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Weekend editorials agree: NC must stop denying climate change and sea-level rise

[1]Enough is enough: that’s the obvious conclusion of multiple weekend editorials from around North Carolina when it comes to conservative, head-in-the-sand denials of climate change and sea-level rise. With yet another major hurricane brewing in the Atlantic basin, the message delivered by the editorials is clear. It’s time to stop denying and staring doing something.

From the Charlotte Observer [2]:

“There is no longer a real scientific debate about the reality of climate change or that humans have contributed to it, particularly because of the heavy use of fossil fuels that has been occurring for decades in the developed world. That doesn’t mean scientists are prophets, just that the science has detected a significant probability that extreme weather events will increasingly impact our way of life. Imagine, for example, how life in the Carolinas would be affected if the economy of popular resort Myrtle Beach is undermined by unpredictable and extreme weather patterns….

And while it’s impossible to say with certainty that any single weather event is directly caused by climate change, The Economist recently noted that the number of extreme natural disasters worldwide – including forest fires, droughts and landslides – has quadrupled since 1970, including the monsoon season in South Asia that killed more than 1,200 people as we were focused on hurricanes hitting the U.S.”

From the Greensboro News & Record [3]:

Ignoring climate change won’t make it go away.

It would be wonderful, as some officials in Raleigh and Washington seem to believe, that not talking about global warming would protect us from its dangers.

But after Hurricane Irma roared into Florida while Texans were still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, it should be clear that it’s past time to talk not only about climate change but also about what we can do to combat it and prepare for what it might bring….

But we all should be talking and planning further ahead. With a highly vulnerable coast of barrier islands, North Carolina in particular should be thinking ahead in a realistic way that acknowledges the likely effects of climate change. Desperate to protect tourist dollars and real-estate values, coastal communities repeat costly beach renourishment projects. In recent years, the state has relaxed some regulations on seawalls and other structures to control rising sea levels. The prospect of increasingly powerful hurricanes only makes such short-term solutions even more shortsighted.”

And from the Wilmington Star-News [4]:

“Predictions aren’t exact, but the overwhelming consensus among scientists is that our activities are warming seas and melting ice caps. That produces fiercer and wetter storms (think Irma, Harvey, Matthew, Sandy, Floyd) and gradually encroaching seawater. Check out the dead trees along Smith Creek Parkway or River Road to see what saltwater intrusion looks like.

And it’s about much more than flooded streets — underground infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes will be compromised. It’s already happening in Miami.

So do we update flood maps and discourage building in areas that the best science tells us will experience increased flooding? Change building codes?

Or do we continue to make scientific results we don’t like illegal, and purge grant applications of unpleasant words like climate change?

We don’t have to be alarmist about sea-level rise, but we should take it seriously. And that means listening more to the scientists who have studied our coast for years, and less to the development interests that have a huge financial stake in pretending the problem doesn’t exist.”