Google “Doggerland.” Look at the maps, read the articles about underwater archaeology.
At the peak of the last Ice Age, 20,000 years ago, the ocean level was 400 feet lower than now. Europe extended far out into the Atlantic; the British Isles were its highlands. The Rhine and the Thames joined and flowed into the Atlantic. What is now the North Sea was a fertile plain and the home of the earliest civilization. The oldest city now known is under the North Sea, about parallel with Scotland. It was flooded by the rising sea roughly 10,000 years ago. The people there were not hunters and gatherers after all. There were houses throughout the region, including along what is now the east coast of Britain. At some point, one researcher says, all of that was destroyed by a 300-foot-high tsunami. As the underwater explorations continue, European history will need to be rewritten, pushing it back to roughly 15,000 years ago. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that all of the above is known by every archaeologist, every geologist, every climatologist in the world. But why is it not common knowledge? We can tell from the geological record that the ocean level rose at about 3 feet per century for roughly 10,000 years, since then at about one foot per century ever since. Much Greek archaeology has to be done underwater, because the ocean level has risen 25 feet since the days of Pericles, and the coastal cities of that time are all down there.
We can also tell from the geological record that the ocean level has about 40 feet more to go to reach the level that existed at the last interglacial peak about 40,000 years ago. That is, at one foot per century, the ocean level will continue to rise for the next 4000 years. We humans are not powerful enough to change the climate of this planet. That’s what the Greeks called hubris, the deadly pride that killed Achilles. We are not causing the rise in ocean level or the increasing temperature—and we cannot stop it. All that the carbon-dioxide and other emissions are doing is speeding up that process a little, so that the ocean level will continue to rise for only 2000 years.
All our major coastal cities will eventually be flooded. New York’s subways flooded not only because of Sandy, but because the ocean level is a foot higher than when the subways were built. One can estimate that, at two feet per century, most of Manhattan will be submerged in about 1000 years. What is the long-term solution? Gradually rebuild the cities further inland and 50 feet higher, to allow for high tides. There will be worse storms. There will be flooding where no one has ever known of floods. There will be droughts destroying agricultural regions. The worst is yet to come. But likewise, we are not causing any of that, and we cannot stop it.
But what is the political agenda going on? Yes, there are some idiots claiming that the Earth is not warming up. They apparently also believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth—and around them. That’s not the point. Why are politicians proclaiming that we can stop climate change by recycling, by cutting factory and exhaust emissions, by other little changes that are almost infinitesimal compared to the energies rampant in our environment? No, I don’t know either, but I can reasonably suspect that something is rotten—not in Denmark; the Danes are saner than almost any other nation on Earth—but somewhere in the seats of power. The world’s de facto ruling class knows those facts of geology. They know we are not causing the climate change. So what are they up to? The idea that governments might have genuinely long-term agendas may seem laughable, but it is possible. It looks like the ocean level at New York City will be a foot higher than now by around 2060. Maybe the various levels of government can think that far ahead. They might try building a seawall or place a different bandage over the gaping wound.