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Discussion > Matt Ridley at the Royal Society for GWPF

The next time anybody repairs the sea wall, if they were to be so far sighted as to put another 1 foot block on the top that should keep their little New England tootsies dry till 2100....

Complacent. Now multiply that cost by every sea wall in the world. And new measures for previously dry areas. Plus switching from underground aquifers to other sources of fresh waster as seawater intrudes. Plus more storm-surge damage.

And that's on the unlikely assumption that the increase is linear.

Without adaptation, 0.2–4.6% of global population is expected to be flooded annually in 2100 under 25–123 cm of global mean sea-level rise, with expected annual losses of 0.3–9.3% of global gross domestic product. Damages of this magnitude are very unlikely to be tolerated by society and adaptation will be widespread. The global costs of protecting the coast with dikes are significant with annual investment and maintenance costs of US$ 12–71 billion in 2100, but much smaller than the global cost of avoided damages even without accounting for indirect costs of damage to regional production supply.

Oct 20, 2016 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Keep going, Phil.

Maybe you'll convince yourself.

But the grownups are quite capable of understanding how much a foot is.

Oct 20, 2016 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Phil Clarke:

In case you get really stuck in your catastrophic fantasy, here's a handy 'guide to sea level problems' I wrote earlier

Sea level rises 10 feet in 10 seconds: Big problem . Tsunami. People die.
Sea level rises 10 feet in 6 hours : Normal tide. Nobody notices
Sea level rises 10 feet in 1000 years : Yawn (realist version). End of civilisation as we know it (Clarke/alarmist version)

Key learning point: People have legs. They move. They are not going to stand rooted to the same spot for 500 years until its Splutter Splutter, Glug Glug Goodnight Irene time..

And at the gradual rate of 1 foot per century, there's plenty of time to do so.

Much Ado About Not Much At All.

Oct 20, 2016 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

More complacency. Kinda hard to move houses. Some will move, others will adapt, my point was not the end of the world, you just made that up.

I merely observed that the adaptation requires rather more than adding a foot to a quay in Boston harbour. Novel I know, but you could always try reading the paper, where Tol et al estimate the costs of extra sea protection at US$ 12–71 billion in 2100. That paper excludes the increased damage from storm surge, btw.

Estimates of the true economic cost that might be attributed to greenhouse-induced sea-level rise on the developed coastline of the United States are offered for the range of trajectories that is now thought to be most likely. Along a 50-cm sea level rise trajectory (through 2100), for example, transient costs in 2065 (a year frequently anticipated for doubling of greenhouse-gas concentrations) are estimated to be roughly $70 million

Oct 20, 2016 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Entropic Man, have you seen footage of the Canvey Island flooding in 1953? The flooding and death toll in Holland was far worse.

Seafarers and those living near the sea, have understood Spring Tides for a long time, along with other phenomena that will cause the sealevel to rise higher than normal.

King Tides and King Cnuts. Nothing much changes.

Phil Clarke, how many miles of seawall would the money wasted on Gergis 2016 have built?

Oct 20, 2016 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

$71 billion in 100 years time (when our successors are likely to be many times richer than we are) is a relatively small sum.

And will be easily paid for, with change left over, from the increased photosynthetic productivity arising from more CO2 in the atmosphere that affects everybody in the no charge!.

On the scale of things to worry about, a sea level rise of 1 foot per century comes no higher than an inconvenient predictable gradual plannable nuisance...

Oct 20, 2016 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

1 foot ( or 30cm) is at the very bottom of the range of projected SLR, only possible with immediate and meaningful action on emissions reduction. Remarkable to observe support for that on this site :-)

Oct 20, 2016 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke, if that amount of sea level rise is going to happen, why are we wasting money on climate science?

If your 1foot "projection" is as trustworthy as the "projection" of global temperatures portrayed in Mann's Hockey Stick, it is safe to assume that nothing is going to happen, that has not happened before without mankind's intervention.

You and all of climate science have backed yourselves into a corner, and keeping digging holes deeper and deeper. Time to develop some honesty, before the 3% of valid climate science is also thrown out.

Oct 20, 2016 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Hmmm. Just remind me, just how large was the projection of temperatures in the hockey stick study?

Oct 20, 2016 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

I'm making no statement about any 'projections'.

One foot per century is the current observed rate of SLR

It's pretty insignificant... one standard housebrick per human generation. A mile of bricks costs only about £4000 at today's prices, even if you buy them in small quantities at a DIY store.

Phil Clarke and his cohorts of fear do their best to frighten us about it, but this ain't a big problem.

Let me guess, next they'll try renaming Ocean Neutralisation to something more scary

Oct 20, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Phil Clarke, let me remind everone what a load of lies and falsifications Mann's Hockey Stick remains. Phil Clarke's choice of scary numbers about Sea Level rise is just as reliable.

If taxpayer funding of climate science is cut by 97% now, will that change the longterm rise in sealevels? No.

