TV One says climate change, facts say otherwise

• Guest post •

— by John McLean

Vunidogoloa, Fiji

TV One is emphasising climate change this week and demonstrating just how bad the media can be.  It’s not clear if it’s incompetent journalists or incompetent climate advisors but it makes a mockery of the idea that TV One tells the whole story accurately and honestly.

On Monday we were told of a village in Fiji, Vunidogoloa, that was relocated, supposedly because of climate change. A quick check of the Fiji Sun reveals a 2014 article that says relocating the village was first mooted in the 1950s, again supposedly because of climate change*. Global average temperature anomalies were flat from 1945 to about 1978 and the global average trend in sea level since then has consistently been around 1.6 mm/year, which is what it remains according to data from tide gauges. Despite the absence of warming, at least in an average sense, and despite the very slow change in sea level, some people wanted to move the village—yet it remained where it was for over 50 years, such was the urgency.

Scratch the data from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) a bit and we find a range of trends at locations in and around Fiji from 1993 to 2016: Suva 7.19 mm/yr, Port Vila 1.65 mm/yr, Lautoka 4.02 mm/yr, Nuku’Alofa 6.85 mm/yr, Pago Pago 3.79 mm/yr. What’s more, sea level has been on a downward trend since 2012 at Suva, Lautoka and Nuku’Alofa, and since 2009 at Port Vila.

From the different trends at places not a long way apart it’s clear that there are local factors coming into play. All tidal stations are tracked by GPS and the data adjusted if the station rises or falls, so that can be ruled out at the stations, although we can’t say the same away from those stations. Suva is not on the same island as Vunidogoloa, so perhaps the local land was indeed sinking and, given its location on Mantewa Bay, perhaps the bay was silting up.

One thing is for sure: TV One is drawing a very long bow to claim that “climate change” – presumably TV One-speak meaning “man-made climate change” – was the reason for relocating this village and threatening the relocation of others.




* see


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6 Thoughts on “TV One says climate change, facts say otherwise

  1. Ian Cooper on 08/11/2017 at 8:53 pm said:

    Thanks for the detail John. In reality the journalists are not incompetent and nor are any of their ‘climate advisors’ if any such person exists in the media per se. Incompetence is not the problem. That is being far too generous. Deceit is the problem. If these journalists know both sides of the story as we naïve taxpayers would expect then to promote only one side of that story as if it were the only side can only be described as deceit. The alternative is that the journalists earn their taxpayer funded money cheaply, and they do the public a dis-service by providing us with a biased view. You can be rest assured that this is driven from the top down. A combination of scare tactics and pulling at heart strings sells advertising. Follow the money!

  2. Andy on 08/11/2017 at 9:17 pm said:

    In the “weather is not climate” department, I have to report that I was cross country skiing this morning on the Cairns golf course in Lake Tekapo. The snow was great but all gone by lunchtime. (pic on Facebook)

    We’ve had a cracking ski season. Mt Dobson opened a week ago to raise money for a local skate park, 3 weeks after the season officially ended. The conditions were really amazing spring corn

    Meanwhile, I watch TVOne for news on the “climate crisis”

    Oh well..

  3. Richard Treadgold on 08/11/2017 at 10:22 pm said:

    We live in strange times. btw, is “really amazing spring corn” a snow bunny’s lingo?

  4. Maggy Wassilieff on 08/11/2017 at 11:37 pm said:

    I was surprised that there was no attempt to explain the geological setting of Vunidogoloa.
    The original village was located on the foreshore near the head of Natewa Bay.
    Natewa Bay is a drowned rift valley (graben) – a depressed block of land bounded by faults.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the the large Fiji earthquake of 1953 (6.8) caused some tectonic change in the land, or that other natural coastal processes are in operation.

  5. Richard Treadgold on 09/11/2017 at 10:43 am said:

    The papers mentioned in your reference examine various relocations in great detail while attributing them all to climate change but consistently give no grounds for doing so. As though they were guided by one hand …

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