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NC Considers Making Sea Level Rise Illegal

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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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.

That is, the meter or so of sea level rise predicted for the NC Coastal Resources Commission by a state-appointed board of scientists is extremely inconvenient for counties along the coast. So the NC-20 types have decided that we can escape sea level rise – in North Carolina, anyhow – by making it against the law. Or making MEASURING it against the law, anyhow.

Here’s a link to the circulated Replacement House Bill 819. The key language is in section 2, paragraph e, talking about rates of sea level rise: “These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly. …” It goes on, but there’s the core: North Carolina legislators have decided that the way to make exponential increases in sea level rise – caused by those inconvenient feedback loops we keep hearing about from scientists – go away is to make it against the law to extrapolate exponential; we can only extrapolate along a line predicted by previous sea level rises.

Which, yes, is exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow’s weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east. Don’t use radar and barometers; use the Farmer’s Almanac and what grandpa remembers.

Things like marriage rules involve changing social mores and those who feel that certain types of marriage are wrong can be understood and even forgiven. They’re certainly on the wrong side of history, but it’s a social issue where emotion understandably holds sway over things like evidence.

But while the rising sea may engender emotion, it exists in a world of fact, of measurable evidence and predictable results, where scientists using their best methods have agreed on a reasonable – and conservative – estimate of a meter or more of rising seas in the coming century. In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave a hesitant estimate of up to 59 centimeters of rise —but even two years later that estimate already appeared low and scientists began to expect a rise of a meter or more.

No matter in North Carolina. We’ve got resorts to build and we don’t care what the rest of the ocean does – our sea isn’t going to rise by more than 15.6 inches. Because otherwise it’s against the law.

No information on whether the scientists on the panel, like Galileo, have stamped their feet and muttered “And yet it rises!” But there’s no doubt that NC’s legislative inquisitors will be classified along with Galileo’s papal persecutors and their own forebears who outlawed interracial marriage, as on the wrong side of history.

But these folks will also be wet.

I’d love to write more, but I have chores to do and kids to manage. Man — all this housework after a full day of work at my desk just doesn’t seem right. There oughtta be a law. Hey, wait a minute ….


Scott Huler About the Author: A writer who commonly explores science, culture, and the relationship between the two. Follow on Twitter @huler.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. jtdwyer 12:38 pm 05/30/2012

    I’m so pleased you chose to mention marriage discrimination – I’m tired of being discriminated against as an individual. There’s no reason why I should not be able to receive all the benefits of marriage, especially for tax purposes. Yes, I want to be able to legally marry my self, so that I can file my state and federal taxes as a married person! I know my individual rights!

    BTW, according to the NC law, will undersea counties retain their representation in the state House?

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  2. 2. Ekoh1 12:56 pm 05/30/2012

    Sounds like The Simpson’s Springfield after they narrowly escaped from being destroyed by a comet,
    “let’s burn down the observatory so this never happens again.”

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  3. 3. Derick in TO 1:01 pm 05/30/2012

    Being ignorant because you don’t know the facts is understandable, even forgivable. Especially if you are willing to rectify the situation by educating yourself when the opportunity arises.

    Being ignorant because you choose to ignore the facts is just negligent. There is no excuse.

    Well, you get what you pay for (or vote for), don’t you? I guess the people of North Carolina would prefer to be ruled by ignorant rhetoric rather than informed public discourse. Seems an increasingly common theme in America today.

    I hope all North Carolinians enjoy being shocked as hell when sea level rises outstrip their “blinders-on” sea level measurements.

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  4. 4. suitti 1:17 pm 05/30/2012

    I recall that a city in Connecticut sued the state after the state failed to connect a highway that was built through the middle of the city to anything of value. The unusable highway acted something like an uncrossable river, but with none of the benefits. It appears to me that N.C. is setting itself up for failure, and not just failure of some coastal counties.

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  5. 5. Sundaydiver 1:28 pm 05/30/2012

    So what? Let NC get flooded, they asked for it and only get what they deserve. The modern world has no room for backward societies like these. Good riddance.

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  6. 6. zsingerb 1:30 pm 05/30/2012

    “But while the rising sea may engender emotion, it exists in a world of fact, of measurable evidence and predictable results, where scientists using their best methods have agreed on a reasonable – and conservative – estimate of a meter or more of rising seas in the coming century. ” Extrapolation is not fact. It is estimate. And the accuracy is in the eye of the beholder. So if they want to legislate HOW to estimate, it is far less controversial than you make it sound. You base estimates on past experience, not models, which is what climate change is really based on, not fact. So go back to your drawing board and find another thing to protest about. Just because YOU don’t think it’s smart doesn’t mean it isn’t.

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  7. 7. Leroy 1:56 pm 05/30/2012

    zsingerb – Legislating scientific methodology is and should be EXTREMELY controversial. It’s like the dude who wanted to make a law that said Pi was exactly 3 because he really thought that would make things easier. The data is most likely going to be a curve, not linear… so legislating that it must be linear or that certain kinds of data should be excluded is clearly an effort to skew the results. If they were legislating that the curve has to be exponential or a bell curve or a hockey stick, it would still be dumb dumb dumb and horrible if it passed.

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  8. 8. kejames 1:57 pm 05/30/2012

    @Sundaydiver (re. your whole comment) and @Derick in TO (re. your last two paras): Your comments lack humanity and are not helping.

    @zsingerb: Yes, it is an estimate. And if you reread the quote you will see that Scott used that word. The thing is that it is a *good* estimate, not a wild guess like you want to portray it. Your comment kind of reminds me of the silly “just a theory” position on evolution.

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  9. 9. kmmash 1:59 pm 05/30/2012

    Doesn’t this just cry out for some civil disobedience?

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  10. 10. r0b3m4n 2:06 pm 05/30/2012

    “So what? Let NC get flooded, they asked for it and only get what they deserve. The modern world has no room for backward societies like these. Good riddance.”

    But if NC floods all those morons that survive will come to my state and I sure don’t want them to be allowed to vote in my state. I move we pass a law that all people displaced due to their own stupidity should not be allowed to vote in their new state.

    Now that I think about it the lower the average elevation of a Non-Western-American state the lower the Avg IQ of their populace (think Bible Belt). Might be an interesting graph avg IQ vs counties avg elevation. Probably wouldn’t be linear… As a matter of fact very few things are linear compared to the number of things that are non-linear. In Calculus things can only by approximated to be linear over very short spans. When talking about a centuries time it is very unlikely linear would be appropriate for such a large chaotic time span.

