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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

North Carolina State Legislature Attempts 'Jedi Mind Trick'

As reported recently in Scientific American, North Carolina has discovered the solution to the challenges of climate change for the state's coastline. To investigate the risks of sea-level rise, the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission sponsored a study of sea-level rise and the state's vulnerability. That study recommended a sea-level rise benchmark of 1 meter by 2100 be used for coastal planning. The state legislature, however, took exception with that recommendation, and decided that legislators, not scientists, are the best judges of future sea-level rise (picture Obi-Wan waving his hand and saying "this not the sea-level rise estimate you seek"). Hence, they developed legislation that would effectively limit consideration for sea-level rise in planning policy to rates that have been observed historically (roughly 12 inches over a century). So while the proposed legislation is clearly designed to keep the economic wheels on the Carolina coast turning, one wonders how and when such short-sighted decision-making will come back to bite the state.

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