Welly submerged

In this case, Wellington City Council staff.  Here Stuff reports in this article about a bizarre ‘Virtual Reality’ computer program that the council has produced in which users can decide how much of a Waterworld they would like the central city to be.

It reminds one of a satirical piece that the VUW newspaper Salient published circa 1970 entitled “Petition for ye waters of Wellington Harbour to be raised 50 feet.”  At the time the ‘Save Manapouri’ campaign was being fought in ernest to stop a lovely South Island lake being made part of a hydo-power project.

Here, instead of 50 feet (17 metres), the WCC staff have decided upon something under 5 feet (1.4 metres) which they think, for whatever reason, the harbour water level might rise — but not until 2140, which is 121 years from now.

Er, right…  At least that’s more modest than Al Gore’s claim of 20 feet, or the 70 feet of TV One News.

And what might cause this rise in sea level?  You guessed it — that perennial foe, Carbon Dioxide.  And the city will stop that by reducing the city’s carbon emissions to zero within 30 years!

“Wellington city currently produces just under 1.1 million tonnes of carbon every year, after forrests have absorbed some what is generated.”

It’s just that there are some slight little problems with all this, in fact some quite big ones: among other things, it would probably only take some eruptions of Mts Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe  and Tongariro to cancel completely the city’s reduction of 1.1. million tonnes of CO2:

“According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually…”

But on the plus side, volcanoes also spew out into the atmosphere huge amounts of particulate matter, which has the effect of lowering world temperatures, not increasing them.  When Mt Tambora in what is now Indonesia erupted in 1815, it was said to have cancelled summer in 1816 around the world.  And there is this article on the Live Science website about how volcanoes might have caused an ice age.

If world temperatures did increase, then so would water evaporation.

Last but not least, if the sea level actually did rise, then why not just do what the Dutch have done for a very long time — build a dike?  Holland has about 26% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level…