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  11. 11. RCWhitmyer 2:09 pm 05/30/2012

    Madness pure and simple.

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  12. 12. drafter 2:30 pm 05/30/2012

    If Al Gore the godfather of GW silliness is willing to buy a house on the coast then who can make a cogent argument with North Carolina.

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  13. 13. Luv2NoLimit 2:43 pm 05/30/2012

    Craziness… Just Pure and diluted stupidity…

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  14. 14. Derick in TO 2:44 pm 05/30/2012

    @kejames: You say my comments lack humanity. I say I comment because I care. Think of it as “tough love”.

    I don’t get my jollies from making fun of people. Quite the opposite, I actually prefer to collaborate with people to find solutions that work for everyone. To me, compromise is a virtue. But once the rhetoric kicks in, as it has in this case, collaboration becomes impossible and stupidity reigns. And how does one deal with stupidity? Coddling stupidity and accepting it in others just leads to more stupidity. Then who benefits?

    This NC decision is an excellent example of stupidity. Indeed, any time that politicians try to tell scientists how to do their jobs “epic stupidity” is the only epithet that fits. Being conciliatory to this stupidity only encourages more rhetoric and, subsequently, more stupidity.

    So when I see something stupid, I say “that’s stupid”. And if that hurts someone’s feelings, well I’m sorry. But I don’t think the solution is for people like me to stop saying “that’s stupid”. The solution is for people like NC legislators (and the voters who put them there) to stop acting stupidly.

    Incidentally – I’m not from NC. I live far away from there and inland. If NC were to drown, it would probably have minimal impact on my daily life (besides, I’ll be old and probably dead by then anyway). But I care about this issue because it impacts millions of other people – other humans, just like me. And though I’ll never meet any of them, I still care about their fates and fortunes. It’s my humanity that makes me post, and proselytize on the issue even when it makes me unpopular.

    It’s often hard for one person to see another person’s humanity, particularly when they disagree. I hope this helps you look a little harder in the future to see the humanity in others, even when at first it may escape you.

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  15. 15. priddseren 2:45 pm 05/30/2012

    Nice how this author took two completely unrelated topics and tied the idiots who think they can define the right to pursue happiness in marriage one way to some ridiculous methods of predicting sea level rises.

    Here is the problem, the one type of marriage law is more in line with the wamists dogma of global warming. Only the so called government paid climatologists can define the atmosphere and they say it is only human caused and is detrimental no matter what. It is you warmists who have declared you are arrogant enough to define what warming is on ridiculous assumption and ridiculous limits on data that support your theory.

    Still, the tie between a ridiculous and limited definition of marriage(each individual can define marriage for him or her self, which is what the right to liberty and pursuit of happiness means) and linking it to the equally ridiculous global warming theory really does not work.

    All this article proves and my own comments is politicians are generally as incompetent as their seem to indicate. Leading to a conclusion that we probably should keep politicians out of the debate on marriage or on global warming.

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  16. 16. fjirnene 2:58 pm 05/30/2012

    Let the North Carolinians drown? We’re all idiots? Really?! Excellent article but some of the comments are surprisingly moronic. So we currently have a majority of mouth-breathers elected to office, it happens and can happen in any state. We’ve also had some truly stellar officials who have done great things for our state. I’m sure if we were all wearing our FORESIGHT CAPS we’d have been able to avoid these acts of stupidity. Sadly, foresight caps don’t exist and we’ll just have to wait it out. Way to generalize a population you haters. Gosh.

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  17. 17. kejames 2:59 pm 05/30/2012

    @Derick in TO: Oh, I agree that it is stupid, willfully ignorant, etc., and I’m not recommending a conciliatory position. Far from it. I am outraged. But it’s the legislators who introduced this bill and those who vote for them who are deserving of our ire, not “all North Carolinians”.

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  18. 18. BruceWMorlan 3:08 pm 05/30/2012

    If lawyers are going to do stupid things like use inconvenient constants in contracts (e.g., that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is pi) then legislatures have to mandate that “FOR LEGALLY BINDING CALCULATIONS using the constant pi,pi shall be equal to 3.1416″ as a rational and correct thing to do, lest some weasel try to lawyer their way out of a contract by claiming that the value called for by the contract has not yet been computed, so a final billing is not possible. Example, if the contract called for enough fence to surround a circle 200′ in diameter, the contract could be challenged because no one can compute the appropriate length because pi (the needed constant) cannot be computed exactly. An honest merchant might say they will deliver a little extra, but if the fence were expensive enough they might want to use the “incomputability escape clause”.

    Similarly, stating that linear extrapolations of sea rise are the only ones allowed is just a way to avoid the weasels. Whether linear predictors are any good is, in this case, no doubt beyond incomprehensible to the legislators.

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  19. 19. Derick in TO 3:16 pm 05/30/2012

    @kejames: You are absolutely right, and I certainly do not mean to imply that all North Carolinians (or even a majority of Tar Feet) are stupid. Far from it. Indeed, in rereading my posts I realize I’ve not made a distinction between “being stupid” and “acting stupidly” – which is sort of important. Few people are truly stupid. All of us act stupidly from time to time – though some more frequently than others!

    I only mean to say that those who made this decision have acted stupidly, and that those who put them in power (not all NC voters, just those who voted for the legislators who supported this bill) are responsible for putting them there (and keeping them there if they continue to act stupidly).

    Like you, I’m outraged by this (and by many other rhetoric-driven stupid decisions being made on our behalf). I guess it messes with my zen. Still working on that ;)

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  20. 20. Derick in TO 3:30 pm 05/30/2012

    @BruceWMorlan: You make a good point, but I think it’s not quite an apt analogy. Limiting the number of decimal points of accuracy you can demand in a contract is not the same as arbitrarily limiting the methods of scientific research that can be used in understanding an issue.
    Yes, it makes sense to limit what you can put in a contract, since the law (and the rest of the legal system) is what determines what is legally correct and not correct in contractual issues. But the law is not what makes this determination in scientific issues – peer review of research plays that role. Giving legislators rule over which scientific methodologies can be used to study a phenomenon is very dangerous – it puts political expediency in control of science, and makes research become about pleasing your masters rather than being about finding out the truth. This is what happened in the Soviet Union – and a big part of the reason why the West came eventually to dominate the East in the production of scientific research and breakthroughs. Politics is just bad for science.

