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Sand castle, outer banks
North Carolina Republicans have found a solution to sea-level rise.
In 2010, a science panel of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission predicted that sea level along much of the state's 301 miles of coastline would rise more than three feet by 2100. A faster rise than shown by the historical average. Real-estate and other development interests went bananas. And two years ago next month, in a much-mocked move, the North Carolina Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a law commanding state agencies to stop using exponential calculations that predict an acceleration of sea-level rise in the state. Stick to linear projections of the rise based on the historical record instead, they said.

Eventually, because of the international stink that arose over that action, the North Carolina House and Senate compromised by barring state-funded scientists from issuing any reports based on exponential calculations for next three to four years. Very clever, given that policy will be set based on the science panel's next prediction to be issued by 2016.

Two weeks after the legislators passed the changes in 2012, a new study was published showing that over the previous three decades, the sea level from Boston to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina was rising three to four times as fast as sea level in the world as a whole. If accurate, that would mean an even higher rise than the 39 inches the science panel predicted in 2010.

Differentials in sea-level rise are no surprise to scientists, but many politicians seem unable to grasp the concept. At least when money is concerned. But then, many of them refuse to grasp the whole concept of global warming, period, either out of ignorance or greed.

The coastal commission's science panel is carrying out another command of the legislation barring exponential calculations. It is preparing a new forecast to be released next March. But the panel won't try to predict sea-level rise until century's end, merely for the next 30 years. That's a clever move because the bulk of the rise will come in the later part of the 21st century, not in the next three decades.

And while the existing panel's members seem unlikely to change their minds about their 2010 prediction, the panel has some new members.

Please read below the fold for more on this subject.

One of these candidates for science-panel service is David Burton, a Cary computer consultant who posts scathing critiques of “climate-change alarmists” on his website, www.

Burton sits on the board of NC-20, a coastal nonprofit that advocates for real estate and economic development interests. He has a master’s degree in computer science and says he has made a hobby out of “the study of the science of sea-level rise.”

Burton serves as a leading antagonist of the coastal commission’s science panel. He says he is more qualified than many of its members—university professors and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers professionals—to formulate a new sea-level forecast.

At the very least, "contrarians" like Burton can be expected to add murkiness to any prediction the panel comes up with. And that can be expected to put a monkey wrench into any efforts to set policies for dealing with the coming sea-level rise, something legislators cannot stop no matter how many constraints they put on the data.

Frank Gorham III, an oil man who is the chairman of the coastal commission, will be picking new panel members in the next few weeks, according to the Charlotte Observer.

“I want to pick legitimate, credible people—not agenda people,” Gorham said. “I hope I pick the very best qualified. If some of those happen to have contrarian views, then I hope it’s because they were qualified, not because they were contrarian.”
Given the vise of unscientific parameters that agenda-driven people in the state legislature have set for the panel, it's hard to imagine how its next forecast can escape politicization.

As we learned last week, the "unstoppable" melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet could mean that predictions of sea-level rise by 2100 will have to be revised by several feet. The North Carolina legislature already has set a precedent for how to handle future forecasts. Just as it lopped off measurements of actual, existing sea-level rise on its own beaches, it can eliminate the impacts of an entire continent.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can someone educate me? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, dougymi, LinSea, Oh Mary Oh

    How is it possible that a sea level rise in Thailand is different than a sea level rise in Cape Hatteras? Is it because the shape of the earth changes as the ice melts?

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:27:06 PM PDT

    •  link: (9+ / 0-)

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:45:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea, mungley, nosleep4u, BMScott

        Very cool. Thank you!

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:58:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So the NC real estate industry..... (4+ / 0-)

          gets to keep selling shoreline properties without any worries of pesky reports about possible higher waters in the years ahead......

          ....but boy are the owners going to be surprised when national insurance companies read the reports that NC residents aren't allowed to receive and learn that their (a) their premiums will cost more than the house or (b) their vacation home is now uninsurable.

          You can run NC, but the tide ALWAYS comes in.  Ask King Kanute!

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:15:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would imagine that purchasers (0+ / 0-)

            might have grounds to sue developers and realtors for malpractice at the very least.

            Although at that point, I must say - who would care?

            •  How about those houses in WA state.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tinfoil Hat

              built right in the path of the massive mudslide....apparently there had been plenty of warnings of the risks, but that didn't slow down the builders and developers.  Very little ever does.

              Abraham Ribicoff was governor of CT when the state was hit by devastating floods (the state and federal government later invested in control dams which helped ease the risk.)

              However, Ribicoff tried, immediately after the floods, the institute land use regulations at the state level which would have kept real estate development in known flood risk areas.

