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I earned a science PhD from a North Carolina university (Duke ecology, 1998). Which makes the current piece of anti-science idiocity coming out of that state particularly appalling. Briefly, NC is trying to legislate the scientific methods that can be used to estimate future sea level rise for planning purposes. Their chosen methods are wrong, and put sea level rise considerably below more nuanced estimates, thus maintaining property values while likely screwing whole segments of the population.

Willfully inaccurate planning means that coastal development, roads, bridges, and people are all at risk. Not to mention research at the state’s many fine colleges and universities: it would apparently be illegal to use any methods other than those specifically legislated to predict sea level rise.

The legislated method: linear extrapolation from sea level records since 1900. That method predicts an 8-inch rise, and NC wants to use 16 inches as their worst-case scenario. The best scientific estimates from the IPCC put likely sea level rise at about 39 inches, if not more.

I see a problem here.

I really wanted to write something witty and insightful about this, but I can’t manage anything but a great deal of ARRRRRGGGGHH. So why don’t you go read Scott Huler’s SciAm rant instead?

ETA: Or Eric’s.

And if that’s too much for you, I enjoyed these two comics today, and wanted to share.

One Comment

  1. Dr. Phil says:

    See, it’s no real problem. My mom lives in Greensboro, and not only is it above sea level, they’re in a drought. So by averaging…

    Nope. That doesn’t work for me either. Idiots.

    But then when I was in high school in NC, it was illegal for the schools to teach German, which had been outlawed when we entered WW II. Which began and ended years before I was born.

    Dr. Phil