We live on what is mostly a rather viscous ball of very hot and dense fluid surrounding a lump of iron – our world.
The bits we live on are mostly solid chunks which we call “land” floating on this gooey mess, bumping into each other, pushing over and under each other as they have done for billions of years and surrounded, marvellously, with a thin layer of another remarkable fluid - water - in what we call “oceans”.
On the surface - or very near it - there has been another marvellous development - it is called "life", in millions of diverse forms.
Sometimes the gluey stuff pops up through an ocean somewhere and solidifies and, if the conditions are right, billions of little life forms called “coral” form limestone rings around it. Then, as the geological record shows, and Charles Darwin worked out, most of these formations sink gradually back into the ocean, until nothing remains except the coral rings which continue to grow. We call them "atolls". If people decide to live on them, as they do, and prevent the continued growth of that coral, these atolls will sink back remorselessly into the ocean. This has nothing to do with alleged sea level rise. Conclusion: the Maldives are doomed; the Marshall Islands are doomed, Kiribati is doomed, etc., etc. by these natural processes.
Sometimes what pops up out of the ocean or indeed sometimes on land, usually under enormous pressure, consists of a large amount of gas (much of which we call carbon dioxide), ash and fine solids as well as the thick hot gooey stuff which we call “lava”. We call these natural phenomena "volcanoes". So much of this stuff is sometimes pumped into the atmosphere that it vastly exceeds that from we humans' little chimneys, no matter how many of them there are. A recent example is named "Mt Pinutabo". Sometimes these clouds of fine ash completely obscure the sun over wise areas, cause such great drops in surface temperature that crops wither and fail to ripen. People and grazing animals may starve. When a volcano called Mt Hekla in Iceland did this about 1700 years ago, this caused enormous distress in Ireland which they blamed on their gods whom they abandoned in favour of the new God of a man called Patrick and sure enough, with that change well under way, conditions returned to normal. None of this was human induced.
Now, sometimes as the solid bits collide; one or another may be pushed up and another pushed down so that of course the ocean floods it. This has absolutely nothing to do with alleged "sea level rise". And whether such land is pushed up or down, at the sea's margin which we call the “coast”, the water which is in continual movement owing to phenomena called "tides" and "weather", over which we have no control, washes back and forth and may erode that coast or alternatively deposit upon it material eroded elsewhere. We may construct seawalls or employ dredges to arrest such events but they are natural processes over which we have very little control and nothing to do with alleged human-induced global warming.
And in the oceans on some parts of the earth near what we call the “poles”, the water may freeze into sea-ice or melt according to the season but as Archimedes worked out more that two thousand years ago this has absolutely no effect on sea level itself. Sometimes that ice may form on land and slip into the sea, as observed on Greenland coasts but if such slippage is caused by volcanic action thawing the base of the ice, as is conjectured in Eastern Antarctica, so that it slips into the ocean, the consequent sea level rise is a natural phenomenon and human beings can do nothing to prevent it!
And meantime, the amount of radiation we receive from that very dynamic star to which we owe our very existence, the “Sun”, will vary over years, generations and millennia and accept this we must.
Now none of this excuses the wanton destruction of our precious planet’s resources by the greed of humankind – the pollution of our oceans by discarded plastic; the destruction of the rainforests of the Amazon and Indonesia to name but two current examples. It is to counter activities such as these that the energies of people of goodwill must be directed.
We are an intelligent species. Let it be, as has been said, that we direct our efforts to correct the those evils of the world which we can correct, the grace to accept those which we cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.
Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".