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ETpro's avatar

Has the right finally found a way to deal with sea level rise due to Global Warming? [See details]?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) June 2nd, 2012

North Carolina GOP legislators have introduced a law making it illegal for state scientists to use accurate computer models to predict sea level rise. Will sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” work to stop sea-level change as effectively as it works to drown out voices of reason? What do you think of this move?

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34 Answers

bookish1's avatar

Oh man, now I am even more embarrassed of my adopted state.

And the rest of the stories on that website were pretty horrifying, too. I need to look at some pictures of kittens now…

Jaxk's avatar

Wow what an incredible misreading of this proposal. I read the bill and it has nothing to do with global warming. It is merely an attempt to stabilize building codes and setback rules. They are trying to avoid the having one person having to build a few hundred feet from the beach and the next guy having to build a few miles from the beach depending on which model they use. It is not surprising that some would look at this and do thier typical hair on fire screaming but it isn’t really much of an issue. You can still dance in the street and predict the end of the world.

Nullo's avatar

I didn’t know that we were experiencing sea-level change. Thanks for the heads-up; I need to go research Nevada beachfront property to invest in.

filmfann's avatar

@Jaxk Read this again, and please note that the underlined section is the change being made.
The Right (I hate using that term, since it could also me “the Correct”) are trying to ignore the effects of Global Warming.

dabbler's avatar

@Jaxk In what way is “These rates [of sea-level rise] shall only be determined using historical data, and these rates shall be limited to the time period following 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of rise” anything but willfull ignorance? Their own North Carolina commission on the matter has predicted at least a meter of sea-level rise by the end of this century. @ETPro’s reading of the legislation concurs with most reports. If you’re attempting to inject your typical little bit of sanity, as usual it is juxtaposed by a contrary very large bit of sanity.

The only part you got right is that the bill isn’t about global warming explicitly. If by “stabilizing building codes and setback rules” you mean keeping existing codes through wilful ignorance of facts that would compel responsible persons to change the building codes and setback rules, just ‘cause it’s convenient, then you got that right too.

Even sympathetic reports of the legislation don’t deny it is intended to ignore any recent scientific findings, because those recent findings would demand some changes to the codes and rules.

ratboy's avatar

What next? Will scientists try to subvert the legislative process by mandating limits on the injection of irrational drivel?

(e) The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to
develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. 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 sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.

Jaxk's avatar

@filmfann & @dabbler

I’ve read it again and it reads the same way as the first time. As I said this in no way restricts your right to protest and predict the end of the world. It merely provides a consistent method of determining the setback rules. If you want to build further from the beach to insure the rising tides can’t reach you, it doesn’t limit your ability to do so.

dabbler's avatar

@Jaxk “This in no way restricts your right to protest and predict the end of the world.” That’s irrelevant and off topic. You have ignored the point of the legislation and the point of the question.
The legislation would force public officials to be ignorant, stupid and irresponsible. It doesn’t surprise me that you celebrate that.

The legislation prohibits authorities from using facts that are every bit as valid as choosing data points from only 1900 to the present.
Those people are responsible for putting up building codes that should should keep people and property safe and there’s every reason to conclude they won’t be able to do that properly if this legislation is in effect because they are compelled by it to pretend some of the facts don’t exist. If being concerned about that is hair-on-fire I’m willing to risk what little I have left.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

It would seem appropriate that they use a consistent model for the area. You’re not happy with the one they choose but it’s not clear if you want the worse case scenario, best case scenario, something in between. Predictions are just that. They are not facts. If your predictions come true I will have good news and bad news. On the bad side, I will lose my house. On the good side, the bank will have to use a deepsea dredge to repossess it. That will at least provide me with some satisfaction.

bkcunningham's avatar

Of course, Care2 and the left are looking at ways to poke fun and smear anything done in the state of North Carolina because of the passage of Amendment 1. I’ve heard that the Democrats are looking for a new location for their convention.

ratboy's avatar

@Jaxk—it is not self-evident that the sort of uniformity you mention serves the best interests of the general public at all. That aside, the problem is not with which scenario is chosen, but how and by whom the scenario is chosen. Predictions are not facts, but neither are they all of equal value. Is it outrageous to assert that public policy ought to be guided by the most accurate and reliable information available? Data collection, analysis, and interpretation are subsumed under the scientific method and are rightly the province of scientists rather than politicians. If science and wishful thinking are equally likely to lead to accurate predictions, then I guess maybe you have a point.

