NC Ignores Science, Tries To Make Sea Level Rise Illegal

It’s the legislative equivalent of plugging your ears, closing your eyes, and screaming “I can’t hear you!”

North Carolina’s General Assembly has proposed a bill that would prevent scientists from using modern, scientific models to accurately predict what might happen to sea levels if climate change continues unabated.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Rather than use science to accurately predict what might happen to its valuable coast areas, and thereby educate its citizens about what can be done to prepare for this change, North Carolina’s political leaders would rather just make the truth illegal.

Typically, scientists use an exponential model to predict how much sea levels will rise if global temperatures continue to do the same. They have to use a non-linear model because each time the climate warms even a fraction of a degree, it has a major impact on the ocean’s current volume as well as ice cap melt rates.

Taking these variables into account, most climate experts say that sea levels will rise at least three feet by the end of the century. But this doesn’t sit well with a group of legislators from 20 coastal NC counties whose economies will be most impacted by the swelling seas. So, they’ve introduced Replacement House Bill 819, which makes it illegal for state scientists to use exponential models to predict changes in sea level.

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,” writes Scott Huler for Scientific American, “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.”

Under the new, linear-only rule, the state-appointed board of scientists of the NC Coastal Resources Commission would only be able to predict an 8-inch sea level rise by the end of the century. And that leaves the legislators from those 20 coastal counties feeling just tickled pink.

Now this level of denial might seem shocking, but it’s par for the course in North Carolina. Throughout it’s history, the state has attempted to legislate away lots of pesky things that it just didn’t like, including abortiongay marriage and racial integration. Unfortunately, this war on reality does nothing more than jeopardize the physical and economic safety of North Carolina’s citizens, who would probably like to know the truth about what’s in store for their state.

Personally, I’m almost looking forward to the day when, knee deep in water on the front porches of their Outer Banks mansions, these legislators will be forced to inform the ocean that it’s breaking the law.

Related Reading:

Climate Change Denial Sweeping Into Public Schools

Corporations Funding Climate Change Denial

Leaked Documents From Climate Change Denial Lobbyists Revealed

Image via Thinkstock


Thomas B.
Thomas B.3 years ago

It appears that the State of N.C. has gone off the deep end, eh?

But, then again what DO YOU EXPECT from being Politically Correct, eh?

Thomas J. Baglin

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Not to be nitpicky Faith, but I believe it was King Canute of England who ruled from 1016-1035 rather than Ethelred, but still a great point!

faith v.
faith v3 years ago

Where did "at least three feet" come from?

I've been reading seven metres, which is about 22 feet, and it is coming more quickly than the predictions of ten years ago, may well be here in less than 100 years.

Grin at the Brits; they once had a king who had his throne carried down to the shore where he got his feet wet when the tide ignored his command not to rise any further.

I believe he was known as Ethelred the Unready . . . . .

Marianne Oudshoorn

You can't fix STUPID!!

Margaret Garside
Margaret Garside3 years ago

This sounds like the episode of the 'Simpsons' called 'Bart's Comet'. After Springfield is nearly destroyed by a comet, Moe yells 'Let's burn down the Observatory, so this will never happen again!"

On the show, that was funny.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

Well, drown then, stupid politicians!

Patrish Dehler
Patricia Dehler4 years ago

Someone elected these people - dumb is dumb and you can't change that.

Ajarn Steve
Ajarn Steve4 years ago

Har har... and I thought Thailand was the only place you can find idiots like this.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda4 years ago

What is the purpose of the first amendment with regard to freedom of speech? Surely it is about not blocking the emergence of vital information, among other things.

Rod Mather
Rod Mather4 years ago

Dear LD B.

When you say I put links to "denialist tripe," at least the links I gave provide data and evidence as to what those scientists believe to be true, so when you say the links are "tripe" you need to provide evidence as to why what is there is tripe, AND to explain why the evidence given, in your opinion is wrong. Without it you have no credibility. EG, If I said ALL people in New York are idiots it would be just as much a sweeping statement as yours. I would have to provide evidence as to why all the people in New York are idiots. So before you call the information tripe, you need to take their evidence, and provide counter evidence. Otherwise your statement is just as much "tripe." But of course ridicule is so much better.