              Do I need to ask you whether you think he was successful?

              Of course I don't.

              Very little ever slows down a developer.  Much of Florida today is a testament to that fact.  A big chunk of Florida in the future will be a testament to their folly.

              Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

              by dweb8231 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:27:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's based off predictions upon where (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, Oh Mary Oh

      the extra water will go.  For example, there might be more water that finds its way into the Gulf Stream than finds its way onto the west side of Thailand (to use your two examples) and so while one would think it would rise the same in the two regions, when you look at currents, water temperatures, wind, undersea geography like continental shelves, and the like, they probably can guess more precisely than just saying everywhere is the same.

      The oceans already aren't the same depths.  Where they meet, there already is water that flows from one to the other.  I believe there's approximately a 9 inch difference between the two.  For more, which says it's due to gravity differences between the two, you can read  

      •  The ocean isn't the same depth everywhere (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, Oh Mary Oh, TofG

        for the same reason that land has different elevations in various places.  I think you must mean that sea level isn't the same height everywhere, but sea level is actually just an average, because of the gravitational effects of the moon, and to a lesser extent, that of the other bodies in our solar system - interacting with the land, which slows down the equalization of the water.

        Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

        by BenFranklin99 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:40:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not really sure, but it might be tides. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      The tides in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia are huge because of the way the bay collects the water and moves it into shore. That's true in parts of Alaska and Europe too. Perhaps the area around Cape Hatteras is somewhat the same way.  Seems like a lot of water could be focussed into specific areas by the shape of the land and the shape of the ocean bottom in that area.  Sea level's sea level, as you say, but tides are different in many places across the globe.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:51:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There ain't no sea level risin' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just all the land is sinkin'. Everywhar.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:33:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  why shouldn't it be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There is only one ocean on earth, the naming of the various sections is one of those historical conventions.  However, there are difference in current, weather patterns, density, and currents that cause some parts of the world ocean to be higher than others.  For instance, there is a sea level difference on either side of the Panama Canal a fraction of a meter.  The Pacific side is higher due mostly to less dense water.

      At the end of the day, though, these variations are not going likely to be what makes life miserable for NC.  The barrier islands are less than a meter above sea level. Once those go, so does NC.  And that is not going to take 50 years.

  •  Science and math education is seriously lacking (8+ / 0-)

    among NC Republicans.  

    Whether it's rising tides or disposal of toxic coal ash, they can be counted on to never let facts get in the way of making a buck - or in letting risk get socialized to general public.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:28:47 PM PDT

    •  No. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, bear83, BenFranklin99, Oh Mary Oh

      You're giving them credit for being ignorant of the facts.  They are not.  They are willfully ignoring the facts because it furthers their agenda and that of their wealthy patrons.  They are vile, evil people who would sell out their own grandmothers for a fifty cent profit.  And ALEC and NC-20 are only too happy to keep their GOP lapdogs seated on Jones Street for their own greedy, selfish ends.  The NC GOP is irretrievably corrupt, but they are not ignorant.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 01:01:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  dont get that- he hopes to pick (5+ / 0-)

    since the oil guy gets to pick cant he be somewhat more certain he will pick qualified people?
    o9f course that contrarian was thrown in there.

    why bother with this charade. the oil guy gets to decide what is up and what is down

    kind of like the fracking laws that are being written for NC too.btw- odd there isnt a fracking word in spell check

    just glad i dont have kids to leave this mess too and sorry for those kids growing up that i couldnt have done more to stop this wholesale slaughter of the world

  •  NC--North Canutistan nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  Every time there's a diary on NC here, someone (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, Meteor Blades, Oh Mary Oh

      has to chime in to tell us that the state is a monolith full of rednecks. It's not. 3 of the 10 most gerrymandered districts are in NC because it's a divided state. If it were politically consistent, that kind of gerrymandering would be unnecessary.

      •  ??? I was referring to King Canute (0+ / 0-)

        And of course, referring to the North Carolina laws, not the voters.

      •  Still, a majority of NC voters voted in the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        417els, Rashaverak, floydgrant

        governor, and re-elected Senator Burr. Can't blame that on gerrymandering.

        Hopefully a majority will vote those two out next chance you get.

        Same for Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maine, Iowa, and a few others who dove headlong into a steaming vat of batshit to lead their states.

        (Oregon came close, I must admit.)

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:37:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, lets get things straight here. (0+ / 0-)

          The only reason this governor was voted in was because Bev Perdue left the gov mansion in a complete and utter shamble. She declined to run for re-election. And her opponent when she won election? Same guy as who sits in the Gov's mansion right now.