Would there be more money available from taxpayers to spend on things that would benefit people other than climate scientists? Yes.

Oct 20, 2016 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


If he believes your version of events, please can you explain why Al Gore bought an ocean front mansion?

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark Hodgson

From his viewpoint it sounds a good deal while it lasts.

Al gore has perhaps ten years to live. His house should last that long.

He can then sell it Donald Trump, Latimer Alder or some other sea level rise denier. They will take the hit when rising sea levels render the house worthless.

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


+1 for humour!

However, in reality, only a fool would spend almost $9M on a house if he believed it would be under water in the next 10, 50 or even 100 years (or at least at risk of flood surges etc). If there was any risk of any of that it would seriously devalue the property. Now I know that Al Gore is wealthy beyond most people's wildest dreams, but people like him don't become that rich by being cavalier with their wealth.

All of which suggests to me that he doesn't believe the alarmism about sea level rises any more than Latimer Alder does. I'll start taking it seriously when the people who shout about it act as if they take it seriously too.

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Latimer Alder

A statistician has already described the fallacy in your argument better than I could.

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Mark Hodgson

He is an old man. Money is not his priority at this point.

As an old man myself, I fully understand his desire for a pleasant place to spend his declining years. What happens afterward is someone else's problem.

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


Maybe you're right. However, I have observed during much of my life that fabulously wealthy people tend to be incredibly careful about every investment they make. The more money people have, the meaner they often seem to be. So I doubt if Al Gore would be cavalier about an investment of almost $9M.

However, we are both simply speculating as to his motives. Neither of us can demonstrate we are correct. But I reserve my prerogative of judging people by how they act rather than by what they say.

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark Hodgson

As a sea level rise denier you KNOW that sea level rise will not devalue his house. Therefore you, or someone like you, should be willing to pay full market value for the house when Al Gore dies.

Or do you lack the courage of your convictions?

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


You shouldn't be so quick to judge. If you search this thread (and indeed my entire blogging history) I have made no such denial. I simply question things. Besides, I do not have $9M, and I have no desire to live in the USA!

Al Gore apparently disregards his convictions. It must be nice to be rich enough to be able to afford to do what you would advise others against doing...

Oct 20, 2016 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

EM, if you believe an Open Mind is worth trusting about sea levels, go down to your nearest bit of coast and ask someone there. Harland and Wolff have been around for 150 years. Is the Titanic construction site underwater yet?

Oct 20, 2016 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf Charlie

You have the same problem as many sceptics. You are assuming that the 20th century is a linear guide to what will happen in the 21st century.

Oct 20, 2016 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM, no, you are forgetting that the 19th century was not the same as the 18th or 20th centuries. Or the 13th and 14th, or any others before or since.

The reason climate science forgets this history, is because the temperature differences can not be explained by climate science. So Mann bludgeoned and flattened history with his Hockey Stick.

Oct 21, 2016 at 12:59 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM, Is the Titanic's construction site at risk of flooding from rising sea levels?

HMS Victory has been in dry dock in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard since the 1920s. The dry dock was built long before then. It is 3 or 4 years since I was last there, but it looked ok to me.

The Bristol Channel flood MAY have been due to a tsunami, because there is an absence of other plausible explanations.,_1607

Why have sea levels risen and fallen in the last 2000 years, but on balance generally risen? If CO2 is the only plausible explanation now, what previously was the most plausible explanation, in centuries when it could have had nothing to do with CO2?

Why do you select sites where the surface of the land is dropping, to prove sea level is rising? History books state that the 12th century Cinque Ports of SE England were abandoned because "they silted up". This is wrong, as clearly the land has risen, faster than sea levels. Look at Winchelsea and Rye on Wikipedia and Google Maps (2 ports added after the original 5) You have been fed carefully selected and picked cherries.

Oct 21, 2016 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


You call me a denier?

For agreeing with Gavin Schmidt's NASA that the current rate for SLR is about 3mm per year?

Look again at the Boston tide gauge plot I presented..and argue with the NOAA about their methodology if you will...but don't claim I am 'denying' something

Meanwhile, I suggest both you and your anonymous statistician take a basic course in differential calculus. It is not new. Messrs Newton and Leibnitz pioneered it 350 years ago. I'd have thought it just might have filtered through to the climate concerned by now,

Perhaps it could be included in 'Alarmism 101 - Fear and Trembling for Bedwetters'

Oct 21, 2016 at 6:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder


If he believes your version of events, please can you explain why Al Gore bought an ocean front mansion?

Where is this property.? It cannot be his property on East Mountain Drive, Montecito, CA because the measure distance tool in Google tells me that is nearly 2 miles from the sea and at least 500ft above (current) sea level.

I am sure a good sceptic like yourself checks his facts, rather than just uncritically passing on lies, so where is this beachfront Real Estate owned by the Nobel and Academy Award winning politician?

Oct 21, 2016 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke