The Final Years of Majuro—Are a Long Way Off

Guest post by E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D

Refuting climate alarmists’ counterfactual claims is like playing whack-a-mole. Smack this one here, and ten others pop up there, and there, and there, and ….

Majuro town centre aerial view, Central Business district, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Oceania, South Pacific Ocean. Delap, Uliga, Djarrit villages. Azure turquoise atoll lagoon, blue tropical skies

In the climate apocalyptic video propaganda category, the newest seems to be The Final Years of Majuro, posted to YouTube August 4.

The film tells us, with all the authority of “science,” that the Marshall Islands (of which Majuro is the capital city), will disappear if global average temperature (GAT) rises beyond 1.5°C above pre-industrial times.

Since this is a claim about the future, it cannot, of course, be the finding of empirical observation—the essence of science.

So where does it come from? Well, we might be forgiven for thinking it comes from nothing but unhinged emotions.

The climax of The Final Years of Majuro comes with Marshall Islands poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijner reading aloud a tear-jerking letter to her newborn daughter, about the imminent disappearance of their beloved islands, in front of delegates to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 21st Conference of the Parties, in Paris in 2015.

(That’s the conference that gave us the Paris Climate Agreement, full implementation of which would cost some $70 to $140 trillion and prevent 0.3°F of warming by 2100—a bargain price of $23.3 to $46.6 trillion per tenth of a degree.)

The video then cuts to her saying, “I think poetry forces people to slow down, and connect to the emotion of the issue, rather than just facts and data ….”

Alas, emotion isn’t the stuff of sound science. Facts and data matter. So where does the claim really come from?

It comes from mathematical models that integrate the knock-on effects of carbon dioxide emissions, global average temperature, and sea level. (And a lot more, but these are the ones most relevant to this topic.)

It’s already widely known that climate models grossly exaggerate the warming effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Indeed, the newest ones, which one might have thought would have been improved after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on them, actually do worse than the last ones.

But that’s not quite to the point. The Final Years of Majuro simply says the Marshalls will disappear because of sea-level rise if GAT rises more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial times. It doesn’t say how quickly that will happen, though the ominous implication is that it’s going to be soon—very soon.

But ten years ago, Cliff Ollier, of the School of Earth Environment at the University of Western Australia, one of the world’s leading scholars on sea level and its effect on low-lying islands, published “Sea Level in the Southwest Pacific is Stable.” Examination of tide gauges found that “any rise of global sea level is negligible.” Further, Ollier found that the prevailing theory of how sea-level rise would affect coral atolls “would suggest that we should see more land subsidence, and apparent sea level rise, than is actually occurring.”

So, the claims of rapid, threatening sea-level rise are themselves counterfactual.

The question remains, though, whether raising GAT to 1.5°C above what it was in about 1850, however long it takes, will cause sea level to rise such that low-lying coral atolls like the Marshalls will be submerged.

But wait a minute. Isn’t the answer obvious? If sea level is rising at all, must not the islands be drowning, even if not so fast as some claim?

No. Why? Because sea-level rise isn’t the only thing happening in the world—even in the world of low-lying atolls.

Two other things are happening that counter the effect of sea-level rise: coral growth, and increase of land through wave-driven deposition, also called accretion.

As sea level rises, corals grow upward to stay within reach of the sunlight necessary for them to live.

At the same time, currents and waves move some material from the surrounding sea floor onto land.

True, they also remove some.

The relevant question, then, is, “What’s the balance?” The answer depends not on assumptions or theories but on empirical observation. If physical measurements show that an atoll is expanding rather than contracting, even while sea level is rising, then accretion must be outpacing erosion.

Two years ago, Virginie K. E. Duvat published “A global assessment of atoll island planform changes over the past decades.” She found

Over the past decades, atoll islands exhibited no widespread sign of physical destabilization in the face of sea‐level rise. A reanalysis of available data, which cover 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, reveals that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted. … no island larger than 10 ha [“the minimum island size required for human occupancy”] decreased in size.

In other words, sea-level rise posed no threat to inhabited islands.

Last year Ollier and colleague Albert Parker published “Pacific Sea Levels Rising Very Slowly and Not Accelerating.” Citing Duvat, they concluded, “The Pacific Atolls are not drowning because the sea level is rising much less than what was once thought.”

In short, empirical observation contradicted claims of rapid sea-level rise and shrinking coral atolls—including in the southwest Pacific, where the Marshall Islands lie.

So, residents of Majuro, and the rest of the Marshall Islands, and of Tuvalu and Kiribati and the Maldives and other poster children of climate alarmists’ sea-level rise scare, you can breathe easier. The final years for your islands are not imminent.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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August 5, 2020 10:19 pm

Perhaps if they arranged an extensive outdoor poetry reading in Majuro it would force back the waters and save the Marshall Islands from immersion. It would be rather like a rain dance but with the opposite effect.

Edward Hanley
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 5, 2020 11:44 pm

Poetry readings – great idea! If the audience is large enough, their collective tears should raise the sea level 30 or 40 centimetres. Salt water. No environmental impact.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 6, 2020 4:14 am

I need to compose more poetry to stop the islands becoming submerged. Send me the money.

Reply to  Alba
August 6, 2020 4:46 pm

Your poetry must be particularly bad. – Yes, that was a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference.

August 5, 2020 10:49 pm

I suggest Senator Hank Johnson be one of the poetry readers.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 5, 2020 11:04 pm

Fortunately that clown was only a US Representative (Congressman) not a Senator.

August 5, 2020 11:03 pm

It isn’t a coincidence that there are hundreds if not thousands or coral atolls all fairly close to sea level and keeping up with SLR. Darwin noted that about 175 years ago. In addition, all sea level is local, and relative to land rising or falling. And then there is the planetary Geoid, which governs sea level gravitationally from the density of the magma below the Earth surface, mountain ranges and the ice caps such as Antartica and Greenland all tugging on the ocean surface height locally. If all the ice in Greenland melted, (which is gravitationally drawing up the ocean around Greenland due to its gravitational mass) the sea level in the North Atlantic around Greenland (from about Ireland to Maritime Canada) would actually go down or stay the same, while that additional water would tend to migrate towards the equator and finally to rise more on the opposite side of the planet from where it melted. The global ocean is not a bathtub, and everything changes everything. It is much more complicated than thermal expansion, or ice melting and water frozen in an ice sheet or glacier that creates sea level. It is actually a fascinating subject and very unfortunate it is being used as propaganda to the ignorant in a sick sales campaign.

Jonathan Scott
Reply to  Earthling2
August 8, 2020 7:37 pm

You picked up on most of the points, bravo! However Eustacy and Isostasy are not the same thing. Sea level is only ever relative to a datum point on land and one or both can move in either direction. The fact that the climate circus deliberately ignores the movement of land relative to the sea to promote their scary stories is deliberate. What is an atoll? The answer is that it is an extinct volcano. We know a lot about the planet but there is still an incredible amount we do not understand or can only guess at. The Earth consists of a number of layers, like an onion. The outer two layers are the Crust (Upper and Lower) and the next layer down, the middle bit is the Mantle. I have spent a very interesting part of my career looking at the behaviour of the outer layers. Constantly positioned Mantle plumes for example are the origin of volcanic island chains where the oceanic plates move relative to a stationary hotspot. Hotspot activity like most things in the Universe is not constant but pulsed. This can be described mathematically as a wave but let us not get into discussions of universal wave theory. When a pulse of magma rises, so does the Lower and Upper Crust of the Earth above it. A volcano forms, builds and builds above the seabed until it appears above the waves. This process continues and an island forms and all is hunky dunky and funky until the pulse of magma stops. Now two things happen. Firstly the main forces active on the volcanic island become erosion not accretion. Secondly as the heat source has stopped (and is moving away due to plate movement) the volcano begins to subside due to isostatic readjustment. Also with no net accretion the volcano is quickly ( in geological time) planed off. The edges of that planed off surface offer an idea place for corals to form and as more of the top of the volcano subsides then more area is provided for the coral to colonize. Now, coral grows towards the sun. Seal level is NOT constant and goes up and down. One of if not the main cause of the infamous coral bleaching occurs when the coral has grown up too close to the surface and then sea level drops, exposing the coral to sub aerial exposure and lots of sunburn! The geological record is full of bleaching events in preserved corals. OK back to the atoll. Atolls sink. That is what atolls do. Atolls end up with another name and that is Guyot. These can be found hundreds of meters below the present sea surface…often with fossilised coral reefs around their rims. The essence of the tale is that it is a fight between the coral growing up and the atoll going down and geological history, empirical data shows us that the atoll always wins in the end on its way to becoming a Guyot. This is well known and well documented geology. How come this empirical data based science did not find it’s way into the knowledge base of the climate circus? Is it because it does not agree with the fact free narrative?

Joel O'Bryan
August 5, 2020 11:06 pm

mods, can you please find where comment #3048691 got sent?

August 5, 2020 11:06 pm

“connect to the emotion of the issue, rather than just facts and data”

I’m seeing this idea in a lot of diverse places. Denigrating facts and data is starting to look like trend. Next, a meme and then a movement? Somebody at this moment may be working on an expressive name to capture the essence and energize the concept.

Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
August 6, 2020 5:46 am

Even as we speak, STEM courses and Mathematics are being castigated as colonial, patriarchal and racist.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 6, 2020 8:00 am

Isn’t also the name “Marshall Islands” colonialist, racist, and a few other ists?

Jonathan Scott
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 8, 2020 7:49 pm

I had a naughty thought. Do you think those delusional useful idiots seeing themselves as the new Aryan Race who are running with this nonsense claiming to reject all products of the white male patriarchy will also reject medical care, complex treatments and drugs as they were discovered and developed by that same white male patriarchy when unfortunately they get sick? I think we all know the answer to that question and the dangerous brute politics which underlies their agenda.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 19, 2020 1:42 pm

Jeff Alberts August 6, 2020 at 8:00 am

Isn’t also the name “Marshall Islands” colonialist, racist, and a few other ists?


Who else than racist colonialists could rob the proud communities of their traditional self uphold cultural developments.

Same as the greek narratives about conquering and settling the aegis. From euboea to thracia.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 19, 2020 2:00 pm

The eastern Caroline Islands, like the Marshall and Gilbert islands, were probably first settled from the area of the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and Fiji sometime before 1000 BCE. Archaeological and linguistic evidence suggests that the earliest migrants worked their way up the chain of islands to the east and gradually spread westward from the Marshalls. Pottery dating to about the 1st century CE has been found in Chuuk, and artifacts of similar antiquity have been unearthed in other islands in the east. The languages of the area, with the exception of Yap and the two Polynesian outliers, Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro atolls, are closely related to one another and show striking similarities to Vanuatuan tongues.”

Says: they started from the same linguistic roots. But ceased to talk one to another.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 19, 2020 2:19 pm
paul rossiter
August 5, 2020 11:34 pm

But …., but…., if there is no chance of our islands disappearing then we wouldn’t be able to milk larger nations for billions of dollars in aid. This post must be de-platformed at once!!

August 5, 2020 11:46 pm

Heck when I was there in the 90’s the road was a 2 lane, pothole filled smelly crushed coral nightmare… The way to get land was to dredge the lagoon and Ta Da acreage. The crescent shaped island is between 50′ to 200 yards wide and is 30 miles long. The houses and businesses have 2 water lines one is rain catchment from the airport runway, the other is seawater for flushing the toilets.. The nicer homes had their own rain catchment tanks…
The diving and fishing are absolutely fantastic.
Oh I almost forgot, the Islands depend on welfare, in the 90’s they were on the tailend of all the atomic testing we’re so sorry we blasted the crap out of you funding , Bikini and Eniwetok, are close by, again we are sorry we bombed you, have we have paid you enough yet.
So now they are chasing hard on the fake sea level rise.
It’s rural and about as far away as one can get and still be on planet earth… Majuro is where the Equator and the International date line meet.
Viewing the updated photo minus the buildings the island and lagoon look exactly the same .

Wolf at the door
August 6, 2020 12:21 am

Climate scares_ “Never mind the quality feel the width.”

August 6, 2020 12:42 am

See also the various works of Paul Kench on the response of reef islands to sea level rise.

August 6, 2020 1:36 am

Wow – Now I finally have a sink for my tears of laughter to fall!
– into the deep blue sea
– that is beckoning, beckoning me!
Haven’t laughed so much at a post since I don’t remember
– possibly it was during the last month of September –

Great post and comments

August 6, 2020 2:16 am

Geology 101. The best way to kill corals is to expose them, not to drawn them the y have the nasty habit to keep up with sea leveL rise. Just ask Darwin

Climate believer
August 6, 2020 4:07 am

According to worldometers the population of the Marshal Islands is forecast to rise from 59,190 (2020) to 75,365 (2050).

Shouldn’t they be all leaving?

Reply to  Climate believer
August 6, 2020 10:45 am

Webbed toes, slightly webbed, will be enough for this generation.
Perhaps in a score generations, they may need webbed fingers, too. Or not.
Gills are likely unneeded!
The Ice will come before gills will be needed.

[No – not Snark! At All!]

Reply to  Climate believer
August 7, 2020 9:59 am

Shouldn’t it be impossible to buy any homeowners insurance there too? Who would want to insure anything doomed to SLR?

August 6, 2020 6:01 am

Sea level is not rising. We are just recording compaction of sediments as evidenced by no rate change in sea level. The only points that measure absolute sea level change are stations located on basement or old solidified rocks like in the Sydney harbour.

August 6, 2020 6:41 am

The Maldives have also been very active in demanding money to deal with the impending rise in sea level. Strangely enough, they are also currently constructing several new airports. It’s almost as if they know seal level isn’t actually rising.

Curious George
August 6, 2020 7:35 am

Shouldn’t Youtube remove it as wildly misleading?

Jeffery P
August 6, 2020 9:34 am

It doesn’t matter if we counter the climate change mongers’ assertions with facts. The warministas will keep repeating their bogus claims anyway.

A person can only be persuaded by facts to the extent their beliefs are based upon facts.

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Jeffery P
August 6, 2020 12:58 pm

Joe Biden admitted he prefers “truth” over “facts”. It’s time to re-define the meaning of words, again.

August 6, 2020 9:55 am

More than mere poetry, lets have a miserable song for the doomsters AGW fear-mongering advocates everywhere —
(With apologies to The Big O — Roy Orbison/Webb)

“Warming — It’s Over”

Your warming don’t love you — anymore.
Cooling days before the end.
Whispered secrets in chilly wind.
Your ‘carbon’ won’t heat you, any more.

Chilly nights before winds cry,
Bring stinging hail stones that fly.
Your warming doesn’t want you anymore…
It’s over.

It breaks lefty-hearts in two,
Now warming been so untrue,
But what can CO2 do?
When it’s freezing to you,
There’s a climate anew,
We’re through,
We’re through.
It’s over. It’s over. It’s over!

All the rainbows in the sky,
Weeping snow then say bye-bye.
You won’t be seeing rainbows any more.
Sunny whiteouts make you fall,
Frost at sunrise, that is all.
But you’ll see icy sunsets after all.

It’s over.
It’s over.
It’s over!
It’s O-OVER!!

Tom Abbott
August 6, 2020 10:01 am

From the article: “The question remains, though, whether raising GAT to 1.5°C above what it was in about 1850, however long it takes, will cause sea level to rise such that low-lying coral atolls like the Marshalls will be submerged.”

The claim is that 2016, the “Hottest Year Evah!” reached 1C above the “average” 1850-to-present temperature. The year 2016, was one-tenth of a degree warmer than the year 1998, which makes it a statistical tie for the warmest year in the satellite era.

Hansen said the year 1934, in the United States, reached a temperature that was 0.5C warmer than 1998 (and 2016).

So, in order to reach 1.5C above the 1850-to-present “average” temperature, we would have to match the temperatures of 1934 (in the U.S.).

My guess is it will be a while before we see temperatures like the 1930’s again. Temperatures are currently trending down after 2016, about 0.4C lower now than then.

UAH satellite chart:

The Hansen 1999, U.S. temperature chart:

comment image

Btw, all the regional Tmax charts from around the world, have a very similar temperature profile to the U.S. surface temperature chart, i.e., they show it was just as warm in the Early Twentieth Century as it is today. They demonsrate that CO2 is not the control knob of the Earth’s atmospere.

John M Reynolds
August 6, 2020 2:11 pm

As Dinesh D’Souza says, we need to make our own powerful narrative as too many do not listen to the facts

August 7, 2020 2:56 am

I think one can do a Susan Crockford here and note that, according to some records, we’re already past the Armageddon point of 1.5 degrees C. In spite of this, if that picture is up-to-date, it looks like Majuro (like the polar bears) is doing just fine.

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