There’s not much dispute these days, up and down the coast, about whether the ocean is rising. The question is: How high will it go here, and how fast?
North Carolinians must wait until 2016 for an official answer. That’s the law.
An article in Insurance Newsnet about sea-level-rise denial in North Carolina contains some delicious quotes:
A new documentary film, ” Shored Up,” shows anguished commission members imploring their science advisers to somehow “soften” the high-water warning.
Jimmy Johnson oversees a plan to protect sensitive coastal habitat for a state-federal partnership called the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program. Biologists say that rising salt water has killed forest and wetlands around the fringe of the 2-million-acre estuary. Asked at a Harkers Island gathering how scientists and regulators might make use of the official sea-level prediction expected in 2016, Johnson blanched.
“I apologize for being rather evasive, because I have to be,” Johnson said.
The 2012 law was championed by Eastern North Carolina Republicans who distrusted the 39-inch forecast. They said they wanted to make sure that state policy is grounded in solid science and common-sense analysis.
“You can believe whatever you want about global warming,” Rep. Pat McElraft, an Emerald Isle real estate agent who helped sponsor the measure, said in 2012. “But when you go to make planning policies here for our residents and protecting their property values and insurance rates … it’s a very serious thing to us on the coast.”
I am especially impressed by that last one. You can believe whatever you want about global warming and Santy Claus and such, but coastal property values are serious business, right?