Prediction comes true

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:31 am

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
    1. So according to Lean, it probably wasn’t the 2004 tsunami that wiped those islands that disappeared: it was the evil global warmering!

      Ocean currents my ass, NO islands disappeared before global warmening, didn’t you know?

      Posted by Firehand on 2006 12 24 at 11:15 AM • permalink


    1. the event took place back when Lean had hair

      Something tells me that hair, Mr. Lean, isn’t the only thing that “apparently vanished two decades ago.”

      I must say, that your name is completely apropos. Well not in the overstuffed sack under the chin way …BUT you know, don’t you Mr. Lean?

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 12 24 at 11:15 AM • permalink


    1. Oh good God. It’s a fucking river delta. These places have never been known for their stability, dryness, and unchanging quality.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 12 24 at 11:37 AM • permalink


    1. And whatever happened to Pangea?  I’ll bet gerbil warmongering was to blame.

      Posted by rbj1 on 2006 12 24 at 11:39 AM • permalink


    1. ”…but Lohachara apparently vanished two decades ago.”

      It’s all George Bush’s fault, I tell you! If Al Gore had been allowed to take his proper place in the White House this would not have happened.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2006 12 24 at 11:52 AM • permalink


    1. The BBC article – click on “ago” – says the land is subsiding and in another part of the article says the sea is rising.  In fact the article also describes the lands as “the world’s largest delta” which are notoriously subject to erosion.  Does anyone know what is going on?  BBC seems not to know.

      Posted by John Fembup on 2006 12 24 at 12:14 PM • permalink


    1. That’s not a scoop. That’s journalistic archaeology. What a doofus.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 24 at 12:31 PM • permalink


    1. Assume a sea level rise of 1.5mm/yr, that would mean that all of these island in danger from global warming are on the order of 5cm above sea level.  Their poor residents are in constant danger from the daily tide.  How can the morons who write articles like this be completely unable to understand the implications of what they write about?

      Posted by deadman on 2006 12 24 at 12:41 PM • permalink


    1. But it’s a story that has that odor of truthiness, ya know?  So it’s useful.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 12 24 at 01:08 PM • permalink


    1. likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime by global warming.

      That never stops being funny.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2006 12 24 at 01:09 PM • permalink


    1. Oh good God. It’s a fucking river delta.

      Just so, Andrea.  I figured that out when I read:

      ”…where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal…”

      Besides which, Bangladesh is pretty much one huge river delta (<grain of salt alert> 80% of the country is made up of fertile alluvial lowland called the Bangladesh Plain).  All of the islands are subject to erosion and similar losses…..without even considering any rise in the sea level.  It’s a natural process.

      Geeze, just how did Lean get so far in this world when he so effing clueless?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 24 at 01:20 PM • permalink


    1. And as deadman notes, even the ocean tides are a problem for those islands.

      God, Lean is such an idiot.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 24 at 01:22 PM • permalink


    1. So let’s see… The island is in the delta of a river system than drains 1/3 of the monsoon-soaked Indian subcontinent and is subject to routine flooding, storm surges and tsunamis from the Bay of Bengal.  But it was that Global Warming generated 2.8 centimeter ‘wall of water’ that devastated this bucolic paradise. This ‘reality based thinking’ can be tricky.

      Posted by Brentbo on 2006 12 24 at 01:42 PM • permalink


    1. “The original temple was devoured by the sea during British rule. A new one had to be built several kilometres inland, but now the sea is closing in on that as well.”

      British rule…, British rule… For the life of me I don’t know what British rule is. Is it an instrument to measure lenght? Hmm.. this is India right? British rule must have been before India’s independence from the British! I’m a genius! Google “India independence”… Yay! 8,806,000 hits! Choose the Wikipedia one…

      “On 3 June 1947, Viscount Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan. At midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation.”

      Oh boy! We did have rising sea levels due to globacial warmipedia in 1947! Who knew?

      Posted by ElectronPower on 2006 12 24 at 02:46 PM • permalink


    1. Why in the hell is some farmer still living in a “refugee” colony 22 years after the island (as it were) disappeared?

      Geez, the displaced people from Katrina all moved somewhere else and now are citizens of wherever the hell they moved to.

      What is it with all these seemingly permanent refugee camps in third-world countries, or is that all Bush’s fault somehow too?

