NC considers making sea-level rise illegal

(Cross-posted from Plugged In, a blog of The Scientific American).

By Scott Huler

According to North Carolina law, I am a billionaire. I have a full-time nanny for my children, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and I get to spend the entire year taking guitar lessons from Mark Knopfler. Oh, my avatar? I haven’t got around to changing it, but by law, I now look like George Clooney. There’s also a supermodel clause, but discussing the details would be boasting.

You think I’m kidding, but listen to me: I’m from North Carolina, and that’s how we roll. We take what we want to be reality, and we just make it law. So I’m having my state senator introduce legislation writing into law all the stuff I mentioned above. This is North Carolina, state motto: “Because that’s how I WANT it to be.”

You know, of course, about our passing May 8 of Amendment One, which has now written into our constitution anti-marriage discrimination against anyone who doesn’t fit one group’s image of marriage. It’s just as ugly as it sounds – just as ugly as the last time we wrote such marriage discrimination into our constitution, in 1875, when instead of protecting us against the idea of same-sex couples marrying, it was protecting us against racial miscegenation– down to the third generation, mind you. Good times!

Okay, though. These are hard days, people are crazyish, and you just have to soldier on, right? But then it turns out that North Carolina legislators are now tossing around bills that not only protect themselves from concepts that make them uncomfortable, they’re DETERMINING HOW WE MEASURE REALITY.

In a story first discussed by the NC Coastal Federation and given more play May 29 by the News & Observer of Raleigh and its sister paper the Charlotte Observer, a group of legislators from 20 coastal NC counties whose economies will be most affected by rising seas have legislated the words “Nuh-unh!” into the NC Constitution.

Okay, cheap shot alert. Actually all they did was say science is crazy. There is virtually universal agreement among scientists that the sea will probably rise a good meter or more before the end of the century, wreaking havoc in low-lying coastal counties. So the members of the developers’  lobbying group NC-20 say the sea will rise only 8 inches, because … because … well, SHUT UP, that’s because why.

Read the entire post by clicking here.



  1. Frank Burns

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Did the NC scientists review the data from the European satelite environstat? http://www.real-science.com/northern-hemisphere-sea-level-falling-decade The data shows a declining sea level for almost a decade. How many times does the shepherd boy cries wolf before we stop believing him? The alarmist, dire predictions have failed time and time again. I suggest we change the motto of NC to what they have in Missouri, “show me”.

  2. Richard Hart

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    To quote Wendell Berry: “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

  3. gregflynn

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

    The parallel monkey theorem states that Googling any text produced by a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard will almost surely return similar text produced by another monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard elsewhere in the world.

    This is related to the Click and Clack theorem that two people who don’t know what they are talking about know less than one person who doesn’t what he’s talking about.

    One person will only go so far out on a limb in his construction of deeply hypothetical structures, and will often end with a shrug or a raising of hands to indicate the dismissability of his particular take on a subject. With two people, the intricacies, the gives and takes, the wherefores and why-nots, can become a veritable pas-de-deux of breathtaking speculation, interwoven in such a way that apologies or gestures of doubt are rendered unnecessary.

  4. Frank Burns

    May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am

    In other words, Greg keep an open mind, open your eyes and what wonders you will see!

  5. steve

    June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @frank, the chart you displayed is alarming. Please explain to me where all this water/moisture is going. We know it’s not going to the polar ice caps. Must be disapating into space. According to your chart Atlantis will no longer be lost in another thousand years and within a million years there will be no water left on the planet. Your link is hogwash and you know it.

  6. Frank Burns

    June 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    As a matter of fact the polar ice caps are regaining their ice. Antarctic is growing at 1.43% per year. http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2011/09/inconvenient-truth-antarctica-sea-ice.html and the artic is also rebounding. http://www.real-science.com/arctic-ice-growth-fastest-record . Do you not trust the actual satellite data that measures the sea level or do you only believe the government scientists feeding at the research grant trough?

  7. gregflynn

    June 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    The ENVISAT satellite was just one of several measuring sea level. It went up in 2002 for a 5 year mission. While it kept going past 2007 it was placed in a lower and different orbit in 2010 to further extent its life. In April of this year it gave out and stopped communicating. The last two years of preliminary data which showed a dramatic change were questionable. When the orbit was lowered and altered the measurement parameters changed. The aggregate of satellite data measuring sea level shows a rise. The use of outliers makes for good one-liners in blog comments but doesn’t serve to debunk an entire body of evidence.

  8. david esmay

    June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    In other words Steve, Frank is an insane conspiracy nut, who uses the pseudo-scientific findings of other conspiracy nuts to create a bubble that he can live in.

  9. Frank Burns

    June 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Regardless of the satellite data that you deem acceptable, the ocean level increase is much less than the alarmists, like yourself are expecting.

    The alarmists of the UN IPCC have been saying that the ocean level was going to rise 13 ft by 2100. The British MET office reduced that estimate by 1/2, with a more likely estimate of 8 inches by 2100. http://climaterealists.com/?id=6792 Al Gore was saying 20 feet, wow.

    Here is another estimate of 18 cm by 2100; http://notrickszone.com/2010/12/13/how-rahmstorf-vermeer-grossly-exaggerated-sea-level-rise/

    Here is an alternate explanation for rising sea levels, although 1.7 mm/ year doesn’t sound like a lot.

    Satellite measurements show 0.83 inches of sea level rise over the first 12 years of the 21st century, if it continues at that rate, the ocean level would rise 8 inches over the 21st century. http://climaterealists.com/index.php?action=report&uid=8802&id=7671

    So what you call outliers is evidence to show there is no need to panic and spend a lot of money.

