“The North Carolina Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit the state from considering projected sea level increases in its coastal management strategy. But a scientist involved in the debate argues that ignoring these projections will wind up costing North Carolina — and the rest of the U.S. — far more.
The state Senate in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly last week to pass a bill on sea level rise that has been widely reported in the national media. This bill prevents all state and local agencies from developing regulations or planning documents that consider the possibility of a significant increase in the rate of sea level rise in the future. In other words, when looking for guidance on how to protect the coastal economy and environment over the next century, the state’s planners may only look backward to historical data, not forward to expected changes in the Earth’s climate dynamics.
This bill has been widely ridiculed in many news outlets and science blogs, culminating with a biting satire of the proposal by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report. Personally, the whole thing just makes me sad.
I serve on the science panel that advises the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). Two years ago, the CRC solicited a report from the panel that would summarize the state of the science regarding sea-level rise and recommend the expected increase that planners should consider when looking down the road to 2100. Our report included a detailed review of the published literature. It was externally peer-reviewed by out-of-state scientists. It contained no alarmist rhetoric or nightmare scenarios. The final recommendation was for the state to plan for 39 inches of sea level rise. This number corresponds well with expert reports produced in other states.”
Well worth your time, via Yale360.
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