result of man-made climate change.
However, polar bear populations are relatively healthy and have increased in recent decades. When exposed, the famous media channel issued a statement saying that the reason for the dismal condition of the bear is unknown and that it had exaggerated the climate impact.
The United Nations makes clear that there is no strong evidence that climate change is having a significant influence on the frequency of extreme weather events. IPCC AR5 WGI Chapter 2 states, “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”
When it comes to droughts, the report states that “… there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century.”
Consider India, a country with the world’s largest number of low-income farmers. More than 500 million people depend either on agriculture or allied products. Of that total, 150 million depend only on agriculture — the equivalent of 40 percent of the U.S. population.
These farmers — with an average monthly income of less of $120 — depend on monsoon rainfall and there has been no climate signature on the monsoon rainfall trend. Nor has there been any increase in cyclones.
In other words, there has not been any increased risk from climate change for India’s farmers. Another indicator of the absence of heightened risk is crop production. For four consecutive years, India has produced record food crops, higher than ever before in its history.
You would think that Gates would know something about agriculture and climate given that he owns 242,000 acres of U.S. farmland and is said to be the largest private owner of such acreage. However, it appears that the billionaire is at best ill-informed.
Though fancying themselves to be noble defenders of nature, these purveyors of doomsday scenarios are more akin to a cult’s priesthood offering commoners salvation in exchange for prosperity and freedom.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and holds a Master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, England. He resides in Bengaluru, India.