Sea Level Rise Can No Longer Be Stopped, What Next? – with John Englander

Sea Level Rise Can No Longer Be Stopped, What Next? – with John Englander

[MUSIC PLAYING] I get to do a lot
of neat venues, but I don’t think I’ve ever been
in a room quite as fantastic as the theatre at the
Royal Institution. And I have many friends and
colleagues in the audience, although forgive me, I can’t
quite see in these lights very well. But I’ve been excited about
this possibility since Sean and I met in October. We met over at IMechE, the
mechanical engineers institute. And the more I thought
about it, the fact of being in this room which 160
years ago is where John Tyndall explained the radiation– or the radiative–
the heat properties of the greenhouse gases,
particularly carbon dioxide, which in effect led
us to the problem. And others talked about it– Svante Arrhenius, a
Swede, and Joseph Fourier. But right here in
this room, following on his predecessor
with Michael Faraday, John Tyndall really
got into the heart of what became the
climate change crisis. And so to be here 160
years later is wonderful. In doing research
for this, I came across another
interesting fact, which is that there was not
much attention to it back then because people weren’t
concerned about climate change. But there was another
thing going on in London– that was the time
of The Big Stink. I don’t know if you
know about that. But the London sewer system was
put in to deal with the reality that the Thames had
become the city’s sewer. And whether it be human waste,
or rotting animals, or garbage, it all wound up in the Thames. And it had been talked about for
years, but finally parliament– I think it was 1859– I think it was the same
year as Tyndall’s talk– decided that they need to
put in a sewage system. And sir Joseph Bazalgette
was in charge of the project, and it took him
about eight years. But the interesting thing,
and the relevance to this, is for years, people had
complained about the problem. But until people
started dying of cholera and it just became
to the point where the city stank so bad that
it really couldn’t function. And despite London’s pride about
being the cultural, and science capital, and financial
capital, here you had this tremendous sewer. And so finally, after decades of
putting off and procrastinating saying, oh, it’ll
be very difficult, it’ll be very expensive,
and we can’t afford this, they were backs against
the wall and they did it. And the same kind of thing
happened with sprinkler systems after deaths from fires. And the same thing happened
with the Thames barrier if you want to
bring it forward– we’ll talk about
that in a minute. But the storm of 1953
which, overnight, killed 1836 people in
the Netherlands, and 307 in England, and 24 in Belgium. That led to the Thames barrier. So we tend to make big
changes and expensive projects when tragedy has happened,
when a lot of people have died, and that’s understandable. But I hope you join
me in thinking about that, with this one, climate
change in general and sea level rise in particular, we really
can’t wait for the tragedy to fully unfold to
begin to deal with it, and therein lies a particular
challenge for all of us. And some of you may have
capacities in one way or another– either
connections or what you do, or would like to find out more
about our International Sea Level Institute, which I’m going
to tell you in about in a few minutes– ways that we can help
expand the audience. So I start with an
image of Antarctica. We’re going to come back
to that in a few minutes. That’s kind of the
scene of the crime, or where the crime will
happen, if you will, of where sea level is
going to really take place. But this evening, I
want to narrow my focus. This isn’t about
climate change broadly, it’s not about
greenhouse gas emissions broadly, although I
want to start there. I want to talk about how
flooding from sea level rise is different but related to
the other forms of flooding from storms that we think about,
and heavy rainfall floods which runoff downhill
and can multiply. And then the tidal effects which
are happening more and more– the high tides, or King Tides
they’re sometimes called. But sea level is kind of
the drip filling the bucket. It’s the less dramatic,
non-sudden event that will raise all
the water levels. And what I’m going to
frame for you tonight is that for really all
of human civilization, it hasn’t changed much, and
that’s why we get fooled. And then we’ll talk
about scenarios, what can happen, different
projections and possibilities, talk about impacts. We want to think
locally what’s happened to my house, and my
city, and my country. But of course, it’s
a global challenge and we have to think about it
from both a transportation, supply chain, national security
and humanitarian concepts. And then certainly the most
important question probably is, what’s the path forward? I mean, first of
all, I should say you’re brave people
to come out tonight. It shows you have an inquiring,
scientific mind to even want to come and learn about this. I dare say that if we
did a survey of a hundred of your friends, or a
hundred people at random in London, or certainly
in the United States, that most would not come. They’re either not interested,
or they don’t want to know, or they don’t want
to get bummed out. That’s true. So again, I really
do applaud that– and it’s no surprise, of course,
that the audience for the Royal Institution which has been
doing this for 220 years– taking science to the public. Again, while there
are lots of places– we have the Smithsonian
in the United States, and I know there’s other
institutions around the world. But globally, there’s
no place that’s more reputed as the
place to explain science in plain language to a very wide
audience of interested persons. So thank you again. And again, it was here John
Tyndall– that’s a sketch– the same Faraday desk. I mean, it’s really
quite remarkable to be in the same room
where he explained that as Michael Faraday
had about magnetism, and magnetism was probably
a lot more interesting. When we look at the atmosphere– I mean, Tyndall didn’t have the
benefit of a space satellite photograph, or
from a spacecraft, or the International
Space Station. But it’s really quite remarkable
that the earth, which we know is large– it’s 8,000 miles diameter,
roughly, 25,000 circumference– but the atmosphere is
that arc of a line. It’s about 10 miles
at most, 60,000 feet, depending on how you define
what the outer edge is. In comparison to the
size of the Earth, it’s hard to even see it. I mean, on the
typical globe, it’s about the thickness
of the plastic coating on the outside of the globe. And that’s what’s been changing,
and it’s been changing since– we know since
burning fossil fuels, but it became an issue
about 170 years ago, yet we’re still struggling
to understand it. Now this video–
and I’m not too sure how we’re going to
start this– but this is going to show carbon
emissions starting in the year 1751. It’s done by a group
called The Carbon Project, and it’s going to show
how emissions have increased around the world– showing a colour scale there. Blue is kind of the lowest
and then it gets up to red. And in one minute–
it’s quite remarkable– it’s going to show
us how CO2 emissions really encircled the globe and
started right here in London. So let’s figure out
how to make this work. If you look at the lower
left there, it’s 176– or 1770, and we’re at 4
million metric tonnes. You can barely see a blue
tinge over Southern England. Can you all see
that in this light– I hope? Great. And now it’s getting
more to the yellow and it’s spreading into
Europe, and the United States is coming alive a little bit– the Eastern United States. We’re up to year 1890– the year 1900 and we’re up to
almost a billion metric tonnes a year of carbon dioxide. Now the world’s really starting
to light up across Europe. Asia is starting to
come into the picture. We’re up to now the 1980s. And that’s all with the
same measurement system– the best they can go
back and recreate. This was done by a combination
of some nonprofits, but Oak Ridge Laboratories in
the US, one of the research centres. Quite remarkable as
a graphic depiction of how, in 250
years more or less, emissions of carbon dioxide,
which John Tyndall, again, put the quantities to in terms
of its heat trapping effects. The world’s warmer. You’ve probably seen
different depictions. I like this one–
it’s pretty simple. It says that over 100 years– this is done by NASA– if we look at the heat
averaged over five years– this was 2011 to ’15. So a five year period compared
to the prior century, how has the temperature
signature of the world changed to their best
ability to recreate it. And we can talk
about how we do that. But the blue would be cooler. There’s no place that’s blue. There’s some places that
have a tinge of blue, but they’re right off of
Greenland and Antarctica because of all the
meltwater which is cooling the ocean
there, so that’s why we’re kind of neutral for
the century in temperature change. But of course, the yellow,
orange, and red is the warming, and most of the heat
goes to the Arctic. And you’ve probably
seen pictures of this, but I think it’s a very nice
depiction which kind of lays the groundwork for what’s
happening in the Arctic, and the melting sea ice, and
the glaciers on Greenland. Climate change, if we just take
a simple Venn diagram here, if we think of that as
the green in the middle, from my perspective–
and this is not absolute, across the board– but I
think we should separate it into three categories. The energy part, which
is the black circle– how to reduce the
greenhouse gases, and I’m going to
talk about that. And again, that ties
back into Tyndall’s work. That’s certainly important. And there’s lots
of people working on how do we reduce
our emissions, how do we slow the warming? And this is very appropriate
and absolutely critical. And then we also have to
worry about the effects– the water, the weather changes,
the warming temperature, the extreme heat, in fact, in
places, the ecological impacts, disease changes, food supply. What’s happening in a world
that’s getting warmer, where the oceans are
evaporating more, putting more
moisture in the air. We’ll talk about those effects. So that’s the orange circle. And then the blue rising sea
level, where I’ve specialised, is part of the
orange, if you will. It’s a special effect,
but it’s important because it changes
the shoreline, and it changes
real estate, and it has the most direct
economic effect, and it’s a way to get people
engaged who might not care about the other two circles. I use it that way and I
certainly recommend it for you to consider. When people are even
sceptical or don’t think we can get off
carbon, and then we talk about the flooding
that’s happened as I’m going to show
you, that starts to get their
attention regardless of their political persuasion. I’m going to come back
to this graph a few times and I’m going to tell you
how to get this graph. In fact, it’s really simple–
it’s [email protected] Just send an email– you’ll get
instructions to download it. You’re welcome to use this,
but let me talk you through it. And again, I’m going to show
it a few times tonight– you don’t have to
get it all now. The top line in green
is carbon dioxide, the red line is global
average temperature, and the blue line is sea level,
so really easy to remember. Green for greenhouse, red
for heat, and blue for water, and it’s 400,000 years
from left to right. If we follow the red line,
that’s four ice age cycles. Now for those
scientists, bear with me. We’re still in an ice age
technically in geoscience because there’s polar ice caps. But in the normal
use of the term, the ice ages are the peak
periods, or glacial maximums, and so I use it that way. More important to me is to
communicate to a wider audience than to follow
scientific protocol, because we’ve got to
communicate better. And so if we think of
the last ice age cycle as 22,000 years
ago, which was just the peak of what is the
continuing [LAUGHS] ice age cycle that’s been going on
for a few million years, we see an interesting pattern. It’s pretty evenly spaced– it’s something called
them Milankovitch cycle. It has to do with the tilt, and
wobble, and elliptical shape of the earth around
the sun, but I just say it’s kind of like a
super summer in winter, and for the same reason
that summer and winter are different temperatures. Distance the amount
of heat we absorb. We don’t have to get any
more complicated than that. That’s what the ice
age has been and we’ve had it for about three
or four million years. I’m showing you
400,000 years here because I can show you
a little more detail, but this graph could go
10 times to the left. So we have the ice age cycles,
and we’re at the warm spot. And that’s five degrees Celsius
warmer than the cold point, and that’s the average ice
age difference, global. Carbon dioxide, the
greenhouse gas at the top, goes from 180 to 280 parts
per million approximately– easy numbers to remember. You’ll notice I really
avoid technical numbers that you have to memorise. Now the problem is
the carbon dioxide, as you’ll see in the little
red circle at the upper right, is at 410 parts per million. You’ve probably heard about
that– our concern about where the greenhouse gases
are going, particularly carbon dioxide because that’s
liberated from fossil fuels. And you’ll notice the green
and red lines go together. There’s two different
physics principles involved. I’m going to try and give you
a couple of simple physics principles here. When the oceans warm, they
release carbon dioxide just like a bottle of