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  21. 21. global warmints 4:35 pm 05/30/2012

    I challenge all global warming believers – you now have a chance to become actual MILLIONAIRES!

    I have a prime property for sale. It is currently located under a glacier in northern Alaska, but if global warming is true, in the next 50 years its value will grow thousandfold. You then can live there yourself, or sell it to some of millions of refugees from flooded Florida.

    Please contact me under

    If I don’t receive thousands of emails from prominent public persons, I will sadly conclude that they don’t really believe in global warming – nice to scare people but not to put their own money in.

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  22. 22. Silimaure 4:43 pm 05/30/2012

    Not ALL of us from NC voted for this to pass. I voted Against this, as did my family. So before you point fingers and want a whole state to sink look at the fingers pointing back at you.

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  23. 23. Richard Hart 4:45 pm 05/30/2012

    I’m reminded of this quote from 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.”

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  24. 24. global warmints 5:00 pm 05/30/2012

    For 0,001% of readers who actually think. Wrong or hasty mis-estimate of sea level rise over the next decades makes enormous difference to seaside property prices. NC is likely trying to prevent speculation and scams on property.

    For you it may be righteous propaganda to stop people from polluting the sea. But imagine an unscurpluous bank who is raising insurance cost 500% for the elderly people owning a seaside house, because “scientists say it will be flooded soon”.

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  25. 25. global warmints 5:08 pm 05/30/2012

    @Derick in TO
    I wonder if any university or climate research institute would be willing to pay in 2050 the cost of any wrong property transaction, insurance or similar business transaction based on taking in good faith its predictions of sea level rise?

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  26. 26. pokerplyer 5:23 pm 05/30/2012

    The author of the article Huler is being untruthful when he writes

    “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.”

    A recent survey proved the statement to be untrue and that survey was conducted from a pool most likely to believe.

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  27. 27. Torqumada286 6:31 pm 05/30/2012

    Mister Huler, I know you’re writing for Scientific American and all, but a storm with 60 mile per hour winds originating in the Atlantic is not called a Hurricane, but a Tropical Storm. A Hurricane has to have sustained winds greater than 74mph. Otherwise, and excellent article, I think.

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  28. 28. FangedFaerie 6:43 pm 05/30/2012

    @pokerplyer: I don’t know if you’re talking about this:

    But if you are, that’s not what that poll was about.

    If you’re talking about a different poll, that’s all fine and dandy, but I’ll take stacks of peer-reviewed literature over one poll any day.

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  29. 29. Padgie 6:49 pm 05/30/2012

    Interestingly this, according to the text displayed also restricts who is permitted to do the calculations and they [the calculators] need to be requested to do this.

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  30. 30. Padgie 7:00 pm 05/30/2012

    The data gives indications of where you are going, this becomes the basis for the prediction. Predictions may result in changes which avert or modify the end result. Thus “making the prediction wrong”. Predictions are warnings, not yet facts.Hopefully it won’t happen because you try to avoid disasters.

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  31. 31. JimHavIII 7:09 pm 05/30/2012

    See Canute, King.

    Henry of Huntingdon, the 12th-century chronicler, tells how Cnut(Canute) set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet “continuing to rise as usual [the tide] dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.’ He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again “to the honour of God the almighty King”.[95] This incident is usually misrepresented by popular commentators and politicians as an example of Cnut’s arrogance.[96]

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  32. 32. Catalyst23 8:22 pm 05/30/2012

    I read a survey recently that showed that pokerplyer makes up or grossly misrepresents surveys regularly.

    Pokerplyer also confuses the meaning of consensus among scientists and whether people think there is a consensus among scientists.

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  33. 33. Carol875 8:50 pm 05/30/2012

    Whatever they legislate, I’d wager that insurance companies that issue policies protecting possessions and structures of people living along the coast won’t be using linear models to forecast water levels. Even if they’re in violation of N. C. law.

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  34. 34. byronraum 8:57 pm 05/30/2012

    Did the legislature define what ‘linear extrapolation’ means? Or ‘time period following the year 1900′? If it was 1900 years after the earth formed (i.e. about 4,449,0100 years ago), there’s plenty of data. Year 0 being the year when years started, i.e. when the earth formed and started rotating around the sun.

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  35. 35. RedWolfe53 9:12 pm 05/30/2012

    I (sadly) live in NC and have to deal with idiocy like this constantly. Not only are they trying the equivalent of defining pi, they are also, in the name of smaller government, attempting to remove scientists and experts from a variety of the state Boards and Commissions. (By means of eliminating gubernatorial appointments.)

    But hey, this is the state that gave America Jesse Helms for so many years (as well as Sam Ervin – so we ain’t totally bad.)

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  36. 36. Mythusmage 9:24 pm 05/30/2012

    If flooding is outlawed then only outlaws will get flooded.

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  37. 37. Dr. Strangelove 9:35 pm 05/30/2012

    Insurance companies will not insure you against sea level rise because they don’t consider it an accident or natural disaster. It is predictable and happens slowly about 1 cm per year. You have plenty of time to avoid it by moving to higher ground.

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  38. 38. jbwalters 9:55 pm 05/30/2012

    I wonder if the authors (or their supporters) of the bill have a financial interest in the ocean side developments? I bet it’s about a 99% chance of being so :) .

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  39. 39. mdr48371 11:09 pm 05/30/2012

    I’m sure they expect Jeebus will hold back the water.

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  40. 40. Squeedle 11:27 pm 05/30/2012

    Once again we see how Scientific American readers are, perhaps ironically, not automatically inoculated against all forms of fallacious rhetoric (in this case, mainly sweeping generalizations). Some of the clearest bigotry I read on the internet I see, is in comments on this website, coming out of people who clearly have large IQs and vocabularies.

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  41. 41. moss boss 12:14 am 05/31/2012

    Pokerplayer wrote:

    “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.”

    A recent survey proved the statement to be untrue and that survey was conducted from a pool most likely to believe.


    What was that survey? I do not understand what your point is. If it is that a survey was conducted regarding the validity of the statement, then please cite it. Regarding proof, what the Hell are you talking about? I understand if you do not get the logic.

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  42. 42. moss boss 12:24 am 05/31/2012

    global warmints wrote:

    For 0,001% of readers who actually think. Wrong or hasty mis-estimate of sea level rise over the next decades makes enormous difference to seaside property prices.

