(Investigator 179, 2018 March)

1970 Realization

My first realization that ocean-levels will rise and threaten coastal cities around the world came in 1970, and it came from the Bible.

No news reports that I saw at that time and no acquaintance ever mentioned ocean levels.  No one considered the topic important.

Worldwide realization

"Already, 30 per cent of the world's population experiences potentially deadly temperatures for at least 20 days every year." (Pickrell 2018)

Today the whole world has heard of climate change and sea-level rise. Scientific investigations and news reports about this topic by thousands have been published. Climate conferences and summits attended by crowds of politicians, entourages, scientists and journalists have made worldwide headlines — Kyoto 1997; Bali 2007; Copenhagen 2009; Durban (South Africa) 2011; Rio 2012; Warsaw (with negotiators from 190 countries) 2013; New York 2014; Brussels 2014; Lima 2014; Paris 2015; Bonn 2017.

Governments, politicians, climate scientists and scientific journals everywhere now take seriously the threat of ocean levels rising. Weather records by thousands have toppled and we've had countless reports like this one:

Last month marked the hottest March in modern history and the 11th consecutive month in which a monthly global temperature record was broken… (The Australian April 21, 2016, p. 9)

A heatwave centred on France killed 70,000 in 2003. In the US "extreme heat caused more fatalities between 1978 and 2003 than earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes combined". A heatwave in Britain in 2006 cost the country $400million per day. (McIntyre 2006) And Time magazine's cover announced: "BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED". (2006, April 3)

At the Bonn (Germany) summit in 2017:

•    Angela Merkel, German chancellor, told the nations of the world, "Climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind – it will determine the wellbeing of all of us."

•    António Guterres, UN secretary general, referred to hurricanes in the Caribbean and said: "The catastrophic damage of climate change is upon us... "

•    Emmanuel Macron, president of France, declared: "The fight against climate change is by far the most significant struggle of our times."

TV reports on storm damage in Sydney in 2016 showed seafront properties undermined by the ocean and portions falling downwards. Higgins (2016) reported that owners: "are now locked in a fierce legal and regulatory battle with insurers and authorities."

The problem is who to blame and hold liable when insurers don't cover "acts of the sea":

1.    Real-estate agents who fail to emphasize the risks?
2.    Local government for not building sea-walls?
3.    State government for zoning the area for houses?
4.    Current owners for deciding to purchase at at-risk locations?
5.    Previous owners for selling?

Queensland's Gold Coast beaches have seen costly efforts at beach-protection by trucking in sand. Otherwise the beaches would vanish and tourism decline, followed by coastal buildings getting undermined. In Darwin the Council has started building sea walls.

In Australia 250,000 homes are at risk if sea levels were to rise 1 metre. (Roddan 2016) In the US in such a scenario about 20,000,000 people would have to move inland.

CO2 and Methane

The surface of planet Earth is getting warmer because rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels caused by industry and deforestation trap more heat. In coming decades the heating effect of CO2 could be augmented by the release of methane from Arctic permafrost and Arctic sea floors as those regions warm up — and methane traps heat 30 times as effectively as CO2!

Higher average global surface temperatures in turn lead to rising ocean-surface levels because the higher temperatures:

1.    Warm the oceans leading to thermal expansion of the water;
2.    Increase the melting of ice at the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Climate-change has so far been mitigated because the oceans absorb both CO2 and heat. However, ocean warming has affected only the top 100 metres and whether deeper water will also get warmer is unknown.

International agreement in Paris (2015) to limit global surface temperature-increase to under 2oC by capping carbon emissions looks likely to fail.  New Scientist reported:

In July, the world's surface was the hottest it has been since records began … probably at its hottest since the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago… (20 August, 2016, p. 7)

The Weekend Australian, quoting Robert Watson, former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reported:

Earth is on track to sail past the 2C threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050, seven of the world's top climate scientists say…

Since 1990, devastating weather-related events such as floods, drought, more intense storms, heatwaves and bushfires due to climate change have doubled in number… (October 1-2, 2016, p. 3)

The title of Jeff Goodell's book (2017) states matters plainly — The Water Will Come Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World.

In Rolling Stone magazine Goodell says: "For me, my oh-shit moment was Hurricane Sandy, which spun into New York City in 2012." Goodell walked through sodden streets and, "I understood ... the power of water to destroy – or at least, deeply wound – a great American city..."

He later visited Miami during a king tide and was "stunned" to find himself wading through knee-deep water in the streets: "It became clear to me ... that the city of Miami was doomed...."

Japan Times reported in February, 2018:

At the current rate, the world’s oceans on average will be at least 2 feet (61 cm) higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to ... research, based on 25 years of satellite data...

However, it could thereafter get far worse. Huffington Post reported:

Australian National University climate change expert and Climate Council councillor Professor Will Steffen explained…

"The last warm period before this one about 125,000 years ago was somewhere about one degree warmer, and sea level was six to nine metres higher.
"So we are already committed to at least 10 metres of sea level rise."


Prominent climate-change deniers are probably influenced by propaganda issued by oil and coal companies whose owners fear loss of profits if industry curtailed its use of fossil fuels. The deniers would do better if instead they let Jesus influence them.