On the other hand, the proposal is certainly cost effective in the short term while contributing in a small way to providing that there will be no long term.

Linda_Owl's avatar

At this point in time, it seems that NC has decided that they do not want to hear from anyone who is discussing Global Warming / Climate Change. This way the people who live in NC can be caught totally by surprise when they find that they have a moat around their house filled with water from the ocean. But the state legislature is not worried about this situation at all, just as long as they do not have to adjust their building codes to reflect reality.

wundayatta's avatar

They may well be trying to standardize rules for setbacks, but forcing the commission to only use one method that isn’t very accurate won’t help property owners in the long run.

Nullo's avatar

Let’s keep in mind the fallout from Climategate, shall we? Climate change, last I looked, does not carry the credibility in others’ minds that it has in your own.

ratboy's avatar

@Nullo: the “fallout from Climategate” is “exoneration or withdrawal of all major or serious charges.”

Investigations conducted by many scientific professional societies and agencies of both the US and UK governments failed to find any substantial wrongdoing.

“The mainstream media picked up the story as negotiations over climate change mitigation began in Copenhagen on 7 December, with Fox News and some other media outlets giving the controversy increased coverage.[11] Because of the timing, scientists, policy makers, and public relations experts said that the release of emails was a smear campaign intended to undermine the climate conference.[12] In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth’s mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding “based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway…it is a growing threat to society.”[13]
Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.[14] The Muir Russell report stated, however, “We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA.”[15][16] The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged at the end of the investigations.[17]”

The quoted material is from the Wikipedia article Climatic Research Unit email controversy.

ETpro's avatar

@bookish1 Nobody will blame the state’s problems on you.

@Jaxk I’m quite capable of reading and did read the legislation. The legislature has required using a prediction model that predicts a sea level rise of 8 inches by 2100. Accurate models predict 3 feet of rise. Having vacationed throughout my formative years on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I can tell you that a 3 foot rise in sea level will devastate that entire area. The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 wiped out 15 miles of housing. There were just pipes sticking up in storm swept sand, and the road. For miles, all the houses not up on stilts were gone. Now raise the Atlantic 3 feet and let a hurricane hit. Sticking your head in the sand is poor protection.

@Nullo Since the prediction is a 3 foot rise by 2100, Nevada beachfront will perhaps take longer than you’d like to pan out as an investment opportunity.

@filmfann It won’t do any good. With hypothesis myopia, one only sees what supports the conclusion they already are looking for.

@dabbler You’ve noticed that, too. The typical “I can’t see the forest if I get close enough to this one tree.” approach to data evaluation.

@Jaxk When running computer models to make future predictions, you want the model that has yielded the most accurate predictions to date. The one the legislature imposed deliberately excludes ocean currents and feedback loops that influence ice melt.

@bkcunningham The legislation itself is enough to see it is willful ignorance. What web site it’s on has no influence over that fact.

@ratboy Perfectly stated. I can only guess that the greed driving the climate deniers is so powerful that what happens to their children and grandchildren is of no concern to them so long as nothing interferes with the profits of polluting today.

@Linda_Owl They at least won’t any inconvenient truth from their their elected leaders.

@wundayatta The method they picked isn’t just “not very accurate” it is laughably inaccurate. The current rate of change in the Carolinas is 1 to 2 feet of rise per century. That’s not using models. That’s just using measurements. Yet they found a method that predicted 8 inches of rise. Our best computer models say it’s 3 feet.

@Nullo I am glad that @ratboy saved me the trouble of rebutting that for those who get their news from Fox and would never know that Climategate turned out to be much ado about nothing, as so many Fox feeding frenzies are. Of course, when their 24 hour a day coverage is debunked, there is no retraction. Indeed, they often carry right on demonizing as if truth is utterly irrelevant, all that matters is propaganda.

