Today wasn’t a good one for North Carolina. It was the day when our elected leaders decided to turn their backs on the state’s long and proud history as a leader in research, technological achievement and marine sciences. It was a day they took us backwards, to a time when science was suspect and unfounded beliefs held firm.
The N.C. Senate’s Agriculture, Environmental and Natural Resources Committee just a few hours ago passed overwhelmingly the now-infamous House Bill 819, which mandates how the state will plan for future sea-level rise. The original bill has been ridiculed all over the world since we first broke the story more than three weeks ago because it banned the use of scientific models to forecast sea-level rise. These peer-reviewed models have been endorsed by almost every major scientific organization in the world and have been used by other states and countries to forecast how high the seas might get in the future because of climate change.
The bill that passed today had been rewritten to remove some of the objectionable items and soften some of the language, but it is still a murky, ambiguous measure that ditches modern science and instead mandates the use of historical data that significantly underestimates sea-level rise.
Supporters of the bill didn’t explain how they came up with that method or why the one used by climate scientists all over the world isn’t good enough for us.
We on the coast, who are most directly affected by rising seas and storm damage, expect more from our elected officials. Let’s hope we get it and a more rational approach prevails when the Senate votes on the bill, probably next week, or if the N.C. House considers it in the future.