North Carolina Tries to Outlaw Sea-Level Rise

Crossing SeaWrites Jess Zimmerman on Grist:

North Carolina is no stranger to the “if you dislike it then you should have made a law against it” model of legislation, but this is extreme: The state General Assembly’s Replacement House Bill 819 would rule that scientists are not allowed to accurately predict sea-level rise. By all legal calculations, the sea level will now rise eight inches by the end of the century. Sure, so far models have predicted an increase of more than three feet, but if they keep that shit up, they’re going to JAIL.

OK, there’s not really a prison sentence attached to this proposed rule, but that doesn’t stop it from being crazeballs. See, actual sea-level rise is nonlinear, because there’s feedback — the warmer it gets, the more the water volume expands, and the more stuff melts, and the more it expands, etc. That’s how most scientific models arrive at their predictions, because that is how physics works. But an increase that big is extremely inconvenient for a state with a beach-based tourist trade. So North Carolina’s solution is simple: Change how physics works, or at least change how people do physics…

Read More: Grist

10 Comments on "North Carolina Tries to Outlaw Sea-Level Rise"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | May 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

    “Why not,” I ask you.  The “na-na-na-I-can’t-hear-you-approach” won the war in Vietnam and gave us the morally just, thriving economy we enjoy today.

  2. Cheftommyboy | May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |

    Mother of God !!!!!  Are they that stupid?? What’s in the water down there that make them that retarded??

  3. Add this to Chris Mooney’s book = Republican War on Science

  4. That’s not actually what the bill says.  It says that no governing body in the state of North Carolina is allowed to fix the accepted rate of the sea level rise with the exception of the Division of Costal Management.  This is to insure that funds are not expended for related projects outside of the expected scope of rise during a given time period.  There is an exception that allows for submission of new data to be evaluated by the Division of Costal Management.  The data used can only be based on historical rates, meaning actual increase rates within a given time period going back no further than 1900 for the trending. It prohibits the use of anything but linear estimates of future rates of rise, specifically excluding any formula which provides for an acceleration of rise.  This insures results based on actual data rather than speculative data.  They are just trying to figure their budgets for protecting their beach front communities… they aren’t trying to outlaw ocean rise…  read the bill.

    • Thanks for providing the details that show exactly how stupid this bill is.  Here is an analogy you might think about.  Suppose someone had 0 cancerous cells in their body when they were born and now they are 40 years old and have 1000.  By the math in the bill, we can’t use anything but linear estimates, so we can only estimate that the person will have 2000 cancerous cells at age 80, which is no problem.  That would mean that the person has nothing to worry about.  No.  There is nothing magically valid or “actual” about a linear estimate and nothing intrinsically speculative about a nonlinear estimate, and for a great many things, like the cancer cells or your speed as you fall from a building, a linear estimate is dead wrong.  Let’s leave the science to the scientists because the legislators probably have even less basic math and critical thinking skills than you.  

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