Since that has been covered, let’s look for a moment at why there is so much on the Internet and in pop culture questioning the motives and honesty of climate scientists. Supposedly, this is an Al Gore hoax to profit off of green energy. And the alternative energy industry, flush with cash as they are, pours billions of dollars into bribing the entire world scientific community (except for the incorruptible engineers and geologist who work for the fossil fuel consortia) and all the politicians of all the nations save America when Republicans run it, to preach the hoax.

So far, alternative energy supplies 2% of America’s energy needs. The fossil fuel industry is just south of $40 trillion dollars a year. If it’s a bribery pissing match, who’s going to drown in piss?

ratboy's avatar

A further thought—if the public places greater confidence in the integrity and competence of politicians than in the integrity and competence of scientists, then human extinction is overdue.

ETpro's avatar

@ratboy Man, you have a way with words. :-)

DominicX's avatar

@Nullo Hey. Nevada’s Lake Tahoe beachfront property is some of the nicest there is. :P

ETpro's avatar

@DominicX Trouble is, you already have to pay beachfront prices there.

mattbrowne's avatar

This must be a joke, right?

Jaxk's avatar

I don’t know why everyone is so upset about this, government has already given us a solution. Build on the beach and if anything goes wrong just make sure you have the federal flood insurance. See government can fix anything.

bolwerk's avatar

Nullo doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the reality-based community.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne It’s quite real. The lawmakers who did it are the joke.

@Jaxk The moral of the story is, don’t buy beachfront property unless you are wealthy enough to afford flood insurance in the highest of risk zones (Insurance companies don’t let stupid politicians tell them what models to use), and you have deep pockets to replace everything flood insurance doesn’t cover. Of course, unless you’re pretty well off, you won’t be able to buy beachfront property in any case.

@bolwerk. Careful of name calling. :-)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Ultraconservative zealots seem to have a strong investment in promoting and maintaining ignorance. Does religious faith among such individuals place a high value on denying all scientific evidence? Is there a fear that knowledge not derived from the distortion of Biblical verses will undermine faith?

GracieT's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence, the very thought is alarming. I have seen evidence of that in my own faith community. The part of the Bible that talks of creation DOES say that we are to rule over the earth, but if you look more deeply into the text the Bible itself talks of humans as the stewards of the earth instead of people that are supposed to rape and pillage the earth. Again unfortunately religion is often used to justify people as overlords and not stewards, which is what we were intended to be.

ETpro's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence You have the makings of a fine question there. :-)

@GracieT Indeed. One after another human population has, in the fashion of the Easter Islanders, destroyed themselves through poor land management leading to local climate change or scarcity of vital local resources. No god has ever intervened to save man from himself. So it would seem that even the most devout believer would take the challenge of stewardship to heart. That they so often do not leads me to conclude that the lust for mammon actualy rules the hearts of the rape and pillage mentality, not the love of God.

bkcunningham's avatar

When you actually read the bill you see that the headline and the editorial are both very misleading. What alarms me are people who react to an editorial without getting the facts.

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham I read the bill and found it alarming.

GracieT's avatar

@ETpro, We may just be a rather small group of believers, but we do exist, and are growing in numbers. Perhaps part of what makes me feel
this way is what made me
leave Christianity in the first
place and also to work for a
degree with an environmental
focus. I left christianity for
about ten years while I was in high school and college.

bkcunningham's avatar

Maybe I looked at the wrong bill, @ETpro. Seriously. Could you please post the bill you read and point out what is alarming?