          He was the only known name, and D's had no time to bring up a qualified candidate with any chance to win.

          The state usually has 1 R and 1 D in the Senate, because, you know what? There is a split in the electorate. To think that a state with a 52/48 split would always send 2 of the same party is short sighted.

          There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

          by cbabob on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:27:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  They're all wet nt (0+ / 0-)

    by chloris creator on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:45:36 PM PDT

    •  Not yet... but they will be. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      The highest point on Topsail Island is only 23 feet ASL. The Outer Banks sit even lower in the water.  Most of the Wilmington-Wrightsville Beach-Carolina Beach area won't survive a 10' rise in sea level (predicted by some as soon as 2100).

      But hey!  All that land in the inland counties like Pender, Duplin and Dare that you practically can't give away now?  Beachfront property! Of course whatever ecosystems rely on the wetlands around the sounds is fucked, but what's a few ducks when there's a pile of money to be made in land speculation?

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 01:05:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, that's awesome (6+ / 0-)
    he has made a hobby out of “the study of the science of sea-level rise.”
    Hey, anybody want to undergo surgery in my basement?  I've made a hobby out of operating on squirrels and stuff.  Who needs a "surgeon" from some elitist ivory-tower school when there's me?
  •  I suspect (0+ / 0-)

    the GOP won't ever address climate change if it means a single dime less in profits. Not even when NC "HR Glug Glug Glug I'm drowning!" comes up for a vote. They'll probably come up with a new mantra, along the lines of 'Pull yourself up with your own damn rowboat--ya damn drowning moocher'.

    The better I know people, the more I like my dog.

    by Thinking Fella on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:57:39 PM PDT

  •  The sea will recede. The King commands it. (0+ / 0-)

    Just rename the world Lost Atlantis and be done with it.

  •  ok, cordgrass beat me to it, but just case you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass, BenFranklin99, Oh Mary Oh

    don't know that King Canute ordered the tide to stop coming in, as a way of showing his subjects his powers did have limits, and now we have a state gov't body that doesn't know this story, or is willfully forgetting it.  So many people who are "decision-makers" in this country will be cursed by their grandchildren.

    We want you to terminate the GOP's command. With extreme prejudice. (from "Utopia Soon")

    by oddmike on Mon May 19, 2014 at 01:57:45 PM PDT

  •  Remind me not to buy that house in Ocracoke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    I'm guessing the places in Cape Hatteras on stilts are still a good buy though.

    "And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over." - John Masefield

    by mungley on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:11:53 PM PDT

  •  Not ignorant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Oh Mary Oh

    The owners of the politicians fund climate deniers while making prudent decisions to protect their money from it's effects. One of the practical things they are doing (for themselves) is to pump beach front property prices in the short term so they can sell it to the suckers. They are also trying to sell every ounce of fossil fuel quick before the morons realize it is doomed to be worthless due to climate change - we need to leave most of what is left in the ground or it will cost us more than we can afford. Somewhere will be safe enough and the 0.1% will own it. Don't worry though they will need a few serfs to tend to their needs.

  •  King Canute (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, JeffW

    Ordered the tide to roll back, in order to demonstrate the limits of royalty.  North Carolinians aren't that bright.

    Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

    by BenFranklin99 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:31:34 PM PDT

  •  Gorham can pick anyone he likes for his panel. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, JeffW

    He just needs to not call it a science panel.

  •  Breaking: NC Commission to appoint King Canute (5+ / 0-)

    to assure there will be no sea rise on NC shores (SC and Virginia though are on their own).

  •  The sea level will rise to. . . visit Hatteras! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean
    "This accelerating rise in wholesome family fun on the Outer Banks may be greater than previous projections. Citizens of coastal communities can be expected to suffer massive luxury housing and stable housing prices that could greatly expand the state's economy. Refugees from winter snow will exert pressure on hotel reservations, so book now, causing a likely destruction of government telling you what to do. The view of the magnificent Atlantic ocean future is decidedly special from the Outer Banks, and the barrier islands, in particular, will be a are called the graveyard of the Atlantic policy and hubris /which makes it a top destination for snorkelling!"
    There: McCrory owes me $45,000.

    "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

    by The Geogre on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:18:05 PM PDT

  •  Beware: FL legislators Just passed 2 new nuke..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, Calamity Jean

    ..... plants right on the coast, along side an old nuke plant due to go off line.
    Right where the ocean is predicted to cover southern FL as glaciers and ice fields melt.... Jug-heads!