Speaking of the time before his return Jesus said:

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint with fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25-28)

I previously argued that Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21, Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is all literal. Jesus avoided figures of speech and symbolic language to make his prophecy as plain as possible. The prophecy had to guide Christians for a long time — until "this good news of the kingdom [is] proclaimed throughout the world". (Matthew 24:14) The caring, loving, useful, helpful way to present the prophecy was therefore with the simplicity of literal language.

That's what I assumed in 1970 and concluded that "distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves" is literal and could occur if rising oceans flooded lowlands and coastal cities.

In the Old Testament "sea" and "waves" sometimes refer to people and armies (e.g. Psalm 65:7; Isaiah 57:20; Jeremiah 51:54-56). But more often both words are used literally (e.g. Psalm 89:9; 107:25, 29; Jeremiah 5:22; 31:35). However, Jesus does not refer to these Old Testament passages in his prophecy. In the Gospels "sea" is always literal and occurs almost 50 times in reference to the Sea of Galilee. Luke 21:25, however, is a prophecy for the whole world and so refers to much more than the Sea of Galilee.

In 1971 I obtained the book Wilderness and Plenty and read:

It happens that a higher carbon dioxide content of the air creates a greenhouse effect…
The warming oceans and atmosphere would mean a recession of the polar caps … the level of the oceans would rise considerably. Our ports would go under quite literally, and with them vast tracts of fertile soil.

This supported my newly-acquired view that Jesus' prophecy makes sense taken literally. After 1971 I awaited events, submitted an essay on climate-change for university science in 1984, and purchased a property situated well-above sea level as a testimony to my expectation.

For further explanation of Jesus' prophecy which takes all the words literally, and another passage (in Job) which bears on the prophecy, see:

•    Investigator 44: The Great Tribulation And This Generation
•    Investigator 60: Making Sense Of Jesus' Prophecy An interpretation which takes Matthew 24:1-35 literally
•    Investigator 68: The Bible On Oceanography: Scientific Discoveries Anticipated
•    Investigator 117: Bible Guide to Climate

Climatic chaos and delinquency linked

The main problem with preventing climate-change is cost. No one wants to pay.

However, the cost of military spending worldwide including war and defence is currently $1600billion ($1.6trillion) annually. Wikipedia lists over 290 wars since 1945!

Even greater than military spending, several times as great, is the cost of crime, including prevention, law enforcement, courts, prisons and damage to victims! Still greater is the combined cost of all violence and conflict, in 2015 estimated at $13.6trillion! (Schippa 2017)

Clearly, if delinquent nations and individuals converted to peaceful, do-nothing-to-harm-other-people conduct, the costs imposed by crime and war would plummet and climate-change prevention could be afforded many times over. Do-nothing-to-harm-other-people is part of what the Bible means by "love your neighbour". (Romans 13:9-10) Furthermore, Genesis 11:6 explains that if humans acted in unity then, "nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them."

Of course an end to conflict won't happen. Current wars, insurrections and potential crises include Afghanistan, Congo Democratic Republic, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Islamic State, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, North Africa, North Korea, Philippines, Somalia, South and East China Sea, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen. A recent headline said: "Russian military behind global cyber attack". The damage caused cost $billions and the British Defence Secretary said: "We have entered a new era of warfare, witnessing a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber attacks." Apparently Russia wants confrontation with America again.

Muslim nations have squandered vast wealth in trying to deprive Jews of Israel. Spending on war instead of on preventing climate-change could see those nations deprived of their own land by rising temperatures:

Parts of the Middle East, including the Muslim holy places around Mecca, could become uninhabitable … before the century is out, according to the latest climate modelling.  (New Scientist 31 October, 2015, p. 7)  

The future

The word "failure" sums up the many climate conferences. New Scientist magazine says: "The chance to prevent the world warming by 2oC has gone…" (3 December, 2011, pp 6-7)

Climate change is happening and future "distress among nations" will become terrifying.

Extreme rainfall and flood events will become common because warmer air holds more water. Hurricanes of unprecedented ferocity will ravage coasts and sea-water flood cities.  Parts of the Middle East and Africa may experience opposite extremes — perpetual drought and increasing heat rendering some areas uninhabitable. Wars will increase as nations blame each other and whole populations flee across national borders. Syria's seven-year civil war with millions of refugees began after Syria's worst drought in centuries and could be the modern world's first "climate war".

If global temperatures were to increase by 6oC huge clouds of methane could rise from Arctic regions and drift about until ignition by lightning or fire explodes them with the power of nuclear bombs! (Lynax 2007


Carrington, Damian 2017

Climate war

Darling, Sir Frank Fraser 1971 Wilderness and Plenty, Ballantine Books, pp 62-63

Goodell, J. Hurricane Irma, Rising Seas and Our Endangered Cities, Rolling Stone, September 11, 2017

Goodell, J. 2017 The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilised World, Little, Brown & Co.

Higgins,E. More storms brew for oceanfront owners, The Weekend Australian, June 11-12, 2016, p. 17

Huffington Post

Japan Times

Lynax, M. 2007 Six Degrees Our Future on a Hotter Planet, Fourth Estate, 249-251

McIntyre, S. Heatwave costs UK $400m a day, The Advertiser, July 22, 2006, p.49

Pickrell, J. Too hot to handle? New Scientist, 20 January 2018, 36-39

Roddan, M. Insurers will enjoy good cover in crisis, The Australian, June 8, 2016, p. 5

Schippa, C.

"Anonymous" argues that the Bible is up-to-date in the third millennium and regularly triumphs over its critics — on this website: