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Rising Seas Will Swamp Homes, Says Harrabin

October 26, 2018

By Paul Homewood


More overhyped nonsense from Roger Harrabin:




England’s coastal communities haven’t faced up to the reality of rising seas through climate change, a report says.

An increase of at least 1m is almost certain at some point in the future, the government’s advisors predict.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns this huge rise may happen over the next 80 years – within the lifetimes of today’s children.

A government spokesman said the public would be protected from the impacts of climate change.

But the CCC says current shoreline management plans are unfunded and hopelessly optimistic.

It estimates that by the 2080s, up to 1.2 million homes may be at increased risk from coastal floods.



Let’s look at the CCC report itself:





It starts by saying the obvious, that coastal communities already face threats from coastal flooding and erosion. They quantify this:


520,000 properties sounds a lot, but these are in areas with a risk of only 0.5%, ie once every 200 years. There is also does not appear to be any quantification of how severe such flooding might be.

As the report does point out, coastal flooding only occurs when the “sea water level is extremely high”, mainly during storm surges. By definition, these are very short lived and low impact events, certainly not in the same league as inland floods.

The BBC’s headline about “swamping homes” is irresponsible alarmism, that has more in common with “The Day After Tomorrow” than fact. Having a few inches of sea water outside your front door for a couple of hours is hardly Armageddon.

What is also notable is the the extremely low number of properties at risk from coastal erosion, despite the apocalyptic stories we often hear. Losing your home over a cliff edge is something nobody would want, but all 8900 households could be re-homed at a tiny annual cost, if spread over a decade or two.


But then we get to the nitty gritty:


In evidence, the CCC begin by showing the Woodworth et al graph.

Woodworth states that since 1901, the rate of sea level rise has been 1.4mm/yr, after allowing for land movement.


The rate of rise has not accelerated over the period as a whole, and sea levels have actually dropped in recent years (something not uncommon).

The 1m of sea level rise predicted by the CCC would take 714 years at this rate. Of course, some parts of England are sinking, but there is nothing the CCC can do about this anyway.

So where does the CCC get it’s “1m in 80 years” from, something that would mean sea level rise immediately increasing from 1.4mm to 12.5mm/yr?

It is in fact based on the much criticised RCP8.5 scenario, which assumes high-end emissions of GHGs.


RCP 8.5 has long been dismissed by scientists as being unrealistically high, even if there is no international agreement to cut emissions. The central temperature rise for RCP 8.5  has also been dismissed as unrealistic as well.

The more alarming projections also involve one outlier study by DeConto & Pollard. In contrast, most of the IPCC AR5 projections only represent a rise of about half a meter by the end of the century, something that is still well above the current rate of rise. Even IPCC’s RCP 8.5 only estimates sea level rise of 0.74m by 2100.


Even under the worst scenario of a 4C rise in global temperatures, the CCC only reckon that the number of properties at risk will triple. But this assumes that there will be no adaptation.

Given that we have a century or more to prepare for such an eventuality, it is hard to see that we would just sit back and watch the tide come in.

In practice, flood defences will be strengthened, areas close to the sea will be not be redeveloped, and instead new homes will be built on higher ground, maybe just a few hundred yards inland. And infrastructure will be made more resilient.

None of this is rocket science, and is the sort of thing we have been doing for the last century or so when sea levels have been rising.

None of this should need for the sort of blind panic recommended by the CCC, and would be much better handled by local communities in years to come, who will be in a much better position to assess the risks and plan solutions.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    October 26, 2018 3:44 pm


    Don’t tell potential buyers of properties at Sandbanks, Dorset – where properties for sale today include one bargain basement house at only £16m.

    Heck, £6m houses are two a penny.

    Some even have wonderful views of Wytch Farm.

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    October 26, 2018 3:50 pm

    The carastrophic, unprecedented etc coastal erosion story was covered by Sky News this lunchtime. The female news lead at one point stated “let’s now talk to two communities affected by climate change”. So the story switched to Norfolk and north Yorkshire where “climate change” is supposedly eroding cliffs back to houses that, of course, shouldn’t have been built there in the first place.
    It was apparently beyond the intelligence of Sky to point out that both locations feature cliffs largely comprised of mud (glacial deposits in the case of Norfolk and Yorkshire’s own Jurassic Coast in the other). It could have been worked out that muddy sedimentary rock + high tidal range + windy conditions to whip up the waves + rain to liquify the mud = slumping sediments + coastal erosion – processes that have continued unabated for thousands of years, as they in many parts of the British Isles and beyond. But no. Such GCSE physical geography is beyond Sky who have to invoke “climate change”.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 26, 2018 9:13 pm

      My wife’s family used to have a holiday cottage at Barmston south of Bridlington. Not only does the cottage no longer exist neither, in any meaningful sense, does Barmston.

      The Holderness coast is almost completely sand right the way back to Beverley, which is where the well-established and well-known erosion is likely to come to a halt. Spurn Point is where the sand ends up as the currents drive it south.

      Since I know personally that this erosion has been happening for at the very least the last 55+ years I feel well qualified to say that, yet again, the media are feeding us prime tripe!

    • Lezz permalink
      October 27, 2018 9:54 am

      Interesting reading from BBC Countryfile magazine:

      “Coastal flooding and erosion had destroyed most of the Norfolk village of Eccles by the turn of the 17th century. After a serious flood in 1604, the village was left with just fourteen houses, and flooding in 1895 destroyed the church tower.

      The Norfolk coast is infamous for being one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe, because of a mix of soft clay and the battering waves of the North Sea. Along the coast, a number of villages have been abandoned or lost due to the power of the sea. Local records suggest the villages of Clare and Foulness succumbed to erosion in the 15th century, while other villages lost include Ness, Keswick, Newton, Shipden and Waxham Parva”.

  3. October 26, 2018 3:52 pm

    RCP8.5…. report belongs in the bin.

    • October 26, 2018 6:43 pm

      Yes indeed; but unfortunately hysteria is very noisy, wherever you put it.

  4. Up2snuff permalink
    October 26, 2018 4:16 pm

    The BBC chose this morning to highlight on Radio4 the threat to Brighton in Sussex.

    I haven’t been to Brighton in a quite while but if I recall correctly the beach has a fairly steep drop over the shingle to the sand. The scenario that Roger Harrabin outlined, a one metre rise by 2100, would push the dead and dying seaweed up another metre but still have room before it over-topped the shingle, let alone up onto the promenade and over the road to the properties on the other side.


    The more they bring this into total disrepute, the better.

    Or is it?

    Are there wider implications for the whole of science and scientific endeavour?

    • keith permalink
      October 26, 2018 5:46 pm

      Living near Brighton, you are quite right. However, what would be a blessing is for the Green Council to disappear under the waves.

  5. Anthony permalink
    October 26, 2018 4:29 pm

    “BBC Environment Analyst ” ! Analyst, surely ?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      October 27, 2018 12:05 am

      There is another possible explanation for this B.S. Namely that Harridan is looking to buy a house near the sea. In Australia it has been noticed that Tim Flannery, Kevin Rudd and Julia Bishop all purchased houses (or adjoining land to existing residence) despite hysterical claims about sea rise and “greatest moral challenge of our times”.
      Perhaps Harridan is trying to lower prices?

  6. Peter Yarnall permalink
    October 26, 2018 4:44 pm

    I Stayed once at a pub in the Wirra,l on the banks of the Dee estuary. A once vibrant waterway now just a mere trickle of water down the middle. This criminal lack of dredging of a major waterway, if reflected across Britain, Europe and even the rest of the world MUST have a massive effect on sea levels.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      October 27, 2018 12:25 pm

      On the Dee estuary, there is the ‘seaside’ village of Parkgate, with its row of Victorian seaside houses, some with a traditional ‘widow’s walk’ on the first floor. Looking over the sturdy sea wall, one can see – miles and miles of salt marsh!

      • Peter permalink
        October 28, 2018 4:52 pm

        Yes, that is where I stayed!

  7. Alan Kendall permalink
    October 26, 2018 4:51 pm

    The railway along a cliff at Dawlish was also brought out by the 1pm BBC News today as another example of the damage likely to become more prevalent as a consequence of future sea level rise. Strange that, I don’t know another rail route along a UK cliff line. BBC has got good storm footage at Dawlish that they like to trot out at regular intervals.

