Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Take a number, ABC catastropharians

Another day, another island nation being swallowed by rising seas, and another mendicant minister with a travel allowance jet-setting to our shores, where rattling the climate-change cup can be quite lucrative. This time it is Marshall Islands dignitary Tony De Brum, who appears to have been welcomed at the airport by a phalanx of ABC worrywarts, all eager to report further symptoms of the world’s imminent demise.

First in line was Mark Colvin, who gave De Brum unfettered access to his microphone, not once bothering to question the visitor’s assertion that his homeland of atolls and sandbars has never seen the like of recent flooding.

MARK COLVIN: And you've also had huge storm surges?

TONY DE BRUM: In the south.

COLVIN: Very, very high tides?

That's correct. We have had to shut down our airport because of these tides - three large portions of the seawall that keeps the saltwater off of the runway in the main airport, there were three breaches, one as long as 100 feet.

COLVIN: Has this happened before? I mean do you think this is about climate change? Is this new, all of this?

DE BRUM: Absolutely! I've lived almost 70 years in the Marshalls and I've never seen it before.

Bear in mind De Brum’s “Absolutely!”, and his claim that he has never before witnessed such flooding. It was a claim repeated to the next ABC reporter in the queue, Radio National’s Gregg Borschmann, who skipped that bothersome stuff known as “research” and allowed himself to be led sheep-like to the Marshall Islands' palm-fringed gates of doom. 

The Borschmann item went to air only an hour or so ago, so there is no link to post as yet, which would seem to indicate a mis-allocation of resources at the ABC, where a third reporter was sent to commiserate with De Blum, this time Radio Australia’s Jemima Grant. Had one of those seekers of truth stayed behind at the studio, Borschmann’s soggy pathos would have been available online by now. Apart from demonstrating why Fairfax is doomed – how can it possibly compete with a public broadcaster so flush with cash it is able to assign three reporters to the same trifling story? – the intense interest in broadcasting De Blum’s alarums also illustrates just how low are standards at the national broadcaster.

What none of De Brum’s ABC promoters bothered to report is that flooding in the Marshall Islands is the norm, not the exception, and has been for quite some time. De Blum swears the recent floods are unprecedented, never before observed in all his almost three-score-and-ten.

The is nothing new about high tides in the Marshall Islands, as UNICEF noted a decade ago:
Although the [Republic of the Marshall Islands] is not considered part of the typhoon belt, it is highly susceptible to flooding and tidal surges.
And the most jaw-droppingly brazen thing about this beat-up by a trio of the ABC’s catastropharians?

Why, the ABC had earlier reported the truth: that the worst flooding was in 1979, and that comparable inundations were experienced in 2006 and 2008! Listen to the audio from June 25, as the torrents still raged.

No mention of climate change in that initial report. None whatsoever. Just an honest islander’s acknowledgement that feet are apt to get wet on his little plot of paradise when a big ocean swell combines with tides driven by a “super moon”.

From the ABC this is what we get for a billion-plus dollars a year: a little, perhaps accidental, outbreak of truth, but quickly buried by groupthink and the approved lies.

UPDATE: Andrew Bolt is also on to this, and he has a very interesting chart.


  1. Where is the ABC Fact Checker?

  2. So how does the ABC "Fact-Checking Unit" work on this? Does the FCU exist? Are they all out to lunch, or in this case seeing as the programs are in the evening - out to dinner?

    If the facts are wrong - as they certainly seem to be - does the correction get equal air time on the next edition of the show? It would be quite amusing listening to the so-called journalist repeating "I must do basic research" x number of times.

  3. David of the RiverinaJuly 31, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Majuro airport is largely built on fill. That fill was prone to erosion and subsidence, which is why the seawalls were built. The airport, other major landfill sites and a string of causeways may have sped the efforts of the sea to reclaim the Marshall islands. It is a problem that predates global warming theory and alleged rising seas.

  4. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 31, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Someone should tell him that tourists won't come if he keeps advising them that they have to land in a swamp and cavort below seawalls. This is not the way to promote your low-lying islands. Would someone please send him to Holland where they know how to reclaim land, fight off the sea and develop a culture and economy that is proudly independent rather than mendicant to the fetishes of ABC non-journalists