    Ain’t about the real eatate prices. For the people who have already had to move meters or kilometers away from the sea, their lifestyles and way of living has already changed.

    Talk to the people of Indonesia; they have already had to move inland, as their rice crops have deteriorated from sea level rise.

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  43. 43. geojellyroll 12:52 am 05/31/2012

    Another silly agenda-driven article.

    Scientific American continues the unscientific downslide.

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  44. 44. luxifurr 1:14 am 05/31/2012

    NC is also the home of NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville… oh the irony.

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  45. 45. LukeSurl 9:03 am 05/31/2012

    Seems similar to an Onion story a few years back:,2098/

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  46. 46. mpheels 9:10 am 05/31/2012

    I know it’s fun to make fun of people who aren’t you, and NC makes a particularly easy punching bag right now. To be fair, this legislation hasn’t even passed the NC House yet, it’s still getting bounced back and forth through committees. Most states consider stupid legislation on a regular basis. Let’s hold off on condemning an entire state until the legislation is actually passed.

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  47. 47. syats 10:17 am 05/31/2012

    Its no big deal, the Division of Coastal Management need only measure not the distance of the water level to a certain fixed mark, but rather the logarithm of this distance. And then they can extrapolate linearly.

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  48. 48. lexalexander 11:03 am 05/31/2012

    Apparently we have managed to out-stupid Mississippi. I would have thought such a feat beyond the reach of Einsteinian physics, and I suppose that as a result the universe will collapse into a singularity any minute.

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  49. 49. RedScourge 11:59 am 05/31/2012

    If there is no proof that we have entered a point where an exponential model now fits what is going on CURRENTLY, it is incredibly irresponsible to make forward looking predictions based on exponential functions when the past has not been exponential.

    Normally governments love it when people make incredibly irresponsible mathematical models which call for terrible things to happen to us, because it gives them an excuse to pass more laws and impose more taxes and expand their control over our lives, so something looks suspicious here.

    If people wouldn’t do incredibly irresponsible things such as make exponential predictions for the future when the past has not been suitably expressed with an exponential function, maybe they wouldn’t feel they need to tell scientists how to do their jobs. Stop whining and trying to fudge the data to try to advance your agenda, if the agenda is legitimate it will speak for itself. In the meantime, go back to actually using the scientific method.

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  50. 50. RedScourge 12:03 pm 05/31/2012

    I would like to add that even the title of this article is incredibly misleading, and most of the article content is also, not to mention incredibly childish.

    “Unscientific American” sounds more like it.

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  51. 51. Kate C. 12:05 pm 05/31/2012

    “But there’s no doubt that NC’s legislative inquisitors will be classified along with Galileo’s papal persecutors and their own forebears who outlawed interracial marriage, as on the wrong side of history.”

    Probably not. They will be regarded in the same light by people who believe the pop culture version of history, though, because they really are as stupid and backwards as Galileo’s “persecutors” are inaccurately portrayed. Galileo was, in fact, an obnoxious, self-aggrandizing plagiarist who was protected by the Pope until Galileo decided it would be a good idea to publish an article that publicly insulted his protector. He was not the great and noble hero that we like to think; he was a jerk who crossed a line and got slapped down for it. The scientific aspect was irrelevant to all but a few at the time.

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  52. 52. jabailo 12:18 pm 05/31/2012

    Sea Level Continues Its Historic Decline

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  53. 53. Kagehi 1:38 pm 05/31/2012

    But if NC floods all those morons that survive will come to my state and I sure don’t want them to be allowed to vote in my state. I move we pass a law that all people displaced due to their own stupidity should not be allowed to vote in their new state.

    Sadly, this sounds very Republican. See, if it was a “liberal” view, then they legislators would be all over it, since it would reduce the number of people likely to vote for smar.. uh, I mean Republicans. ;)

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  54. 54. Kagehi 1:39 pm 05/31/2012

    Sigh.. Top paragraph meant to be a quote, but, I guess ‘blockquote’ isn’t supported here…

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  55. 55. dvargas76 1:57 pm 05/31/2012

    I know exactly how NC operates since I lived there for over 4 years. It was the worst 4 years of my life. That state makes up what ever rules and regulations it wants to and puts them into law without asking anyone. There isn’t a law against rape there, it’s called a “crime against nature.” Trust me, I experienced it. Unlike other states, NC would rather rip children away from their mother’s and give them to the father’s because most of the mother’s escape that backwards excuse of a state and the father’s stay there. That state is all about money, lies, being stubborn, backstabbing hillbillies.

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  56. 56. delmaracer 2:01 pm 05/31/2012

    Just more BS

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  57. 57. Robert Hayes 3:27 pm 05/31/2012

    This article is both misguided and poorly reasoned.

    There are people who believe that the best way to project future trends of complex systems is to do a linear extrapolation of the current trend; you’ll usually be wrong but you’ll often be close. Other people believe that the best way to project complex future trends is to build a computer model and then use that model’s figure; you may get it exactly right or you may be completely off base. Neither approach is perfect, neither is always the right choice.

    First, the historical record: since 1880 or so, we have seen a rise of approximately 8 inches per century. IPCC 4 had estimates ranging from 7 inches to 23 inches, with the 23 inches coming from the worst-case scenario of a 4 degree C temperature rise by 2100. More recent work has said this is optimistic; the estimates now range from 22 to 79 inches. IF the higher estimate is correct, then we will see it sooner rather than later; Rignot in 2010 estimates we’ll see 13 inches of rise by 2050. Which would be NICELY CAPTURED by the proposed laws’ insistence on measuring contemporary rise and extrapolating it forward.

    The writer is editorializing, not analyzing. His analogy is horrifically, and quite obviously, flawed; yes, if you have an actual hurricane forming visibly off the coast, then the Farmer’s Almanac projection of mild rain is very likely ludicrously wrong. In the case of sea level rise, there is no hurricane forming off the coast; there are a number of estimates. None of those estimates involve a sudden catastrophic rise; they all involve an increased rate of rise which could quite adequately be detected by measurements.