      Posted by ushie on 2006 12 24 at 03:08 PM • permalink


    1. Ushie—and most of those places can’t wait for them to move back.

      And whatever happened to Pangea?  I’ll bet gerbil warmongering was to blame.

      Listen, buddy, the debate is over that glowball warmening is forcing the planet to expand and push the continents apart.

      It all started when Raquel Welch discovered fire in that movie, you know…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 12 24 at 03:16 PM • permalink


    1. Hey, I’m a chick, but all I noticed in that movie was Raquel’s fur bikini…

      Posted by ushie on 2006 12 24 at 03:27 PM • permalink


    1. Beavis, she said “fur bikini”, huh-uh, huh-uh.

      Posted by David Crawford on 2006 12 24 at 03:31 PM • permalink


    1. What is it about The Independent that grates on the nerves so bad?  I can read The Guardian.  Hell, I enjoy reading The Guardian, but I can’t stand reading The Independent?  How can two newspapers that come from the same part of the plotical spectrum, and have the same amount of moon-battery, and yet cause such different reactions?

      Posted by David Crawford on 2006 12 24 at 03:48 PM • permalink


    1. Well, The Guardian is at least occasionally funny (intentionally, I mean), while pretty much everything I’ve ever read in The Independent practically suffocated in its own faux-seriousness. Perhaps that’s it?

      Posted by PW on 2006 12 24 at 04:07 PM • permalink


    1. #13, I published your comment in A Western Heart and Crusader Rabbit.
      Not going to sue for copyright infringement, are you?

      Posted by Crusader-Rabbit on 2006 12 24 at 04:11 PM • permalink


    1. The Himalayas are rising and the Bay of Bengal and most of Bangladesh is sinking due to the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate.

      You can visualize the Indian plate riding up over the Eurasian plate and tilting to the south as a result.

      What we need is a concerted international effort to stop continental drift – shouldn’t cost more than a few trillion – and everything will be hunkydory.

      Buy your Rock Credits here. All forms of payment accepted. Every dollar will be invested in moving rocks from where plate tectonics is pushing them and returning them to the proper place they came from.

      You know it’s the right thing to do.

      Posted by phil_b on 2006 12 24 at 04:18 PM • permalink


    1. You global warming-denying wingnuts are all alike.

      If global warming is such a myth, then tell me what happened to the woolly mammoths, the woolly rhinos, the saber tooth cats? All gone because of global warming.

      And what of the disappearing glaciers? 10,000 years ago they covered most of North American and Eurasia, but they’re almost all gone now because you insist on driving an SUV instead of as Prius.

      Forward-thinking progressives, like Al Gore and Laurie David, have dedicated their lives to living in multiple homes and criss-crossing the globe on private jets—just so they can warn our children about how their families are destroying the world by driving cars and air conditioning their homes. But you troglodytes just don’t get it, do you?

      It’s for the children.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2006 12 24 at 04:34 PM • permalink


    1. If I buy the wool, will your mum knit me a mammoth?

      Posted by Crusader-Rabbit on 2006 12 24 at 04:50 PM • permalink


    1. You SURE he’s out of the coma?

      Posted by kae on 2006 12 24 at 05:26 PM • permalink


    1. #1 – “Ocean currents my ass, NO islands disappeared before global warmening, didn’t you know?”

      Here’s one that did and I was lucky enough to see Surtsey, its neighbour, in 1974. The claim of erosion in the link was the best scientific estimate at the time (1966) and is incorrect. We now know that its demise can be scientifically attributed to global positive/negative (delete as appropriate) temperature variations. Caused of course by emissions of the poisonous gas CO2 from Icelandic whale oil burners.

      Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 12 24 at 05:46 PM • permalink


    1. Don’t forget about Graham Island, which sank off the coast of Sicily in 1831—an early victim of global warming, no doubt.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2006 12 24 at 06:12 PM • permalink


    1. #22 What we need is a concerted international effort to stop continental drift

      Don’t we have one of the Blairites here already working on that?

      Posted by rinardman on 2006 12 24 at 06:39 PM • permalink


    1. #22 phil_b,

      You can visualize the Indian plate riding up over the Eurasian plate and tilting to the south as a result.

