Okay, so here’s the thing. Let’s look at what the Climate Change Action Kit (CCAK) says.
How the climate is changing: Scientific observations from NASA and the IPCC
Globally-averaged sea level has risen over 20 cm since the late 19th century, with about one third of this rise due to ocean warming and the rest from melting land ice and changes in the amount of water stored on the land.
The fact of this sea level rise is undisputed. The cause of the rise is not stated here. Nevertheless, in a document on AGM, the context implies that the cause, or a major contributer, is human activity, especially carbon emissions.
Now, this is a document produced by a tiny team of volunteers, whose purpose is to encourage and support Buddhist communities to take a more proactive interest in addressing the problem. As such, it is unreasonable to expect that they undertake an independent review of the science. The best they can do is to provide information from the best sources, and to accurately represent those sources.
There is no question that NASA and IPCC are authoritative sources on this. So the question that remains is, does the CCAK accurately represent those sources? Unfortunately, there is no direct citation for this detail, so let’s look at what some public documents say.
First, the IPCC Summary for Policymakers of 2014. Section 1 is titled Observed Changes and their Causes, with the summary:
Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
The first subsection of this is titled Observed changes in the climate system, which gives a number of examples, including the following:
Over the period 1901 to 2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m Figure SPM.1b). The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence)
Here, it is not talking about the cause, but solely about the observed changes in the climate. Nonetheless the context obviously implies that human causes are relevant. This is essentially identical with the presentation in the CCAK. Note that this same section also says this:
Since the beginning of the industrial era, oceanic uptake of CO 2 has resulted in acidification of the ocean; the pH of ocean surface water has decreased by 0.1 (high confidence), corresponding to a 26% increase in acidity, measured as hydrogen ion concentration.
So not just the sea level, but acidification has increased since the 19th century.
In any case, the presentation of the CCAK is a fair representation of the IPCC.
Unlike some of the EPA documents I tried to access today, the Trump administration has not yet removed all of the data on climate change from the NASA site. The summary on sea level is here:
Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms. The first chart tracks the change in sea level since 1993 as observed by satellites.
The second chart, derived from coastal tide gauge data, shows how much sea level changed from about 1870 to 2000.
Like the IPCC, NASA cites the 20cm sea level rise since the 19th century in the context of climate change, but without definitively attributing it to human activity.
So the CCAK also accurately represents the position of NASA.
As to reasons why the causality is not stated explicitly here, I have not come across a discussion of this issue. My guess is that it’s because cause is always harder to establish than observations. So in the case of early and primitive records, any attempt to establish causality is going to be much less certain. Nevertheless, it is clearly the case that human industrial activity had made a measurable difference in CO2 levels even by the late 19th century. Since acidification also increased since that period, it is not unreasonable to suppose that this was the cause, or a contributing factor, in the sea level rise. Given the uncertainty, it is also not unreasonable to refrain from stating this outright.
What is unreasonable is to baselessly smear the work of volunteers who are simply trying to help the planet, to impugn their motives, and to compare them with a noxious fool like Trump. On the contrary, they have relied on the most authoritative sources, and have fairly represented what those sources say.
If you have genuine problems with the science, take it up with scientists. There’s a regular discussion called Unforced Variations, at http://realclimate.org/ where actual climate scientists discuss the issues.
There is a process by which scientific knowledge advances, and it is not by attacking volunteers on a Buddhist forum.