Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina
Just in case you thought climate-change denialism couldn't get any dumber or more destructive, North Carolina Republicans are here to show you it can.
Via Joe Romm, some GOP state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would literally force local authorities to ignore science-based projections in planning for future sea-level rise.
The bill, writes Romm, would
...mandate a formula that projects a sea level rise of at most 12 inches this century, far below what the science now projects.
A state-appointed science panel reviewed the recent literature and reported that a 1-meter (39 inch) rise is likely by 2100. Many coastal studies experts think a level of 5 to 7 feet should be used, since you typically plan for the plausible worst-case scenario, especially with expensive, long-lived infrastructure.
As a geology professor and member of the state's science panel pointed out, the proposed law runs counter to the findings of “every major science organization on the globe."
The bill also would require that the state determine its estimate of future sea-level rise by using only historical data, and limiting that data to the period after 1900. It explicitly forbids the use of "scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise."
As Romm notes, thanks to climate change, that acceleration appears to be occurring. The National Academies of Science recently reported that “it is now possible to detect acceleration in sea-level rise over the past few decades.” But state and local offocials would be banned from factoring it into their planning.
One North Carolinian writing in Scientific American said the proposed bill is “exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow’s weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east. Don’t use radar and barometers; use the Farmer’s Almanac and what grandpa remembers.”