    The disputed law, in its functional entirety, says that the projection for sea level rise is to be calculated periodically (annually) on the basis of actual recent measurement, and taken on the basis of the NC coastline as a whole, and not on the basis of speculated future accelerated rise, or taken from one particularly-fast-rising spot. This is placing data in a position of primacy over model-based speculation. Neither approach is intrinsically or manifestly superior; both approaches have flaws. In the case of sea level rise, it is extremely unlikely (to the point of near-impossibility) that we are going to have 90 years of flat sea level, followed by 10 years of cataclysm, and if that unlikely scenario DOES come to pass, we have 90 years in which to project, predict, and buttress the prediction. On the other hand, taking predictions at face value and (for example) barring millions or billions in development from occurring will have an immediate here-and-now economic impact on actual property owners, which will not be mitigated. In 2090 the state can’t turn to the now-desolate coastline and say “ok, effective 80 years ago, you guys actually can build condos and golf courses and marinas here”.

    It’s perfectly legitimate to prefer the author’s preference for taking the projections as the baseline. It’s not legitimate to pretend that doing the opposite is some radical departure from reality, or that the state is denying actual events. The state is mandating the inclusion of actual events in the process instead of relying on make-believe computer models (however sophisticated); the sarcasm and mockery of the legislature’s choice in the article would be much better directed at his own position, because that is the one relying on let’s-pretend. The let’s pretend may well be correct – in which case, the state’s approach will *still be accurate*, but will lag a couple of years behind the trend. That’s non-disastrous in its impact, and an acceptable cost (and a reversible decision).

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  58. 58. aglindh 3:38 pm 05/31/2012

    This smells like the usual ploy of real estate speculators buying legislators to maximize their returns. Funny part is that coastal land posed for “resort development” probably isn’t owned by Tarheels at all — might even be owned by the Chinese, or maybe the Koch brothers. Problem isn’t with the people of NC, but with the unconstrained access of big money to buying votes.

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  59. 59. tniiler 3:40 pm 05/31/2012

    To those who feel that scientists are somehow in disagreement about human induced climate change, please see the following joint statements. They come from many disparate disciplines and all feel there is overwhelming evidence from their disciplines that man-made climate change is real.

    If you want a good read on the manipulation that is happening in the media, read “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.” The same guys who said tobacco isn’t bad for you are at work against AGW.

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  60. 60. Steve3 4:25 pm 05/31/2012

    And when the sea does rise they’ll put out a warrant on GOD!
    I pity those poor Tarheels who live below the new water line!

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  61. 61. huler 4:56 pm 05/31/2012

    Wow! Great to see such interest among commentators, though always sad to see generalizations and mean spiritedness. Special kudos to @kejames for humanity above and beyond the call.

    No need to respond to trolleries, but some stuff definitely calls out for reply, especially @Richard Hart, whose Berry quote sums it all up perfectly, and @Torqumada286, who is of course right: the wind speed I described would not constitute a hurricane. In my mind, it was a hurricane out in the Atlantic and then slowly made its way to Raleigh, where I live, and by then the winds had died down. But you don’t live in my mind, do you, so you didn’t know that. Why bloggers wish they had editors.

    @syats, if I understand your comment, which I hope I do, you are brilliant. Awesome.

    @Kate C., is your goal really to defend the Inquisition? by saying Galileo was a jerk? Wow. That’s new for me. And that’s even after this dude tried to rip me a new one for not sufficiently expressing the degree to which most people agree that “and yet it moves” is probably a highly apocryphal story: I’m definitely not up enough on Galileo’s life to comment on whether he was as awful as you make him out to be, but even among the people who get worked up over the “and yet it moves” myth I’ve never seen anybody say he deserved what he got.

    Regarding the sophistry of various commenters trying to say that there’s some scientific value to demanding that predictions remain linear I can do no better than refer you to this excellent illustration from Jess Zimmerman of “Grist”: “In 1790, the year North Carolina is stuck in, the population was about 400,000. In 1900, it was 1.9 million. That’s an increase of 1.5 million in 110 years — so if there were an analogous rule for population, the state would prepare for 3.4 million residents in 2010. Which might cause some strife among the 9.7 million people who live there now, but you know, whatever — the law is the law, so screw you, math.” Read her whole post at:

    Anyhow love the conversation. Thanks for the interest.

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  62. 62. zzaletel 5:31 pm 05/31/2012

    Well, they didn’t define the scale of the axes… so linear extrapolation on a log scale is still linear, amiright?

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  63. 63. dhinson919 7:05 pm 05/31/2012

    Robert Hayes, this blog is not just misguided and poorly reasoned. It is journalistic fraud intended for an environmentalist community easily led.

    The supposed replacement bill in fact does not read as the blogger, Scott Huler, and others claims it does. Quote:

    “Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate
    future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.”

    Rates *may* be extrapolated linearly. There’s no requirement to do so. But even then there’s a catch. If linear extrapolation is chosen it “shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.” In other words, if the data contains accelerated rates of change then linear extrapolation cannot be used.

    This is high school freshman level reading comprehension.

    Enter the fraud. The blogger, Scott Huler, conveniently left out the “shall not include” clause in his quoting text conveniently replacing it with a period and a “…”. For those with reading comprehension problems, he misquoted the bill and quite intentionally.

    It appears the author wants to reserve artificial reality for himself and his unthinking readers for whatever actual agenda he has.

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  64. 64. 8:21 pm 05/31/2012

    Yes, and the emperor has new clothes! What? Hey, little kid, shut up- the emperor is not naked! Wait a minute- omg! He really IS naked! Everyone, close your eyes!

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  65. 65. Bob32 10:04 pm 05/31/2012

    As much as I’d like to keep ignoramuses from reproducing but there are probably a lot of good people among them that should be saved from drowning and I support the law.

    Matter of fact, I’m contacting my state legislature to introduce a bill to limit summer temperatures to 75 degrees Farhenheit. Warmer temperatures impede thinking.

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  66. 66. jvanderberg 6:54 am 06/1/2012

    From : “Considering all of these influences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the global average sea level will rise by 7.2 to 23.6 inches (18-59 cm or 0.18- 0.59m) by 2100 (see Figure 1) relative to 1980-1999 under a range of scenarios”

    Note that the upper bound is about half what the blogger here is claiming as scientific consensus, and the lower bound is approximately what when gets when one extrapolates a linear trend using the data from 1900-present.

    So our friendly blogger is making an unscientific claim of an alarmingly large sea level rise, and the NC law would result in a projection that’s included within the bounds of IPCC forecasts.

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  67. 67. emortimer 10:10 am 06/1/2012

    Over here in England we had a King Canute, who tried something similar in about 1000 AD. It didn’t work any better then.

