Friday, June 15, 2012

Sink or Swim

If I didn’t read it, I wouldn’t have believed it.  It takes all kinds to make this wacky world go round, right?  I mean there are people who literally believe that the earth is flat.  There are people who believe that there were no such things as dinosaurs.

But legislating scientific findings be stricken from public records?  Prohibiting government agencies from preparing for rising sea levels, which a state appointed panel predicted?  I understand we don’t like global warming.  It is upsetting.  It is, dare I say, inconvenient.  But I didn’t realize that state legislatures could do such a thing.  How can there be a decree that we ignore scientific evidence? 

Google - Did NC legislature prohibit information about climate change?

I’m guessing that you will be shocked, saddened, surprised, dumbfounded.  And you might even chuckle a bit.  There are some very serious fools who would just as soon we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the scientific evidence before us.  And they want to mandate that other people be ignorant too.  

It’s right there in the Charlotte ObserverI know, I know, it sounds like I am kidding.  I wish I was.

Coastal N.C. counties fighting sea-level rise prediction
Science panel predicts 1-meter sea-level rise by 2100; counties say that could harm economic development
State lawmakers are considering a measure that would limit how North Carolina prepares for sea-level rise, which many scientists consider one of the surest results of climate change.
Federal authorities say the North Carolina coast is vulnerable because of its low, flat land and thin fringe of barrier islands. A state-appointed science panel has reported that a 1-meter rise is likely by 2100.
The calculation, prepared for the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, was intended to help the state plan for rising water that could threaten 2,000 square miles. Critics say it could thwart economic development on just as large a scale.

The N.C. Division of Emergency Management, which is using a $5 million federal grant to analyze the impact of rising water, lowered its worst-case scenario from 1 meter to 15 inches by 2100.

Several local governments on the coast have passed resolutions against sea-level rise policies.
When the General Assembly convened this month, Republican legislators went further.
They circulated a bill that authorizes only the coastal commission to calculate how fast the sea is rising. It said the calculations must be based only on historic trends, leaving out the accelerated rise that climate scientists widely expect this century if warming increases and glaciers melt.

Read more here:
Does the Republican dominated legislature in NC really think that by making a decree that the oceans will not continue to rise that anyone will be convinced?  That is like a Saturday Night Live skit.  Do they really want NC’s own climate researchers to change their predictions based on historical data rather than current predictive information?  And can they mandate it?  If this wasn’t so pathetically funny, it might be sad.

One of my big questions concerning a government’s ability to limit bad news is – who will believe them?   I understand that North Carolina might lose millions of dollars to developers if the bad news about climate change got out.  But isn’t the horse already out of the barn?  Can anyone truly go back and retrofit the false information that the NC legislature is pushing and forget what we already know?

It would be great if we could just ignore reality for a while and plan ahead as though the seas won’t rise.  It would make a few people a lot richer.  We might sleep better at night. 

But imagine the cost if we are not prepared.

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Chris Hass said...

I was hoping you were going to post this. That Colbert Report segment is hilarious. You have to laugh in the face of insanity. Or else walk around angry all the time.

My favorite...

If the tide lasts more than four hours call your climatologist.

The difference between an 8 inch rise and a 39 inch rise will be clear far before that hundred year marker. Yet I wonder, will skeptics see this and accept the models or create new excuses and scenarios that still contradict the scientific findings. I fear I know the answer to this.

ASAPBrittany said...

Hello Mr. O'Keefe,

ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)is hosting a Farm to School conference for educators from the southeast in November and we would love for you to be our speaker. Please check your school email for more details, or contact me as soon as possible at: brittany at asapconnections dot org

Thank you!

MLucas said...

I'm guessing the developers know their projects are doomed to sleep with the fishes, but don't care. The money will soon be high and dry in Switzerland. This is why, when people ask me my religion, I say I'm "reality based."