    • October 26, 2018 7:10 pm

      “I don’t know another rail route along a UK cliff line.”
      here’s a few starters –
      North Wales railway at Llanfairfechan
      + Shakespeare Cliff near Dover
      + 1 in Northern Island
      + a few in Scotland

      • Alan Kendall permalink
        October 27, 2018 8:51 am

        I stand corrected. What I should have done was comment that the threat to the Dawlish stretch of railway is from storm damage, not flooding from higher sea levels. Unless it is argued that a higher sea level will be accompanied by more intense and damaging storms, there should be no link.

  8. John F. Hultquist permalink
    October 26, 2018 4:53 pm

    RCP8.5 scenario
    This nonsense is attributable (100% confidence) to the United Nation’s climate experts.

    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. ” Richard Feynman, 1966

    Your CCC should be sued for wasting money and falsely inciting distress.

  9. October 26, 2018 5:11 pm

    When I use any of the accepted rates and ask when we are going to see the multi-fold increase in rates, the responses are crickets or “scientists say and you can’t argue with scientists.” Even from a world known Ph. D. computer scientist. He just assumes that they are making honest, scientific appraisals.

    • dave permalink
      October 27, 2018 9:17 am

      “You can’t argue with scientists.”

      That is because they have spent 99.9% of their organized time, since the age of two, simply believing whatever they are told – ‘chalk and talk’ from the teacher, ‘read and parrot’ from the youth, with an occasional catechism.

      It is called ‘education.’ Which is a misnomer as ‘education’ literally means ‘drawing out what is already inside,’ not ‘filling up an empty vessel’ !

      Mentally we are closer to chimps than gorillas. Chimps learn quickly because they believe one other, as a matter of course, Gorillas do not believe anything unless they can test it for themselves. This does not always work well for them. I watched a hilarious film of gorillas “learning” from each other to use a rock to smash up nuts. The initial method involved holding the nut down with a foot and swinging a rock down hard. The first gorilla had figured it out that it was better to put a rock on top of the nut than a foot. The other gorillas watched everything and then decided to smash nuts. Each one in turn first used his foot! Only personal experience of sore toes made them emulate the first gorilla.

      Personally, I try to cultivate my inner gorilla, even at risk to my toes. The alternative is to be more prey to superstitions (ungrounded beliefs) and phobias (fears, often communicated from others) – which chimps do sometimes seem to suffer with.

      If you want to see a sudden display of egoism, hate, and nastiness, intimate to a ‘scientist’ that he knows little or nothing of scientific facts from personal engagement and thought.

  10. October 26, 2018 5:17 pm

    On the US side of the pond, alarmists are playing the same game, as shown by this graph of New York City.
    A study by Union of Super Concerned Scientists is aimed to frighten property owners on both US coastlines.

  11. keith permalink
    October 26, 2018 5:43 pm

    The usual bo****** from the clowns in the CCC, and of course fake news from BBC.

  12. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 26, 2018 5:43 pm

    There is a paradox here. The CCC is saying that the Government should spend lots of money to plan for future flooding in a scenario that assumes action to constrain greenhouse gas emissions is a complete and utter failure. So why is the British Government ploughing ahead with extremely costly policies to reduce UK emissions by 80% by 2050?

    • keith permalink
      October 26, 2018 5:51 pm

      Argh now, how do you expect to get an intelligent answer from the UK Government when it is devoid of any intelligence or common sense?

  13. Dave Ward permalink
    October 26, 2018 6:09 pm

    “An increase of at least 1m is almost certain at some point in the future”

    “The 1m of sea level rise predicted by the CCC would take 714 years at this rate”

    714 years is “some point in the future”, so they are correct!

    I’ll get my coat…

  14. October 26, 2018 6:20 pm

    It was 1304, Edward Longshanks was in the process of ruining his countries finances by building castles in wales, Englands economy was dependent on cloth exports. Coins had real gold in them,and we paid tax with sticks the peasant only worked 53 days per year and the rest were his own. The country was half owned by 800 monasteries, I know therefore one monarch who would have put all the people complaining to work making poulders to stop the greensurgency and fix the problem,in one swoop regardless of costs. . .

  15. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 26, 2018 6:29 pm

    In the projections of harm from climate change there is a common assumption. That of zero adaptation. In the case of sea level rise, there is no response at to those having more frequent flooding. Relative house prices or insurance costs are unaffected. People in at risk properties do not modify their homes.
    I call it the “dumb economic actor assumption”.
    Two other examples.

