Thursday, May 31, 2012
Legislating Against Sea Level Rise - What Crazy People Do in Government
North Carolina is firmly Republican and its legislature is just as firmly crazy. Crazy as in detached from reality, liberated from reason, unhinged. From Scientific American:
"...the meter or so of sea level rise predicted for the NC Coastal Resources Commission by a state-appointed board of scientists is extremely inconvenient for counties along the coast. So the NC-20 types have decided that we can escape sea level rise – in North Carolina, anyhow – by making it against the law.
Here’s a link to the circulated Replacement House Bill 819. The key language is in section 2, paragraph e, talking about rates of sea level rise: “These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly. …” It goes on, but there’s the core: North Carolina legislators have decided that the way to make exponential increases in sea level rise – caused by those inconvenient feedback loops we keep hearing about from scientists – go away is to make it against the law to extrapolate exponential; we can only extrapolate along a line predicted by previous sea level rises.
So, even if the state's scientific advisors and coastal commission turn out to be right on the money, it doesn't matter. The government has decreed that sea level rise in North Carolina by 2100 will be a maximum of 8-inches - or else. Who are you lookin' at, boy?