  10. […] (blog)North Carolina Bill Would Have State Ignore Faster Rising SeasTPMCBS Local -The Progressive Pulseall 15 news articles » This entry was posted in sea by admin. Bookmark the […]

  11. gregflynn

    June 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Frank, your abuse of information is pathological. The most fundamental flaw in the ice extent argument is that area does not equal volume. You stand on thin ice.

    Antarctica is NOT growing at “1.43% per year”. You didn’t read past the incorrect headline. One area of Antarctic ice along the the East Antarctic coast increased while other areas show rapid decline. Overall the Arctic ice extent has stayed the same or grown slightly.

    Overall, Antarctic sea ice has grown slightly over the past thirty years of the satellite record, but the trends are very small, and the ice extent varies a lot from year to year. In Southern Hemisphere winter months, ice extent has increased by around one percent per decade. In the summer, ice has increased by two to three percent per decade, but the variation is larger than the trend.

    It is quite an exaggeration to claim that the Arctic is “rebounding”. In April slower melting left the Arctic ice extent near the 1979-2000 average level. Through May that extent declined rapidly.

    While ice conditions approached the 1979 to 2000 average levels for this time of year, the high ice extent will have little influence on how much ice melts this summer. Much of the ice cover is recently formed thin ice that will melt out quickly. Research has shown that sea ice extent in spring does not tell us much about ice extent the following summer. More important to the summer melt is the thickness of the ice cover, and summer weather.

    You’ve got a lot of nerve saying “alarmists, like yourself are expecting”. To my knowledge I have never stated anywhere what I expect sea level rise to be and you have no basis to describe me as an alarmist other than as a throwaway insult.

    When I talk about outliers I’m talking about data, not the ramblings of various and sundry crackpots and conspiracy theorists whose blogs you troll through to find rhetoric that resonates with your own version of reality. At the beginning of this thread you claimed “declining sea level for almost a decade” and now you would admit it’s rising. Which is it, up or down?

  12. Frank Burns

    June 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    From your note, you agree with me that the Antartic is growing in ice extent, the amount that it is growing is really not important is it? While the scientists are measuring area, there is also some depth which results in ice volume, the conclusion is ice volume is growing.

    In the Artic, that graph shows that the ice growth per month is the largest monthly growth on record. I consider that a rebound. From the satellite data, the low extent of the ice was in 2007, the ice has grown since then. The theory that you ascribe to is that CO2 emissions is causing the earth to warm. With the ice growing like it is, how can your theory be true with CO2 emissions growing world wide?

    With the ice extent growing, the sea level would be lowered by logic. Let me be clear, I presented papers that showed wildly different predictions of sea level increase. I believe the data shows that the sea level increase is not a concern, so the NC legislature is correct to not make large expenses to protect shores for a theory that is not proving to be true.

    I consider people to be alarmists who ascribe to the theories of Jim Hansen and Al Gore. As you know they believe that if we don’t drastically reduce CO2 emissions, there will be dire consequences. This as you know would result in huge costs to the American consumer. If you don’t believe those theories, then I apologize. I assumed you believed them as well.

    I’m proud to associate with skeptics and I don’t consider them to be crackpots. Science does not depend on consensus but by testing theories with actual measurements. There are many other theories regarding climate change but these climate changes go in cycles and there is some evidence that we are moving into a cooling cycle.

  13. gregflynn

    June 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    When the last scoop of ice cream in the tub melts and re-freezes it covers the same extent as a full tub. Thick ice is melting and thin ice returns annually. One of the last acts of the ENVISAT was to document the rapid disintegration of an Antarctic ice shelf, a loss of 1790 sq km over 10 years, while adjacent shelves have shown thinning. The volume of these losses is not replaced by thin seasonal fast ice. The Arctic sea ice volume is the lowest it has ever been and is declining rapidly to the point where we may have an ice free Arctic summer in 2015. You don’t know what theory I “ascribe to” so please don’t attribute one to me.

  14. Frank Burns

    June 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Yet the data shows the artic ice is rebounding. I showed you. Do I need to repost it for you? Let the US Navy tell you too, that the VOLUME of ice is growing in the artic. http://www.real-science.com/metre-thick-ice-area-doubled-year

    Since we know the ice is rebounding in both the artic and antarctic, the sea level is going down. Now we call all celebrate and burn more coal and oil.

  15. gregflynn

    June 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    The volume of ice is not growing Frank. The distribution of thicknesses is changing. The trend is downwards. The area of 1 year ice as a percentage of total Arctic ice area (in September when it is smallest) has gone since 1983 from about 24% to about 50%. The area of thickest ice 4 years old and older has gone from about 50% in 1983 down to about 6%. The oldest, thickest ice has been melting away to the point where 94% of the September ice area is 3 years old or younger. That is why an ice free September Arctic is possible in just 3 years time.

  16. Frank Burns

    June 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I disagree ,the data does show that the ice volume is in fact growing, you can see clearly in the attached detailed analysis by a Danish scientist.


    The trend shows that an ice free arctic is not likely.

  17. gregflynn

    June 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

    The few lines of commentary in a blog post about charts prepared by others does not amount to detailed analysis. The author may be Danish but he is not a professional scientist and has no peer reviewed articles published anywhere. The “data” used is not recorded data. It is information from a forecast model no longer used by the US Navy, having developed an anomaly in 2011. It was never very accurate for ice thickness projections. The only data that formed the basis of the forecast for ice thickness came from a satellite that was only accurate for thicknesses less than 10cm and somewhat accurate for thicknesses less than 20cm. It should also be noted that sea ice extent includes ocean areas with just 15% ice and does not include land based ice such as the melting glaciers of Greenland.

  18. Jeffrey Huntsman

    June 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I understand now. “Frank Burns” is a well-known feature of “M*A*S*H” whose perceptiveness was documented weekly on the show. Now everything here n
    ow makes sense.

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