    Last week there was a new paper projecting that beer prices could double by the end of the century due to global warming. Under RCP8.5, barley yields were projected to fall by 17%. For this to cause beer prices to double requires two sorts of dumb economic actors.
    First are farmers not altering their crops despite changing conditions. The 17% projected yield fall was a global average with wide variations. One of the most extreme was along the US / Canada border. Around Calgary and Edmonton, projected yield falls were around the global average. A few hundred miles south in parts of Montana and North Dakota yields are set to double due to climate change. So why would the farmers in Montana and North Dakota not take advantage of the windfall profits from no effort and not expand output?
    The second was projected cost of a 500ml bottle of beer. The economic model projected that the cost of the same bottle would rise by about £1.70 more in Ireland than in the UK. Nobody would have the bright idea of shipping more beer to Ireland to take advantage of the extra profits, thus making the prices more equal.

    There was also the Environmental Audit Committee warning of 7,000 heat-related deaths by the 2050s. Most of the excess deaths were of the over 75s in hospitals and care homes. The dumb people who do not respond are the medical professionals and the those running care homes, who do not take extra measures in heatwaves, such as providing air conditioning, and making sure patients drink plenty of water.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      October 27, 2018 12:30 pm

      Get elderly patients to drink plenty of water? Isn’t that against the “Liverpool Pathway”?

  16. The Old Bloke permalink
    October 26, 2018 7:21 pm

    When Climate Change has been converted into a religion, you can expect to be preached to from the high altar that is the BBC. Harrabin is but one of many Apostles.

  17. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 26, 2018 8:06 pm

    After I posted about this BBC story on the other thread, I realized the same story more or less is in the Daily Mail today (and just about every other paper I expect). This is clearly all closely coordinated propaganda from a single source.

    The Daily Mail is now absolutely ridiculous, there are multiple stories every week quoting the 40,000 deaths a year statistic, in air pollution scare nonsense with a different twist every time.

  18. October 26, 2018 9:15 pm

    I wonder how Ofcom will deal with this type of article and the like, when it reports on BBC bias. Particularly when the explanatory response such as this is never aired. To me it is mindless and irresponsible fear mongering; but to Ofcom it may seem otherwise. Who knows? The CO2 virus is ubiquitous.

    • CCB permalink
      October 26, 2018 10:15 pm

      I have formally complained the the BBC of their Climate Change Cult Bias, but they just said that the majority of scientist agree (I’m a scientist and don’t agree with the CAGW BS, but wasn’t asked in any survey; since when did surveys determine any science I could ask!).

      The whole Science Politics And Money i.e. SPAM, maybe not be a SCAM (Science Corruption And Money) but just a way to ensure jobs in this area are protected.

  19. CheshireRed permalink
    October 26, 2018 9:45 pm

    Adrian Chiles on 5 Live gave this a 20 minute propaganda slot from 11am today. Spoke to two ‘experts’, both 100% onside for the impending catastrophe. Hardly asked a probing question throughout. Laughable hysteria yet again.

  20. October 26, 2018 10:37 pm

    Is this going to be a whitewash?

    Ofcom to review depth of analysis and impartiality of BBC news and current affairs output

  21. October 26, 2018 11:54 pm

    So we should cut emissions and moderate SLR?

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      October 27, 2018 4:55 am

      The future look of the chart will change as time passes and sea level changes very little. The red line will start at a later date and become more vertical. In 2090 it would have to be near vertical. Before then the end date will be moved to 2150 or 2175.

  22. Europeanonion permalink
    October 27, 2018 8:33 am

    As you will know from my previous postings I am no scientist. Yet, it occurs to me that if the planet is going to warm to the level of prediction in ‘models’ will there not be more water in suspension? This, to my simplistic understanding, would suggest amelioration of sea levels rises and more clouds, a broader albedo effect. Everything seems to have balance.

    • dave permalink
      October 27, 2018 9:26 am

      “Everything seems to have [dynamic] balance.”

      Or, at least, move off the balance point slowly in human time-scale.

  23. October 27, 2018 9:46 am

    O/T but have you seen this story?

    Note the ASA reached an agreement so Smart Energy doesn’t have to put a notice on their website!

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