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham This portion of the bill basically says North Carolina will not use the best exponential model available—the one that has proved most accurate—in estimating sea level rise. Instead lawmakers are playing scientists by instructing their Division of Coastal Management to use a tool known to be inaccurate, one that predicts 2’ – 4” less rise by 2100 than the most accurate model. The verbiage is the following:

”(e) The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to
11 develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These
12 rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time
13 period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate
14 future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.”

bkcunningham's avatar

Here’s NC’s law without portion “e” taken out of context:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1
AN ACT TO STUDY AND MODIFY CERTAIN COASTAL MANAGEMENT POLICIES. 2
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: 3
SECTION 1. G.S. 113A-103(2) reads as rewritten: 4
”(2) “Coastal area” means the counties that (in whole or in part) are adjacent to, 5 adjoining, intersected by or bounded by the Atlantic Ocean (extending 6 offshore to the limits of State jurisdiction, as may be identified by rule of the 7 Commission for purposes of this Article, but in no event less than three 8 geographical miles offshore) or any coastal sound. The Governor, in 9 accordance with the standards set forth in this subdivision and in subdivision 10 (3) of this section, shall designate the counties that constitute the “coastal 11 area,” as defined by this section, and his designation shall be final and 12 conclusive. On or before May 1, 1974, the Governor shall file copies of a list 13 of said coastal-area counties with the chairmen of the boards of 14 commissioners of each county in the coastal area, with the mayors of each 15 incorporated city within the coastal area (as so defined) having a population 16 of 2,000 or more and of each incorporated city having a population of less 17 than 2,000 whose corporate boundaries are contiguous with the Atlantic 18 Ocean, and with the Secretary of State. By way of illustration, the counties 19 designated as coastal-area counties under this subdivision as of July 1, 2012 20 are: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, 21 Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, 22 Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington. The said 23 coastal-area counties and cities shall thereafter transmit nominations to the 24 Governor of members of the Coastal Resources Commission as provided in 25 G.S. 113A-104(d).” 26
SECTION 2. Article 7 of Chapter 113A of the General Statutes is amended by 27 adding the following new sections: 28
”ยง 113A-107.1. Sea-level policy restrictions; calculation of rate of sea-level rise. 29
(a) No State agency, board, commission, institution, or other public entity thereof shall 30 adopt any rule, policy, or planning guideline addressing sea-level rise, unless authorized to do 31 so under this Article.
(b) No county, municipality, or other local public body shall adopt any rule, ordinance, 1 policy, or planning guideline addressing sea-level rise, unless it is a coastal-area county or is 2 located within a coastal-area county. 3
(c) No rule, ordinance, policy, or planning guideline that defines the rate of sea-level rise 4 shall be adopted except as provided by this section. 5
(d) The General Assembly does not intend to mandate the development of sea-level rise 6 policy or rates of sea-level rise. If, however, the Coastal Resources Commission decides to 7 develop rates of sea-level rise, the Commission may do so, but only by instructing the Division 8 of Coastal Management to calculate the rates. 9
(e) The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to 10 develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These 11 rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time 12 period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate 13 future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise. Rates of 14 sea-level rise shall not be one rate for the entire coast but, rather, the Division shall consider 15 separately oceanfront and estuarine shorelines. For oceanfront shorelines, the Division shall use 16 no fewer than the four regions defined in the April 2011 report entitled “North Carolina Beach 17 and Inlet Management Plan” published by the Department of Environment and Natural 18 Resources. The oceanfront regions are: Region 1 (Brunswick County), Region 2 (New 19 Hanover, Pender, and Onslow Counties and a portion of Carteret County), Region 3 (a portion 20 of Carteret County and Hyde County), and Region 4 (Dare and Currituck Counties). For 21 estuarine shorelines, the Division shall consider no fewer than two separate regions defined as 22 those north of Cape Lookout and those south of Cape Lookout. 23
(f) Any State agency, board, commission, institution, or other public entity thereof and 24 any county, municipality, or other local public body that develops a policy addressing sea-level 25 rise that includes a rate of sea-level rise shall use only the rates of sea-level rise developed by 26 the Division of Coastal Management as approved by the Commission. If the Commission has 27 not approved a sea-level rise rate, then the sea-level rise policy shall not use a rate of sea-level 28 rise. 29
(g) If the Commission chooses to adopt rates of sea-level rise for the coastal area as 30 developed by the Division, all rates shall be adopted as rules that are subject to Chapter 150B 31 of the General Statutes.” 32
