Environmentalists tend toward simple strategies, such as locking in the next 40 years of carbon policy right now based on a magic number like 80% by 2050. That’s a hard sell and they get frustrated. Then they try scare tactics and then they start believing their own rhetoric. Here’s an example.
A hundred fold exaggeration
Ross Gelbspan, one of the best known and most prolific popularizes of global warming has a chapter claiming that certain islands in the South Pacific are being flooded by the ocean rising a one foot per year. I found this a bit odd, since everywhere else it is rising about 1/10 of one inch per year. And since water seeks its one level, we can’t very well have a big mound of water in the South Pacific. As it turns out, Gelbspan had simply misread the newspaper report he had posted on his own website. Hence the 100 fold exaggeration. (full story)
Al Gore too
Unfortunately, Al Gore fell for this story as well. He has a picture in his book of waves crashing over such an island, and there is no way to interpret his text except to mean that the photo is showing the actual effect of global warming that has already occurred. This is complete nonsense, as he could have found out by contacting James Hansen, the leading environmentalist climate scientist, who specializes in sea level rise.
Why this is disastrous
This and many other environmental exaggerations are disastrous not because they will scare us into taking un-needed drastic actions. Just he opposite. What environmentalist need more than anything is credibility, and such exaggerations destroy credibility. In the long run, it is completely counter productive, as is all of the left extremism.