Sunday, June 29, 2014

North Carolina's 'climate change battle' rages on

Karen Graham in the Digital Journal: It started in 2011, when Willo Kelly, a resident of the Outer Banks in North Carolina attended a meeting held in a government conference room. There, she learned that by the end of the century, sea levels along the coast would rise as much as 39 inches.

...The 39-inch sea level rise forecast was “a death sentence,” Kelly said, “for ever trying to sell your house.” Kelly was furious at the prediction, and resolved to prove the forecasters wrong. And this moment was the start of what has been called the "nation's most notorious battle" over climate change.

Kelly was able to rally climate change skeptics and homeowners to join together, making a formidable force in her battle to persuade North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature to nix the 39-inch sea level rise report. The climate change forecast had been one of the last pieces of legislation advanced by the state's out-going Democratic governor.

...Now, even though there is almost universal agreement that sea level rise will occur, and by more than 36-inches by the end of the century, NC-20 proposed the state of North Carolina make it a law that the sea will rise by no more than eight inches. Well, actually, no one was to mention sea level rise unless it was in historical context.

...North Carolina's attempt to "outlaw" sea level rise and global warming is seen as ludicrous by environmentalists, but even so, some climate change proponents are understanding of the actions of North Carolinians, saying theirs is a natural reaction to sea level rise estimates. After all, there are now too many studies, and the information is available for everyone to see.

The main problem they have is fear,” said Michael Orbach, a marine policy professor at Duke University who has met with coastal leaders. “They realize this is going to have a huge impact on the coastal economy and coastal development interests. And, at this point, we don’t actually know what we’re going to do about it.”....

Sunset on the Outer Banks, shot by Roland Weber, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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