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Sea-level rise 2One year ago this week, the U.S. was dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. What lessons have we learned?  Don’t miss this upcoming NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:  

Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline

Featuring Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

If current luck holds, North Carolina may well escape the 2013 hurricane season without the widespread damage that has so frequently plagued the fragile coastal region in recent years. Unfortunately, this brief respite is almost certainly only that – a temporary breather.

Experts assure us that the impacts of climate change (including rising oceans and frequent, damaging storms) are sure to remake the coast in myriad ways over the decades to come and will, quite likely, permanently submerge large tracts of real estate.

So, what does our best science predict? Read More

Five quick things worth knowing/remembering on the first Tuesday of fall 2013:

#1 – As noted below, seats still remain for Thursday NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation: “Worse than NAFTA: Lori Wallach explains the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”  Click here for more info and to register.

#2 – It’s hurricane/sea level rise season, but don’t think that’s leading the folks running the state of North Carolina to do anything intentional or proactive to address it. Indeed, as journalist Kirk Ross reports over at the N.C. Coastal Federation website, the state Coastal Resources Commission has been gutted and is now “essentially out  of business.”

#3 – On the courts and law front, Senator Richard Burr is still doing his impression of The Invisible Man by blocking Senate consideration of federal District Court nominee Jennifer May-Parker for the long-vacant seat in North Carolina’s Eastern District and then lacking the decency to even admit he’s doing it or explain why. Court watchers at the Center for American Progress are urging folks to call Burr and demand action

#4 – And speaking of “The Invisible Man,” has there been a more delightful story in recent days than the overwhelming response to the book-banners in Randolph County for their knuckleheaded effort to ban the the Ralph Ellison classic? Barry Saunders of Raleigh’s N&O did a great job ridiculing the book banners yesterday and now, today, we learn that the censorship effort has completely backfired.      

#5 - And finally, for those looking to have America’s health care crisis explained in fast-moving 7 minute video, check out this pretty doggone accurate effort by a fellow named John Green at the website Upworthy.

Sea-level rise 2Earth Magazine, a publication of the American Geosciences Institute, has a new featured article this week entitled: “Denying sea-level rise: How 100 centimeters divided the state of North Carolina.” It’s authored by a pair of Duke academics – Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey (who has contributed in the past to The Progressive Pulse).

“On the surface, it looks like America is a place where scientists and scientific achievements are held in high regard. Read More

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

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