'Skeptical Environmentalist' Doubts 'Underwater Manhattan' Global Warming Scenario

May 18th, 2009 7:18 PM

One of the tricks in the global warming alarmist playbook over the years has been to show how global warming will cause sea levels to rise and flood the low-lying coastal areas where population centers happen to be, specifically lower Manhattan in New York City.

However, the imagery used by Al Gore in his "An Inconvenient Truth" and by various other global warming made-for-television specials isn't scientifically accurate according to Bjørn Lomborg, author of "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming."

Lomborg was asked by Gene Epstein in the May 18 issue of Barron's if it would be "smart to prevent global warming as soon as possible -- to avoid seeing Manhattan under 20 feet of water in ten years?"

"That makes for vivid imagery, but it isn't what the science is telling us," Lomborg said. "According to the thousands of scientists the U.N. asked to evaluate the data, the sea-level rise between now and 2100 will be somewhere between six inches and two feet -- not 20 feet -- with most estimates around one foot."

But even if this doomsday scenario were true, Lomborg contended it's too late for a preventive measure as such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade legislation to take effect. And anyway, people would build the necessary infrastructure to keep sea-level rise from interfering with day-to-day life.

"And if it really were true that Manhattan will be 20 feet underwater in 10 years, there would be no time to reverse global warming anyway," Lomborg said. "Once Manhattanites witness the first three feet of sea-level rise in three years, the only sane thing would be to build dikes. And let's remember that you don't have to see the dikes. The Dutch don't normally see their dikes or feel surrounded by them. Not that many of the scientists who have looked at the data expect that kind of catastrophe."

The tactic of suggested Manhattan would be underwater due to the effects of global warming has been one used on repeated occasions in the media. Aside from former Vice President Al Gore using it, CBS's "The Early Show" host Harry Smith has used it and more recently, NBC's Lester Holt used such imagery in his MSNBC special, "Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World."