Egg on Their Faces: The Maldives Still Above the Waves 30 Years After Environmentalist Prediction

On September 26, 2018, all 1,196 Maldives Islands will be under water, or so our environmentalist betters told us in 1988. Next week, the Maldives will go "poof," just like Atlantis. Here's the thing — the islands are actually getting bigger, and the climate alarmists have egg on their faces.

Daniel Turner, president of the pro-energy group Power the Future, had some fun with this prediction. "THIS IS NOT A JOKE. STOP LAUGHING. We have 7 days to rescue all the people and the living creatures. Call Noah and have him build another Ark. Bring out the Coast Guard. Send all the boogie boards and floaties you can find for the Maldives is going down in 7, 6, 5, 4..."

Turner doesn't really believe that the Maldives will sink below the waves next week. Anything is possible, but the best science is very much in favor of the Maldives' future as islands, not sunken lands.

"The earth is alive and it changes and it moves," Daniel Turner told PJ Media on Friday. "It’s just a little bit presumptuous that mankind can change it and controls it."

He noted that there are a "tremendous number of factors" influencing global climate, and outlandish predictions almost always turn out to be false.

Turner noted Paul Ehrlich's infamous predication "that England will not exist in the year 2000." He joked that Queen Elizabeth II, "age 92, is fighting to outlive Mr. Ehrlich, age 86, just so she can get one last chuckle."

England is still here, and the Maldives are still here. As for the dire prediction, it was first published on September 26, 1988. The brief report, sent by Agence France-Presse (AFP) and published in Australia's The Canberra Times, made a specific prediction.

"A gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands within the next 30 years, according to authorities," the report warned. "The environmental Affairs Director, Mr Hussein Shihab, said an estimated rise of 20 to 30 centimeters in the next 20 to 40 years could be 'catastrophic' for most of the islands, which were no more than a mere above sea level."

The prediction got even worse, however. "But the end of the Maldives and its 200,000 people could come sooner if drinking water supplies dry up by 1992, as predicted," the report stated.

The year 1992 came and went, but the people of the Maldives did not die of thirst. September 26 is about four days away, and the islands show no signs of sinking.

In fact, National Geographic's Kennedy Warne reported in 2015 that the islands are growing, not shrinking. Warne spoke with New Zealand coastal geomorphologist Paul Kench at the University of Auckland's School of Environment. Kench worked along with colleagues in Australia and Fiji to study reef islands and rising sea levels.

"They found that reef islands change shape and move around in response to shifting sediments, and that many of them are growing in size, not shrinking, as sea level inches upward," Warne reported. "The implication is that many islands — especially less developed ones with few permanent structures — may cope with rising seas well into the next century."

Tragically, the more built up these islands are, the less likely they are to grow naturally. That said, it is simply not the case that rising sea levels will wash away the Maldives — and certainly not in the next four days.

Daniel Turner himself recalled two areas where the sea level has not noticeably risen in recent years. He did not suggest this was a scientific study to prove that sea levels are not rising, but the experiences are interesting.

"My parents would point to this spot where you could jump off the deck and into the ocean, when they were kids," Turner told PJ Media. Rockaway Beach "is now probably 500 feet long and it grows about ten feet a year, every year." That beach was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but the fact remains — the land has increased, not decreased, in recent years.

Similarly, the Power the Future president recalled, "I lived in Italy. St. Mark's Square has been flooding for 800 years, and the level's been pretty much exactly where it's always been for 800 years. I don't see how this sea level rise is happening.

Daniel Turner accused climate alarmists of making "these outlandish claims to scare people, to force policy change."

"When it comes to the energy industry, one of the reasons it's constantly under attack by the Left is philosophical," Turner suggested. "They do not like private industry," due to their "quasi-socialist beliefs."

The problem is, socialism ruins the free market, and the energy industry in particular. "All socialist countries nationalize their energy industry," he noted. He pointed to Venezuela, which has the third largest oil reserves, but is plagued by gas shortages.

Similarly, "California imports about 30 percent of its electricity because it cannot meet its mandates of renewable electricity." The state imports energy from Oregon, "which burns coal." In such cases, "all you're doing is burning those fossil fuels somewhere else."

However, the "ultimate proof" about the "fallacy of the climate change argument" isn't any failed prediction or political agenda, Turner suggested. Instead, this proof involves how climate alarmists live their lives.

Daniel Turner mentioned the lavish lifestyles of Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and Al Gore, who own (and keep the lights on at) multiple houses, fly across the country on private jets, and enjoy a high life powered by fossil fuels. Turner did not begrudge them their lavish lifestyles, but he did attack the hypocrisy.

"They don't live green lives, but they want government to impose green mandates," the Power the Future president quipped.

Despite all this — the failed predictions, the political edge, the hypocrisy — so many people reject skeptics as if they were the crazy ones. "When we point out inconsistencies, we're told we 'don't believe in science,'" Daniel Turner explained. "There's nothing more unscientific than the need to have 'belief' in science."

As for the Maldives, Turner plans to console them for their loss — or, should the environmentalists be wrong, which is of course impossible, congratulate them for surviving. Luckily, the country has an embassy in Washington, D.C., near where Turner is based.

"I'm probably going to bring flowers or balloons to the embassy in D.C. and congratulate them for surviving," Turner told PJ Media. Now that would be a sight to see.