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  68. 68. fyngyrz 11:19 am 06/1/2012

    “There is virtually universal agreement among scientists that the sea will probably rise a good meter or more before the end of the century”

    No. There isn’t. And the models that do this ad-hoc predicting have been failing on a number of other fronts, so they’re monumentally untrustworthy.

    Is Scientific American becoming Hysteric American?

    Even if the sea WAS going to rise, so what? We don’t need your nannying. Will you now say we can’t build anywhere because Andromeda is going to hit us?

    Seriously, just go sit in a corner and suck your thumb, will you? America has had enough of “this is for your own good.” It ruins lives, livings, families. FInd something productive to do. Making restrictive legislation isn’t it.

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  69. 69. rc0986 11:47 am 06/1/2012

    As amusing as all this is, the law itself is insidious and dangerous. It would set a precedent for legislators to determine what data and methods of analysis are to be used in establishing policy. Now we have established standards for a wide number of things such as water quality etc, but these were determined using the best available scientific methods. The enabling legislation does not dictate how the acceptable levels of contaminants are determined. It leaves that responsibility to the EPA. The NC law establishes a method and data sources, not based on the best science and data, but rather for its outcome eg. 8″ of sea level rise rather than 1 m. Kind of like letting the pharmaceutical firms determine how clinical trials are done. Sorry FDA does that.

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  70. 70. altwere 12:33 pm 06/1/2012

    Oh where is king Canute when you need him. This is like Claudius Tiberius Caeser trying the tree his nephew fell out of and died. The tree was covicted,cut down and burned in about 46 AD

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  71. 71. richardahowes 12:40 pm 06/1/2012

    2 problems with this article. First, there is NOT near-universal agreement amongst scientists that the sea level will rise a good meter or more by the end of the century. Here is a link to more than 1000 peer-reviewed articles that refute the common alarmism regarding global warming.

    Secondly, for the sea level to rise that much, we would need a substantial INCREASE in the current rate of sea level rise, and we are actually seeing a decrease.

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  72. 72. Plese 1:06 pm 06/1/2012

    Disappointing post. Neither the IPCC nor the EPA supports “at least a meter.” Indeed, at least North Carolina is at the bottom range of the IPCC estimates (and the IPCC is essentially designed as a restatement of the majority, scientific view). I understand the desire to say something edgy and interesting, but when the author’s hyperbole is worse than the entity that he is mocking–the divide grows, the problems are worsened, and interests of the Exxons of the world are unwittingly advanced. For a non-adversarial look at the issue read Climate of Uncertainty–A Balanced Look At Global Warming.

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  73. 73. jaellot 1:09 pm 06/1/2012

    I get that Mr. Huler is upset over the hateful legislation recently passed. Same here. But what he is accusing in this article is what he himself is doing.

    No where in the actual provision does it say it’s illegal for the tides to rise higher than 8 or so inches. What it says is that such estimates can only be made based on the given data, no more. Nothing new is getting added in, which will lead to the false estimates.

    Huler has taken this idiocy, but elevated it to a new level. Frankly, it just seems to be for the attention gleaning effort of it. It’s much more catchy to say NC outlaws the ocean levels from rising to call it what it actually is, yeah? The truth of limiting the data isn’t so much smart, as it is deviously cunning. More akin to Big Brother changing the equation so 2+2 doesn’t equal 4. Not today, anyway.

    But it’s just as foolish to do what you are accusing and complaing about others doing. Especially when you are trying to take a scientific stance regarding the matter.

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  74. 74. thetimchannel 1:48 pm 06/1/2012

    They want to build cheap condos that won’t last thirty years in the first place, so they figure no harm, no foul. In a hundred years it will be a problem for somebody else. Enjoy.

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  75. 75. jgrosay 5:45 pm 06/1/2012

    Making illegal sea levels raisin’ is a good idea, it would be good banning also things such as AIDS or cancer. In the times of the mexican revolution, in a village where they were suffering from several months of drought (Prophet Elijah got a philippic from another prophet that blamed him of having had not enough reasons for blocking rain for three years and a half)the mayor went to the local chapel, and shouted to the Christ’s image: “If you don’t make the rain come, tomorrow I’ll destroy all the banks and images in the chapel, the next day I’ll begin killing all the pious women, and the other day I’ll kill the priest and will burn the chapel”. The next day’s morning it started raining. This looks as some kind of an act of faith, as the mayor clearly acknowledged who was in the condition of making the rain come.

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  76. 76. Lasereye 7:30 am 06/2/2012

    OBSERVATION: Sounds like typical human behavior brought out in the open for all to see – a mirror held up to the human species to see the elephant in the room. BP oil spill – it’s OK now – go back to eating fish in the Gulf – nuclear power plant disaster in Japan – it’s OK now – go back to eating fish from the Pacific Ocean. Just keep doing what you’ve always done – we don’t want to disturb or wake-up the status quo of the 1% destroying the planet – gaining control for profits – buying off our elected representatives who are there to serve the people. Or should I say – to serve-up the people for the Corptocracy’s consumption.

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  77. 77. Steerpike13 3:53 pm 06/2/2012

    If this piece of legislation passes it will come back to bite them in a big way through legal (probably seriously large class) actions.
    To knowingly flout the data and put residential development in the way of sea level rise will have the state paying in so many different ways for years to come.
    Maybe that kind of economic argument will make them wake up.

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  78. 78. YetAnotherBob 4:48 pm 06/2/2012

    This is a pointless stupid blog.

    What North Carolina is doing is saying that the basis of design for the state is to be historical data.

    This Article is objecting that imaginative fiction cannot be used. Over the past 20 years, “Climate Change” proponents have predicted drastic drops in sea level. That didn’t happen. They have also predicted drastic warming and consequent rise in sea levels. That hasn’t happened yet either.

    The latest information is that sea levels have risen over the last one hundred years at less than 8 inches, if at all. (the uncertainty is greater than that.)

    If we get any solid data, then that can be used. But, theory only isn’t a good basis for engineering design, especially when it’s mostly supported by political wishing.

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  79. 79. Mythusmage 11:06 pm 06/2/2012

    The problem with global warming is that it’s so inconvenient.

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  80. 80. ewesker 11:17 am 06/3/2012

    One can wait for “laws” to be approved in which it is forbidden to measure (and report on) above 100°F temperatures …

    It really astonishes me that such things can happen in a country which is at the same time at the forefronts of science in many areas.

