Sorry, Guardian and Reuters, Island Nations Have No Climate Case

From ClimateREALISM

The Guardian and Reuters, along with other mainstream media outlets and news services, are covering a “landmark” hearing in a case a group of small island nations are bringing to have carbon dioxide emissions from developed nations considered pollution under the Law of the Sea treaty, requiring countries to take action to prevent or mitigate emissions. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not pollution but rather is a naturally occurring gas necessary for life on earth and is not toxic at levels more than 10 times what they are today. Nor does data show carbon dioxide emissions are driving dangerous ocean or weather conditions which specifically threaten island nations justifying them having standing to bring a lawsuit.

The Guardian story, “Small island nations take high-emitting countries to court to protect the ocean,” and Reuters article, “Island states seek climate protection from Law of the Sea,” are just two of the news stories today covering a case brought by the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS), which includes as members, the Bahamas, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Antigua, and Barbuda among other small island nations.

As The Guardian describes it:

In a landmark hearing, small island nations disproportionately affected by the climate crisis will take on high-emitting countries in a court in Hamburg, Germany, on 11 September, in what is being seen as the first climate justice case aimed at protecting the ocean.

During the two-day hearing, the nations – including the Bahamas, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Antigua, and Barbuda among others – will ask the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos) to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions absorbed by the marine environment should be considered pollution.

Most countries have obligations under the legally binding UN convention on the law of the sea to take measures to prevent, reduce and control marine pollution.

If the case, brought by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS), is successful, these obligations would include carbon-emission reduction and protection of marine environments already damaged by CO2 pollution.

Foremost among the claims made by COSIS is that rising CO2 is: causing sea levels to increase at a rapid rate threatening to swamp the islands; producing more extreme weather; and acidifying the seas. Each of these claims is false.

Concerning rising seas and island nations, Climate Realism has published multiple posts showing that island nations are not being swamped by rising seas, herehere, and here, for example. Indeed, data shows that they are expanding in size, development, and population.

Nor is purported CO2 induced climate change causing worsening tropical storms threatening islands survival, as demonstrated in Climate Realism reports here and here, for instance.

Also, contrary to COSIS assertions, the world’s seas are not becoming dangerously acidic due to rising CO2. This idea has been thoroughly refuted by the EPA’s own data and by other research as presented herehere, and here.

In short, COSIS’ Law of the Sea claims raised in the international court in Germany lack merit. COSIS can’t show that increased carbon dioxide is a pollutant because it is necessary to life and not toxic at any foreseeable levels. Nor can COSIS demonstrate that increased CO2 it is causing dangerous climate change in general, much less that it is producing any of the specific harms which they cite as evidence of climate damage, because none of the problems they claim are occurring are, in fact, taking place.

H. Sterling Burnett

H. Sterling Burnett

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burnett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland’s Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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September 18, 2023 6:16 am

a group of small island nations are bringing to have carbon dioxide emissions from developed nations considered pollution under the Law of the Sea treaty, requiring countries to take action to prevent or mitigate emissions.” But no doubt a “small” donation of a few $billion annually will suffice, direct deposit, prime ministers account

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Greg61
September 18, 2023 9:01 am

Greg, the islands are live coral and they grow upwards with sealevel rise. Drilling on Bikini Atoll prior to the US atomic bomb test in the 1950s, they encountered 120 meters of coral ‘rock’ before entering volcanics at the root of the island. This is because, since the last Glacial Maximum about 15,000 yrs ago, sealevel has increased 120 meters or so.

A study done comparing WWIi airphotos with mod satellite imagery showed that nearly all the islands had expanded significantly in area. The coral and its eroded debris (sand) are the calcium carbonate you refer to.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 18, 2023 9:03 am

Oops this reply is for sean2828 below

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 18, 2023 12:18 pm

That recalled my old Latin lessons “non sequitur”!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 18, 2023 1:02 pm

No worries, or as Canadian’s of my generation are more likely to say “no probs”

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 18, 2023 6:12 pm

Well, you know, the core samples from there and a comparison study of photos would make a very trustworthy measure of sea level – unless the volcano under was growing or collapsing… nevermind.

September 18, 2023 6:23 am

Considering that calcium carbonate minerals form in warm shallow seas, their growth is likely an indication of warming. Perhaps they should be selling carbon offsets for permanently sequestering CO2 using evidence of their growing islands as viability of the process.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Sean2828
September 18, 2023 9:07 am

Sean, see my comment above

Tom Halla
September 18, 2023 6:23 am

That is the plot McGuffin in Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, that the vanishing atolls theme is bogus.

general custer
September 18, 2023 6:33 am

If the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea should find for the plaintiffs, who will enforce the terms of that decision? What are its possible terms? Will it demand no further use of fossil fuels by any signatory nation, including the plaintiffs, lowering of ocean water levels or simple financial damages? If these or other remedies aren’t made will some super-national entity use force to ensure compliance? Will NATO invade China or the US freeze the bank accounts of oil companies?