soda or a mineral water that’s got bubbles in it. And if you heat one and
leave another one cold, the hotter one will
release the gas quicker. Warm liquids release
dissolved gases, so that’s why when the earth
has gone through a warming cycle by the ice age cycles, it
releases carbon dioxide. But now because of the work
of John Tyndall and others, we’re in a new era. We’re putting more
carbon dioxide in the air in the atmosphere,
and that’s trapping heat as his experiments proved. And then of course, if the
red goes up and gets warmer, the ice sheets
are going to melt, and we’re going to look
at that in a moment. That’s why sea level changes. So that’s why those three
things peak together– those three lines. And there’s a– they’re
fairly regular period because of the tilt, the wobble,
and the elliptical shape of the orbit around the sun. There’ll be time for questions. Ice cores– that’s
how we get the carbon dioxide percentages and actually
temperature, surprisingly. The ice cores from Greenland
go back 140,000 years. The ice cores from Antarctica
go back 800,000 years. They correlate– that’s how
we know they’re good science. About two dozen countries
and agencies doing that these days– decoding past CO2
and temperature from those ice core samples. The bright little white dots
there between the person’s fingers are air samples. And we can tell
temperature because of the relative molecular
weight of oxygen 16 and 18 two isotopes. Not to get technical, but
there’s sound, simple science that’s behind our ability
to decode these ice cores into temperature
and carbon dioxide. So the other takeaway from
this chart to keep in mind is that it’s about 100,000
years between cycles because of those different
orbital variations that line between
95 and 120,000. That’s why the ice ages have
happened for millions of years. It’s also interesting
to note that there’s about an 80,000 year downstroke
and about a 20,000 year up stroke. Is that– easy to see, right? They’re not– it’s not 50/50. And we’ve just come out of the
20,000 year warming period. The reason we thought sea
level was stable was– it’s like going up to a marina
or a harbour at high tide and having your sandwich,
and leaving 20 minutes later and saying, what are
they talking about– the water going up and down? During that slack
water, the water level stayed high 20 minutes. Well, the 5,000 years
of human civilization– recorded history– happened
at the turning point when sea level by its natural course
had finished rising 390 feet– 120 metres– as it had
done for millions of years. And left to its own
devices, the world would have probably gotten
us back into a cooling cycle. But the 7 and 1/2
billion of us– headed to 10 billion– changed
the atmospheric chemistry and physics. And so we’re now in a warming
period, whereas by nature, it’s pretty clear to me, and
I think to most of you probably, that
almost certainly we would have been entering the
slow period toward the next ice age. Well, we don’t have to
worry about that anymore. We’re not going to
have another ice age in the foreseeable
future, so you can put the winter clothes away. I will try and get you to laugh
a couple of times, by the way. [LAUGHING] And I should have said
that up front, this is a pretty dark
subject in some ways. But again, you obviously have
inquiring scientific minds, and you want to help
get the word out, and I appreciate that. But I will suggest to you,
and most sincerely, it’s like going to the doctor
and getting some bad news. And we’ve all either done
that or had friends or family who’ve been in that position,
and you’d really need to keep your sense of humour to deal
with challenges and to move forward, not only for
ourselves and our sanity, but for the next generation,
and those to come. So I really feel strongly that
you can’t just depress people. And there are some things
in this world which are not too fun to think of. We all know many of them– getting older is one of them. It’s not fun, but what are the
other alternatives [LAUGHS] as they say? So I will endeavour to get you
to lighten up once or twice just to think about things with
a bit of humour so that we can plot our path forward. As sea level goes up and
down almost 400 feet– about 120 metres. And again, I just
use rough numbers. There’s no need at
our level of science– it’s not like
Professor Waters here who actually goes to the Arctic
and measures things, and gets it down to the three
decimal points, which is exactly what a
scientist needs to do. But to communicate science,
we don’t need to do that. In fact, we get
lost in the detail and so I recommend against it. But carbon dioxide broke
out of the 180 to 280 parts per million, and
it’s now at 410. And there’s a lag time
for the warming to happen, and for the ice to melt,
and for the sea to rise. It’s not going to happen
instantly– it’s going to take decades or centuries. It’s started and we’re
going to look at that. What’s pretty interesting and
disconcerting is if you divide the numbers in sea level by
the temperature change, if that makes sense, the 360
feet, let’s call it, of sea level rise by the five
degrees Celsius of temperature, we’re into something like 20
metres per degree Celsius. We’ve already warmed a degree. Does that make sense? So in other words, with
each of those cycles, temperature global
average changes 5 degrees Celsius and sea
level changes about 120 metres. So just dividing 100 by 5– I mean, to keep
it really simple– that’s about 20 metres
of sea level adjustment. Now it may not stay
at the same ratio as we get warmer and warmer,
but there’s some other problems as the Arctic melts and
changes weather patterns. You all know the
shape of Florida. Many of you have
probably been to Florida. I happen to live in Florida. I travel a lot, but
that’s home at the moment. And very distinctive
shape, of course, and probably known
around the world. Anybody could pick out Florida. Nice place to go in the winter. If we go back 20,000 years ago
when the ice sheets covered North America and Europe,
Florida was twice the size because sea level
was down 390 feet. And if we go back to 120,000
years ago– the last warm spot, more technically
called the Eemian– Florida was half the size. Pretty striking. I mean, we could do that
with Vietnam, or in fact, we could do it
with Great Britain, we could do it with
anyplace in the world. But Florida being fairly
flat and a peninsula like that really
reflects it quickly. That happened because
of the ice ages. And I don’t know if you saw the
four part scientific series, Ice Age– [LAUGHING] –Part 2, The Meltdown. How many saw that? Well, behind Manny,
Diego, Sid, and Scott– my daughter was six at
the time this came out. I’ve Watched this
40 or 50 times– I have this pretty
well memorised. It’s entertaining, pretty
good science actually. There’s two miles of ice behind
the critters– creatures. And as that 10,000
feet of ice melted, sea level rose 400 feet. Does that make sense? You can teach that to anybody. That’s about all
they need to know in terms of the geophysics proof
of sea level and the ice age, because nobody disputes
we’ve had ice ages. It was documented in this
series, so of course. If we look since
the last ice age, as depicted in that movie,
and sea level– and this is a cleaned up diagram
from a scientific chart that many of you
are quite familiar with– the post-glacial era over
the last 20,000, 22,000 years. Again, to make it really
simple to communicate– and this is in the
slide pack I’ll give you if you just write
to [email protected] You can do it later, you
can do it now, whatever. You’ll get a link to download
a dozen or so slides with all the graphics. So there’s two important
takeaways– or three actually. One is sea level did
not rise smoothly. It’s not a straight line
or even a curved line. It’s not going to be a smooth
line or a curved line– we need to get over that. Two is there’s three
inflexion points there. Those red arrows– in science,
we call them inflexion points. They’re changes of slope. It was going like this and
then it went like this. And if you’re at one
of those points in time and you look to the
recent past and say, well, what’s happening here
because I want to predict out in the future where
it’s going to go, you’re going to get
bad information. It’d be like driving your car
by looking in the view mirror. What’s behind you doesn’t
tell you what’s ahead of you. Now in engineering,
and insurance, and other professions,
we often say that if we look back
10 years or 100 years, we can kind of get
a sense of what’s going to happen in the future. In science, that’s called
a stationary environment– that all else hasn’t changed
as the environment in which to look at this. But that’s not the case here. We’re five degrees warmer than
at the cold spot of the ice age and we’re at one
degree warmer than we should be at the warm cycle,
and so things are changing. So what happened over the last
century, or even 30 years, is not going to
tell us what’s going to happen in the next 30 years. I’m sorry, I should
have backed up there. And the other big
takeaway, of course, is sea level got to
the present level about 5,000 or 6,000 years ago. That’s pretty much recorded
human civilization. If you think about
the Christian era– 2000 years– and you go back
to the Chinese and Jewish calendars, and Mayan calendars– Old Testament days, you
get back 5,000 years. But 20,000 years ago is not
that long ago for the ice age, but the important thing is that
our recorded human history, 5,000, 6,000, 8,000 years–
certainly no more than 10,000 recorded human history– sea level has been pretty
stable for most of that time. No wonder we have trouble
believing it’s going to change. It’s not like earthquakes or
avalanches that we’ve seen. So this perspective of four
ice age cycles is very useful. If we look at actual
sea level in the last– in the 20th century. And again, round figures. This goes back to
1850, I think– yes. This pretty much gets us back
to the tide gauge record, which is how water levels were
kept in various stations around the world–
looking at tide gauges. And pretty good picture,
and some of them got pretty sophisticated. The little red line
at the top here is when the satellite
era started. 1992 was the first– I think it was Topex,
the first satellite that could measure sea surface
height down to millimetres. It’s amazing the
technology that we were able to do with
that kind of equipment. And gave us a little
better definition. And you can see though it’s
a pretty straight line, although it’s starting
to curve upward. It’s the early stage
of exponential growth, and I’ll come back to that
here in just a second. This is a little more detail. This looks at just the satellite
record since 1993, as I said. And as you I think
can follow here– that’s just showing
some of the satellites– but it was 1.5
millimetres a year, then the last– since 1998, it’s
been 3.2 millimetres a year. And now in the era since 2011,
it’s five millimetres a year. The average is 3.31. It depends upon your measurement
span once you get the average. But here’s the thing that
should get our attention– 1.5 [LAUGHS] to 3.2 to 5? That’s doubling. We have real trouble
understanding doubling or exponential growth. In fact, a quote that I love–
there is a late professor, Albert Allen Bartlett
from Harvard said, “the greatest shortcoming
of the human race is our inability to understand
the exponential function.” Now maybe that’s
an overstatement, but let me just run
an example by you, because exponential growth
is really surprising. I think you know the thing
about starting with a penny and doubling it every
day for a month, or a grain of rice
on a checkerboard and you run out of rice in
the world but the last square, or the 64 square. But here’s an interesting one– you know this football
stadium I’m sure. If you start with a drop of
water in the centre infield and double it every minute– so the second minute, there’s
two drops, and then four drops, and then eight– how long for the stadium
to be filled with water? Think about it
for just a moment. I’m going to tell
you the answer. I’m going to have a bet
with each of you for a beer afterwards. [INAUDIBLE] Pardon? [INAUDIBLE] hour? One hour? Not bad– 47 minutes. [INAUDIBLE] What’s a drop? There is a– good
question– fair enough. There is a definition–
we can look it up. I’ve done the
estimate– on the back of the envelope it pencils
out, but fair question. It may be 49 minutes,
it may be 44 minutes, and it depends upon
the size of the stadium too, which is the other
question– which stadium? It’s not necessarily this one. But doubling does that. Talk about football
scores or something? OK. So what causes sea level rise? Here’s another
interesting thing. I’ve talked to about 300
audiences in six years since my book came out, and I
estimate maybe 10,000 people. So you’re another 300, I
guess, tonight– something like that, which
a great audience. Most people associate sea level
rise with melting icebergs for obvious reasons. I’m not going to
embarrass anybody here, but how many here
would have answered that question affirmatively? See, I don’t want– a few. OK, honest people. Most people assume
that’s the case. Now icebergs are
giant ice cubes. And you can run this
experiment at home– we don’t even need to do it
here on the Faraday desk. But we all know that
ice cubes stick out of the water about 10%
it’s said– actually, it’s just between 9% and 10%. They’re a miniature iceberg. And so you can mark the level
of liquid or fill the glass and get ice to the top and just
let it melt. The water level won’t change. The reason is a very
peculiar property of water. It’s that just before water