      At least the Indian is plate is tilting as she drowns her people.  She shows compassion.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2006 12 24 at 06:54 PM • permalink


    1. good grief, he wasn’t in a coma, he was dizzy from all the global flipflopping!  ok it made ME dizzy reading all the back & forth

      Posted by missred on 2006 12 24 at 07:09 PM • permalink


    1. Lefties rail against the excesses of the rich such as luxury ski resorts when there is snow, then get upset when there is no snow. They are the greatest hypocrites in history. Weathier than most people, they remain deeply envious of those who have more than them, be it riches, power or popularity.
      For them, it is better to have $50,000 if everyone else has $25,000 than to have $100,000 when everyone else has $100,000. By the way, I see Lean is also a jetsetter, unless his solar-cycle took him to Johannesburg.

      Posted by Contrail on 2006 12 24 at 07:28 PM • permalink


    1. If we had only elected Kerry last time, not only would that island still be there, but Christopher Reeve would be vacationing on it.

      But seriously, the problem is that Australia has become such a popular place to live that the added weight of all the new people is pushing the land down, thus raising the level of the ocean water.

      Posted by Merlin on 2006 12 24 at 07:58 PM • permalink


    1. I blame the Americans for Atlantis sinking.

      Exactly what are the emmisions like on the Tardis anyway?

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 12 24 at 08:39 PM • permalink


    1. #33 – by the looks of Billie Piper I’d say the emissions are silent but noxious

      Posted by bondo on 2006 12 24 at 09:26 PM • permalink


    1. We’re having a white Christmas here in summertime Victoria. Snow on Mt Buller is helping extinguish bushfires and woolly pullovers and cord pants have been retrieved from back of the closet. Awoke to hail and sleet. Bloody gorbal wormanizing!

      Posted by slatts on 2006 12 24 at 09:42 PM • permalink


    1. I guess that explains the Google Christmas theme of kangaroos knitting sweaters for Mr. Roo. (BTW, do male roos have pouches? Although I suppose that Google could be shilling for the new book Joey Has Two Mommies too.)

      Posted by andycanuck on 2006 12 24 at 10:26 PM • permalink


    1. Do environment editors have any scientific qualifications?

      Lean is simply wrong about the Sundarbans, the Carteret islands, and the vanishing islands in Kiribati – none have been or are being affected by any alleged sea level rise.

      I lived recently in Tarawa for three years, and can state unequivocally that the story about islands in Kiribati vanishing beneath the waves because of sea level rise is an environmental myth.  The islands in question are coral sand cays in the Tarawa lagoon, and the only changes have been caused by the construction of a 3.4 km causeway in South Tarawa which altered the pattern of waves and currents in nearby parts of the lagoon, thereby altering the size and shape of the cays.  But the islands are still above the water, even at high tide, and can still be visited.

      Posted by Kurmudgeon on 2006 12 24 at 10:31 PM • permalink


    1. Krakatoa? Global warming!
      Thera? Global warming!
      Atlantis? Global warming!
      Numenor? (Middle) Global Warming!

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 12 25 at 01:57 AM • permalink


    1. You can always count on learning something on this site, even at Christmas.  Until today I dod not know about Numenor.  Is that another volcanic eruption? Must say it is a rather Tolkinesque name.

      Posted by entropy on 2006 12 25 at 06:04 AM • permalink


    1. Krakatoa? Global warming!
      Thera? Global warming!
      Atlantis? Global warming!
      Numenor? (Middle) Global Warming!

      Global Warming?  George Bush!

      Posted by bondo on 2006 12 25 at 07:38 AM • permalink


    1. Is that another volcanic eruption? Must say it is a rather Tolkinesque name.

      It is, isn’t it.

      Global Warming?  George Bush!

      The Dark Lord’s influence reaches even Middle Earth!

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 12 25 at 07:46 AM • permalink


    1. Just to clear things up, Numenor was sunk by Eru due to the arrogance of its inhabitants, stirred up in part by Sauron. It’s Middle Earth’s Atlantis.

      But it’s all as truthie as the global warmping story gets!

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 12 25 at 07:53 AM • permalink


    1. It is a well-known fact that the distributaries of the Ganges Delta and constantly changing and islands are constantly appearing and disappearing. Read “The Ganges Pilot” or many other books on the subject going back hundreds of years. This report is either grossly incompetent or deliberate panic-mongering.

      Posted by McAnzac on 2006 12 25 at 09:12 AM • permalink


    1. #43: This report is either grossly incompetent or deliberate panic-mongering.

      No reason it can’t be both.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 25 at 05:44 PM • permalink


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