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Legislating Reality

Facts are stubborn things, but that hasn’t stopped some people from ignoring things like evolution and (especially) climate change. But here’s a new twist. If you don’t like the facts, you can just propose a law that changes them!

In North Carolina, the state’s Coastal Resources Commission has calculated that the sea levels along the coast will rise by a devastating 39 inches by the year 2100. These numbers are supposed to be used in the state’s development plans, to figure out where to allow housing and other development. But developers didn’t like that.

Not only did they get the 39-inch number removed from the report, but they have gotten a bill submitted in the legislature that requires sea level rise to be calculated only using historical data and linearly interpolated from this old data.

According to a professor at East Carolina University who is an expert on the state’s coastline “Clearly they don’t understand science at all –- (sea level rise) hasn’t been linear. To put blinders on and just say we don’t accept what’s happening on our coast is absolutely criminal.” Indeed, how many people are going to buy homes that will eventually end up under water?

But the developers are happy, “They’re making a lot of money off of it.” This is the kind of short-term thinking — putting immediate profits above all else — that will doom us.

UPDATE: The US Geological Survey has issued a report that the 600 miles of coast from Cape Hatteras, NC, all the way up to just north of Boston is a global “hot spot” for rising sea levels. Sea levels along this part of the Atlantic coast are rising three to four times faster than they did as recently as 1990. The big point here is that “Computer models long have projected higher levels along parts of the East Coast because of changes in ocean currents from global warming, but this is the first study to show that’s already happened.” Not only do we now have proof that sea levels are rising, but the rate at which they are rising is accelerating. And they are rising faster there than the rest of the globe because of the effect of the Gulf Stream. Thank goodness that politicians in North Carolina are taking bold action to avert this disaster.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    The book “Hot” says by 2040 the east and west coasts will go with global warming. The author lives in Oregon and is siting things that will disappear. In about two years, this flooding won’t be able to be stopped because of the melt of the ice caps which brings more open water (black) which attracks more sun and heats up the water to cause more ice cap melt.
    When I moved to western New York in 1973, we still had blizzards. Last one was in 1976. Planting zones are all changing to one warmer from what we have known. And so it goes.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  2. westomoon wrote:

    These days, it’s hard not to regret the Civil War. I know I was not the only person who reacted to Rick Perry’s threats that Texas would secede from the Union with a visceral “Oh, yes, please!”

    Not only are they hitting new heights of irrationality and the ugliest version of Bizzarro “christianity” ever, they are poisoning the rest of the body politic like a gangrenous limb.

    I don’t think they will ever actually get around to seceding — for one thing, they are all “beneficiary” States, which take in much more Federal money than they contribute. But isn’t there some way we could just evict them, or amputate them, or something?

    You could run it like the partition of India and Pskistan, and give US resettlement rights to the minority of Southerners who are sane. They could be given the property of the people in Michelle Bachmann’s district in Minnesota, e.g. — those folks would clearly be happier on the crazy side of the new border.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

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