freezes, it expands slightly. People say, how could that be? But it’s one of the miracle
properties, and life on Earth would not be what it was if
that property didn’t exist. The simple way I
explain it– again, trying to find really
common language– is the water molecules
are really squishy and they get very
tight with each other. But when you get into the
ice and the hexagonal, or what looks like
a cubic structure, that crystalline
structure is less dense because of just what
you’d visualise there. And that makes sense and you
could explain that to anybody. So if ice is 9%, call it 10%– round up– less dense than
water, that’s why it floats. It’s not Archimedes’
principle really, it’s because the ice
itself is less dense. Sorry, I actually
had slide there– I forgot. But what’s happening
in the Arctic as we go from bright white sea
ice to dark blue, almost black, it’d be like taking
a white roofed house and painting it dark. Your heating bill will change. It absorbs more heat, and
that’s what’s happening. And again, we’re
fortunate to have Peter and Pia here this evening
who are experts at this. That’s been their life’s work. The melting of the
Arctic is what’s changing weather patterns. The melting of the Arctic does
not affect sea level directly, it’s part of an equation,
if we’ll call it that. But the point I want to make
about the melting of the Arctic is that this graphic shows
in red how the Arctic sea ice has declined in area. The 13 squiggly
lines behind it– these things– we’re
trying to calculate by algorithms in the 200 years
what would happen to the Arctic sea ice. And that’s the British, the
Americans, various centres. 13 different models. Now look at what’s happened with
the red decline of the sea ice compared to the 13 models. The sea ice has
disappeared– melted– much faster than
all of the models. Science is honest
and it keeps learning and tries to get
better, but the fact is that our models of the
world are not perfect, and there are factors that
were not able to quantify yet. And while some people think
we may be exaggerating about climate change
and sea level rise, the fact is this is
pretty good proof– and I’ll show you another
one in a few minutes– that the scientific
community, if anything, is understating climate risk. It’s our methodology,
because nobody wants to say, well, it could be a 1
to a 5, so I’ll tell you it’s going to be a 3, and
then it winds up being a 2, and they say aha– you’re wrong! You said it was going to
be a 3 and it was only a 2. So science always
errs on the side of saying what they know for
certain, not what could happen. And that is the
nature of science. In this case, because of the
uncertainties about climate change and the glaciers
which we’re trying to get to, it works against us. So sea level rise comes from
the melting of the ice on land. We think of it as “glass-iers”
or “glay-shers” in America. And as ice– as the glacier
gets to the water’s edge and breaks off into
an iceberg, that’s like adding another
ice cube to the glass. That definitely raised
the level of liquid, and the meltwater does to. And– right to the
top– there we go. And that’s why sea level rises. New icebergs,
meltwater from land, and as the oceans warm,
thermal expansion. Like roads can buckle in
the summertime heat or keys don’t go into lock in the
cold winter temperatures. Substances change
dimensions ever so slightly. But to put it in perspective,
in the last century we’ve had a degree Celsius
of temperature rise and ocean warming, and the oceans
rose by thermal expansion about four inches– about 8 or 10 centimetres. About half of sea level
rise in the last century has come from
thermal expansion– from heating the oceans. And that will continue and
it may accelerate a bit, but it’s small stuff
compared to the glaciers, so that’s what we
want to focus on. And in fact, just to put it
right up there in front of you, the problem is two places,
and it’s only two places. It’s Greenland and Antarctica. There’s 24 feet of sea
level locked up in Greenland and 186 feet in Antarctica– that’s 210. All of the glaciers
from the Alps to Alaska and so on make up another
two or three feet– a metre. So if we’re going to get worried
about the rate of sea level rise– not what’s happening in
the Arctic in general, but where sea
level rise is going to come from of substance,
it’s only those two places. Everything else is just
noise or a distraction. I’m sorry, I guess
I’m one behind you. That’s not– oh, I
see what happened. And the Arctic Ocean up
there at the top left there– there we go– circled in yellow–
the Arctic Ocean is peculiar because it’s the
floating sea ice, and very important in terms of
the planet’s weather but, again, doesn’t
affect sea level. So on most maps, it’s shown as
blue as if it had all melted. Now it’s on its way to
doing that, unfortunately. But on some maps, you’ll see
Greenland and the Arctic Ocean all white, so it’s
kind of confusing. Greenland is surprisingly big. In fact, we’re running a
fact finding expedition for our major donors to
the Sea Level Institute, and I’ll talk about
that at the end. But I’ve been there
six times, and I’ve been there with the US Coast
Guard, and the Air Force, and different groups in science
and also philanthropists. But it’s hard to describe
Greenland’s size. The only way I
can think to do it is, it’s bigger than the
Eastern United States. It’s 1600 miles north-south,
and 1,000 east-west. It’s only got
56,000 inhabitants, so it’s the least densely
inhabited country in the world. It’s the biggest
island in the world. It’s got a lot of interesting,
exceptional characteristics. But it’s about
80% covered by ice and the ice is about
two miles thick still. If you go up on the ice sheet–
and we will do that this summer, and some of you
have been there I know– the relatively flat
table-like top of Greenland– and Antarctica is not too
dissimilar, although a little more mountainous– it’s melting visibly. You can see the sheen
of the melt there, and the water is
kind of aggregating into different little
rivulets, and then they kind of work their
way deeper into channels. And then they get– and they
find a weak spot basically, and the water then it goes
vertical in what’s either called chimneys or moulins. There is now about 1,000 of
these moulins in Greenland, and the water gets down
beneath the glacier and lubricates the glacier. So whereas we had two
miles of ice moving along at a mile or two per year, then
the water gets underneath there and now they’re
doubling, tripling, and quadrupling speed. So as the glaciers
move faster, they’re going to break off
into icebergs which is going to add to the level
and, of course, the meltwater. In fact, I was stunned when
I was in Greenland last April just coming out of the
winter season, and just doing a little tour of Ilulissat,
the town that most of us visit when we go there where
the big glacier Jakobshavn is. And they said, well, the
power plants been shut down, and I thought, how could the
power plant be shut down, because it used to
be diesel operated. And I said, so
what are you using, and they said,
well, hydro-power? I said, you’re using water
power to power Greenland? Yeah. So it occurred to me– year round, they
have enough meltwater that they can generate
electricity in the winter time in Greenland. It is astounding. I mean, that was a
jaw dropper for me that they had a
reliable enough source, so they decommissioned
the power plant. Just put in some turbines. If you follow the glaciers– this is helicopter view– you can kind of– woops–
you can see that it’s a winding river of ice. I want to distinguish the flat
ice sheet from the glacier, which is these rivers of ice. There’s hundreds of
them in Greenland– this is one of the bigger ones. And then when the
water gets near the– when the glacier
gets near the ocean, it breaks off into more
icebergs, and that makes sense. So we have an ice
sheet, we have glaciers that are these rivers
tens of miles long, and then an iceberg
is a floating ice cube, but a big one. Antarctica– Antarctica is seven
times more ice than Greenland. It’s a little
different geologically. It’s more mountainous,
it’s more solid, although there are
some parts that still go below the surface– we’ll look at that here. In fact, in Antarctica which– this is a colourised
photo showing velocities of ice movement. So most of you have
never been to Antarctica. How many have been
to Antarctica? I bet there’s been
a few in this room. I know you have. OK, maybe a dozen or so. But let’s decode Antarctica
because it’s really confusing– it’s bright
white and it kind of all looks like a blob. There’s four parts of Antarctica
that I would suggest to you you should think about. East Antarctica is the
big part– that’s this. And it’s pretty solid land
with ice on top of it. It also tends to be the
driest place on earth because it’s so cold– there’s
no moisture in the air. And what is there
comes out as snow, so they get some snowfall
in East Antarctica. West Antarctica is actually
some valleys and some mountains, and the ice just
kind of makes it all look like it’s the same as
East, but it’s a very different character because
the glaciers there go under water like
in valleys or fjords. I’m going to show
you that in a second. So that’s two parts, and
then if you’ve been there on a cruise ship
or expedition ship, you’ve probably been to
Antarctic Peninsula– that’s where most people go. And Antarctic Peninsula
is quite unique because that’s where
it’s warming the fastest and the ice is
melting the fastest. It’s a pretty easy reason– it’s a little peninsula
out in the ocean, and the ocean has
more heat content– because it’s water–
than air, so the water has a lot more heat content. And of course, it’s closest
to South America, so from a pure transit standpoint
from Osorno or Punta Arenas, it’s easiest to get to. But we’re seeing
huge change there, and most of the press
about the giant icebergs, like last summer I
think it was, that broke off from the ice shelf. Again, now you appreciate that
that iceberg calving doesn’t affect sea level directly. But as the ice
shelves disintegrate, the glaciers on land can
then flow into the ocean and that will raise sea level. So it’s confusing,
but hopefully that breaks the code a little bit. So we have East Antarctica,
West Antarctica– woops– then the Antarctic peninsula. And then the one other
you should understand is the ice shelves. These large grey areas– and there’s a little one
up here that that’s where the big iceberg calved from. The ice shelves– well, I
have an image in a moment I’ll show you. They’re thick slabs of ice, but
they’re resting on the water mostly. So again, from a sea
level standpoint, they behave more
like an iceberg, but they add to the confusion. The place that we need
to keep our eyes on are these six glaciers. This is kind of an aerial view
of that 8:00 o’clock position where the red arrow was. The Pine Island Glacier
or the Thwaites Glacier– it’s been in the
news a lot recently. I don’t know if you’ve seen it
or not, but it’s accelerating. They discovered a cavity
underneath this glacier that was estimated to
be 1,000 feet tall and to be the size of
2/3 of New York City was the visual that
the article cited. And the NASA press
release, in fact– came out on January 30th. These six glaciers
have three metres, or 10 feet of sea level,
locked up in them. We do not know how
quickly they’re going to melt and slide into the sea. That is unknowable just for the
same reason you go to the Alps in Switzerland
tomorrow and ask about when the next late
avalanche will happen, or if you went up to San
Francisco and you said, OK, I’ve heard you had a big
earthquake here 100 years ago– when will the next one be? And in spite of the fact
that we have 2000 strain gauges measuring
tremors, nobody knows when the next big
earthquake is going to come. Nobody’s going to know when
the next big mudslide will happen in any of the communities
where mudslides are a risk. Those geophysical
things where it’s the crystal and structure
and various nuances of water, and dryness, and so on. They don’t model– I mean, they model. They don’t turn into precise
predictions is the problem. We know these six
glaciers by gravity will wind up in the
ocean sooner or later. The challenge is we don’t
know exactly how much of them is going to make it
into the sea by the year 2100, 81 years from now which is
the benchmark used for climate change measurements
which, frankly, I think is a bit misleading. We need to be thinking
about 30 years from now. That’s a home mortgage
cycle, it’s a generation. It’s something we can look at. And by mid-century–
and Peter and I had dinner last night
actually in Cambridge and talked about this. I mean, by mid-century– every scientist is going to
have their own interpretation, but most of us now think– I’m speaking for myself, not
Dr. Waters– but most of us think we really could
get a couple of feet or a metre of sea level
rise by mid century. It doesn’t sound very
precise, but this is why. It is not possible to model– the big glacier there
is the size of Florida. We don’t even know how warm
the planet is going to be– how could we possibly tell you
the rate the glacier will melt and move if we don’t know
whether we’re going to burn all the coal on the planet,
or the tar sands, or go back to nuclear– the big energy debate. So until you can tell me how
we’re going to make our energy, we can’t possibly know how
warm the planet is going to be. And if we don’t know how
warm the planet’s going to be, how could we possibly
tell you precisely how much ice is going to melt? And yet that’s what
we want to know. It’s one of those things
that’s unknowable. I don’t know how long I will
