When legislators stick their heads in the sand, they might just drown. Poor North Carolina.

Senate Panel OKs Sea-Level Rise Bill

Unfazed by a heavy barrage of worldwide criticism and outright ridicule by sources ranging from Scientific American to the “Colbert Report,” the N.C. Senate’s Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved a new version of a bill that restricts the use of scientific modeling in state and local public policy and regulations to predict future sea-level rise.

Although the new version dials back some of the language from a previous version aimed at how sea-level rise is to be determined, the bill would still prohibit any “rule, ordinance, policy, or planning guideline that defines sea level or a rate of sea-level rise within a coastal-area county” which falls outside of an official state rate of rise.

Under the legislation, determining that rate falls to the Coastal Resources Commission, which is restricted in the bill from using accelerated sea-level rise models if they are not “consistent with historical trends.”

Geologists Rob Young and Steve Benton at Western Carolina University and David Mallinson and Stan Riggs at East Carolina University said the bill contradicts the overwhelming scientific consensus that sea-level rise will happen faster in the next 100 years than it has in the past and ties the hands of localities that would like to plan pro-actively for these changes.

Tip: @Sheril_ (Sheril Kirschenbaum)

WHAT? This is idiocy. There is no excuse for intelligent lawmakers to ignore the scientific consensus and advice of experts and rule that they know better. That’s disgraceful and it’s a disservice to coastal citizens and all of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, thermal expansion of oceans, melting of glaciers and loss of the ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica are commonly considered as the largest contributors, but these contributions do not entirely explain the observed sea-level rise. Our use of groundwater acounts for about 42% of the observed sea-level rise. The unsustainable use of groundwater represents the largest contribution. Nature: Geoscience

  13 comments for “When legislators stick their heads in the sand, they might just drown. Poor North Carolina.

  1. June 8, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    As if our puny laws would change the ultimate outcome… They obviously have not tried putting a stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill to stop runaway trucks. Sea level rise is a reality. It’s a shame that long-term planning is sabotaged by these guys hiding the truth.

  2. June 8, 2012 at 11:34 PM


    In North Carolina, Republicans boast
    That they vote as they vote, for the good of the coast;
    They follow the science that Genesis teaches
    Denying the rise of the sea toward the beaches
    Denying the flooding; denying the storms;
    Denying the change as the atmosphere warms;
    Denying the models predicting the inches,
    They sit and pass judgment, like so many Grinches
    When shoreline developers ponder their fate
    They’re required to use just the linear rate;
    If a model is used that accelerates steeply
    The users, by law, are in doo-doo, and deeply;
    The model, so far as our legal force reaches,
    Says life will be good for the folks on the beaches.

  3. luvmyGod4eva
    June 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    It is indeed very irresponsible for politicians across the globe to deny scientific studies, as it puts millions at risk. Currently I live in The Bahamas which as most know is a beautiful archipelago and much of the land is flat. Over the years there has been erosion of our beaches partly due to weather and likely changes in sea level. Our government takes this very seriously as we rely on tourism, so measures have been put in place to protect them to a degree, and to replenish the sandy shores in some cases. We must listen to the voice of reason, or future generations risk having to be repatriated elsewhere should we find ourselves at risk of becoming completely submerged.

  4. June 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM


  5. Visalia
    June 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    North Carolina, meet King Cnut.
    He learned the lesson; you will, too.

  6. Massachusetts
    June 10, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    OK. so let me get this straight. If scientists, oceanographers, whoever, measure a large sea level rise, the official rise by law will be the smaller number set by the state, no matter what the actual rise is measured to be that year? If I understand that correctly, then it’s very disturbing. Legislating reality is something I never really thought I’d see, even among conservative republicans. How did this come to be? It’s easy to say they are stupid, but perhaps it’s much more machiavellian than that.

  7. Steve
    June 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Let me get THIS straight.

    The only “evidence” that AGW is occurring comes from computer models which need constant “adjusting” so they will fit observed data. It appears that the NC legislature is passing a law to limit the use of rampant speculation, which is rampant in AGW hysterical research. And you all are getting upset that people are pushing back against the pseudoscience of Global Warming?

    I thought this was a site for skeptics. My mistake.

  8. June 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    You are mistaken and your conclusions are ridiculous. Skeptics are people who go by evidence to make conclusions, not ideology. If you do not see the evidence for global warming, and accept that the scientific consensus based on converging evidence from multiple disciplines shows that the earth is undoubtedly warming, you are the one that has fallen prey to deniers’ pseudoscience.

  9. kurtoli
    June 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    There’s no doubt that the earth is going through a warming trend. I think the argument you might be mistaking this with is whether it’s being caused my man or not. To that end, yes, there is a lot of data swinging one way or the other and I’d be hard pressed to agree with anyone that states that man is the cause. I don’t think we’re helping, certainly, but there’s too much data and too many variables to draw any conclusions.
    If you’re a good skeptic, you’ll clarify your point and remove the ideological bent.

  10. Cris Putnam
    June 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    I hear this site doesn’t allow dissent (i.e. you have deleted several cogent responses to this), Shame on you!


  11. June 13, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    That’s incorrect. Please see the comment policy which I have applied. All views should be based on evidence, not ideology. Otherwise, the comments would devolve into a raging thread of useless polemics. We encourage civil discussion. How would you KNOW what I deleted by the way? I deleted a scant few because they were unsupported or did not contribute to the discussion.

  12. June 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Cris knows what you deleted because I sent him one of my deleted replies.

    Here are two of them:

    Will you let your readers judge whether my comments were “unsupported or did not contribute to the discussion?”

  13. June 25, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Thanks for linking that, Dave–I’d say it’s pretty decent evidence that Sharon is following her policy appropriately.

Comments are closed.