The Sierra Club of B.C. has committed the biggest climate change-related PR blunder of the year with a press release and (very cool) internet graphic showing Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, drowning under sea-level rises of six to 25 metres.
The latest estimates of pending climate catastrophe suggest that a six-metre sea-level rise is possible by the time our grandchildren are facing down old age. But a 25-metre rise is likely hundreds of years away, even in a worst case scenario. Suggesting otherwise merely gives ammunition to the deniers who say (accurately in this case) that crazed environmentalists are stirring up public hysteria without any regard for scientific fact.
As it happens, the Sierra Club story, reported prominently in the Victoria Times Colonist and, appropriately, much less so in the Vancouver Sun, has created an opportunity for the inveterate climate change denier, Dr. Tim Ball, to take to the airwaves on one of Victoria's biggest radio stations and - with perfect credibility - dismiss the Sierra Club alarmists as ninnies.
The DeSmogBlog set out a year ago to call attention to public relations abuses in the climate change debate. It happens that most of those offences are committed by people like Dr. Ball and similar Friends of Science, who travel around on oil industry expense accounts claiming that anthropogenic global warming is either a myth or is too expensive to stop. They claim that the whole story has been trumped up by fear-mongering environmental groups.
Usually that charge is ridiculous. On this dark day, it looks undeniable.