live is a good metaphor. I like to use simple metaphors. My father recently died at 100– I have good genes. I could get hit by a car, I
could go to my doctor next week and be told I have
a fatal illness. There’s lots of things
that could happen. Now from an
insurance standpoint, that’s OK, because they say,
well, out of 1,000 people given John’s history, et
cetera, we think he’ll live to 94 or something. And that’s fine from an
insurance stand point because it’s an averaging thing
with a big enough population. But nobody can tell me how
long I’m going to live. I can make the case
sometime between 68 and 100. Well, we’re being asked to do
that with the glaciers and sea level. We’re saying tell
me, Mr. Englander, how high will it be
in the 30 year design life of this project? I can’t do that. There’s popular press articles. Antarctica is melting
three times faster than just a decade ago. I need to speed up here– I’m going off subject and
I ramble too much– sorry. That’s the ice
shelf in Antarctica I talked about earlier. Here’s a good diagram
that shows you the problem is the ice is being
eaten away underneath about 25 miles back in– 40 kilometres. And it eats way faster
underneath because even though it’s cold water,
water is 800 times denser, therefore it has
800 times more heat in the water than a
comparable quantity of air and it has an effect
to eat away at the ice. So the result of all that
is that sea level rise is now unstoppable. Now the truth is
it happened before. Sea level rose
120,000 years ago. We didn’t know that– science tells us that. The ice age cycle is a fully
natural cycle, has sea level cycling up and down 120 metres. If we’d known that 5,000
years ago, I’m sure we would’ve built our
cities quite differently. We didn’t. So the reason I know that
sea level can’t be stopped and the ocean heat is
not going to go away, because at the level of 410
parts per million of greenhouse gas– again, announced
here 160 years ago. It’s been calculated that
the heat that we are adding to the ocean– the extraordinary
heat, the unnatural heat, if you will, that’s
there because we’ve added to the greenhouse gas level
that has gone from 280 to 410– is the equivalent
of atomic bombs. Well, maybe I didn’t
say that right. It’s the equivalent of
500,000 atomic bombs a day being exploded. That’s 5 per second
every minute, every day around the clock. Sounds impossible, but again
the physics actually add up. By thickening or that
greenhouse gas layer, like a sheet of glass,
we’re trapping heat. We’ve changed the 342
watts per square metre that come into the earth and
that most of it was reflected– we just changed it by a couple
of watts per square metre. But just like my weight. If I know my calories in and
how much I burn in a day, if I have more coming
in than going out, I’m going to get heavier,
and the reverse is true. We’re in balance, or
should be, or hope to be– I’m not, but I hope to be. The earth is like that. The earth was in balance
in space, as an ecosystem, as a geosystem, as
a land-ocean system. We’ve now tipped it. Now the good news is we’ve
got decades to begin adapting, but the problem– it starts now. In fact, the problem was known
160 years ago, or certainly 50 years ago, and we
keep procrastinating. So I bring you
back to that slide because this single
image– and I’ve had a lot of leading
scientists use this– in fact, Dr. Hansen used it,
and Michael Mann, who you’ve probably
read about, who’s very outspoken and
controversial, uses this. It really helps to explain this
to people who don’t understand it, and I certainly commend it. I hope you use it. The projections
for sea level rise are generally wrong
as I alluded to. In blue is various projections
going back to 1990. Then in green, we’ve added
different projections which are a little
bit higher and tighter that’s happened with time. And then we can look
back from the year 2015 and say how well did
the projections do 10 and 20 years ago? Well, actual sea level is
in gold and the smoothed out trend line is in red. I think that’s a
fairly simple graph. The simple takeaway, though,
is that with various efforts to project sea level
growth over time, just in the last 10 and 20
years both, we fell short. That actual sea level rose
faster than the projections. Again, that reinforces what
we talked about earlier. So the reports– and this is the
latest US government report– actually, this was
published the day before Donald Trump took office. NOAA happened to have published
it January 19th, 2017, and it’s interesting. They added another
curve– the red line there is 2.4 metres,
8 feet, 2 inches. That’s their worst
case scenario– that’s a new line that
wasn’t there three or four years before that. But here’s the thing– it’s not going to follow
any of those lines. I hope you understand enough
now that these are just models. These are just things to say,
well, if it’s a half metre and if it’s a metre, or of
it’s a metre and a half, based upon what we know,
it could be any of these. But it could jump lines, because
remember the three inflexion points? Sea level does follow bumps. It has abrupt changes. Now abrupt isn’t like next week. But could we get a
foot or two a decade? Yeah. The last time we had really
sudden sea level rise was 14,000 years ago, and it
rose in 400 years 65 feet. Think of that. That’s an average of a
half metre a decade– foot and a half. And that was an average
over 4 centuries. So it’s safe to say
some of the decades– because again, it
wasn’t a smooth process. So can that happen
in the next decade? No. I just do not– if people say, oh, we could
get 10 feet of sea level rise this decade. Not possible. Just– there’s no way the ice
is going to change that quickly. But by mid-century, could
we get a foot, or two, or three– a metre? Yeah. Now a lot depends on what
we do in the next 30 years, and we’re not doing enough
to slow the warming. The same sea level that is
shown here in a red line– that eight or 10 inches
against 13 US cities here ranges from 46
inches to 30 to 14 and 4. The point is here that sea
level will manifest differently in different places because
the land moves up or down, and so that adds
to the confusion. So in the high latitudes
of Scandinavia or Alaska, the land is still uplifting
because the ice receded there last, so there’s
glacial rebound. So the land is moving upward
at half an inch a year and sea level is moving up at a
sixth of an inch a year. So it looks like sea
level is falling in Alaska and northern Scandinavia. Well, that’ll last for
another decade or two until the melt rates from
Greenland and Antarctica take over, and they’ll then
see what sea level rise is. This chart by Dr. James Hansen– and I want to give Dr.
Hansen a lot of credit– he’s my kind of hero and guru. I think most of
you heard his name. This is a chart from a
presentation he gave somewhere not too long ago, but it shows
800,000 years of carbon dioxide and temperature. And it’s interesting because
it doesn’t show the sea level directly, but you
see how closely carbon dioxide and
temperature have been linked for 800,000 years. But in the last century or so,
look at how they’re diverging. The carbon dioxide is moving
much faster than temperature. It takes– there’s a
lag time, and there’s a lag time from temperature to
sea level, and that fools us. People say, well, how come if
CO2 is 410 parts per million, how come the sea hasn’t
risen proportionally? It doesn’t work like that. You may have heard of the
IPCC, a wonderful scientific enterprise– part of the UN. Most people
volunteer their time. 2000 scientists
participate– report comes out every five or six years. And the two things
which it understates– I don’t think purposefully– but are methane release
and sea level projections. And it’s a methodology problem,
and a definition, and so on, and I don’t think
time allows here. But it’s a point of
confusion because they run four scenarios, and
their extreme scenario says that we could get 92
centimetres or 32 inches of sea level this century in
the worst scenario. Most people don’t read the fine
print and realise that excludes Antarctica. Does that make sense? I mean, actually, there’s two
inches in there from Antarctica in the worst case. The problem is they
can’t quantify it to their own
requirements of being objectively derived,
and provable, and so on, so they footnote it. Most people don’t bother
to read the footnote. So the key points are– I don’t know if you
can read this or not, but make it really simple. The sea level will continue
to rise despite greenhouse gas production. Surprising, disappointing,
unfortunate, but it’s truth. The scientific predictions
for sea level rise tend to underestimate due to
the uncertainty of precisely how much will occur
by the year 2100. When you phrase it that
way, it makes sense. Anybody can understand
that, quite frankly, but nobody explains it that way. The two key components
are glacier movement, collapsing in Greenland and
Antarctica, both of which are accelerating. And we’re headed back toward
the situation that last existed 120,000 years ago,
and this should really get our attention, because
humans had no impact back then, and sea level got 25
feet higher than present. So even just being aware
of the ice age cycles, we should be redesigning our
coastal environment, even without the warming. I mean, that’s a
sobering thought, but again, truth is truth. And the fact is, we just
didn’t know that until we understood about the ice ages. In red here shows
the areas that are vulnerable if all of
the ice were to melt. It’s surprisingly small. I mean, it’s parts of Europe,
and England, and the US, southeastern United
States, but it’s not like the world’s
going under water, and that’s with 60 metres or
200 feet of sea level rise. That couldn’t even happen for
500 years or maybe 5,000 years, but the point is
there’s lots of areas in the world are
vulnerable, and we need to get a lot more specific. We need to start doing
engineering creations. As I mentioned earlier,
the Thames barrier, and the Rotterdam Harbour
gates, the Maeslantkering, were both designed after the
storm of February 1st, 1953, as an engineering response. But when they designed this,
they planned on the worst– a 10,000 year storm– and the worst river flooding
from the Rhine, the Scheldt, and the Meuse that
came together there. And then said, oh, and
sea level– let’s plan on 30 centimetres– a foot. Because when they designed
this back in the ’70s, coming out of the North
Sea storm, a flood of 1953, that was the worst
they could imagine. And yet the engineers
have told me that if they were
designing this today, it would be three metres
higher because they didn’t want to invest $800 million
and have it outlive its design criteria. You’ve perhaps seen this
rendering of London– what it would look like
under water or with– I think it’s– what
was this– five metres? I can’t remember. But cities all around the
world are seeing real flooding. This is San Francisco,
not a rendering. San Francisco, many of
you have been there. Great embarcadero–
the ferry buildings, pier 39 with the sea lions
and all that stuff, right? Well, that elevation
was set 140 years ago and San Francisco doesn’t
have subsidence or uplift, so it’s pretty much
reflecting sea level globally. And they have a tide gauge
there at the Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the oldest– is the oldest in America. And what’s bothering
them is that more days, the seawall is awash. And what are they going to do? They can’t build it anew and
lose the historic character, they need to get
to the old piers. They’re going to have to do
something with their 7 and 1/2 miles of waterfront. Not easy questions. But it’s not just iconic
structures like that. This is a street in Florida and
the neighbours have put up a no wake zone on the street. You heard that– a no
wake zone on the street so that when there’s King
tides or peak high tides, that the cars won’t drive so
fast to throw a wake and splash saltwater on the truck on
the right-hand side there. But there’s boats in
the background there. Now this happens about
30 or 40 days a year, and as soon as the extreme
high tide is dissipated, they take that sign down
so that when they go to try and sell their house– [LAUGHING] –that the prospective
buyers don’t say, why do you have a wake
sign on the street? We live in a strange world– it’s changing in
front of our eyes. There’s some good things. Some technology will
make a difference. This is from Saturday’s
news here in the UK. That a biomass
plant experimenting about carbon capture to
take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It’s at a place– where does it say. I’m sorry, I should know that. Drax at North Yorkshire. And in the lower right is
a scheme called spray– it’s a spray ship with the idea
that if we spray saltwater up on the clouds and get
marine cloud brightening, we may improve the
planet’s reflectance and create a cooling effect. It’s an interesting idea– should be explored
and experimented. Not going to be that
expensive if we even try it. Now it’s not the
solution, however, because even if that
reduced the solar energy, ocean acidification
is still taking place. And I didn’t talk about that–
that’s one of those ecological impacts, but carbon dioxide
dissolved in the ocean changes the pH– makes it less alkaline. That has a really serious
implication for the ocean food chain, starting at
the phytoplankton up to the animals
that feed on it. But there are technologies
we should explore. We shouldn’t be
naive in thinking they’re perfect solutions
that are going to be painless and going to keep sea
level where it is. I don’t see any
