Today I read this quote from an AP story:
It is not correct to say Sandy was caused by global warming, but “the damage caused by Sandy was worse because of sea level rise,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. He said the sea level in New York City is a foot higher than a century ago because of man-made climate change.
There’s just one problem with Oppenheimer’s statement. Sea level hasn’t risen a foot over the last century because of man-made climate change. It has risen some, but definitely not a foot. How do I know this? Because the total rise over the last century for global sea level rise is about 9 inches:
Not only has sea level not risen by a foot, but there is a natural component to this sea level rise. That’s because sea level has been rising for the last 20,000 years.
(Image from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise)
You can argue how much of the sea level rise was caused by humans, but you can’t honestly argue that a foot has been caused by humans over the last 100 years.
Michael Oppenheimer has to know this basic fact about sea level rise. He served as the chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, was one of the people who began the U.N. conferences that created the Kyoto Protocol, and is on the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Studies. So why he is breathtakingly ignorant about some of the basic science about climate change?