    Conservative think tanks and monied Oligarchs= Army of Dicks - Nicole Sandler, 2011

    by socks on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:20:40 PM PDT

  •  The panel is also not allowed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, Eric Nelson, quetzalmom

    to use 7s.

    222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

    by happymisanthropy on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:25:34 PM PDT

  •  Don't worry... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Rashaverak

    the fundies in NC are secretly building arks.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:27:46 PM PDT

  •  We don't cotton to no librul science 'round these (4+ / 0-)

    parts. We want some of that Wyomin' science, ya know, 'cause there's a War on Coal (tm) goin' on, and we's already afeared o' that librul Math. Praise Jee-ZUS!

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:32:23 PM PDT

  •  And so castles made of sand fall into the sea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, Calamity Jean


    Don't know why but saw that picture and song just started playing in my head. :)

    Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:35:02 PM PDT

  •  Did they set pi at 3 while they were at it? nt (4+ / 0-)

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:50:49 PM PDT

  •  next time I go to the Outer Banks (3+ / 0-)

    I'll have to take scuba gear, it looks like.

    Hope the NC Republicans get a lot of longterm pain from killing the Atlantic coastline. What's left.

    IF you've ever been to Ocracoke and looked at Highway 12, ten feet wide, you know what I mean.

    I'm so damned pissed off at the state of NC I don't care if I ever go back.  They are neck and neck with SC for the most putrid, stupid state on the East Coast.

    North of Florida.

    Even my Commonwealth of Virginia has thrown the Republicans out.

    Lots of good folks over in NC but Art Pope's money talks and Art Pope's bullshit walks.

    Damn the Republicans!  Why can't we just get along?

  •  N.C. Science Panel is really N.C. Science Fiction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

    when you realize that the North Carolina house speaker Our ALEC Defacto Govnors Tom Tillis who is currently serving on the ALEC board of Directors House Speaker Tom tillis and ALEC

    And his His De facto lieutenant governor of North Carolina Art Pope "Art Pope Exposed the Koch connection"   Art Pope is a close ally of billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, and is a regular invitee of the Koch's secretive gatherings of wealthy political operatives.

    You begin to Realize that the N.C. Science (Fiction) Panel  uses two methods of scientific endeavor.

    First and most often used methodology ,Ostrichism - Self-delusion, a refusal to cope with something, such as a threat— figuratively hiding one's head in the sand .

    The Second approach  is the "See no Evil Climate Change , Hear no Evil Climate Change , Speak no Evil Climate Change " monkey method.  This method is most useful in public discourse and hearings .

    The Koch funded ALEC is the most dangerous group in modern times since the SS of German fame. if the Republican party continues to be led by a ALEC Nose ring ,The 'class war' is going to evolve into a ECOwar as mankind is forced to fight for survival against those who would destroy the planet for personal gain.

  •  Finagling sounds like what it amounts to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    ..only that's - imo - is the nice way of saying it.

    If the 2012 study contradicted the RWNJ GOP leadership's agenda they lop off the facts:  

    The posted link wouldn't work so here is another link to the USGS that references the posted 2012 study (in above Diary), which in turn  links to the USGS: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer

    And the coastal viewer interactive page

    So this is the finagling/ lopping off of facts

    The North Carolina legislature already has set a precedent for how to handle future forecasts. Just as it lopped off measurements of actual, existing sea-level rise on its own beaches, it can eliminate the impacts of an entire continent.
    And if that doesn't work out for the RWNJ GOP, they outlaw scientifically determined facts:
    New Law in North Carolina Bans Latest Scientific Predictions of Sea-Level Rise
    The bill's passage in June triggered nationwide scorn by those who argued that the state was deliberately blinding itself to the effects of climate change. In a segment on the "Colbert Report," comedian Stephen Colbert mocked North Carolina lawmakers' efforts as an attempt to outlaw science.

    "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved," he joked.

    Thx MB

    Yeah we need to focus on rooting out the GOP In North Carolina.  Also I've been reading about San Brownback in Kansas, Home of the Kochs. A corrupt RWNJ complete takeover of the state fighting clean renewable wind power.

    I'll be working something up on that soon that I hope will do some good,

  •  Caligula also declared war on Neptune's kingdom. (0+ / 0-)

    Mostly because he was too chicken shit to go into the forests to fight the barbarian tribes. He ordered his legions to put the waves to the sword. It didn't go over well in Rome when the fruits of war were a bunch of seashells.

  •  I have an idea--how about we apply their logic (0+ / 0-)

    to Social Security...never make any projections about shortfall more than 5 years out. All their scary "going broke" figures are based on projecting decades out based on questionable data.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:10:51 AM PDT

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