possibility of that, nor do any of my colleagues. There are new technologies. This Is from a company called
Jupiter Technologies that is doing advanced
climate and flood models. They’re only a year
old this month, but they’re going beyond
government efforts and academic efforts. They’re hiring lots
of them and they’re coming up with
higher resolution, down to square metres, and
down to not only years, but months, but even hours on
a short-term basis of flood prediction. And they’re trying to
improve our modelling, and that’s really
valid and useful. We can design cities like this
one from the Netherlands– or– yes, from the Netherlands. This is of Vissingen, down
toward the coast with Belgium. And they’ve designed the city
to have about eight or 10 metres of safety between where
the water is on the far right and the building levels. And the buildings have a wash
through on the lower floors by regulation– have no critical
equipment that would flood. Interesting design. Dutch engineering
company Arcadis came up with this design
for the Netherlands where you could have a
combination of a covered roadway which actually became a
height addition to the seawall. Clever idea– may work
in certain places. This is from Hamburg, Germany– actually the town of HafenCity. It’s a new part of Hamburg. A great place. I went there two years ago
and they have sudden big river flooding from the Elbe
River from the North Sea that happens regularly. And they’ve designed ways to
have an enjoyable city where there can be short-term
flooding and the restaurants are protected on the ground
floor and the houses are a little bit
higher, et cetera. So interesting adaptations,
and we need to do that. We’re going to have
certainly floating cities. People always ask about them. But we’re not going to take the
four million residents of Miami and put them on
houseboats or yachts. Or Bangladesh or Vietnam
to put it in honest terms. We really need to start
getting ahead of this. It’s unprecedented– this hasn’t
happened in human history. We get a pass for our
difficulty to believe it’s going to happen. And I mean that. This is not just political. We get attached to
places, whether it be Miami, or Nantucket,
or Cornwall, or Liverpool, or wherever– or right here on the
Thames– it’s a tidal river. It’s part of human nature– we get attached to places. We like to go back where we
were born, or we were raised, our parents were
buried, or whatever. And it’s tough to think that,
for the first generation, we just got the short
straw because sea level is going to rise. And it happened
before naturally– this time we’ve triggered it. But either way, the fact
that the ocean is going to be metres higher– 5 or 10 feet– is
really disruptive. It’s sad– so is getting older. I think there’s three takeaways. That we need to
reduce emissions– it’s very important. We’re not doing enough. We need to find pricing
mechanisms for carbon so that– what we’re talking about right
now is just the beginning. That we get far more aggressive
to be incentivized broadly to get off of carbon in
the next few decades– absolutely important. But regardless of our
success with that– even if we went 100% renewable
energy tomorrow, no more coal or oil, we’re still
going to get sea level rise. That’s the thing that most
people don’t know, or never bother to think about, or
have been misled about. Thinking that if we just do
the right environmental energy things, we can stop global
warming and climate change. We can’t stop it
dead in its tracks. The oceans have a
lot of heat, they’re getting more heat by
the day, and that heat is not going anywhere. And the sooner we
begin to engineer for adaptation, the better. Tomorrow, I’m excited. One of the reasons
I’m here this week– although Sean facilitated
the time of this talk– but tomorrow at the Institute
of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of
Marine Engineers Science and Technology
where I’m a fellow, that we’re beginning some
programmes to help engineers understand this so that
they turn this into the kind of design criteria that will
allow us to enjoy things for decades or 50 years out. We’ve got to do more. This is sobering stuff. Obviously, I get
that and I try to get you to laugh a little bit,
and you’ve been very kind. But there’s risk and
opportunity here. One of the things
we have to do is find a way to think of the
glass half empty and half full. I don’t have the
example here, I guess, but you know what I mean. We can always look at
something and say is it half full or half empty. And there’s certainly
a problem here– what we consider the
glass half empty. But I can find a glass
half full if I work at it, and so let me share it with you. One is, there could be a
disaster tomorrow in the world where 200,000 people are again
killed overnight by a tsunami. You can’t plan for that. Earthquakes, volcanoes,
that kind of thing. This can’t happen at that speed. So a good thing about sea
level rise is it’s slow. We actually have 20
or 30 years to begin designing and
building different, so that’s an opportunity. The second thing–
and this is a novel thought I think to just ponder–
but the second thing is that, from a financial standpoint,
even if we lose trillions– some would say $10 trillion
are at stake for going under water this century. That’s as good a
guesstimate as any. Again, we don’t know–
we can’t– there’s no way of defining that. But let’s assume
that $10 trillion by the end of this century
will be flooded of assets. That’s the problem, but
here’s the good news. Because it’s slow and people
can get out of the way, and will get out of the
way– with problems– we are going to have to
create new places to live– new economies, new ports. We’re going to
have to re-engineer the coastal environment
all over the world. This is not a Miami, and New
York, and London problem. This is 10,000 coastal
communities and every place that’s on a tidal river. We have no choice. Somebody says, where is
the money coming from. I say, I don’t know where the
money’s going to come from, but sir, I know you’re going
to find it because it’s not like– well, do I
want a better museum or do I want to deal
with sea level rise. I’m not dissing museums at
all– don’t misunderstand me. But the point is we can’t
argue with the ocean, we can’t argue with a glacier. This is not an option. This is one of those things
where [LAUGHS] it’s not do I want to deal with it or not. Maybe you can leave it for your
kids or grandkids to deal with. But I can turn that around
and say it to you this way. Once we wake up to this
reality and more people understand this– and I’m going to tell you how
you can help in a moment– there’s a huge opportunity
because rising sea level– multimeter– let’s just call it
3 metres for lack of a better number. 5 or 10 feet– whatever system you
want to look at– is going to be the
biggest economic driver in this century,
because we are going to have to re-engineer, rebuild,
relocate, change everything from ports, to
Marina’s, to beaches. In some places, we may
be able to protect them with seawalls, but
in places like Miami where it’s porous
limestone, the water’s just going to come up
through the ground– I didn’t talk about that. Every place is different. So like it or not, adapting
to sea level rise– and I know this is a
little bit cheeky– but it’s going to be the
biggest and best economic engine this century. Now that’s strange to
think of it that way, but it’s important to put it
as an economic opportunity and a creative one, because
that’s what engages people. And I gave a talk to some
military engineering group, and they’d never heard of
sea level rise like this and they got it. But we were in
Jacksonville, Florida a year ago just before the
hurricane hit there and flooded the whole city, in fact. And it was my third time I’ve
predicted something happening and it happened,
so I’m not going to make any more predictions. [LAUGHING] My book came out the
week of Hurricane Sandy and I described it on page
121, and got a lot of press for that, fortunately. But just a freak
kind of timing thing. But if you understand
the physics and what’s going to happen, you can start
to predict things in effect and have them happen more often. So I was standing
there in Jacksonville with 450 military engineers,
and explained mostly what I did here. But then– and they were
silent and disbelief kind of. They had never
heard this message– one of the admirals said that. Said, we never heard that
sea level could rise metres in a time frame of a century. And I said, but you know right
here at the St. John’s River right by Naval Station
Mayport, it’s really narrow. It’s like 200 feet across. I said you could create a
storm surge barrier there that, when you had a storm
coming to town– which on top of sea level
would make it even worse– you could actually
block the storm from coming up the channel. Well, they loved that. All of a sudden, they’re
getting out paper and pencil and trying to sketch what
the barrier will look like, and it’s engaging
them professionally. And that’s good to do. We need to devise
the adaptations. They will be done. Whether your firm or your
profession deals with it or not, they are
going to happen. This is not optional– use that as a strength. I think I’ve covered all that. But the final point– my daughter a few years ago
with her friend at the beach– is we have to rise
with the tide. We really don’t have a choice. I mean, the world’s changed. I know social media
is a problem with kids and there’s all sorts
of things, and drugs, and violence in schools. The world’s a crazy
place, but I hope the 300 people here
tonight agree with me that the facts about
sea level are about as simple as ice melting. It’s a part of climate
change that you can explain to anybody. I actually seek out the
groups that are doubters– explaining climate change
to environmental groups is kind of like preaching
to the choir, as they say. It’s much more interesting
to me to find libertarians or right-wing political
groups that just have some predisposition to doubt. And I get to convert them, and
almost with a total success rate. I mean, I would say less
than 2% of the people leave the room doubting. And that’s great, and
you can do that too. And what I ask of you– you’ve
paid your dues to come in here tonight, and we appreciate
that, and it’s great to support the Royal Institution, which
is a wonderful institution– 220 years old here. But the thing I ask
you to do beyond that is to explain this to
three other people. We can change people’s
understanding of this, because you know that you
know a lot more tonight now than you did when you
came in the room, no matter what you knew. So share that. Share that with
coworkers, with family, with investors, your company,
church groups, town halls. Keep it simple. One of the things we tend
to do with climate change is make it too complicated. You’ll notice I didn’t
even use the word mitigate, one of the most
popular words in climate discussions. And I don’t do it
for two reasons. It’s not a commonly used word. The average person, as they say,
with a sixth grade education who newspapers write for,
doesn’t use mitigation very commonly. But the second
part is mitigation refers to reducing the
warming by reducing the growth of greenhouse gases– mitigating the warming. It also means to
mitigate the flood hazard and reduce flooding
which happens from the storms, the tides,
and the sea level rise. So if in a conversation– and
I’ve been there in the states with NOAA and FEMA– and they’re talking
about mitigate, I say, which mitigate
did you mean? And they never thought
of it that way. So we should use common words. So I like to say we need to
slow the warming by slowing the growth of greenhouse
gases and we need to reduce the flood hazards. Plain English really works. We tend to use jargon–
we love jargon. Initials, and letters,
and mitigate, and so on. Good explanation
is plain language. That’s the work of our
International Sea Level Institute which
is our non-profit. And we are looking
for not only sponsors, but we’re actually
looking for a home too, and it’s been suggested
to me and some who I work with the
engineering societies that London has always been a
Maritime capital of the world. Still has IMO– International
Maritime Organisation. There, I used initials. Lloyd’s of London
and so on here. And of course, with the
historic British empire, there is global connections. So there is a decent
argument for that, but we need to find support
to do that to open an office and hire a dozen people perhaps. The second thing that I
would make you aware of is that our institute
is running a trip to Greenland in September that
will be a part of fundraiser. People have to– it’s
for the major donors, so I’m not pushing
on you to attend. It’s only got seven
spaces left in the trip. But for those that are capable. And it’s a way to
support the institute, so I do encourage
you to do that. And finally, I think Sean
gave my Twitter address, johnenglander, but I’m on email. And I do a weekly blog. In fact, tomorrow’s will
refer to this meeting, so if you want to go online
and get a few words about how I feel about this meeting which
is very positive, of course, at
or Sea Level Rise Now which is the name
of the weekly blog, I’m actually going to talk
about this and some takeaways from this trip to London. So you won’t see
yourself in the picture, but I do– perhaps there’s
a connection there. And it’s a weekly subscription
every Tuesday morning. It’s free and there’s
no ads or anything. So if you want to stay
informed about this topic, it’s a place to go. With that, I will
take questions. I know I’m a few minutes
over time, but thank you. [APPLAUSE]