SECTION 3. The Coastal Resources Commission shall study the feasibility of 33 creating an exception to the Commission’s rule changes regarding oceanfront setback 34 determinations [15A NCAC 07H.0306(a)(2)] that became effective on August 11, 2009, that 35 may allow certain structures to continue to be regulated under the oceanfront setback 36 determination rules that were in effect prior to August 11, 2009. The exception may apply to 37 single family buildings built prior to August 11, 2009, that are larger than 5000 square feet and 38 to multi-family buildings built prior to August 11, 2009, that are less than four units and larger 39 than 5,000 square feet. In its study the Commission may consider the following limitations and 40 evaluate whether it is appropriate to include any of those limitations as part of the criteria that 41 may be used to determine whether a specific structure may qualify for the exception: 42 replacement of a building or structure destroyed beyond 50% of its value by factors other than 43 coastal erosion, storm surge, and hurricane- and nor’easter-related winds; replacement of a 44 building or structure in areas landward of a static line exception; replacement of a building or 45 structure as far landward on the lot as feasible; replacement of a building or structure with a 46 total floor area and footprint not greater than the pre-existing building or structure; and 47 replacement of a building or structure that is no further oceanward than the landward most 48 adjacent building or structure.
The Commission shall use the most recent erosion rates calculated by the Division of 1 Coastal Management and presented to the Commission in 2011 rather than the 1998 rates 2 referenced in the rule [15A NCAC 07H.0304(1)(a)] when assessing setback scenarios and the 3 feasibility of any exception to the current setback rules. 4
The Commission shall report its findings, including any proposed actions the Commission 5 deems appropriate, to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 6 the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and the Speaker of the 7 North Carolina House of Representatives on or before December 31, 2012. 8
During this study, the Commission shall not delay the movement or progression of the 9 updated 2011 erosion rates through the rulemaking process. 10
SECTION 4. The Coastal Resources Commission shall study the feasibility of 11 creating a new Area of Environmental Concern for the lands and waters adjacent to the mouth 12 of the Cape Fear River. In studying this region, which shall at least encompass the public trust 13 waters in the mouth of the Cape Fear River and its associated shoals and ebb tidal deltas, the 14 Town of Caswell Beach, and the Village of Bald Head Island, the Commission shall consider 15 the unique coastal morphologies and hydrographic conditions not found elsewhere along the 16 coast and how these areas are impacted by the US Army Corps of Engineers activities related to 17 the Port of Wilmington and its federally authorized channels. If the Commission deems action 18 is necessary to preserve, protect, and balance the economic and natural resources of this region, 19 the Commission shall work to eliminate overlapping Areas of Environmental Concern in these 20 areas and, instead, incorporate appropriate development standards into one single Area of 21 Environmental Concern unique to this location. 22
The Commission shall report its findings, including any proposed actions the 23 Commission deems appropriate, to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and 24 Natural Resources, the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and 25 the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives on or before December 31, 2013. 26
SECTION 5. The Coastal Resources Commission shall study the feasibility of 27 eliminating the Inlet Hazard Area of Environmental Concern and incorporating appropriate 28 development standards adjacent to the State’s developed inlets into the Ocean Erodible Area of 29 Environmental Concern. If the Commission deems action is necessary to preserve, protect, and 30 balance the economic and natural resources adjacent to inlets, the Commission shall consider 31 the elimination of the inlet hazard boxes; the development of shoreline management strategies 32 that take into account short- and long-term inlet shoreline oscillation and variation, including 33 erosion rates and setback factors; the development of standards that account for the lateral 34 movement of inlets and their impact on adjacent development and habitat; and consideration of 35 how new and existing development standards, as well as existing and proposed development, 36 are impacted by historical and ongoing beach and inlet management techniques including 37 dredging, beach fill, and engineered structures such as groins and jetties, impact both the inlet 38 and adjacent shorelines. 39
The Commission shall report its findings, including any proposed actions the 40 Commission deems appropriate, to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and 41 Natural Resources, the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and 42 the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives on or before January 31, 2015. 43
SECTION 6. This act is effective when it becomes law.

http://www.nccoast.org/uploads/documents/CRO/2012-5/SLR-bill.pdf

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham The entire problem is with the portion I quoted. I see nothing in the rest of the bill that mitigates that portion’s politically determined departure from solid science.

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