Bryan A
Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 6:55 am

As current emission levels are of far more concern than historic emissions (most of which are already taken up by carbon sinks) will they truly be targeting the greatest current emitters? China is responsible for fully 1/3 of total global emissions annually and the 5 BRICS namesake nations are responsible for almost 1/2 of the total annual global emissions.
I’ll believe it’s not just to target western nations when China and BRICS start paying equally.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 18, 2023 6:16 pm

It not just to assign blame for fake damages.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 8:06 am

Oh bother – details, details…

Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 9:13 am

Interesting observations General.

Similarly, I was just reading an interview with the Alberta environment minister who is confronting the Trudeau government’s irrational energy and environment legislation.

She challenges them to explain what all rational planners / policymakers must address in their proposals –

“And then what?”

Seems to me that all these Net Zero / renewable energy power boondoggles are avoiding the “and then what?” answers.

September 18, 2023 6:36 am

I’m always confused by the sea level rise claims, because they seem to disprove the GHG theory, not support it. The IPCC says that human-caused GHG emissions are very likely the main driver of global mean sea level rise since 1970. But I’ve looked at dozens of sea level graphs on the NOAA site for places all over the world and so far I haven’t seen in any of them any trend change corresponding with rising GHG emissions in the middle of the 20th century. What’s the deal with that? I don’t understand why I should believe the IPCC and not my own lying eyes. I don’t understand how GHG emissions can be endangering islands when there is no GHG signal in the sea level records.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  gc
September 18, 2023 6:59 am

There are a fair number of variables involved in rising sea levels.
Melting of land ice and glaciers, and thermal expansion of water probably the two main ones.
However, water has its highest density at 5’C, not sure what it is for salt water, and there after expansion is non-linear. How those two combine along with the alleged more water in the atmosphere I’ve no idea. But I’ve often wondered myself

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 18, 2023 7:13 am

Thanks Ben. I do appreciate my own ignorance on the subject, but even with that acknowledgment I can’t help but notice how miraculous it would be if it all lined up so that the rate of sea level rise after 1970 was about the same as it was in the 100 years before 1970 and yet in the former period it was mostly due to a bunch of factors other than GHGs (call those natural factors) and in the latter period it’s mostly due to GHGs. That truly would be a remarkable coincidence wouldn’t it? It makes me very skeptical of the IPCC claim.

Bryan A
Reply to  gc
September 18, 2023 7:04 am

They have a magic 8 ball.
“Oh Magic 8 Ball is all the sea level rise since 1972 due to human emissions of CO2?”
8 Ball replays
“Signs point to Doubtful”
Spin Doctors indicate 8 Ball response as
comment image

Reply to  Bryan A
September 18, 2023 7:13 am

Yeah, that seems about right.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  gc
September 18, 2023 9:41 am

A little while ago on here, I ‘published’ one of my better Random Thoughts…

I started with the Yellow River (China) and how it is ‘yellow’ because of all the silt/sediment it carries and obviously dumps into the ocean

Just roughly remembering, it has an annual flow averaging 51 cubic kilometres and each cubic metre of water that flows is carrying 35 kilograms of sand/soil/silt/sediment

  • taking the average rainfall over ‘dry land’ (770mm per year)
  • assuming that dry-land rivers are carrying just half the load that Yellow River does
  • that ‘dry-land’ covers 30% of Earth’s surface
  • taking the density of sand/silt at 3 tonnes per cubic metre

I got that the total global average figure for sand/silt being dumped into the ocean to equate to (using Archimedes principle) a depth of 1mm covering the entire surface area of the world’s ocean

Is 1mm roundabout the generally accepted figure for ‘Global Annual Sea-Level Rise’?
If it is, CO₂ is thus proven to be doing exactly Diddly Squat and it calls into question the entire theory of GreenHouseGases

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 11:05 am

one of my better Random Thoughts”

Well, that’s a matter of opinion, innit.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 12:30 pm

Peta, I hope your simplified reckoning has not been simplified merely to simplify your arithmetic! Are you sure that your figure of 35 kg of silt per cubic metre of water is correct ? Seems an awful heavy load for only 1 square metre of 1mm thickness. Perhaps it is all gold, which no doubt those island states are wishing for? I concur with Jeff Alberts’s comment below!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
September 19, 2023 4:11 am

1mm thickness? I’d have thought a “cubic metre” was defined as 1m x 1m x 1m – that could easily carry a whole lot of sediment! If 1m cubed of water weighs 1 tonne (as I believe it does – dashed consistent, the metric system) then a 35kg load is 0.035% of the wight of the water.

Reply to  gc
September 18, 2023 3:37 pm

Perhaps this will help

Have Sea Level Rise Data Been Faked? Altimetry ‘Corrects’ Non-Trends To Show Rapid Acceleration (

Satellite sea level fabrications appear to caused by a series of “adjustments”.

