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Sea-level rise 2North Carolina’s embarrassing head-in-the-(underwater)-sand approach to sea level rise received renewed attention this morning in the national media. New York Times columnist Gail Collins included the following passage in her story about the conservative movment’s aggressive abandonment of climate science:

“But a carbon tax/fee is the key to controlling climate change. That or just letting the next generation worry about whether the Jersey Shore is going to wind up lapping Trenton. Currently, majority sentiment in Congress is to hope for the best and pass the baton to the grandchildren. (When it comes to rising-sea-level denial, the champion may be North Carolina, where the Legislature has voted to base state coastal management policy on historic trends rather than anything the current experts have to say. “This means that even though North Carolina scientists predict 39 inches of sea-level rise within the century, North Carolina, by its own law, is only allowed to prepare for 8. King Canute would be so proud,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island in a recent speech.)” (Emphasis  supplied.)

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Read More

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While the General Assembly is currently focused on smoothing the road to drill for natural gas in North Carolina, a new report shows the economic value clean energy has brought to our state over the past five years.

The report was prepared by Research Triangle Institute and LaCapra Associates.

Some of the key findings:

Clean energy programs created or retained over 21,000 jobs.

The clean energy industry and government incentives spurred $1.4 billion in project investments.

These projects contributed about $1.7 billion to the gross state product.

Clean energy and energy efficiency projects saved 8.2 million megawatt hours of energy.

For every $1 spent on renewable projects, $1.90 was generated for that investment. For energy efficiency projects, $1.67 was generated for that investment.

Finally, rate payers benefit from renewables and energy efficiency programs.  A typical NC residential customer saved $.50 per month last year and that is expected to only rise if our state continues to lead in this industry.

Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that the conservative Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were considering a strategy to repeal North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).  Our state has the only RES legislation in the south. This legislation requires utilities to  hold a portion of their energy portfolio in renewables.   This legislation and incentive programs are the reason for the healthiness of the renewable energy industry.  As the governor and legislature focus on job creation and economic development, this part of the energy sector now has a strong and proven track record and should be encouraged to grow.

 

 

 

 

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Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies has an excellent story this morning about yesterday’s through-the-looking-glass “science” lecture at the General Assembly by self-appointed climate expert John Droz.

As Sturgis reports:

His [Droz’s] slideshow presentation, titled “The Assault on Science,” was a compilation of claims purporting to show that science is in danger from a hostile conspiracy involving the scientific elite, environmentalists, educators, and the media — but his own sources were rather unscientific, to say the least.

Among the publications Droz cited to make his case were Whistleblower, the monthly magazine companion of WorldNetDaily, a website that promotes conspiracy theories about topics such as President Obama’s citizenship; Quadrant, a conservative Australian magazine that was involved in a scandal over publishing fraudulent science; and the Institute for Creation Research, a Texas outfit that rejects evolution and promotes Biblical creationism and the notion that “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week.”

Perhaps the most important and disturbing part of Sturgis’ story, however, was this paragraph that appeared near the end: Read More

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After last night’s votes to slash unemployment benefits and deny Medicaid to people in need (and the follow-up votes that will take place today), you might have thought there would have already been enough wackiness for one week on Jones Street.

WRONG!

Actually, the fun is just beginning! Check out the following from the good people at the Sierra Club to see what’s on tap for tomorrow:

“John Droz, former real estate agent, fellow of the right-wing American Traditions Institute, and science advisor to NC-20 (the coastal group which backed notorious Sea Level Rise bill last year) will be addressing invited members of both chambers this Wednesday at 11:00 am in the auditorium at the General Assembly.   Read More

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There was a bit of a hubbub recently surrounding the announcement made by the new Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla, that he was altering the Department’s mission statement. Especially in light of Skvarla’s statements in a WRAL interview in which he implied that climate change is an open question, many observers took particular note of language in the new mission statement that refers to “diversity of opinion” on matters of science.

So how much of a change is this? One of the interesting aspects of the whole mission statement story was that no one seems to remember much about what was in the old one.

Yesterday, I called over to DENR and a friendly staffer promptly emailed me the one that had been associated with the Department’s 2009-2013 strategic plan. Click here to look at the brochure that I received.

As you can see, the old “mission statement” was much shorter. It simply stated that DENR’s mission was: Read More