100 thoughts on “Sea Level Rise Can No Longer Be Stopped, What Next? – with John Englander”

  1. This comment section is truly something, isn't it? A quick reminder – be nice. We do not remove comments that disagree with us or the speaker. We don't even remove conspiracy theories or unscientific contributions. We do however remove hateful, racist, insulting, and offensive material. You can read more about our comment policy here –

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  2. I don't agree Sea Levels will rise…. Overall they haven't so far when compared to the vast extent of extraction that has already taken place over the last 100 years . When Oil or Gas is extracted do we really imagine that nothing takes its place and its a one way street ? Of course not.
    Take out oil or gas and guess what, sea water fills the void, or worse there may be settlement resulting in Tsunami's all of which counteracts actual rising sea levels.
    Some years ago I did some calcs on this and the difference was marginal hence why Holland hasn't submerged already. As ice caps melt its largely in balance with seawater displacement. The reason London or Venice have a problem is more to do with geological settlement than sea level rise on its own. The burning of Fossil fuels does of course have a dramatic effect on climate, precisely because its being burnt but that is something entirely different and we need to use fossil fuels more responsibly to create ethanol etc to transfer to hydrogen fuel cell technology creating energy without burning, climatic effects, or the need for batteries. Plastic is also a fossil fuel we are happy to landfill, export or spoil our oceans when the more effective use of it is as a 'fuel commodity' for final destination in energy from waste with controlled output. Lets get real here !

  3. Co2 the heating monster.. politicians reasoning Volcano's make lots of co2 volcano's are hot co2 causes heat.
    Only thing is that after a volcano erupts world temperatures cool every time. The only other problem is that he doesn't know the heat properties of co2 00:45 co2 has a lower radiant energy then air. Meaning it cools the atmosphere when added to our 80 / 19 % nitrogen oxygen atmosphere. So how does removing a cooling gas out of the air lower global temperature ?

    Im sure a politician or a conman can tell you a whole story about it.

    Except we still use those charts and tables under the second law of thermodynamics and the laws of gases to this day because they are laws not theory's not hypothesis not models not adjusted data not storys about sewers or immoral money grubers… laws.

  4. Childish at best. Was this guy speaking to scientists of third graders. And what on Earth was his point? Weak science and foo-foo "Facts". Fake charts, fake graphs, fake data and silly computer modeling manipulations.

  5. IN 1990, Algore said NYC would be under 20 ft of water by 2020, guess what? DIDN'T HAPPEN! every year, the same we're all gonna die chicken little sky is falling nonsense. why do you people keep believing this BS?

  6. sea level rise ( and fall) NEVER could have been stopped. its something that happens cyclic and we have absolutely nothing to do with it , nor do we have the slightest chance of controling it. evidence ?

  7. Its sad to see some of the comments; it’s an indication of the general level of ignorance within society and the uphill struggle to try and save it

  8. Scary Sea Level Rise at Fort Denison

  9. Sea Level Rise ? 
    Let's look at sea level rise beginning 22,000 years ago… when the last Glacial Period started melting back.​

    Let's say 3 feet of sea level rise over the future……. Well … sea level is rising about 2- 3 mm per year for most of the past 8,000 years since sea level slowed dramatically.  
    And there are lots of places like Sydney, Australia where sea level rise is only 0.65 mm per year….
    But let's say 3mm per year…. At the rate of 3mm per year… that will take 305 years to rise 3 feet. At the rate of 2mm per year it will take 457.5 years to rise 3 feet…
    So I smell another Alarmist who is trying to protect his grants and other income. He has to make sure there is a "problem" with climate…. otherwise… if there is no problem… his funding gets cut off.

    La Jolla, California…. 1871:..about 148 years ago….

    La Jolla, California…. recently, about 148 years later..

    Another spot in La Jolla…. 1894.. about 124 years ago…..×315/b7/b2/9d/b7b29d8d98c52c4a8b83947edc4cfe53.jpg

    Same Spot Recently….
    Something fishy about this horrible sea level rise we're all experiencing…..
    Liberty Island, New York – 1898

    Liberty Island These Days
    Scary Sea Level Rise at Fort Denison Over the Years.

  10. Ice in water (ocean) displaces the same volume of water , a frozen mass can’t rise more than its liquid weight. Weight distribution is actual science

  11. Does land ever sink. Is America fracking nearly the entire continent? Is Florida sitting on top of salt caverns? Have they been fracking in Florida? Have they fracked the Californis coast. How many underground nuclear test did they do just over the mountains from the Cali coast? Scotland is still rising from the loss of the Ice Age ice and this is pushing southern England down. Is there such a thing as coastal erosion? Do cosmic rays effect the cloud cover, especially the low cloud? Do we live in an electric environment. Do we have a weakening magnetoshere and do more cosmic rays get into our Plasma envelope. Has there been a new, extremely high energy Van Allen belt recently discovered? Does our own earths electric currents effect the weather and does it drive earthquakes. Do the planets have high energy electromagnetic tails that influence each other as we rotate around the Sun. Is the Sun electrical? Are there birkeland currents in space?

  12. “ We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment
    outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything
    will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life
    moulds the environment and is itself deeply affected by it. The
    one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of
    man is the result of these mutual reactions”.
    (Shoghi Effendi, through his Secretary to an individual believer
    from a letter dated 17 February 1933)

  13. We can agree it's methane the main harm to to the atmosphere. Cutting off greenhouse gases will take a hundred years compared to cutting off the main sources of methane (cow& beef corporations) which will show great NATURAL changes way faster . Also PRESERVING RAINFOREST will be a NATURAL bonus in helping the CO2 , stop thinking you can't do nothing about it. SAVE OUR EARTH please don't be close minded. .. PLEASE 🙏💯😔

  14. The growing trend to disrespect scientific expertise and ignore the advice is very sad. Anti-vaxx, flat earthers, climate change ‘deniers’ (as if that will help). The misguided notion that everyone is entitled to an opinion. No they are not. Should you be allowed to fly a plane because , in your opinion, it’s easy? No. Can you have an opinion about the effect of gravity when leaping off a 100 storey building? No. When it comes to objective facts, you are not entitled to an opinion. People spend their lives studying the natural world, using the scientific method to build knowledge. Their findings are peer reviewed in an open and transparent way. Now THEY are entitled to opinions.

  15. I have seen and heard many references to rising sea levels and increasing ocean acidification due to ocean warming, but no reference to the fact that increased ocean temperature gives rise to more evaporation and lower solubility of gases. Have these been factored into the approximations (guesses) about how the whole system works?

  16. Although this speech was given at the Royal Institute, I believe it would have been appropriate , if only for a minute, to denounce how environmental policy is being used by some political parties ( mostly left leaning parties ) to polarize the population, and briefly discuss what are the negative consequences of this practice

  17. What next? SCUBA equipment? Buy Al Gore a bigger jet? Trees produce oxygen and use CO2. Plant more? More Solyndra scams? The sky is falling!!! More little chickens? More little chicken taxes?

  18. Dont know if it is possible to pump sea water into deserts and plant trees that are salt resistant that will help even if it is small level. Fish farms power production and salt production can be added to mitigate cost

  19. i watched for 5 minutes and got bored.
    One of the worst topic to discuss.
    What a let down.
    We want proper science not statistic based on assumptions.
    I havent watched all yet but i can guess at high precision.

  20. One thing that we must and can do immediately is planting trees! A billion new trees, can take 1/3 to 2/3 of the CO2² out of the air. We can find a way to cool the oceans, starting in the Antarctic and Arctic… We can only slow down the process we put in motion.

  21. Everybody knows climate is warming. Everybody knows sea levels wii rise. Everyone knows coastal cities will be flooded. Nothing will be done about it. Nothing.

  22. What might you use to build the new cities and streets? Asphalt and concrete sure as hell are not options.

  23. Move. I moved from the Pacific coast to the NM mountains. I have five years into a native edibles food forest. No reason to "deal" with a disappearing coastline. Move.

  24. The government can stop issuing building permits TODAY, stopping new construction. The government can stop underwriting insurance policies for ridiculous locations.

  25. If we blocked some of the sunlight that hits the planet over key areas, we could offset some of the effects of global warming. Antarctica, Siberia, Greenland, The Sahara Desert, Australia : all could do with a little less light and a little less heat. It would give us time to let reforestation absorb some of the CO2 and allow us to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. If the sunlight were blocked by solar energy panels, well out into space, we would have an abundant source of energy with which we could mine the asteroid belt and offset the costs. It would cost a lot of money, but it would save a lot of trouble and eventually start paying for itself.

  26. we could pump sea water in exhausted petroleum reservoirs …. unless this releases some gasses that are making it worse …

  27. Here's a thought…stop dumping chemrails in the sky and maybe the sea levels will be left alone…earth a billion years old been dumping rain and mountain and river waters into ocean for that all the sudden the water isn't being recycled…gee I wonder why?maybe if u left normal clouds untammpered with and the recycle process alone!!!!just saying

  28. This gentleman has a relatively few good comments but the length of time to make his points takes away from a listeners ability to retain and be interested in it. Go ahead and remove my comment if you really feel it was not constructive.

  29. I have lived on a sailboat in a marina in SoCal since March 13, 1985. My work was building Marinas, docks, dock ramps, and driving pilings from my crane and barge…..The SEA LEVEL HAS NOT gone up ONE INCH. They are setting you up for more taxes with this CRAP !~

  30. More concerned about retaining his climate research grant than being truthful about the natural cycles of the climate. Take a look at the research of Dr Robert Holmes PhD Climate Scientist, in the following links, starting from the top.
    To quote Adapt 2030 "It's not You. It's not CO2. It's the Sun". Truth destroys the world you used to live in.

    The easiest and simplest, understandable way you can explain the BIG ICE AGE to your family, friends and everyone you find on your way and that does not require any science background, not even basic science, is the following:

    Manmade global warming is nonsense. CO2 is not a pollutan. CO2 is food for plants, food for life, food for happiness. CO2 is really good for every living thing on Earth.
    It is the Sun who drives the climate on Earth. It is the Sun who creates the climate.
    As we know, the Sun has a cycle of 11 years on average and as its activity increases, so does the number of sunspots on its surface. The action of the Sun reaches the entire Solar System.
    It reaches the Earth, which is mainly oceans.

    But the Earth has the Moon, so the action of the Sun that reaches the Earth is modified and modulated by the presence of the Moon, as John Casey says.
    The Moon has several cycles, of which, for now, we are interested in two of them. The synodic cycle (from New Moon to New Moon) and the metonic cycle.
    This metonic cycle is named after Metón, a very wise guy who lived in Greece 500 years before Christ. He realized that 235 lunations (i.e. 235 synodic cycles) were equivalent to 19 years, with an accuracy of two and a half hours.
    This means that if on July 16, 2019 there is Full Moon, then in the year 2000 (19 years before), as well as in the year 2038 (19 years later), there is also Full Moon on July 16.

    Then we have a solar cycle of 11 years and we have a lunar cycle of 19 years. If we multiply 11×19, we now have a cycle of 209 years composed of the action of the Sun and the way in which this action is modulated and modified by the presence of the Moon. At the peak of each Sun cycle of eleven years, its magnetic poles will exchange places, the North magnetic pole goes to the South and the South magnetic pole goes to the North. So, the complete cycle of the Sun is actually 22 years.

    And, then again: 22×19 = 418. 200 years ago, the Dalton minimum occurred and 400 years ago the Maunder minimum, the Little Ice Age, occurred. As you say, we have these two trains arriving at the same time.

    Let's talk a litte about History. We currently use the Gregorian calendar, a true masterpiece. It has an error of one day every 3,333 years. The Mayans had a slightly more precise calendar, an error of one day every 5,000 years.
    We all understand the Gregorian calendar. Anyone can say how many days will it take for his next birthday or for Christmas. The Mayan calendar was understood only by priests.

    The Mayans recorded important astronomical, political and social events on stone columns or steles and on the upper part of the stele, they recorded the date of the Long Count in which the event had taken place. The Long Count was a downward count and would have started around 3,114 years before Christ, time in which, according to historians, there were no Mayan

    A very clever english guy named Thompson, based solely on steles that recorded astronomical events, found the correlation between the Long Count and the Gregorian calendar. The end of the Long Count indicated the death of the Fifth Sun. The Fifth Sun is the one we see every day flying high in the sky. The Long Count ended on December 21, 2012.

    John Casey very accurately, almost exactly, said that the current ‘solar hibernation’ had begun at the beginning of the year 2013.

    The Mayans were dedicated to study astronomy several centuries. Because of the rudimentary nature of their methods, it is very difficult that they could reach the knowledge of the Long Count with complete accuracy. I think this is a much older knowledge that the Mayans received and preserved.

    Of all the solar minima that have occurred in the last millennia, none is comparable to the current one. This one will be very much worse and very much longer, it will surely last thousands of years.

    We will not enter in the future in a regular Solar Minimun or in a Mini Ice Age. Since December 21, 2012 we are in the greatest Solar Minimun ever. A real an long lasting Ice Age.

    Valentina Zharkova, that brilliant and lovely lady, said last year that there will be a cycle 25 that will be very weak and will last only 8 years. In her recently published paper she says: “Substantial temperature decrease are expected during the grand minima … whose magnitude can not be yet predicted”

    Now NASA says cycle 25 will be weak and it will last 11 years, but NASA has been playing games with manmade global warming for too many years. So, at the beginning of year 2024, that cycle 25 will be at it's weak peak. From now, until 2024 the climate chaos will be growing faster and faster. After that, we will be in a free fall, going deeper into the Big Ice Age.

    I want to analyze the effects of the other cycles of the Moon. The anomalistic cycle, from apogee to apogee, and the 18 year cycle in which the Moon goes from North to South and then South to North through the descendent and ascendent nodes, but I am really very poor and I have to work all day selling bushings for cars just to be able to buy some food for my family at the end of each day.

    I am sure that there will be some wealthy people that will read this text and will want to kindly support me, so I can study more about the other cycles, so I have a where you can donate.
    You can also visit for a spanish translation of this text.

    I don’t need a lot of money. One or two million dollar will be enough. OK, I know some of you guys are very rich and very generous. I'm sure I can handle three million dollar. Thank you very much. Be happy. We love you. Take care everyone. Manuel Esbri

    [email protected]

  32. The omission of the effect of methane on the climate in the IPCC report was certainly glossed over, especially since methane is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. As the Arctic ice disappears and the permafrost thaws, methane emissions are predicted to have an abrupt and devastating effect on the climate.

  33. I woudl believe your motivations more if you came in wearing a burlap sack instead of a suit. A lot of advocates for change are in fact advocating that someone else change not themselves. As logn as they can still live in a huge house, drive a fancy car they are all for it, btu if they have to live like poor people oh no no, we must find a better solution.

  34. We have been useing mega amounts of oil for as long as I can remember, surely by now some of these oil wells will be empty like the ones off Scotland, why can't these wells be flooded with sea water after they are uneconomical to run anymore. There must be some massive holes under the seas where the oil has been removed leaving a lot of unsupported sea bed. Surely if there was an earthquake the sea would gush into these massive holes and if magma was present it would cause a massive explosion. With all the oil that has been removed over the years filling them with sea water could drop the sea level or am I wrong ???.

  35. The Romans had slaves. So? So when did Rome fall? It didn't. Now we are wage slaves. The great computer shall save us all !!!

  36. Intelligence is a curse. Who wants to go see the freak show at the circus? See the smart man add up long numbers. Isn't he funny?

  37. Good talk. One thing he forgot to mention is that science is in part responsible for the massive release of carbon all over the world in the last 200 years. The part about we're past the point of no return is the worst. I've heard about the idea of injecting sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere, which would reflect some sunlight back into space.

  38. All of the sea rising models have proven to be false over the last 30 years. Why should anyone believe this tripe?

  39. The climate has been changing constantly for billions of years. Now, when bankers are making billions of dollars trading carbon credits, we blame humanity ONLY for the current change. Yeah. Right.

  40. According to the IPCC and NASA the sea levels have increased about 13.5 inches over the last 170 years. This is what the IPCC reported in their last Assessment Report. If you live to the ripe old age of 80 you will experience about half of that extreme and catastrophic change. It's so extreme you will need to walk very, very, very, very, very… very slowly away from the advancing tide.

  41. I can understand fools who live in the desert, but i live on the coast…and i see morons blathering about sea level catastrophy every time an area that…(if they'd bothered to look at old photo's, they'd see)….has built up over a generation, then has been washed away…duh.

  42. Never mind Faraday, you shifty shyster…160 years ago, the highest recorded temprature in South Australias capital, was recorded…127 Farenheit….with the same equipment they used in the 1960's….Farenheit perfected the thermometer in 1705.

  43. Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age…. nothing new there and the rise will continue regardless ofthe preaching of CO2 religion.

  44. Coat- " Are Sea Levels really rising….I think not, it's impossible really, the more water weight that is put on the mantle, the crust will sink due to gravity, it's fixed, but that is still a serious problem, with more weight on the mantle, more volcanic activity we will see, and we see that today. I wouldn't be that alarmed, unless Yellowstone Blows.

    Sol- " There is evidence of ancient sea coast all over the planet at much higher sea levels than now. Also there is evidence that the seas were much lower during the height of the last great ice age..

    Coat- " True, and I'm aware of that fact, but NASA has been measuring the sea levels for the last ten years with spacecraft, and yet we have only seen a slight increase, but Volcanic activity has increased, there are magma flowing volcano's pouring thousands of tons of Lava per day all over the world now, last I counted was 30 of them. I could link you to 11 billion gallons of Greenland Ice melt this year, but it doesn't seem to affect the ocean level….
    Coat- " The Earth is in the wobble phase, it only takes a degree or two to make these changes happen, it's not a carbon dioxide problem. There's is nothing but time that can change it, we will experience these changes for long periods of time, don't let the left tell you differently. See how we are not in a perfect orbit either, in winter we are closest to the Sun, and in Summer we are farthest away from the Sun, and another degree of tilt to that, because of wobble, and that is the story of climate change.

    Sol- " Wobble sure, there is nothing worse than a wobbling planet, and a species that loves skyscrapers, and electric bills..the Co2 only traps more heat against the surface of the earth, the surface where there are lots more black asphalt parking lots, and black asphalt roofs, and automobiles that exhale the stuff.. Sure the wobble caused all this for billions of years but now we have a new creature to deal with, a weather Man has hit the stage

    Coat- " The Moon is the only thing that saved us "

  45. I told myself that I would try to keep an open mind about this presentation but I find there is a lot of hot air and little of substance. I also find it to be very condescending.

  46. The picture on my profile is a 60 year old jetty, on an island 80 km off the coast of Western Australia.
    The family that built this jetty put an annual extreme low tide marker and a high tide marker.
    The water mark and natural erosion of the timber are still at the exact spot of the high tide marker.
    In this location of the world the sea level has not increased in the last 60 years. Maybe some countries are sinking from being so piled up with bullshit!

  47. Ahem. Sorry about upsetting the good doctor but…

    Nobody told Sydney Harbor. Land prices are higher than ever there by the way.

  48. At one point in history, the Earth was hotter than the sun. Literally, the big bang. We have no control over it.

  49. Give a shout when you see the current SLR triple its yearly rate, or greater. Until that time SLR will never pose a threat to anyone.

  50. We were studying climate change back in the mid 80's. This IS happening, AND while we have the stupidest greediest meat sacks possible in positions of decision making power. A QUANTUM ecological policy shift on a GLOBAL scale needed to begin 20 years ago, 20 million climate refugees have ALREADY migrated, climate change has a definitive tipping point with exponential factors involved which I fear we're looking at in the rearview now, soooooo judging on past human history…..we're screwed folks. You kiddies on the coasts grab your floaties, the rest of ya invest in short pants, broad brim hats and fan futures.

  51. We will all starve from ecosystem collapse and loss of habitat for growing grain at scale long before sea level rise reaches its peak. In a hundred or a thousand years the ocean will wash over our dead cities and our bones will eventually be buried under silt and sand. Bon voyage!

  52. I really wanted to see this and I am sure there is plenty of good info, but you are boring me to tears!.  Keep saying what you are going to talk about but don't get to it.  I just can't waste my time.  I will look for a better presentation

  53. Who is paying this person to push more untruths. Diabolical fear-mongering. There has been no measurable searise over the past thirty years, look at your own beach. Yes the weather is different, yes the old volcanoes are irrupting but Human caused CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with it. The true Geo. Scientists will point to the sun as the cause as it passes through it's natural cycles effecting the atmosphere of all the planets not just earth. Carbon credits are a crock to fund 'their' dictatorship World Order, are we going to allow 'them' to get away with it? Let us all investigate Truth for ourselves eh.

  54. Wowee John is making some cash off this climate change stuff. It would be in his best interest if sea levels were rising if you catch my drift.

  55. If you really want to discuss man-made global climate change SCIENTIFICALLY, the first requirement is to describe an experiment to test the hypothesis…a step, somehow all of these so-called "scientists" seem to have forgotten.

    AGW is an untested hypothesis, nothing more…and a badly flawed one at that.

    Doctored temperature data, qualitative proxy data, self-confirming computer models , and gross assumptions do not a climate crisis make. Three times the entire temperature data set has been "adjusted" by these "scientists," curiously the invariable result is lowered early temperatures and elevated later temperatures…three times…that's propaganda, not science. Such data treatment emphasizes the alleged "unexpected" rise in temperatures over the last 150 years

  56. Sea levels are obviously not rising enough to be a threat, if at all. Such a joke that this can even be argued when the evidence is clear right before our eyes. The seas are not rising.

  57. A great fiction novel that includes the doctored data used to convince rising sea levels is "Time line" by Michael Creighton. Peace!

  58. Here`s the part where the Glass is half full – A professional Engineer would answer the question by telling you the glass is simply made too large, he will then bill you for the difference . Check out the Other Side of The equation if your mind is sill open, if it isn`t then start Treading Water.

    Piers Corbyn Gobal Warming
    Patrick Moore Ex Green Peace Prof.
    Steven F. Hayward,

  59. Humans weren't responsible for Doggerland. Therefore, we aren't responsible for the current climate. Also, recording weather is a relatively new thing…

  60. Coastal cities need to start making property owners properly dispose of and recycle the materials in abandoned buildings. That stuff is going to in end up in the water in a lot of coastal cities. Look at Miami in Florida. Also the resulting run off pollutants. A humans life span is a blink compared to the cycles of the earth. Gods, WISH I could be around to watch the deserts turn green again. Sahara, Mojave, Gobe.

  61. Here is what's next. The people who choose to live below sea level will be required to pay for it rather than the rest of the world. The rest of the world cannot afford to pay for retards who choose to do so.

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