    Mazzel & broge, Evert Wesker
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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  81. 81. SiaraDelyn 12:09 pm 06/3/2012

    I think that the best we can do is create a legal system in which we (the rest of the country) won’t have to bail these people out when their luxury resorts wash into the ocean. Make them accountable for their own willful stupidity.

    This is simply another right wing attempt to censor scientific information when it inconveniences rich businesses.

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  82. 82. c laird478 3:55 pm 06/3/2012

    What is NC going to do if and when the sea level rises above their lawful limit? Arrest it?

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  83. 83. Bewildebeest 4:08 pm 06/3/2012

    Is this utterly idiotic and infuriating? Yes, of course.

    But HEY. ALL YOU PEOPLE SAYING THE ENTIRE STATE SHOULD SINK. Yeah, you. And you other people saying anyone evacuating from North Carolina shouldn’t be allowed to vote anymore. How is it not clear to you that there are rational, intelligent people in North Carolina who voted for rational, intelligent candidates–who lost? How are you not aware that the decisions handed down from lawmakers do not speak for the views of the entire state or country?

    I campaigned long and hard against Amendment One. It still breaks my heart. I, and my friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, and employers, voted against it. If given the chance, we would vote against this nonsense, and DID vote against the idiots who put it in place. We just lost.

    Take your generalizing elsewhere, please. It’s unseemly and just plain inaccurate. (Like this bill.)

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  84. 84. Nickuru 1:18 am 06/4/2012

    Geologically and atmospherically speaking, North Carolina is in a lot of trouble. There were islands off Chesapeake Bay where people lived like the 1800s until National Geographic ‘discovered’ them.

    There are many things to be liked about North Carolina, but its politics is not one. This sounds like the English King Knut, who sat at the seaside on a chair. He commanded the ocean to not reach the beach when the tide was increasing, due to politicians hoping to gain political favor. Sadly for the chair, the ocean swept it away and Canute remained wet for the rest of the day.

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  85. 85. Bill Price 12:42 pm 06/4/2012

    No one disputes that Sea Level has been rising since the last Ice Age – very slowly; and certainly, if sea level rise is accelerating rapidly, we need to know about it, and plan for it.
    To do that, the proposed NC Sea Level Rise Law appears to be for “comprehensive verifiable science”, and against “selective political science”.
    What’s the problem?
    We know that the CRC Science Panel said, SL has been and is rising 18 inches / 100y , and scientists said that 1 foot of SLR would inundate up to 2 miles of tidelands, and sure, scientific reports do show natural and Government induced erosion (while generally ignoring accretion ), but they fail to differentiate between erosion and inundation.
    A real world problem with the SP and the Scientist’s reports is, a visual comparison of 1850’s US Coast Survey surveys of NC tidelands, with recent surveys , don’t seem to show 4 miles ( 150 y @ 18 inches / 100y ), or 2 miles ( 1 foot) , or even 1 mile ( 6 inches SLR/ 100y) of inundation.
    When asked about this, the Scientists have refused to answer questions, have declined to do analysis of the surveys, and have refused to participate in an Open Public Forum. ( If they know it all, they should be able to answer several simple questions. ) Instead they have tried to denigrate we skeptics as ”willfully ignorant” developers against science, even though it’s the Local Property Owners and Governments ( along the esturine tidelands ) that will be most hurt by the SLR rules, not the developers. As an excuse for the lack of science, the Science Panel has said the CRC didn’t ask them to do a rigorous Scientific Report. Regrettably though, the Literature Search, that the Science Panel based its Policy Recomendation of 39” SLR / 2100 on, was one sided, of selected Pro AGW and Pro SLR reports. ( Although, considering that the NOAA “No Regrets” office in Charleston, is paying scientists millions to prove SLR and AGW, it’s not surprising that there’s lots of Pro AGW and SLR literature.)
    So, maybe Sea Level Rise will Accelerate. Maybe not.
    To be sure, we recognize that, sometimes, decisions should be made based on the preponderance of the evidence,
    but it’s difficult to have confidence in evidence from scientists that:
    - won’t provide verifiable science, even on past SLR trends,
    - won’t answer simple questions, and
    - won’t participate in an Open Public Forum
    - then demand people accept their fortunetelling.
    Are we supposed to blindly accept what the scientists say, and do what they demand without question?
    Looks like the NC General Assembly is just trying to get some comprehensive verifiable Science, before making important public policy decisions.
    Bill Price Pine Knoll Shores

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  86. 86. mggordon 7:42 pm 06/4/2012

    FangedFairie writes: “I’ll take stacks of peer-reviewed literature over one poll any day.”

    Groupthink, in other words, but also irrelevant. Peer-reviewed literature is how science is censored and published; polls are how political decisions are often made.

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  87. 87. mggordon 7:42 pm 06/4/2012

    I am thrilled to be able to read such a diversity of commentary, such as marriage diversity, in Scientific American. Who would have thought it possible?

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  88. 88. mggordon 7:55 pm 06/4/2012

    Perhaps others have observed that on the east coast the sea level is rising, but on the west coast the sea level is falling. This can be observed using the online NOAA tide guage monitoring and reporting tool.

    Some readers will see what they want to see or have been told to see, but let us draw from other disciplines, for instance plate tectonics. The east coast is being “stretched” and presumably made thinner while the west coast is riding on top of a subduction zone; the Pacific Plate sliding *under* Neah Bay causing it to rise.

    Why is San Diego and Los Angeles reporting rising sea level but most of the west coast falling sea level? Plate tectonics. The Pacific plate doesn’t reach down to Los Angeles.

    Astoria, Oregon, declining sea level:

    Neah Bay, Washington: (falling sea level, -1.6 mm/year)

    San Diego: rising sea level (or falling land!) 2mm per year

    wilmington, North Carolina: (rising sea level, 2mm per year)

    Anchorage is all over the place and no attempt should be made to linearize it, but of course, that is exactly what the computer has been told to do:

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  89. 89. mggordon 8:15 pm 06/4/2012

    Readers that get this far are encouraged to notice that skeptical commentary tends to be longer, well written with explanations and citations. AGW advocates tend to be snarky and emotion driven with little substance to back them up, which is odd considering the title — we all ought to be scientific Americans.

    That the sea level is rising very slowly appears to be fairly well established. Scandinavians landing on the Americas in the Little Ice Age left markers that are now visible only at low tide.

    Far more decisive in coastal realignment is human modification of water drainage and coastal development. Attempts to stop erosion have largely succeeded, but in so doing, also stop the natural flow of replenishment sand.

    Who can doubt that coastlines change? What is doubtful is that sending 100 billion dollars a year to Africa is the “cure” for a problem that has existed for hundreds of millions of years.

    Is there any limit to fabulous and fanciful speculations about what sea level MIGHT become? None whatever. An asteroid collision on Antarctica, for instance, would probably release all the ice at once producing a huge wave straight out of “Day After Tomorrow”.

    But it’s speculative and governments ought not to work on speculation when you have perfectly good historical data from which to make policy decisions.

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  90. 90. zachbroughe 9:40 am 06/5/2012

    Bill Price @ #83

    Do you have any connection to the
    lobbying group

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  91. 91. venturajohn 9:25 am 06/6/2012

    The North Carolina legislators are right on this one, and I have proof! The measurement from my back deck to the ocean surface hasn’t changed one iota in 27 years. Natural cycle, my foot! Sea level isn’t changing at all! (Does it matter that I live on a boat?)

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  92. 92. huler 5:36 pm 06/6/2012

    lol @venturajohn. and @zachbroughe, there’s certainly a Bill Price on the board of Whether this is that Bill Price he does not say. But if it is, you would have to consider it disingenuous that he did not identify himself.

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  93. 93. Kanawah 8:26 pm 06/6/2012

    Next they will outlaw thunder storms.

    The loonies are on the loose.

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  94. 94. ejdisler 10:12 pm 06/6/2012

    zsingerb said
    “You base estimates on past experience, not models, which is what climate change is really based on, not fact. So go back to your drawing board and find another thing to protest about.”

    Well zsingerb, How do you think models are developed? They don’t just arise out of a scientist’s imagination! These models are developed using known physical laws along with experimental and historical data.

    In other words, that perhaps you can comprehend, models ARE based on past experience!

    The NC legislators are not likely to have the capacity to comprehend this however and I’m sure they will enjoy their underwater casinos.

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  95. 95. zachbroughe 10:42 pm 06/6/2012


    Who ever he is, he seems to be tracking all the stories about this issue and posting basically the same “stuff”.

    He wouldn’t be the first member of this group to apparently post similar “stuff” with out mentioning their connection to this “environmental” group.

    “No one could have predicted…….”

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  96. 96. RedWolfe53 7:58 am 06/7/2012

    It is worth noting that NC legislature has modified the bill a bit. It is still stupid, but different.
    Also note that one of the motivators of this effort is the infamous John Droz.

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  97. 97. pdc123 1:04 pm 06/26/2012

    ‘America has had enough of “this is for your own good.” It ruins lives, livings, families. FInd something productive to do. Making restrictive legislation isn’t it.’

    Erm, how is requiring a linear calculation and limiting time ranges on observed measurements anything but ‘restrictive legislation’?

    Forget your own individual stance on whether or not sea levels or rising (or why, which seems to really be what people are arguing about, and not even really related to the contents of the article). Even if we suppose legislators are legal experts, why do you feel comfortable having political representatives selected by an unqualified/undifferentiated mass of people making restrictions on physical observations and mathematical calculations?

    The truly capitalist view on the matter would be to let the private/individual sector decide for themselves, and that no legislation on the matter either way would be appropriate. (I don’t even agree with that stance, and yet it is more self consistent than what you wrote!)

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  98. 98. jeoshua 2:00 pm 07/24/2012

    As a North Carolina resident, I would just like to say “Thank You” to all the people out there who assume that just because they believe that we live in a Democratic nation, that any of the actual residents of North Carolina had anything at all do to with this tragic miscarriage of law and science.

    Let me ask all of you who would paint with this broad brush: When is the last time that a governing body actually asked your real opinion on any matter of import? When was the last time that you were truly in control of the decisions that your representatives make on your behalf? When, in fact, was the last time that you actually lived in a platonic ideal of a Democracy?

    We are not existing in a Democracy at all. Our opinions do not matter in so far as anything beyond our next representative. This is a Representative form of government, and rule “by the people” is not actually on the cards, despite what you’ve been told.

    I bring this up because I consider myself to be an educated man. A reasonable man. And more than that, one who is vehemently opposed to the kind of ridiculous laws that this exposé puts forth. I did not even know about the issue until the law had already been passed. Nor did my vote on the gay marriage issue stop the inevitable laws on that front from being passed into our state constitution.

    Not every North Carolinian is a backwater, gay hating, climate change denying idiot, as so many of you assume to be the case. It’s just that it doesn’t so much matter what the intelligent ones among us think, since our opinion is basically null and void when stacked up against the uneducated and misled general public.

    So, in closing, do not assume to know anything about what the “average” North Carolinian believes on these issues. And even then, don’t assume that it would bear any weight on these kind of decisions, for we do not live in anything remotely resembling a platonic ideal of “Democracy”.

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  99. 99. stfree 4:21 pm 12/26/2012

    It is seldom that we have such a clear example of how the marriage of politics and science can profit all mankind. These learned legislators are without parallel in this century.

    I propose a special place to honor these fine gentlemen. It is to be their final resting place, complete with a suitable carved memorial for each. Their families will surely want them interred there so they may garner the respect they so richly deserve for all time. It will be a quiet place of beauty and nature, befitting their prescient abilities.

    As a native son, I will donate the land and pay the costs of internment. My only demand is that the memorial is to be located within 50 meters of the current mean high tide level on the eternal Outer Banks of North Carolina.

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  100. 100. jackvandijk 5:34 pm 12/27/2012

    …but this is all very understandable: North Carolinians have read about the rising seas, but it is all denoted in meters, and the cause is giving in degree Celsius. That cannot be right, so they made it illegal, in inches and degrees Fahrenheit….

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  101. 101. MarkBea 11:34 pm 05/6/2013

    The nice thing about all this, the only people who should be stupid enough to invest in property close to sea level are people who are as stupid as the lawmakers who outlawed the sea level rise.
    One would like to think that anyone else will be bright enough to go to higher ground.
    Can we sell these lawmakers any beachfront property?

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  102. 102. kevinbrands 1:51 am 02/19/2014

    Obviously high resolution videotape quality carries much memory, that’s why it presents enhanced quality.worldwide brands

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