Take a look at this global warming pictorial from the BBC. Not just pictures of disappearing glaciers, but some interesting coastal erosion pictures as well. Coastal erosion is aggravated by increasingly frequent severe storms and the slight rise (so far) in sea levels.
Just as we cannot attribute any particular storm to global warming (and there is still some argument about the trend), it is also impossible to attribute any instance of coastal erosion, such as the one above, to global warming.
Coastal erosion has been going on throughout history, as have intense storms, droughts, and heatwaves. The trends of all these things, along with atmospheric CO2 levels well above any that have ever been seen, together form a preponderance of evidence in support of climate change.
As an investment manager, I make my living by acting when the evidence is sufficient, not by waiting until all the evidence is in. That doesn’t mean new evidence won’t make me change my mind later, but the whole point is to take action before other investors decide to act. In the case of global warming, I feel we (as a planet) have already waited longer than we should before taking meaningful, large-scale action.
As a mathematician who studied chaos theory, I know that a small difference in initial conditions, such as an 8 inch rise in sea levels, can cause a completely different outcome (a coast being unharmed, or completely washed away.)
I’ve greatly modified this post in response to a conversation with Lars Smith, see the comments below, and his post in his Conservation Finance Blog.