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Sunday, December 24, 2006

PREDICTION COMES TRUE

Geoffrey Lean, the Independent’s environment editor, presents a global scoop of apocalyptic proportions:

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India’s part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

Terrifying! You’ll note, however, that Lean doesn’t tell us exactly when Lohachara vanished. Was it last week? A few months ago? Maybe we’ll find out later.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

It’s the domino theory of island obliteration! As environmentalists always warned, once Lohachara falls, that’s it for Egypt.

The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.

Got that right, Geoffrey. I can’t remember Lohachara ever disappearing previously.

Until now the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea were expected to be the first populated ones to disappear, in about eight years’ time, but Lohachara has beaten them to the dubious distinction.

By quite a margin, as it happens. Lean doesn’t say so, but Lohachara apparently vanished two decades ago. So much for Lean’s scoop; the event took place back when Lean had hair, and several years before he emerged from a coma. Some locals aren’t buying that global warming line, by the way:

Atanu Raha, director of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, said the islands were getting eroded by oceanic currents, not by rising sea levels.

“Erosion and accretion are natural phenomena. Across the world islands submerge and new ones emerge. This is natural,” Raha said.

Not according to Lean, who evidently believes all weather change is due to Meddling Humans. And that’s all change, whether towards cold or heat. In 2004, Lean reported that “Britain is likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime by global warming”. Two years later, he asked: “So where has all the snow gone?” There’s no pleasing Geoffrey.

UPDATE. This nonsense was republished in the NZ Herald.

UPDATE II. Lean has previously been convicted of sins of omission and other crimes against journalism.

UPDATE III. Jackalope Pursuivant: “I’ve seen worse cases of journalistic malpractice, but not much worse.”

Posted by Tim B. on 12/24/2006 at 10:07 AM
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