Guest “Scale and context” by David Middleton
I just noticed this 2019 Time magazine cover in a LinkedIn post this morning. CTM covered it back in 2019 when he reposted Michael Bastasch’s Daily Caller article highlighting the fact that Tuvalu has actually grown in area over the past fifty years, while it was supposedly being inundated by catastrophic sea level rise.
UN Chief Poses For TIME Cover Off ‘Sinking’ Pacific Island Nation That’s Actually Growing In Size
June 13, 2019
The newest TIME magazine cover features United Nations chief António Guterres standing in water off the island nation of Tuvalu, which the outlet called “one of the world’s most vulnerable countries” to global warming.
The photo, taken during Guterres’ four-country tour of Pacific nations in May, is meant to illustrate one point — that island nations are sinking in the face of global warming-induced sea-level rise.
TIME titled it’s Thursday cover story, “Our Sinking Planet.” There’s just one problem: Scientific studies show Tavalu’s islands, indeed most Pacific islands, have actually grown in the face of sea level rise.
[…]The Daily Caller
Mr. Bastasch thoroughly demolished Time magazines climate porn, but he never applied scale and context to the magazine cover. The Daily Caller article included a modified version of the cover, showing Mr. Guterres in nearly shoulder-deep water.
The actual cover only showed Mr. Guterres in knee-deep water. Either way, the implication seems to be that sea level was rising faster than Mr. Guterres could move inland, however there was still no context… How much had sea level risen while Mr. Guterres was standing there and how long did it take? As a geologist, I just had to apply scale and context to the photo… Whenever a geologist takes a photograph of a person, it’s only for scale.
Assuming that the Time magazine cover is implying that Mr. Guterres was standing at sea level before ExxonMobil caused the seas to rise so fast that he’s now up to his knees in catastrophic sea level rise, we should be able to calculate how long he had been standing there.
We need to know two things:
- Mr. Guterres height
- The water depth at his location
According to this source, his height is 170 cm (~5’7″). Using this chart of short actors from Quora, we can estimate that the water depth is ~1’6″ (~46 cm)… Mr. Guterres falls right in between Iron Man (5’8″) and Jack Black (5’6″).
So, now we know that sea level must have risen by about 46 cm (460 mm) while Mr. Guterres was standing there.
Unfortunately, Tuvalu doesn’t have a very good tide gauge record.
Fortunately, NOAA lists a tide gauge station about 4 miles southwest of the UN Headquarters at The Battery, with a continuous long-term record. Since Mr. Guterres probably spends more time in New York City than he does in Tuvalu, we’ll go with The Battery.
Sea level at The Battery has been steadily rising at the terrifying rate of 2.89 mm/yr since at least 1856.
At this rate, it would have taken just over 158 years for sea level to rise from the soles of Mr. Guterres shoes up to his knees.
- 457.2 mm ÷ 2.89 mm/yr = 158.20 yr
What would Mr. Guterres’ loitering for this photo op have cost the US taxpayer? The UN Secretary General’s salary is $227,253 per year. Amazingly, the Secretary General hasn’t gotten a raise since 1997. US taxpayers foot about 22% of the UN’s bill.
- $227,253/yr x 158.2 yr = $35,951,582
- $35,951,582 x 22% = $7,909,348
Compared to the return we normally get on our UN “investment,” spending about $8 million to relocate the Secretary General to Tuvalu, seems like a bargain.
What did Mr. Guterres have to say about climate change?
“We seem trapped in a world where fossil fuel producers and financiers have humanity by the throat. For decades, many in the fossil fuel industry has invested heavily in pseudo-science and public relations – with a false narrative to minimize their responsibility for climate change and undermine ambitious climate policies. They exploited precisely the same scandalous tactics as Big Tobacco decades before. Like tobacco interests, fossil fuel interests and their financial accomplices must not escape responsibility. The argument of putting climate action aside to deal with domestic problems also rings hollow. Had we invested earlier and massively in renewable energy, we would not find ourselves once again at the mercy of unstable fossil fuel markets. So let’s make sure the war in Ukraine is not used to increase that dependency. Today’s most pressing domestic problems – like inflation and gas prices – are themselves climate and fossil fuel problems”LinkedIn
What a load of horst schist!
Fossil fuels and cigarettes have one thing in common: They are both perfectly harmless until you stick them in your mouth and light them on fire. [Note to OCD commenters: Google “sarcasm” before making a dumb comment.]
Had we invested earlier and massively in renewable energy, we would not find ourselves once again at the mercy of unstable fossil fuel markets.LinkedIn
Investing massively in altering the laws of physics would have been as pointless as standing in knee-deep water for 158 years and scowling at ExxonMobil.
We’ve never transitioned from one form of energy to another; we just pile new sources on top of the old sources and use them more efficiently, with less impact on the environment. We burn almost as much biomass now as we did when we started burning coal; we just no longer rely on whale oil as a major component of that biomass.
Mr. Guterres… This is a plot of average global life expectancy overlaid on per capita energy consumption, mostly fossil fuel-derived energy, since 1800:
From 1800 to 1900, per capita energy consumption, primarily from biomass, remained relatively flat; as did the average life expectancy. From 1900 to 1978, per capita energy consumption roughly tripled with the rapid growth in fossil fuel production (coal, oil & gas). This was accompanied by a doubling of average life expectancy. While I can’t say that fossil fuels caused the increase in life expectancy, I can unequivocally state that everything that enabled the increase in life expectancy wouldn’t have existed or happened without fossil fuels, particularly petroleum.
Our modern society would not exist without fossil fuels and it would collapse in a heartbeat if fossil fuels were made unavailable and/or unaffordable.
Mr. Guterres… This is Data laughing at you:
Who the Hell is António Guterres anyway?
Apparently he’s a Marxist politician who has never held a real job in his entire life.
He attended the Camões Lyceum (now Camões Secondary School), where he graduated in 1965, winning the National Lyceums Award (Prémio Nacional dos Liceus) as the best student in the country. He studied physics and electrical engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico – Technical University of Lisbon in Lisbon. He graduated in 1971 and started an academic career as an assistant professor teaching systems theory and telecommunications signals, before leaving academic life to start a political career.
Guterres’s political career began in 1974, when he became a member of the Socialist Party. Shortly thereafter, he quit academic life and became a full-time politician. In the period following the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974 that put an end to Caetano’s dictatorship, Guterres became involved in Socialist Party leadership…Wikipedia
For many years Mr. Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group’s vice-president from 1992 to 1999, co-chairing the African Committee and later the Development Committee. He served as President from 1999 until mid-2005. In addition, he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council as well as the Portuguese Consumers Association DECO, and served as president of the Centro de Acção Social Universitário, an association carrying out social development projects in poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, in the early 1970s.United Nations
Mr. Guterres and the editors of Time magazine have jointly earned a Billy Madison lifetime achievement award.