That is where the false message of sea level rise acceleration comes from.

general custer
September 18, 2023 7:36 am

case no. 31: Ms Phillipa Webb, Professor of Public International Law, Kings College, London

general custer
Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 7:38 am

The case took place in Hamburg, Germany.

Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 9:18 am

You sure it wasn’t at Bings Bollege Bambridge?

(wot a silly bunt)

Reply to  Mr.
September 18, 2023 9:54 am

And now for something completely different

Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 12:31 pm

I sympathise with Mr. Webb!

September 18, 2023 7:37 am

I would think that evidence of these islands building more airports for tourists to fly to would be proof enough they don’t believe in sea level rise caused by CO2.

September 18, 2023 7:55 am

Just so you guys can see the level of spam sophistication we sometimes deal with.

Reply to  Charles Rotter
September 18, 2023 8:42 am

What I find really sad about that is the spammers keep doing it because it actually works. Enough to make it worth it for them.

Reply to  Tony_G
September 18, 2023 10:46 am

Are you claiming you can actually read the image of what Charles claimed is a representation of “spam”?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  AndyHce
September 18, 2023 11:03 am

Click on it.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 18, 2023 11:44 am

Thanks, Jeff.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 18, 2023 12:42 pm

And, after you click on it and see a clear image, click on the lower right “X” to avoid being sent from where you were in the “comment” to being sent back to the main page.

September 18, 2023 8:45 am

They consider burning wood to be… er, acceptable.

Are they really going to declare exhalation as pollution? I think they will – if they can get away with it

Reply to  strativarius
September 18, 2023 10:47 am

Yes, life is the enemy.

Gunga Din
Reply to  strativarius
September 18, 2023 1:04 pm

I just did a quick search but couldn’t find it.
Some years ago there was a video done by … CFACT? … asking people at one of the CliSy meetings (in the middle east?) if they would be willing to wear a gas mask to sequester their own CO2.

September 18, 2023 10:41 am

One Marxist agenda is to convince minorities that they are victims of others’ success. When convinced they turn into useful idiots. Once Marxism takes over they realize everyone under Marxism is reduced to the lowest common denominator and they’ve not only gained nothing, they’ve lost the chance to ever succeed themselves. That is NetZero in a nutshell.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
September 18, 2023 11:48 am

You missed something.
To paraphrase Animal Farm, “Everyone will be Equal. But some need more Equality than others.”
In other words, we drive EV Yugos, they fly private jets.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 18, 2023 11:51 am

Make “Equal”, Equity.

September 18, 2023 12:16 pm

One day, maybe, one of these court cases will be heard in a court where the decision-makers have sufficient knowledge to demand that the protesters show some real PROOF that their theories are correct. In the meantime, I live in hope but not expectation – realising the pathetic state of education almost everywhere!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  mikelowe2013
September 18, 2023 6:06 pm

What’s a judge going to make of climate alarmist “CONfidence levels”?

If I was the judge, it would look like guessing to me, not established science fact.

Gunga Din
September 18, 2023 1:11 pm

You’d think that by now at least one of those island nations would be gone
(Wasn’t a Super Moon supposed to have wiped out Tuvalu a decade or so ago?)

September 18, 2023 1:34 pm

The tide gauges around Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia show falling sea levels. We are informed that isostatic rebound is causing the land to rise slowly. Surely the ocean floor around these countries is rising as well. If so, then what happens to the ocean that is displaced in this process.
Just asking, that’s all!

September 18, 2023 1:48 pm

These people are nothing but a bunch of freeloaders trying to make a buck off of those better off than them. They need to grow some cojones and demand China pay up since China is the biggest emitter. I want to watch.

Edward Katz
September 18, 2023 2:17 pm

Would anyone expect The Guardian to claim otherwise?

September 18, 2023 2:21 pm

Maybe the court will find the Islanders will need to stop sucking up the ground water which causes land subsidence.

Clarky of Oz
September 18, 2023 2:40 pm

I may be simplistic but one has only to look at the sea level data from tide guages installed by Australia’s BoM at several south sea island natins. Vanuatu for instance to see little if any rises over several decades. Also if these places are serious surely they would ban all fuel burning craft from visiting their shores and all fuel burning generators providing their electricity. SL

Bill Pekny
September 18, 2023 3:28 pm

Well said as usual, Sterling. Clear, concise, appropriate, and useful. Thank you.

September 18, 2023 9:57 pm
Roger Collier
September 19, 2023 7:27 am

I can recommend “A Pattern of Islands” by Sir Arthur Grimble for its descriptions and photographs of Kiribati and Tuvalu. These should hint at the extent of land loss in the past century.

Walter Sobchak
September 19, 2023 2:19 pm

The Phippines sued China to prevent China from claiming and weaponizing islands in Philippine waters. The court ruled in favor of the Philippines. China ignored the judgment.

Good news, the US is not a party to the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and won’t be affected by this “case”.

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